Hey guys!! Here's my second trip report as I promised.
As the school year came close to an end, I tried my best in school so I could earn a vacation of my choice. My grades went down rapidly in the past few months and finally in the final marking period my grade went up 7% and I earned a vacation!! So, my mom gave me two choices: CHOICE 1: California, Arizona and Nevada. CHOICE 2: Scandinavia, At first I chose Europe but I'm not a big fan of castles and other sceneries that Scandinavia offers, so I chose West Coast USA.
My trip report will include flights from JFK-LAX-SFO-JFK with Virgin America and Southwest, I also included pics from our bus tour from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.
Four months before our planned departure I already tried searching for flights, since were flying from New York to Los Angeles you've got alot of choices. My three choices were United PS, Delta and Virgin America. After reading some reviews VX has the best customer satisfaction and decided to go with them. They also offer modern and stylish product that most american carriers doesn't offer. For LAX-SFO sector I had no doubts to chose WN. They offered $38.00 one way compared to $59 on UA, AA and VX.
Our way to take the AirTrain to JFK. The terminal also handles Long Island Railroad.
Endless lists of flights most are going to LAX or LHR.
Our flight to LAX. VX flight 403.
The day finally came! After 97 Days of waiting, it finally came!
FLIGHT 1: JFK-LAX VX 403
Origin: New York, John F. Kennedy International Airport Terminal 4
Destination: Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 3
Airline: Virgin America
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200 "Runway Angel"
Seat No: 5A
Photo © Ronald J Stella
Photo © Alastair T. Gardiner - WorldAirImages
Scheduled Departure: 7:30 AM Eastern
Actual Departure: 7:51 AM Eastern
Scheduled Arrival: 7:25 AM Western
Actual Arrival: 7:07 AM Western
Our flight was at 7 so we have to leave early, since we leave near JFK we decided to take the AirTrain. The AirTrain was clean and fast and directly takes you inside T4. JFK's T4 is modern and airy but lacks cleanliness. We were searching for VX's check-in area and it turns out that it was hidden behind the other check-in counters, it was located across "the Lounge" right above duty free. Check-in was fast and efficient, a friendly VX crew suggested that we should use the kiosk and he will tag check-in bags. After checking-in, we headed o the gate, our gate was B25 on the B concourse, two VX A320s were there, one going to LAX and the other is going to SFO. The boarding area had alot of seats and comfy ones too but it was absolutely dirty and full of garbage..... Also, the security was very fast and surprisingly the staff were very very funny and helpful. In security we met an elderly lady who speaks little english and we decided to help her and together we headed to the gate. When boarding was announced she went with the F passengers and we were surprised that she was flying F class but it turns out that she was flying in Main Cabin and she just went with the wrong crowd. Anyways, she was accepted by friendly and considerate VX crew.
The modern and silent terminal 4.
Another view of terminal 4, here you can see lots of foods and shops.
On our way to the gate, the seemingly never ending hallway of JFK's T4.
SOME SPOTTINGS BEFORE BOARDING..... (sorry about the reflections)
A Nothwest A320-200 going to Minneapolis/St.Paul
A DL 767-300 with winglets, I was impressed with the size of the winglets. I saw alot of pics on DL's 763 with winglets and in the pics it looks small but in person..... wow!
Another view of Delta's 767-300 with winglets, The screens on the gate didn't say where it was going but my guess is that it was going to Accra.
An Avianca A330-200.
Another view of Avianca's A330-200 which I believe is going to Bogota.
A TACA A320 going to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
A Virgin A320-200 parked near T4. Can someone identify the name/reg of the aircraft??
A LY 747-400 parked near T4.
Virgin America A320-200: N623VA which is going to SFO.
VX's N623VA with "Runway Angel" behind which is our to LAX.
Our ride to LAX, VX's "Runway Angel" loading up for a 5hr 55 min. flight west to Los Angeles.
Boarding was very fast, we were one of the last to board since we were seated on front. We seated on row 5 right next to the engine. We pushed back at 7:51 AM, 21 minutes late because a group of teenagers decided to act stupid onboard. A VX crew settled them in and they argued for a couple of minuted because they complained why weren't they seated together! They're checked in late!
A B6's "Viva La Blue" parked next to "Runway Angel", B6 and VX both provides good product and service. PS, why is B6 hanging around in T4??
Walking down the jetway.
A quick shot of "Runway Angel" from the jetway. She looks neat and shiny... good job VX!
Another view of "Runway Angel" from the jetway. sorry about the quality, I was in a hurry.
A shot of the main cabin taken from Row 6. Later all the seats will be filled.
A shot of the 9" individual ptvs while the FA was welcoming the passengers.
