Reason for the Trip: Airliners.net Member acjflyer and myself take random trips around the country to sample different airlines, aircraft or destinations, with no real rhyme or reason behind the trip in itself. This is airliners.net right?! So we always try to find the craziest routings to get the maximum amount of flying possible.
For our next trip I had some Delta miles to blow, and we were running out of ideas on what aircraft to fly or places to go. We were up one night and it suddenly hit me, I should take us to Alaska, acjflyer has never been, I have only been once, but I had family up there, and coincidentally he has some friends up there too so it really worked out. We decided on Anchorage, and booked an itinerary that had 3 segments each way (like I said maximizing our trips!) out of STL
. We booked the trip about a month and a half in advance with the itinerary of CRJ900 on Mesaba, 757-200 (with PTV) and Alaska 737-800. Being the way Delta is, they had switched almost every segment on our itinerary so we didn't fly anything we booked!
acjflyer had to start his trip out of PHX
, so he flew Southwest up to STL
the day before our ANC
trip, where I drove up to meet him and I showed him around the city, took him to the Arch, the usual St. Louis stuff we have to do. We had a 6:35am departure the next day so we didn't stay out too late.
Delta Connection/Skywest Airlines
As mentioned this trip was originally booked on Mesaba, but at one point Delta switched the carrier to Skywest. Didn't matter to me, as long as it was still a CRJ-900, since this was one of the aircraft we were going for. acjflyer loves the CRJ900, I am not too big of a fan, but figured this trip is for both of us, and at least it wasn't on a CRJ.
So we left the hotel at around 4:30am, headed to Lambert and dropped my car off at one of the parking shuttles. We waited for the shuttle and headed to Terminal 1 where Delta operates out of.
He hadn't been to STL
since the Tornado had struck April of 2011, so I quickly showed him around the security and check in areas showing the damage and whatnot.
We proceeded to check in at the Kiosk, it spit out our boarding passes 6 of them LOL, 3 for me and 3 for him.
We continued to security for the A Concourse, he already knew this, but for those who watch Up in the Air, George Clooney was filmed walking through Security at A Concourse in one of the scenes, so as someone who likes celebrities I thought it was very cool to walk in the same footsteps as Clooney did!
We proceeded through security where I forgot to take off my belt. My belt is normally made to go through the metal detector, but since we had the body scan I set something off. I was asked to step aside, and being 5am, I am not exactly attentive to anything. I stood there, and he asked me to take off my belt. He patted me down, and literally fingered my waist around, asked me to un button my pants and checked around there. THAT woke me up!
After that, I collected my gatherings waited for acjflyer to complete his security check and off we headed to the gates.
A Concourse was JUST finished and redone so it is brand new. I took a couple of pictures to show how it looks.
You'll see new lights, new design of the roof, and just a lot more bright and airy space. It was a welcome change to how it looked from the old A Concourse.
We grabbed some drinks and food, and waited until boarding time.
We were in the exit row so we boarded in Zone 2, and sat down in our row. It was only booked to 25 or so, so everyone was pretty spread out.
After we completed boarding, we taxied out to the Runway, and we proceeded down and literally took off at 10-15 seconds later. I was shocked, sporty little plane!
acjflyer and I went to sleep, dozing in and out throughout the flight. I took photos as the flight continued and updated my flight log because I am a nerd like that.
I don't fly morning flights very often but when I do, it's the views like this sun rise that makes it all the worth while to get up in the morning, and enjoy the sun from 35,000 feet!
Cabin of the CRJ-900
Since this was around 1 hour and 15 minute flight or so, it went by fairly quickly. We started the approach for MSP
Airport, and it was VERY windy out there. As we were approaching I could feel us rocking back and forth slightly. You will see it in the Video I recorded of us landing on youtube...
Landing into MSP
We touched down and headed to our gate where I waited to grab my gate checked carry on bag.
Delta Air Lines
We booked via MSP
because originally MSP
had the PTV 757, and MSP
had the non-PTV. Guess what, Delta switched it on the day of our departure, go figure! So...MSP
had the PTV aircraft and our MSP
had the non-PTV!
