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My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:54 am

Hey there. This will be my first Trip report here on I decided a few months back to do a day trip on Midwest Airlines, to try out Republic and to see whether the E170 would be able to stand up to the favorite aircraft designation I was thinking of giving it. It passed the test with flying colors. I really loved the ride. But I do get ahead of myself here.

I'll start with the booking of my trip.

My goal was to get at least 4 segments in a day, with at least 2 of them on Midwest, as cheaply as possible. As it happened flying the one-way outbound to MKE on Jan. 16 would be the cheapest option. I would have a 4 hour layover in Kansas City - to do what I know not. The cheapest return option was AirTran to BWI. However Northwest had a similar fare that would take me through MSP and would get me on the rare DC 9-30 (Plus an A320 back to DCA, but we try not to talk about that). I was also pleased to find that YX and NW have full interline agreement, so the entire trip could go on a single ticket (no getting stranded at my expense). This was a bright move (you'll see) and made the trip an easier sell to the parents. The itinerary I set up would take me DCA-MCI-MKE-MSP-DCA in one day, first flight leaving 6:00a, last arriving at 10:20p. A full day for sure. So I called up the Midwest reservations line. As always they were nothing but absolutely pleasant and helpful in putting the itinerary together. Better yet, I found that the trip would have no phone reservation fee, because the trip was impossible to book online. $20 stays in my pocket  . It took about 40 minutes and then I was set to go.

Total cost only $189.30. BTW this itinerary and receipt is the second copy they sent me, with all of the actual flight numbers. Since the time I had booked the trip, not a single flight number remained the same. Thank you Republic/Delta :P. I guess that's what I get for flying on two airlines in the middle of integration.

Now that you've seen that you can forget that I ever booked a Northwest flight.

No issues up to flight time that I had to deal with. Here I am, just awake at insane o'clock. See how blurry that picture is? A good representation of how I was feeling.

Good Morning Airport - No you can't see anything because of the slow shutter speed and being in a car, but it is pretty. And yes, the terror alert usually on the sign that is (believe it or not) in this picture still reads orange.

Here we are, at the airport, getting ready to enter the A terminal. I had planned on doing the walk down from the end of Terminal B/C but ran out of available time due to a certain interstate where it is near to impossible to find the right exit if you aren't a regular user. I was disappointed to find that they still hadn't put up new red signs for Frontier or Air Canada.

We tried to get a picture of me in front of the sign but it just didn't work.
After walking inside I proceeded to the check-in desks, where there was nobody. Turned out I just completely ignored the two that were open right next to me, underneath all of the Frontier signs. Luckily a Midwest employee asked me if I needed to be checked in, and took me over to the correct place. I had thought their area was the Spirit Air checkin for some reason. I should know better than that.

I was very happy while checking in to find that they were able to print all four boarding passes at once, so I wouldn't have to check-in again with Northwest in MKE. Off to Einsteins Bagels and then Security. I know a lot of you like meal pictures. Too bad :P. I never even thought of them until I finished eating. But if you really want to know I had a Sesame bagel (there were no Asiago left) with Creme Cheese. It was good. I then walked straight down to security. Took only 5 min. or so. I was nice to the TSA, they were nice to me. Unlike many, I have no visceral reaction to the TSA as long as they are friendly. As far as I am concerned they are just doing their jobs. After that it was off to reassemble myself before going any further into Terminal A. Shoes on, everything back in pockets, watch replaced on arm, aaaaannnnnndddd ready to go. Terminal A is small, with only 9 gates. I think it looks and feels just fine, though I have heard plenty of complaints about it. Works for me, but whatever. By 5:15a I am through security and making a beeline for Gate 8, my scheduled departure gate. Here's the handsome E170 in YX c/s waiting for me.

With an hour to go, I did my best to avoid watching the CNN. But temptation was too strong, and there I was, insane o'clock in the morning, in the airport, totally engrossed in the CNN Haiti earthquake coverage. At least I saw a couple 727s on the ramp in PAP. And all the promos for Nancy Grace. Geez. She looks angry all the time.

There was an announcement made that the flight would be delayed 1 hour due to heavy fog in Kansas City. Fine by me, I have CNN and a four hour layover.