The seats were overall comfy but needs a little bit cleaning.... The PTVs were huge enough and lots of free choices which is more than enough to entertain you for a an almost 6hr journey. The cabin ambiance was fantastic! The mood lighting offered a relax atmosphere through out the flight.
View outside the window, this is one of my favorite views outside the plane. In this angle you can really appreciate the size of the A320 engine! It looks small on the pics but if you're right next to it...... again wow!!!
TAKE OFF!!! (VIDEO)
Take off was on runway 31L, I was puzzled when I was looking out the window most take-offs are on Runway 13R then when we taxied for takeoff we went to Runway 31L skipping a queue of aircrafts in-line for 13R.
Flying over Flloyd Bennett Field.
Moments after takeoff over Jamaica Bay.
Minutes after take-off.
About 20 Minutes after takeoff I decided to watch TV. VX's entertainemnt is called "RED" which offers Free MP3 Musics, Free TV provided by Dish Network, Free Games, Pay-per view Hollywood and International Movies and On-demand shows. You can also order your food and drinks on your PTVs.
Individual 9" TV screens right in front of you.
Hehehehe.... Hannah Montana is on.....
Still watching Disney Channel.
The mood lighting.....
Listening to some music.
A wide variety of games.
A wide variety of foods for sale onboard. I ordered a sprite for free and a cheese plate for S9.00. My parents shared a turkey sandwich.
View of the cabin while waiting for our food, it took a while but it finally came.
I ordered Sprite, as usual.
The cheese plate, it was okay. The cheese was tasty but the crackers were'nt. The grapes were very fresh.
Flying high in the sky........
Check out the reflection of the fuselage in the engine!
Nice magazine VX! Too bad its mine already.... It was my first time to get an airline magazine onboard after reading other TRs and I learned that most people take the magazine home with them.
As we fly over Missouri we hit some rough weather and the seatbelt sign was on.
Rough weather over Missouri.
Can anyone explain to me what are those circles for???
Flying over Kansas
Still over Kansas with some interesting landscapes.
Flying over Colorado.
Mountains over Colorado.
Still in Colorado, you dont usually see this kind of scenery in the Northeast.
Can anyone identify this place???
View of Row 6
After eating I decided to go to the bathroom and tour the plane.
LOL, the toilet. I always get petrified everytime I flush the toilet in the plane... it feels the plane is breaking apart and your getting suck out the plane.....
The Grand Canyon!!!
Preparing our descent to Los Angeles with some thick white clouds covering the area.
LANDING in LAX (VIDEO)
A Hawaiian 767-300ER loading up for her flight to Honolulu
Horizon Air Dash-8
Me and the captain. Sorry I've gotta cover my face, my Dad said so.
Me and the first officer. Dad said cover my face or no trip report. LOL
FLIGHT 2: LAX-SFO WN 1841
Airline: Southwest Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700
Seat No: 15F
Photo © Jason Whitebird
Photo © Jason Bisson
Scheduled Departure: 7:10 AM
Actual Departure: 7:13 AM
Scheduled Arrival: 8:25 AM
Actual Arrival: 8:05 AM
Departure was on Terminal 1, we were at the airport at 4:40 AM, way too early. The check-in area was opened exactly at 5AM. Check-in was fast since we were one of the first ones but I was dissapointed that we got a "B" boarding pass, it turns our most people printed their own boarding pass at home... We stayed on a hotel and off course they dont have printers!
Check-In desks, still close.
Security was fast but the staff were rude, we proceeded to the gate 4B. The airport was surprisingly nice. Well renovated and their were lots of plants which provided a calm and green environment. Food and shops were plenty with Starbucks, McDonalds and etc.... We were the first ones on the gate, we seated and saw a 737-300 outside and I thought that would be our aircraft. 30 minutes later I was puzzled why we were the only ones in the gate, it turns out that they changed the gate from 4B to 5! Without any announcments... we seated on the gate and waited for boarding. I was looking on the stands and at first I was confused then when boarding started I was impressed with their boarding process, it took about 5 minutes to board the 100 people on the flight.
Our original gate, Gate 4B later changed to Gate 5.
My boarding pass for flight 1841 to SFO
A 737-300 at Gate 4B
A 737-700 at Gate 3
Lots of flights departing
A QF 747-400 landing, believe it or not It was my first time seeing a QF plane since you dont usually see them on the east coast (although they fly to JFK) Sorry about the quality and the McDonalds reflection...
Our aircraft for today, a Boeing 737-700 "N744SW"
Boarding for flight 1841, I really like the boarding process. It was fast and took about 5 minutes to board everybody.. (full flight)
Walking down the jetway, notice their are no traffic since we were the first ones to board on the B Group.
