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1st Report PIT-DEN-ORD-IAD-PIT (No Pics, Sorry)

Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:35 pm

After reading all of these I thought I'd finally contribute to the class and write up a brief report of my latest non-rev adventure.

I was heading out to DEN to take a tour of the ATCT and was looking at loads for quite awhile to see what my best option was. UA has a direct out of PIT that leaves at 7:55 am and gets into DEN around 9:30 am. It's an A320 (eh), so I thought I'd leave a little earlier to ORD to jump on a 777. The night before I compared the loads and the 777 had over 20 non revs listed and was oversold in economy. Better not risk it so I took the direct.

Got to the airport around 715 for my flight. Went up to the ticket counter and mingled for a couple minutes then it was off to security. For those of you that haven't heard what's been going on at PIT, US has pulled what once used to be their #1 hub into nothing more than a minor, MINOR, focus city. Although for some reason this Tuesday morning, the security lines were quite long. Thank you employee line!. I showed up at gate C53 and almost the entire plane was boarded already. I grabed my F/C boarding pass and talked with the agents for a couple minutes then it was off the the flight. I had seat 3B, which right there made me not want to bring out the camera I had brought just for writing this report. I could have taken the standard legroom/meal pictures, but without the window shots or video, I didn't see a point. Breakfast was coming up shortly and the FA (who I might add was simply wonderful) came and took orders. The choices were eggs with bacon, sausage, and yougurt. Or fruit, cheese, and yougurt. I took the fruit, because for some reason UA seems to have very fresh fruit on their flights. A quick 3 hours later I was in DEN and up to the tower.

Now this is where my story gets fun. Mind you it's 11 am in DEN, and my next possible direct flight to PIT doesn't leave until 730pm. So what to do? I was going to jump on a SNA turn just because those take offs are freaken awesome, but my wife was getting upset that I was gone all day, so I wanted to try and hop a flight through ORD. I took the train back over to the B concourse and noticed that there was an ORD flight leaving in less than 20 minutes. I ran over to the gate and asked the gate agent, with about 5 people in front of her, if there was enough room for a non rev. She asked if I was listed, I wasn't. She didn't like the idea of having to do that for me, so I quick called my wife and had her get on the computer to list me. I think the agent appreciated me doing this as she put me in the last seat on the flight, just so happened to be First. There were still rev. passengers on the list but none could use their certs to upgrade because it was a 3 cabin 767 and buisness was full.

I didn't even realize it was a 767 until I walked onto the plane. For a split second I wished it was a newly configured 76, but alas, the old seats. None the less they were still comfortable and the alcohol was free   Take off was standard DEN, Runway 8, heading 065, and bumpy as hell. After things calmed down lunch was served. Choices were stuff pasta shells, salad with thai shrimp, or a turkey sandwich on multi grain bread. I told the FA (this one was efficent, but rude to the non revs) that I prefered the pasta, but I didn't really care. Turned out pasta it was, and holy sh*t was it filling. Three huge shells stuffed with some sort of cheese, bread, and a cookie for desert. Topped it off with a baileys and coffee and it made the flight seem to breeze by. Landing was nothing exciting, although it was very smooth compared to the other handfull of 767 landings I've been on.

Now I told you all that my story got exciting. Well exciting for me anyway. Landed at gate C16, and the next PIT flight left about an hour and a half at C4. It was an express CR7 which is almost always oversold, but I just thought I'd give it a shot. For those that haven't been in ORD lately, UA has installed new status screens at all the gates (Actually it's not ORD specific, its all the hubs). It displays the flight information, description of the aircraft, and also displays the ugrade and standby lists. It was installed to reduce the number of questions the gate agent had to answer. So about an hour before the dept time the PIT info popped up. 0 remaining seats and the standby list was 22 deep. I called my wife and the next flight was oversold as well, meaning I wouldn't get into PIT until well after midnight. Damnit. I started to weigh my options. Do I just sit here all night and try and get on something, knowing the last one is open? I work for an airline, hell no, I'm using my earned right to pass ride.

At gate C something or another there was an IAD flight leaving in 45 minutes. Same story as DEN. I walked up, told my story, and asked if he thought I could get on. He said most likely so I hung out. I had no idea anything about this flight, my wife and son were napping so I couldn't even tell if there were seats from IAD-PIT. Whatever. Here comes a 767 into the gate from SFO. Since it just pulled in, and I was thrity as all hell, I walked across the way to the McDonalds. As I was walking back I noticed the nose number, 6446. Why did this seem familiar to me? All of the sudden the started making announments that it was a plane change. YES! I would finally get a chance to see what the new seats look like. I was praying for a buisness class seat so I could try them out. But I didn't get one.....I got First   Seat 2K. I let everyone else board as I hate to just sit on the plane. I sat down and seriously thought I was in my own apartment. The seat was so extremely comfortable I couldn't believe it. The only gripe I would have is the seat is angled away from the window, so getting a peek out involves more a body turn, but hell, for an international flight, I'd take it. The tv screen was HUGE compared to the old. And this was great because 2 hours early I had the old config. fresh in my mind. Last minute checks were being done and the FA asked me to put on my shoulder strap? I'm sorry? Yeah a shoulder strap, kinda weird. But whatever. The flight was quick. I had the seat in a bed for most of flight watching various movies and if not that, listening to channel 9.

I had 3 hours to kill in IAD, so that was spent walking around and running into pilots and FAs that I know. I was the last seat on the flight home to PIT, other non revs were left at the gate arguing why they didn't get on. Oh well.

So that was my lovely day. Hope you all enjoyed it and I'm really sorry I didn't get any pics, especially of the new seats.

[Edited 2008-10-25 16:36:43]

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