Here's the plane, still at the gate, but wait, it's getting light outside!
And then another announcement, the flight would be delayed up to another hour. That's ok, I'm still good, and now a financial guy is on the tube, and he's actually pretty good. During a commercial break I went ahead and snapped a picture of the folks waiting for the 6:00am flight and the rest of the A terminal.

Then the gate agent calls my name and requests I pop up to the counter. I oblige and am offered a seat instead on the non-stop to Milwaukee. But me, give up a segment? Never! But I thanked him profusely for making the effort on my behalf. I really appreciate it when folks try to help out the customer like this.
Here's another perspective on the gate area.

Another further hour we are delayed. I am assured, however that my connections will be good up to a nearly 6 hour delay, because the outbound leg to Milwaukee is delayed too. So I would essentially stop eating into my MCI layover and start eating into my MKE layover soon. And that MKE flight I was offered a rebooking on? Long since gone on it's on-time departure to MKE.
And here's my plane, now bathed in the sunlight. The pilots have long since turned off the red strobe light that was flashing for about the first hour during their preflight prep.

But this trip was loaded with specialty paint schemes. This would be the first of 1st of 3 or 4, one which I would see twice. But that's later. Here is the wonderful looking Alaska 737 painted in Boeing house colors, posing with my YX E70.

With that financial show over, I was started getting a little bored, so I walked around the circle that is the A terminal a few times and took a few pictures.

Hmm, what time is it now? Well, after announcing another hour delay, they finally gave up predictions and said we'll tell you when we know something. Suddenly our flight disappeared from the departure boards, and the display at the gate no longer had an estimated departure time, only "delayed". And here's the time (Don't worry there are plenty of blurry watch/clock pictures).

^^According to the last announcement we should be leaving in about 20 minutes.

Uh-oh. Sign of trouble - They took away the tug and towbar from the plane we were supposed to be using.

Whoops. Guess that didn't happen. Nearly 6 hours late now. At this point I had been popping my gum loudly for about 1 hour. I like to imagine I probably drove a few people nuts with that. I had lunch ffrom the little place sitting in the middle of the circle. It was ham and some kind of cheese cold sub. Except there was brown sugar in it or something. Not very good. So I bought some prepackaged lemon pound cake (mmmmmmm) and a soda pop. It would do. At about 12 o'clock pm they announced that in fact the 6:00am flight had been canceled but that we were all rebooked on the scheduled 11:00a departure, already an hour late. However, as luck would have it, we were able to get out, as they said weather was going to improve drastically in MCI while we were en route. I was again assured all of my connections were still good. I talked with the pilots briefly and they both seemed nice. Here's a few pics on departure. I was in Row 18. (Oh and guess what: new airplane was also in YX colors. Yay!)

And here's a few "kinda-sorta cabin" shots:

Legroom (for me):

Safety Card:

My soda can did some cool light effects when the sun shined on it:

A couple of cruise pictures:

And uh-oh here comes an announcement from the good folks upfront - I'll reproduce it as best as I remember: Um, hi folks. This is your captain speaking. Well, while we've been in the air the weather in Kansas City has made a 180 degree turn, much like we are right now, and has got infinitely worse since we left, instead of getting better. So we are diverting to Indianapolis. I am very sorry. If you are wondering why we did not divert somewhere closer, that is up to the company. We are not happy about this either - your flight crew is one the end of a 4 day trip. We just had to make it from Washington to Kansas City and back and we were done. So again we will be diverting to Indianapolis, and we'll let you know what the plan is once we are on the ground in Indianapolis.
We were apparently just past Indy by about 150 miles.
Although there was some moaning a groaning, mostly from folks on the 6:00am flight, I think most people understood there was really nothing the crew could do about it. Oh well. At least I got cookies :P.

Here's some pictures of the descent and landing in Indianapolis. The white (I assume ex-Fed Ex) 727 out in the middle of the airport is a bit strange, if cool.

Welcome to Indianapolis. We arn't going to offload quite yet, until the gate personnel figure just what the plan is.