A quick peek of N744SW while walking down the jetway.
View of the cabin from Row 15. Notice the laughing FA, she was talking about her job with the exit row passengers.
Passengers still boarding.
The seats were okay, it was comfy for a 1hr 15 min hop to SFO.
View out of the window. I was hoping to get this view everytime I'm on a 737 with winglets.
Love thos winglets!
pushing back from Gate 5.
Another WN flight pushing back.
An elderly flight attendant.
Another look at the seats.
Taxiing for takeoff.
Taxiing for takeoff with flaps extended.
TAKE OFF!! (VIDEO)
Moments after takeoff over the Pacific Ocean.
Nice dark clouds above.....
Climbing out of LA.
Minutes after takeoff with some dark clouds above.
Passing through a dark cloud.
Through out the flight we experienced some rough weather.
Seatbelt sign was on through out the flight.....
Needs a little bit cleaning, nevertheless the aircraft was in a very good condition.
Finally saw clear skies...... well sort of...
Needs a little bit cleaning.... again.
They served an orange juice and uhmmmm napkins....
View of the cabin while preparing our initial descent to SFO.
Descending towards San Francisco.
Look! San Francisco is covered in snow! Just kidding its thick clouds/fogs... typical weather in the area.
Interesting pic, the mountains serves as a natural barrier... the clouds is only in the other side while the other side is completely uncovered.
Final approach to SFO.
Exiting the runway.
A Hawaiian 767-300ER
Some Delta and Northwest aircrafts.
A Delta 757-200 with a Hawaiian 767-300ER in the background.
I know alot of you dont like the WN livery but their something about it that I reall like, I dont know what....
We parked next to an US Airways A320
Passengers while disembraking the aircraft.
Southwest gives you two windows! Great legroom. With VX they only give you like 1 and 1/4 of a window but still great legroom for a small 14-yr. old
The first few rows of the 737-700.
Me in the cockpit.
Me and the first officer. The captain said that "We'll see you in 20 years.." I was talking to myself.... 20 years from now I'll be 34 years old... I want to be a pilot but I'm going to start when I'm younger like 25.
Check out the reflection of a WN 737....
More WN aircrafts....
Lists of arriving flights
While waiting for our friends to pick us up.
FLIGHT 3: SFO-JFK
Airline: Virgin America
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200 "Midnight Ride"
Seat No: 5A
Photo © Peter Spence
Photo © Andrew Hunt - AirTeamImages
Scheduled Departure: 11:05 PM
Actual Departure: 11:00 PM
Scheduled Arrival: 7:35 AM
Actual Arrival: 7:31 AM
Our flight will depart at 11:05 PM, we were at the airport by 7:30 AM. Little too early but we checked-in. We used the kiosk and the lady at the counter checked our bags. She said that its too early to know what gate were going to be in, but we proceeded to Concourse A which all VX flight will depart. I was impressed with SFO, it was modern, airy and clean! Take that JFK..... The departure lounge was huge! Lots of seatings and provides a good view of aircrafts taking off at Runway 1. I saw a PR 744, CI 744, AS 737 in Disney colors and the usual VX A320 and A319. I also witnessed a Mexican A318, the BA 744 in One World Colors and other US airlines.
Boarding began at 10:35 PM, the departure area was full as three full flights were departing at that time, our flight to JFK, one flight to BOS and the other to WAS.
I appologized for not having a take-off and a landing video on this flight, we took off at 11PM and it was dark and when we landed in JFK at 7AM my camera ran out of battery.. Anyway, in I took some couple of pics inflight but not that much since I was sleeping most of the time.
Nice, modern and CLEAN terminal of SFO. It puts JFK's T4 to shame.
Nice big windows!
Enjoying the moving walkway.....
Virgin America A320
A China Airlines 747-400 arriving from Taipei.
CI 747-400 parked at the gate.
Shops in the International Terminal of SFO.
A nice international feel of the terminal, well it's the International Terminal.
Cathay Pacific 747-400
BA's Terraces Lounge
PR 747-400, AS 737-800 and Virgin A319.
I was looking in the sky while seating in the seats and U saw a PR 744 flying overhead! I was very excited since I've never seen PR planes for nearly two years! I waited and there she is!
PR 747-400 parked at the gate.
Another view of PR's 747-400.
I was waving at the flight crew and the first officer waved back, made my day
Virgin America's "San Francisco Pride"
A Virgin America A320 named "San Francisco Pride"
There she is again, "San Francisco Pride"
Walking down the jetway
Our aircraft, "Midnight Ride" an Airbus A320
View of Row 5. Excellent mood lighting especially for overnight flights.
My tv screen while announcements.
