Again, welcome back to my next TR
, a ridiculous trip to BNA
, in my usual round about type way.
Flagship Detroit DC-3
I will say, though, I think this one takes the cake as the most ridiculous thing I've ever done. It's a close contest with my New York trip last year, and very similar. My cousin was getting married in BNA
(well, Cool Springs for those of you familiar with the area), and I figured, no time better to go on another "mileage run" as I called it, but you guys are some of the only people who will actually get why I really did it.
Anyway, fare for this trip was like $470, booked on aa.com. Upgrades were a combination of 15,000 one way AAdvantage mileage upgrade and electronic upgrades. I'll keep the suspense for what I actually did, but sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
I left for the airport about 30 minutes after my roommate did (about 4:15) and I caught up with him (this will be a continuing story throughout the TR
) at the airport. I was in the terminal by 4:50. Check-in was pretty painless, 1 person in front of me in line. I saw Jordan (roommate) standing in line at the CO
counters...apparently the self-serve check-in kiosks were not working. Only the first sign of a long night for him. We made our way over to security together, and were through after a short wait. He walked down to his gate, and me to mine, just to see what was going on (this was the day IAH
had really bad weather, and his flight was already delayed like an hour and a half, from a scheduled departure time of 6). My flight was scheduled to leave at 5 til' seven, so we had plenty of time. I noticed a 757 sitting on the ramp with the engine cowling removed, so I inquired. Apparently it diverted here the day before due to weather in Dallas, and its #2 thrust reverser failed. It was supposed to fly out that morning, but it didn't. They were bringing in m/x people from TUL
We reconvened at Maudie's Tex Mex, where I got some enchiladas (sorry, no pictures, but they were YUMMY!). Jordan's flight was now delayed until 8:30, due to weather not only at IAH
, but low visibilities at EWR
. In addition to Maudie's I got some ice cream from Amy's, which is the best on the planet. A lot like Cold Stone, but so much better (it's another local restaurant). Eventually, we had to go our separate ways, as my flight was on time, so I made my way over to gate 13 for my flight to LAX
. Boarding began about 15 minutes later.
My plane to LAX
Scheduled Departure: 1855
Departure Gate: 13
Departure Runway: 17R
Cruising Altitude: FL 320
Cruising Airspeed: .76 Mach
Route: AUS2.SJT CME J15 ABQ J6 ZUN J6 DRK J231 TNP SEAVU2 LAX
Arrival Runway: 24R
On: 2021 L
Arrival Gate: 46A
Scheduled Arrival: 2035
325, according to FlightAware
I boarded first, and found my way to 5F. I considered carrying on both my bags, as well as my camera bag, but I'm glad I didn't. I was greeted with a nice view of HOU
, some 170 miles away.
Count 'em 6 WN
tails. Unusual, even for AUS
We pushed back a couple minutes early, and made our way to the under construction 17R. We backtaxied to take full advantage of the 10,248 feet available.
Barbara Jordan terminal, seen while backtaxiing on 17R.
a shortened 17R
After we completed our U-turn, our Pratt and Whitney's roared to life, and away we went into the Texas evening.
After takeoff we turned to the west to join the AUS2 departure.
KAUS (our runway is in the foreground)
Looking right up Congress Avenue (you can see the Capitol).
We continued to climb out over the Hill Country. It's pretty scary how low the lakes are.
Lake Travis dammed by Mansfield Dam. Sometimes Islands are clearly visible.
Our purser, Eileen, came by and took our drink orders, as well as a dinner order. It'd been quite a while since I'd had a proper meal in F, so this was nice, even though I just ate. I'm a sucker for airplane food!
Chasing the sun.
Yummy stuffed pasta shells. This was my second one, I forgot to take a picture of the first!
A bit later, she came back around with some very frozen ice cream
The orange sauce was frozen on the bottom, which was perfectly fine with me since I don't like orange anyway!
Sunset over Arizona, IIRC
I settled in to watch a movie on my computer, only to find out my brand new laptop's DVD drive doesn't work! Ugh! That was part of the reason I got a new computer in the first place!
Alas, I chatted with Eileen a bit about my love of aviation, and my goal of becoming a pilot.I showed her some pictures that I had taken in the past of planes, she was very interested! As much as I love the airline, people like her are what make it MY
After a short time, we began our descent into LAX
Note: sorry for the picture quality, they are actually much better pictures, but I guess when Photobucket compresses them, they lose quite a bit of quality. If there are any that you would like to have, let me know, and I can send you the original.
Downtown Los Angeles
Touchdown on 24R
Air China 744
We taxied around the TBIT, to Terminal 4, where we parked at gate 46A, 2 minutes ahead of schedule.