Taxing in:

Here we are, parking at the gate in IND:

After being told we would remain onboard, at least for a little while, I struck a conversation with US Airways East pilot. He was a nice guy, trying to commute home to MCI. He had been on the 6:00a flight as well. I know as I had noticed him that morning. It was from him that I found out that this was a Republic Airlines problem more than anything else. Apparently they are only certified to CAT I but are in the process of getting their CAT II (I had asked the gate agent that morning if this was a ground stop or RW not having the right ILS capabilities. He said it was a ground stop). It seems that it will be helpful.

After about 15 minutes of waiting there is an announcement - We are to offload and be rebooked at the gate. All passengers going to MCI as their final stop would be put on a Frontier flight to DEN and the connecting on another F9 flight back to MCI. Onward and upward. I am in no rush so I let everyone go ahead and get off in front of me. And I have back-up too - I have family who live south of the airport by about 1 hr. who could come get me if I had to stay the night. Here's my view of the other line (there were two rebooking lines) from the end of mine.

After lots of coordinating with all the folks involved on my side (family) I had managed to work out most of the kinks thus far. Just had to wait on getting rebooked. Here's a RW E90 sitting at the other F9 gate. Whether it was a diversion or a DEN based aircraft I do not know.

As a side note I would soon find out how lucky I was to have been able to get off at a gate immediately.
After being in line for ~ 1 hr. I had someone save my spot and I went over to the MSNBC store and I bought a Lipton bottled iced tea and a very handsome "IU (Indiana University)" reusable bag for my mother.

WHile waiting in line I happened to see the Raven's logojet from AirTran land. I mentioned to my mom, who is a big Colts dan, how it was sign of things to come . Too bad I was wrong, lol.

First I have a picture of gate B14 which I imagine was across from us, and then a few more pictures of the rebooking line.

Then the gate agent for the line I was standing in announced that if you wanted to make the F9 flight to DEN you needed to go to the other gate, because he had to handle boarding that plane. Also earlier he said I have a commitment from somebody in upper management that all of you will be rebooked tonight.

After he made that announcement I was the only person in line.So I waited for him to finish boarding. I let this one woman who was on the verge of tears in front of me like 3 times as she couldn't make up her mind what she wanted to do. I was just like, c'mon get it together here.

At this point I had been in line for about 3 hrs. No worries though, I am still having a good time.

They finished boarding and now they just wanted to get a few last people from the diverted flights on, plus a few standbys, one of which I had a nice conversation with, although despite his best efforts, I still won't ever go hunting. He was trying to get to DEN and then later on to LAS. He had started a day or two ago in Dayton, OH trying to standby, and then he had driven here. This particular F9 flight he was trying to get one had only 30 seats filled when he showed up, but then the diversions came in.

Now I get to have fun telling you what all happened to these poor F9 folks just trying to turn the flight to DEN.

First they finished the final paperwork. But then one more woman got put on the flight so they had to reprint a bunch of the paperwork. The flight is now about 1 hr. 15 min. late. Then they check the passenger roster against the number of people on the plane. There is one more on the plane than on the roster. So they go back and recount the boarding passes like 3 times. No luck. So they started trying to figure out just what happened. About 1 hr. later they've managed to fix the problem, everything is dandy and the flight will be on it's way, leaving them free to park at least 1 of the 2 or 3 YX diversions still sitting outside, apparently for almost 2 1/2 hours. They are ready to push, and then - nothing because lo and behold the plane had a maintenance issue. Somebody had parked the jetway too close to the plane and bent the door. It would be at least an hour before maintenance got out there. So they let people off the plane to wander around, and gave them $10 meal vouchers to use. There were a lot of comments from a higher than supervisor level guy about how ridiculous this was. That alot of these people started on the 6:00am flight to Kansas City and still weren't getting anywhere. Oh well. At some point they figured out they'd have to do an equipment swap. I believe the door was not within allowable limits. The plan was to bring a plane over from the international gate. So everybody off the plane. Luckily just before this point, this very helpful agent had started rebooking me, apparently wading through a mess of ticket changes from NW/DL.

