Hello again as I'm already back with another trip report!!! As some of you may or may not know, I graduated from high school a month ago and this fall I'm heading to the University of Arizona in Tucson. After I made my decision to attend UA, I realized that I'd have to go to this mandatory freshman orientation for a few days during the summer. So in other words, it was just another excuse to plan another trip and some more flights.
I even got my dad to let me book the entire trip, so after browsing around online I picked F9 for the outbound leg and then US for the return. With all the new flying F9 has been doing at MKE lately, I had yet to try them out and was looking forward to my first flight on them, but as the title indicates that didn't exactly end up going according to plan
... Anyways, only a week after returning from my vacation in San Francisco ( Midwest Airlines MKE-MCI-SFO-MCI-MKE (pics) (by mke717spotter Jun 26 2010 in Trip Reports)
) it was time to head out to Arizona, so on with the report...(June 27-29)
I woke up at 4:30 AM and looked outside to see an ominous, dark wall of clouds rolling in from the East. I had checked the weather forecast the previous night before I went to bed and had a feeling it might be kind of a rough flight from MKE.
My mom was the only one coming with me on this trip, so after getting ready we left for the airport and got there at around 5:40 AM for our 7:15 flight to PHX. We left our car in the parking garage and then went down to check in at YX's counters. Our boarding passes were printed out quickly and with no luggage to check, we were off to the security checkpoint in front of concourse D. There was a fair line for security, but it went by pretty quick and we were at the gates with still about an hour to spare.
Now remember how I said I was looking forward to finally flying F9 for the first time? Well, this is where that idea took a turn for the worst. We were walking to our gate, D47, (which is all the way at the end of the concourse) when my mom decided to stop and go to the restroom. As I'm waiting for her I glance over at another gate, D51, and notice that the departure board there reads PHX. I thought that was strange, but sure enough after checking the monitors it looks like there had been a gate change. So I wandered over there to check out our plane at the gate and then the gate agent there asked me if I was on the flight to PHX. I said yeah, and then she says that I've gotta give her our boarding passes because the flight is severely delayed and we're being switched onto a US flight!
It was only then that she updated the departure board to show a delay of four hours. A lot of the other passengers were pissed off/confused when they got to the gate and saw the delay, but apparently there was some sort of mechanical issue and they were re-booking all 70 of the MKE-originating passengers onto the US flight. So I went back to get my mom, we got re-booked, and then had to head all the way back to US's ticket counters to get our new boarding passes. As we were heading back down the concourse I managed to catch a glimpse of the most recently repainted F9 E190. Its first flight of the day was to MCI.
When we got to the counter I asked if I could still get a window seat and luckily for me there was still one left open, but it was in the last row seat 26F. Well, I guess any window seat is better than no window seat, right? I was a bit surprised though that they were able to move 70 of us onto this flight because in my experience I've found the loads between MKE and PHX to generally be packed. Anyways, once we had our new boarding passes we headed back to security again, this time in front of the C concourse. The line was kinda long and for some reason it took me five minutes to notice, but then I looked up it was Robin Yount standing right in front of me!!!
Now if you're not from Milwaukee you may not be too familiar with him, but he used to play for the Brewers and he's one of their all-time great players. He's even in the Baseball Hall of Fame! I actually had my Brewers hat on at the time, but he didn't say anything to me and instead just talked to some other guys who were in line about living in Phoenix. It turns out he was on the same flight as we were, and it’s kind of déjà vu because the last time I was heading to Arizona I was on this very same US flight and so was the Brewers' Assistant General Manager.
Eventually we got past the security check and found ourselves in concourse C, probably the most attractive of the three concourses at MKE. There was still a little extra time to go before boarding started so I looked around and did a little spotting. There were several FL flights getting ready to head out at the time, the one on the right was heading to RSW while the other was going to SAN.
FL 717 pushing back for its flight to MCO. There were also some other FL flights that were going to TPA and ATL.
And then here was our US A320 to PHX at gate C19.
Boarding started shortly thereafter and I went all the way back to my seat 26F.
My mom and I got split up so I could have a window seat, but no one ended up sitting in the seat next to me anyways, there was just this younger girl in the aisle seat. We pushed back on time, but then a couple of minutes after the engines started they went quiet again and that's when I knew there was something wrong. Sure enough, the captain then announced there was some kinda problem with one of the valves on the engine and that we were heading back to the gate to get it fixed.
Great, it looks like they had just switched me from one mechanically plagued flight to another. Initially we were told it would be a twenty minute fix, but after waiting for forty-five minutes the captain announced that we were going to deplane, only to change his mind and announce a minute later that they'd be keeping us onboard for another forty-five minutes while they tried to hammer out the issue. During the wait I did notice a UA A319 that landed, probably an ORD diversion.