View outside the window.
Lots of VX planes and a PR 744 behind the PR 744 is a CX 744 which is hard to see since the lights were off.
I ordered an apple juice then I decided to watch some Disney shows, again.
While flying over Utah, I decided to sleep while listening to some music.
Nice and calm mood lighting.
Hours later..... I woke up when we were flying over Chicago. I looked outside the window and the sun was beginning to rise.
Sunrise near Lake Erie
Flying near the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Wonderful sunrise..... dirty windows.
Winglets... Everything is purple, purple mood lighting and purple skies.
Preparing our descent while flying over Pennsylvania.
All I can say is WOW!
Turning left over the Atlantic, the New Jersey Shore is visible.
Flaps extended and speed brakes deployed.
Finall approach to JFK's Runway 31L, this is my last photo taken since my camera ran out of battery. I apologize......
ARRIVAL in JFK:
We arrived in JFK at 7:31 AM,a minute behind scheduled. Since my camera ran out of battery, I'll just tell you what I saw. As we passed by T1 their was only one aircraft and that happens to be a JAL 747-400 in one world livery! Then we taxied passed by T2 and T3 and witnessed alot of Delta planes notably 2 DL 764s and 2 DL 772s. As we got closer to T4 we were onhold for a couple of seconds because a B6 E190 was passing by. When we got to T4 we passed by a TACA A320 in new colors, Caribbean Airlines 737-800, TAM A330, Emirates 777-300ER, Lots of B6 and VX aircrafts. I experienceed jetlag after the flight (I didnt experience any from the first VX flight) Maybe the reason was I lack some sleep since the guy behind me removed his shoes and it stinked! He farted like five times and threw up twice. He kept kicking my seat and closed my window (at night) and I was leaning in the window so I was hit by the shades?!! Absolutley disgusting passenger, he was acting rude to the FA since he was told not to use the F class toilet! My mom was allowed to use the F class toilet, maybe he was turned down to use because of his smell. I respect other people's "style of hygiene" but he was very rude to the other passengers, he just bumped into people in the aisleway and he keeps laughing hard when other people are sleeping!
VIRGIN AMERICA RATING:
Booking: 10.0 - one of the best airline website ever!
Check-In: 10.0 - fast and efficient with friendly, helpful and happy staff
Service: 9.7 - FAs were proffesional mostly the head FAs are friendly
Seats: 9.8 - Very comfy
Boarding: 10.0 - organized and fast
IFE: 10.0 - Considering its a domestic flight its above excellent
Food: 8.0 - Average as its best
Virgin America has reached my expectations, nice FAs, cool features like the IFE, mood lighting and etc... I've never imagined that an airline like VX would be established in America. Competitors like UA, AA, DL, CO and other major carriers has no match with VX in terms of product and service. VX is par with B6, but VX has better IFE, cabin ambiance and the whole VX crew is happy and classy. B6 has better seats and on-par with the service provided by VX.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES RATING:
Booking: 9.5 - nothing special, simple and fast
Check-In: 9.0 - fast but agent were unfriendly
Service: 9.7 - i was expecting that the FA will sing but still okay
Seats: 9.3 - for a short flight it was acceptable
Boarding: 10.0 - if you get an A or B boarding pass you'll like it! If you get a C, good luck.
IFE: N/A - for a short flight your IFE is looking out the window
Food: 6.0 - I was expecting peanuts, but for an hour of flying OJ was enough.
Southwest is an excellent airline if your flying on short routes. The FAs were friendly but I was expecting a rapping, singing, joker and funny flight attendant but it didn't came true. But FAs will still friendly and it's very rare to see smiling FAs in US carriers. The seats were comfy enough to accomodate me for a short flight, the legroom was excellent (you get two windows!) Overall, Southwest is a good airline and you get real smiles from the FAs.
SOME PICS on my vacation:
LAS VEGAS, NV
The famous Las Vegas sign near McCarran Airport.
View of the strip from "Myx" a club at the top of "theHotel" by Mandalay Bay
Welcome to Paris! Paris, Las Vegas that is.
Bellagio's Water show.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Our hotel in San Francisco, the Galleria Park Hotel near Union Square and Chinatown.
Chinatown Gate. We were forced to buy some thick clothings because we didn't expect that it would be 50 degrees during summer in San Francisco....
The Golden Gate Bridge
GRAND CANYON, AZ
The Grand Canyon, I didn't enjoy it much since I have an Acrophobia or fear of high places.... but I always wonder why I love flying.
Grand Canyon, south rim.
Walk of Fame with Michael Jackson's name.
I got more pics but it will make the TR too long so I didn't post them...
Thanks for reading!!! Feedbacks are always appreciated.