Before I tell you about the rebooking, I'd like to mention that I only heard I'm never flying Frontier again! one lonely time. That made me kind of happy, like a little victory, :P. So I had, at this point waited more or less 4hurs to be rebooked. I had coordinated with an aunt of my who lives nearby to come pick me up as soon as I was rebooked, but it just kept getting later. But here I was, at the front of the line! Just as we were starting a higher up asked me "Are you going to be staying at the airport?" and I said "Only if you give me something free!" (I was pleasant, don't get me wrong), and so he told the agent to put me in a hotel and get going on everybody else (I was rebooked that night anyway). She asked me where I was going, so I explained that my objective was just to get as many legs as possible, and that eventually I would get back to DCA. She asked if I cared if I went back to MSP. I said no, but she rebooked me through MSP anyway. She told me she had reconstructed my itinerary, pretty much, with an IND-MKE-MSP-DCA routing. Two things I remember while she was rebooking me: Once she asked me if any ticket changes were made, because of the litany of changes DL/NW made to the flight numbers. The other thing she asked was if I had been on a restricted fare - I couldn't lie about that, so I admitted it , but, and I though this was really quite touching - the F9 captain that was supposed to fly the leg to DEN - interjected and asked "Does it really matter what fare he's on? He's paid his money so he deserves to get his flights" or something along those line. He was a nice guy, and an Australian at that. Two international guys here though - the F/O was Scottish, and had the teeth to prove it, but didn't have an accent like the Aussie. She printed me out the boarding passes for the next day and gave me a full itinerary. The first two legs said Chautauqua (OMG OMG OMG my first ride in a REAL rj) and the last said Republic. I though the last one was simply a Res. glitch, as she said she had rebuilt my itinerary and the arrival time was the same as my original NW flight, even though the YX Flight number was a bit low for a code share. Here's the new itinerary:

Oh sh!t!
I just realized I forgot to ask for my hotel voucher. I just didn't have the heart to jump in front of all the people I had already held up, so I made another F9 employee do it . I found one and asked about it and they went and get the agent to print it for me, in addition to getting me a food voucher. Ok, everything is good to go now. I was going get a shoe shine tonight, but the guy has left already. Oh well. Go over to a little restaurant and got a roast beef (or something similar sandwich) with some chips and soda, which I saved for the hotel.
Then it's off to the hotel. But first I have to find the damn van . Found my way out of the secure area successfully. Here's the main entrance, courtesy of wikipedia :P.

It was like that except it was dark out side and there were very few people.

QUESTION: There was a DL 767-400 sitting on the ramp, way off the terminal. Why?

I went outside to stand under the Midwest sign, but I wasn't sure that was where I needed to be. So I called the number on the voucher and they told me I needed to go down one level and walk across the road to the Ground Transportation Center, which is really a great idea for the airport if the signage to the center had been more easy to follow. None-the-less, I made the shuttle to the hotel which was a minibus and relatively full. They had put me up in the "Hilton Garden Inn" with whom they apparently have an agreement for ~$56 a night. It wasn't THAT close to the airport, about a 15 minute ride. Got there and I was helped by one of the two agents at the desk, who was apparently quite surprised at my age (15) and asked me about 3 times whether I was traveling alone, lol. (Fun fact: I later found out one of my friend's parents had called my story b*** sh**). She gave me a small sheet of paper that said something about US Airways at the top (which I figured was just scrap paper she was using to put info on), and asked my to write my name and a few other things. Turns out that paper wasn't just scrap and she thought I was with US Airways. I hope she got that fixed at some point. And now up to my room to enjoy my sandwich, Diet Dr.Pepper (otherwise known as the best s**t on earth ) and to watch a bit of the Indianapolis game. I would have stayed up to watch them if I hadn't been really tired. And the hotel clerk called my room to again mention how young I was to be traveling alone and to emphatically tell me to call the desk if I needed anything at all. I turned it off and went to bed. Even with all that caffeine from the soda, I had no trouble sleeping for about 11 hours. I went to bed at about 9:30 PM.

To close out Part 1, here are some pictures of my hotel room, which I took in the morning. Oh and sorry for the litany of spelling issues, it's late, and some of the issues pass under my proof reading.

The concludes Part I. Depending on how lazy I feel Part II may be completed either sooner or later . If you have any suggestions on how to make this better please tell me, so I can implement the suggestions in the next Part of this TR, or at least so that when I don't pay attention to your suggestion you know how little I care about your opinion.