Bummed about that, but what can we do. The trip must go on!
We had a very quick layover in MSP
, barely time to go from C to F, and a bathroom break before we showed up to the gate minutes before boarding.
Our 757, N683DA at the gate
We were Zone 2 again, had the exit row. I am only 5'5 so I don't care too much for the extra leg room, but acjflyer is taller than me so he appreciates the leg room so we took advantage of getting the exit row whenever possible. It did help provide us more leg room and for our carry on as well.
We boarded the aircraft and proceeded to our exit row. Settled down and just talked amongst ourselves until they completed the boarding. This was going to be a full flight.
The safety briefing came on, and the sound kept cutting in and out. Luckily for me, I lip read so I had no problem being able to catch everything that was said, not that it mattered in the end since it was subtitled too.
We backed out of the gate, where I mistakenly called out a MD90 an MD88. Whoops, acjflyer revoked my card right then and there.
Backing out as a CRJ taxis by
We went to the same runway I took off on the last time I flew out of MSP
. Powerful take off as usual for a 757, and we banked and climbed up to our cruising altitude.
This was a typical Delta flight. They showed the movie "Something Borrowed" We both had seen this so for me I didn't want to watch it.
We spent the time chatting about the trip, watching Modern Family Season 2, both of us are big fans of that show. We had a lot of laugh out loud moments which probably annoyed some of the other passengers. Sorry! You try watching an episode and not laugh!
We didn't use the wifi, rather we didn't pay for it. I did utilize it to log onto delta.com which is free and check our status of the flight.
Biscoff cookies and drinks came around later, and I always enjoy sampling those.
Again we dozed off, sleeping occasionally, listening to music on the ipod. acjflyer hadn't been to SEA
Airport so I was looking forward to getting there and showing him around quickly.
In time we started the descent for SEA
Airport, a mountain flew by under us.
Then another one passed under us as we got closer! They should call this Mountain State, not Washington State!
We started vectoring a bit doing some turns and providing us beautiful views and scenes of the state of Washington. The last time I flew through SEA
was when I did my first international trip on United Airlines out of SEA
. So approaching SEA
brought back some memories of that trip.
Wing Shot! This was taken just before the flaps started coming out.
Right then the flaps started coming out and the spoilers or air brakes, started going up and down. Suddenly I thought Oh Crap! I wanted to show acjflyer, since we hadn't been to SEA
the view of flying over the Boeing Field where you can usually see the line up. Usually you get that view sitting on the left side of the aircraft, but we were on the right side as you can tell. Darn it!
We glided into SEA
Airport, with the PW
engines roaring to life as the thrust reverse slowed us down to a stop.
Taxied to the A Gates and we deplaned and I wanted to take him by the huge Glass Window display that overlooks the CR7 and Q400 ramp activity.
This route was the only route that actually stayed the same when we booked it. I had seen every aircraft type operate this route. I was hoping for a change to a -900 as acjflyer and I both had not flown on the 737-900 yet. However, when we proceeded to the gate, it was indeed a 737-800. Still not bad, we both had never flown a 737-800 for Alaska (I did on ATA), so this was still new for us.
We made the trek to C gates in SEA
, and excitement was finally building up as we approached the gate. Seeing ANCHORAGE, ALASKA on the gate definitely made it real and exciting for us. It was FINALLY here.
We hung around the gate watching the activity, and at one point I looked down at our Alaska boarding pass and realized we didn't have a boarding number or anything. Not being familiar with how Alaska boards (I pre boarded the last time I flew Alaska, ANC
so I didn't follow the last boarding process), and remembering that Alaska honors Elite folks on other airlines (I am Silver on Delta) I walked to the gate to ask how Alaska boards and when I would board?
I handed her my boarding pass and this is how the conversation went...
Me "Hey-I was wondering there is no boarding order on my boarding pass do you know when we board and if Silver Elites on Delta boards earlier?