I had about an hour in LAX
before my flight, so I used the bathroom, and perused a gift shop. A delayed flight to HNL
was boarding next to our gate, and I thought about just going there, instead.
Meanwhile, back in Austin, Jordan is still hanging out at gate 18 waiting for his CO
flight to leave. The plane is on the ground, but the crew has timed out, so they're having to bring in a new crew. New estimated departure time, midnight.
Eventually, though a little late, we began boarding AA10, to JFK
Scheduled Departure: 2135
Departure Gate: 49A
Departure Runway: 25R
Cruising Altitude: FL 350
Cruising Airspeed: .81 Mach, 470 TAS
Route: HOLTZ9 TRM J134 LBL J134 IC J19 STL VHP ROD J29 DORET J29 JHW J80 LVZ LENDY5 JFK
Arrival Runway: 31R
On: 0541 L
Arrival Gate: T8 33
Scheduled Arrival: 0547
10 according to FlightAware
View from 8A
744, to LHR
We pushed back about 10 minutes late and taxied to 25R.
Welcome to SYD
We were #1 for departure, ahead of the BA
Rolling on 25R
We turned south (it really seemed like we were struggling for altitude, more so than I've ever felt before) and then back east south of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Moving Map. I really like these new ones, they're much nicer looking.
Service commenced very shortly after takeoff since it was a redeye. I took the cheese plate with my usual glass of milk.
I declined the video player because I was planning on giving the wifi a shot. I was really excited to try it out. I'm here to tell you, it's better than the internet I've got in my apartment on campus. And for a 5 hour flight (well, 4 hr 20 min today), I think $13 is worth it, too. I got on Facebook and, of course, a.net!
A.net over CA
Then it dawned on me to check on Jordan's flight status. His flight was delayed until 1, and then 1:30. It finally took off at 1:43 central time. It dawned on me that I might very well beat him to NYC, him going to EWR
, me to JFK
The rest of the flight continued uneventfully. I watched an episode of South Park on my computer. We passed just south of Chicago and Detroit, and eventually began our descent. I picked 8A because I figured it would have a good view of NYC on approach, and it did not disappoint.
Manhattan and Long Island
Can you pick out JFK
? On the downwind for 31R.
Feet dry over Long Beach
Final for 31R
Thrust reversers deployed.
We quickly taxied to gate 33, where I deplaned, still really tired because I haven't slept at all (I dozed for a bit).
The first thing I did was call Jordan. He was still taxiing in to the gate. I beat him to NYC, through LAX
!!!! Sadly,that would only be a total of 18 hours worth of delays for him in that past week, and there would be more to come on Sunday.
Then, I went down to baggage claim where AA
tried to lose my bag, but more came out while about 35 of us were in line at the baggage office, and thankfully, mine was among them.
Some of the more astute readers might have already figured out that AA
does not fly JFK
, so I had to transfer airports to LGA
. Although we hit a little traffic on the Van Wyck, it wasn't too bad, and I was at LGA
by 7:00, for my 8:29 flight.
Friday, March 27th, 2009
I arrived at LGA
, having already bought electronic upgrades, and getting a confirmation email. However, once I got to the check-in counter, the AAgent told me that I needed two more. I explained to her that I already bought them two days prior, but it wasn't much good. Alas, I just took the exit row, and made my way through security. As soon as I was through, I called AA
, to try and figure out what was going on. They didn't have any record of it, but as long as I wasn't charged, that was ok. I bought two, and when the gate AAgent appeared, I got on the upgrade list. My upgrades came through, and I was given a boarding pass for 4F. I was a little upset because I wanted to be on the left side since LGA
was using 4 for takeoffs. I was the first on the plane, and fortunately was able to trade with someone and got 5A
N????? (i'll update it when I get it).
Scheduled Departure: 0829
Departure Gate: D7
Departure Runway: 4
Cruising Altitude: FL 280/300
Cruising Airspeed: 438 KIAS
Route: PARKE J6 YOLKY GUITR4 BNA
Arrival Runway: 2R
On: 0955 L
Arrival Gate: C5
Scheduled Arrival: 1009
1151 according to FlightAware
We pushed back on time, and made our way to runway 4.
E170s, with ESB behind
The line we joined
The obligatory LGA
"American 1151, Runway 4, Position and hold"
terminal, rolling on 4
Climbing over Riker's Island
Manhattan with Central Park visible
The flight was uneventful, the flight attendant gave me a bagel and a biscuit, which was nice. The flight went by pretty fast, and soon, we were descending into BNA
. We came in from the NNE, turned south, then back north to align ourselves for 2R
On final for 2R
Looking out on 2L and 2C
Over the runway
Spoilers barely visible
We taxied without incident to C5. I quickly made my way to baggage claim, claimed my bag, and was on my way for a fun weekend in Nashville.
Part two to follow.