Regards, Logan R.
Just say NO to scabs.
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:45 am

That DL 767-400 actually brought in the Baltimore Ravens for the playoffs, AFAIK. (It may have been a CO aircraft that brought them in, but I'm sure it was a 764 that brought them in.)

Nice trip report!

Also, that moving walkway you were standing by, I've ridden four times coming in and out of that very concourse.  

Again, nice trip report!

-Noah  wave 
Cleared to IAH via CLL 076 radial/BAZBL/RIICE3, up to 3k, 7k in 10, departure on 134.3, squawk 4676, Colgan 9581.
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:53 am

Gotta you credit throughout that entire ordeal you didn't lose your cool.
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:05 pm

Wow, that's the most entertaining trip report I've read in a while.  thumbsup  It sounds like it was a nightmare having to do all that waiting at DCA and IND.

Quoting Lrdc9 (Thread starter):
This was a bright move (you'll see) and made the trip an easier sell to the parents.

Damn, your lucky. I'm 17 and after my parents found out about the first daytrip I took, they were pissed out of their minds and I had to keep the next two a secret.  
Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:35 pm

Quoting FX772LRF (Reply 1):
That DL 767-400 actually brought in the Baltimore Ravens for the playoffs, AFAIK. (It may have been a CO aircraft that brought them in, but I'm sure it was a 764 that brought them in.)

Thank you I was wondering.

Quoting Coopdogyo (Reply 2):
Gotta you credit throughout that entire ordeal you didn't lose your cool.

Yes, well I do my best to keep two things in mind: 1: My getting pissed isn't going to help anybody with anything and 2: I will receive in customer service/help what I give in respect/politeness. I have very little but respect for those who deal with the passengers in aviation and manage to do a really great job. I regret not getting her name so that I could send in a letter praising the job she did rebooking me.

MKE717spotter: I don't want to quote your whole post, but: Thank you for the positive feedback. It almost makes the time I put into this worth it  . Surprisingly, I didn't really mind the long waits. I mean I'm in an airport, past security. Can I really complain? Plus Indy has a pretty sweet new terminal (pictures are extensive in Part II And I'm glad I didn't have to hide my trip, because the overnight would have made that harder, LOL. In fact I put together a huge excel doc with every emergency contact number my parents might ever need! One of them ended up watching all of my flights on flightaware. Thanks for all the positive comments. Regards, Logan R.
Just say NO to scabs.
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:56 pm

Hey Logan, nice going! Those ERJs look sweet! I have to say DCA is one of my favorite airports. Looking forward to part two!

Best regards,

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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:57 pm

Thanks for the TR! Very interesting ordeal! It's good they put you up in a nice Hilton haha!
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:59 pm

Hey Logan,
Great TR, I do enjoy reading a well-written piece. Would kill to do that many segments in just one day...lucky . Thanks for sharing, looking forward to Day 2.
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:00 pm

You have really put a lot of work on this trip report!
Looking forward to part 2!  airplane 
There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:07 am

Logan, congrats on your first daytrip! I've been on two so far, and in both of mine, my last flight of the day was delayed. That's all. For being 15, and alone, you seemed to have handled yourself very well during your nightmarish experience. I can't wait for Part 2!

"Things change, friends leave, life doesn't stop for anybody." -- EAT'EM UP EAT'EM UP KSU!!
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:02 am

Nice Trip Report Logan.....
Awesome read!
Uhhh What?
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:39 am

Amazing. Outstanding. I would be hard-pressed to guess you are 15 by reading your report. Thank you for the pics and for the incredible detail in your reporting. And kudos for you for keeping your cool and remaining level-headed and polite; we get back what we put out there and that certainly comes through in what you had to say about your experience.
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:37 pm

Very interesting! Even though they aren't 717s, the -170s are still great planes. Looking forward to part 2!
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:24 am

Nice trip report! Really entertaining!

Looking forward to part 2.

E145, E170, E190, A310, A300, A319, A320, A321, A330, A340, A380, 717 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 77W, 787
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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:08 am

Wow, what a roller coaster ride you were on. You kept up a great attitude, though.

Looking forward to the next chapter.

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RE: My Midwest Airlines Adventure - Day 1/ Part 1

Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:40 pm

Great trip report ... I am looking forward to Part 2.

And kudos to your parents for allowing you to pursue your passion.
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