Agent "Yes you're on the right flight!"
Me "No..I know that, thanks but I am asking WHEN we start boarding for our flight?
Agent "You will board in 20 minutes!"
Me "I know that I am asking when we board in terms of rows, zones, status?"
Agent "Ya the flight is on time!"
I gave up and looked over to acjflyer with a "help me" look! I walked back over to him, relayed the conversation, and acjflyer correctly guessed we probably boarded by rows or something. We decided to just sit back and watch.
An announcement came on saying that those who are elites on other airlines may board. Acjflyer pointed at me with a laugh and told me we could board!
I looked at my boarding pass and of course Alaska's boarding pass doesn't make that clear I am elite. I had no way to prove it. So I stood there scrambling through my bag trying to find a DL
boarding pass that showed my elite status. Then it dawned on me I had the Elite Card! So I stood there at the gate trying to find it, pointless at this point because they had finished boarding elites, and moved to the next row. I told acjflyer I must not have it because I wrongly assumed all airlines would recognize my elite status on the boarding pass!
Ugh...we boarded in our row, and we sat down in Row 7, I put my stuff away and guess what? Yep...found my Elite Card stuffed in the back of my wallet. *sighs*
I leaned over acjflyer to grab a snapshot of our engine on the ground, and right then it started raining. Typical Seattle!
Engine of N525AS
After we completed boarding we backed out and taxied to the runway for take off. We were FINALLY on our way to Anchorage!
After Take Off
Now we had another three hours to go before we landed in ANC
. *Yawns* Boy we were getting tired.
We looked over the in flight magazine going over all of the Alaska cities, and places Alaska and Era fly to. Very interesting and just so cool to see all of the routes that exist just for the State of Alaska alone.
I was hungry at this point so we decided to split a hot Buy on Board meal. I really enjoyed it, acjflyer wasn't too pleased with it, but said it was ok for an in flight hot meal.
We had a crazy woman sitting in the aisle seat that asked myself and acjflyer the most random questions that I didn't even understand half the time. She was very old, weak and feeble, and at one point, acjflyer joked that she'd probably be dead by the time we arrived. I mean she literally appeared to be at that point. I chuckled, looked over, saw her head slouched over, looked back at acjflyer and said "dear god I hate you right now, and if she does, YOU'RE carrying her off the plane!"
Thankfully she didn't, and actually told us when we got closer to landing she had lived there since 1951 or something, my memory is a bit foggy, acjflyer can correct me, he's the one that spoke to her!
After 3 hrs of eating, sleeping, checking out the state of Alaska from the air, and watching more Modern Family, it was time to finally start the approach.
The approach was BUH-EAU
-TIFUL! Oh my gosh. The trees, the water, the mountain, everywhere we looked, gorgeous!
We did some turns, flew over the water and then I recognized the approach. It was the same one we took last year when I flew up. So I made a point to tell acjflyer how the approached worked, and said at some point we should be doing a big turn to the right--*plane starts to turn to the right* I smiled at the timing of that, and continued "after we turn to the right, we will straighten up and line up for the runway and it's a straight in approach rest of the way"
Sure enough our flight did exactly that to the runway! We landed, and for me I recognized everything instantly and for acjflyer he was very excited to finally be in the state of Alaska!
We taxied to the gate and got off the plane and stepped into the beautiful Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport!
We have finally arrived!
Delta and Alaska was very good. All flights were on time, decent service. I think Alaska had the best service, actually having hot meals on board in Y. Granted it was buy on board, but still pretty good. I know the segment of the flights played a part.
It was disappointing not to get the 737-900 or the PTV 757 but that's not the direct fault of Delta,. I do wish Delta were to really upgrade the interior of the 757's. They advertise AVOD and PTV all the time but except for my 777 flight, I have yet to be on a 757 with them. Unfortunate but that's how it is.
I am sure acjflyer had a great time sampling these out, he's welcome to chime in on his views.
I hope you all enjoyed the trip report and the brief pictures and my quirky moments! It's always an adventure when we travel!