After the second forty-five minutes were up they did a test-run of the engine at the gate and apparently the fix must've worked because the captain announced that we were finally set to go! So we pushed back for the second time and then started taxiing out to runway 19R. Now in the meantime while we were waiting for the engine to get fixed another round of storms had moved in and the captain had mentioned that this might cause another delay, but so much for that because after waiting for an FL 717 to go up before us we took off and were finally in the air after a two hour delay. Apparently this captain must've had no intention of going around the bad weather because we flew right into the storm and it was EXTREMELY rough for the first forty-five minutes of the flight or so. When we got up to our cruising altitude we were still getting tossed around bad and yet the seatbelt sign was turned off anyways! Even one of the flight attendants was confused why it was turned off because she could barely walk through the cabin it was that bad. I tried to get some sleep at this point since I was pretty tired, but with the turbulence and the bathroom constantly in use right behind that didn't go over so well and I kinda just sat there half alseep.
After things smoothened out I gave up on the idea of trying to get any sleep and instead just listened to my IPod and looked out the window. Eventually the flight attendants reached me at the back of the plane with their drink/snack service, but all I got was a glass of water. Then finally after being in the air for nearly three hours we started descending into PHX.
We lined up with the airport and then landed smoothly on runway 26.
It was a short taxi to the gate and then since I was one of the last people to get off I snapped a cabin shot.
I'm sure there were some people on our flight who got their connections screwed up because of the delay, but we were fine so we took the bus over to the rental car center, got our ford Escape from Hertz, and then set off for Tucson!
It took about an hour and forty-five minutes to get from the airport to our hotel in Tucson, the Hilton El Conquistador Resort (which I had picked out myself btw). For our short stay I thought it was great, and it even provided a nice view with the small mountains right behind it.
That first day there we kinda just explored the city and even drove by TUS, the place where I'll probably be flying from for the next couple of years. Then the next two days I had my orientation at the university which took up most of the time. All in all it wasn't too exciting, but I did test out of Spanish so that's one less class that I have to take.
Also, as of right now I have no classes on Tuesday or Thursday either! But unfortunately, I have a feeling that may change...Anyways, here's a view of the campus.
And then my dorm/apartment where I'll be living freshman year.
Now I know I was somewhat worried about possibly burning up in the heat down here and while it was around 108 degrees every day (the warmest weather I've ever experienced before), I didn't seem to find it too unbearable. After all, I'd rather be really warm in Arizona rather than being really cold in Wisconsin, right?
Also, on my first trip to Arizona back in October I got the impression of Tucson being kind of trashy, but the second time around it didn't seem so bad. Anyways, after the orientation came to a close on the second day it was time to head home.
We started the drive back up to PHX right after orientation ended and we got back to the car rental center shortly after 3 PM for our 6:40 flight back to MKE. We took the bus over to the terminal, checked in quickly at US's ticket counters, and then I had a slice of Famous Famiglia pizza before we went towards security. The line was actually somewhat long and it moved pretty slowly so it took about fifteen-twenty minutes for us to get through. Eventually we got through though and were in the concourse with still over two hours to go until departure. Our flight was leaving from gate B24 and in the meantime I just walked around through every concourse and did some spotting. This US CRJ9 was going to FAT.
US A319 taxiing out for its flight to OAK.
I even saw some of the rampers having a nice little cookout/party down on the tarmac!
A couple of US 737s at the gate. The closer one was going to ONT.
Once I got down to the last concourse I stopped for a few minutes to watch some of the landing traffic. This pic turned out pretty cool with downtown Phoenix in the background.
Then as I was about to head back the other way I got a nice little surprise when the same F9 E190 that I saw in MKE landed.
After doing a little backtracking I made it over to WN's side of the terminal. This flight was going to MDW.
I walked all the way down to the end and did some spotting along the way.
At this point I was pretty tired from all the walking, so I bought a nice snack from Cinnabon and then went back to the gate where our A320 had finally arrived.
Boarding started not too long afterwards and I headed back to seat 19A.
There was some kind of a delay concerning a wheelchair, but eventually we pushed back, taxied out, and then took off from runway 8.
The flight attendants started their drink/snack service not too long after takeoff and I got cup of cranapple juice. Like usual, I listened to my IPod, looked out the window, and eventually it started to get dark outside.
Unlike the last flight, this one was pretty smooth. It was a beautiful night out and after a long flight we started descending into MKE. We came in from the south over my hometown of Racine and then landed smoothly on runway 1L. We parked at gate C19 where we had left a few days ago, got our car from the parking garage, and headed home.
Well this is my 17th trip report and I hope you enjoyed reading it!!! The outward leg was pretty rough with not getting to fly F9 for the first time, the mechanical delay on the US flight, the turbulence, and the bathroom right behind me, but things weren't so bad on the flight home. US seems like a fine airline and I'm thinking I'll probably us them to get home from TUS for Thanksgiving. As always, comments are always appreciated as it takes some determination to put these kind of reports together. Thanks a lot!!!
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