Gday A.Netters, in this trip report I will be recounting my monster adventure around the West Coast of the United States. This is my first trip report, and I'm only 15, so bear with me.
The trip began at about 10:30am on the 9th of July, 2011. My family came to see me (and my dad) off at the airport. Quite an eventful trip there though, which involved being rear ended on the main road, narrowly dodging a massive traffic delay on the freeway to the airport, and being behind the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard for a few kilometres.
Once we got to the airport, check-in, security and passport control were a breeze and we were through to the gates within 20 minutes of checking in. We boarded through Gate 8, next to QF11 bound for Los Angeles. This was the first time I had seen an A380 up close and personal, and it's a stunning aircraft. Anyway, as we boarded, two separate lines formed and about half in each line were Economy, Business and Premium Economy passengers. When you got to the front of the line you were either in the right lane or not, and the very rude woman scanning the boarding passes sure let you know about it. It was a very disorganised process, and I thought surely a world renowned airline can do better than this...
Once we boarded I took my assigned seat (67K) and began staring out the window. I did this for about 25 minutes and we still weren't going anywhere. Maybe there's some late passengers, I thought. as I was thinking this, the captain made an announcement explaining how the aft cargo door warning light is remaining on despite the fact that it was closed. He hoped it was just an "electrical gremlin" and we would be on our way as soon as possible. The aft cargo door was right below me, and I kept on thinking, don't open up in flight, don't do this to me.
My view for the time being.
Eventually, 23 minutes behind schedule, we began our long taxi towards runway 34L to take off to the north.
Turning onto 34L
Soon enough, the engines spooled up and we roared down the runway.
Heading north, the engines screaming at this point
This was longer than any takeoff roll I had experienced before and we didn't lift off until we well past the east/west runway and looking at Terminal 2. Climbout was fairly smooth, with the exception of a bit of side to side movements cause by the strong breeze. We had a wonderful view of the city and northern suburbs, I think I may have even seen my house as we banked over the Chatswood area to set course for Dallas. It was a bit sad to leave home, but I was still excited about what lay ahead.
Beautiful views of the city, too bad the jetwash mad the picture blurry.
The Lane Cove River and Chatswood West
The northern suburbs
As we left Sydney behind, the customer service manager made an announcement saying the IFE had crashed and it will be an hour before we can watch it. Must have been a pain for some passengers, but I wasn't fussed, as I was too busy taking photos and thinking about what Dallas is going to be like.
The first few hours were uneventful, except for a few little bumps north of New Zealand. We were also given a stale bread roll, and a hot meal, which didn't taste too good. Oh well, it's economy class airline food, I can't expect a 5 course banquet can I.
The sun setting over the Pacific
It grew dark and I focused in on the now working IFE. Qantas' IFE system is alright, although the remote takes about 5 seconds to respond. Hours passed and I watched a few movies and television shows such as The Big Bang Theory, Come Fly With Me, and Limitless. I eventually dozed off. In the middle of the night, I awoke to a patch of minor turbulence about 100 miles past the date line. It soon ended and I was handed a 'Snack on Q' bag containing mints, muesli bars, water etc, and was offered a hot chocolate or a peppermint tea. I love the smell that wafts around the plane when they are preparing the tea. I reclined and dozed off again (Hopefully I didn't bother the people behind me). I awoke to an overcast morning, and got a few annoyed grunts from passengers around me for raising the shade about a quarter of the way up. People, what do you think the eyemasks are for geez.
The view that I woke up to
We neared Baja California and the clouds disappeared to reveal a beautiful desert landscape.
Reaching the coast
Isla San Marcos
Small mexican towns
Can someone identify this airport for me?
And this large city?
The unreliable source of entertainment
Are these airstrips?
Are these oil pumpjacks?
We crossed the Gulf of California, and flew into American airspace near El Paso. It began getting quite cloudy and on descent, the customer service manager made an announcement that it is "getting bumpy" and to secure items so they don't "jump around in the cabin". Once through the clouds, I had a great view of Texas towns, and soon after, Fort Worth. I gazed out the window and loved what I saw. It was just so different from what I was used to. We made a left turn and I got my first look at DFW
. It was amazing, to say the least.
Here come the bumps
Some airports in the Dallas area
. What I've been waiting over 6 months to see.
Marcus High School football field (I felt stupid after looking it up, because I thought it was a field that the NFL
held games at...)
That's one long jetty
The Gaylord Trail, and a waterpark
The Great Wolf lodge
Here we go!
After a 180 degree turn and a descent over Grapevine Lake, we touched down on runway 18R, 12 minutes early.
Welcome to Texas!
ATI DC-8, that's a first for me
We taxiied to Terminal D and docked at Gate 6. Immigration took about 1 hour and Customs no less. The extensive wait was caused by a KLM, Lufthansa, and various American Airlines flights arriving at the same time as ours. It was a bit annoying having the same announcement yelled out over the loudspeaker over and over. AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 2166 FROM SAN
JOSE COSTA RICA BAGS AVAILABLE AT
CAROUSEL 13!!! Eventually, we made it through all that and checked in at the Grand Hyatt. We walked into the room and I pulled back the curtains. That $8 spent on a runway view was well worth it! I sat at the window and did a bit of spotting.
AA434 blasting off to Tucson
Up, up and away!!
After having a nap for a few hours, we took the Grapevine Visitors Shuttle to Grapevine Mills mall, where again I was stunned. The heat when we stepped out of the bus was blistering, and I was glad to get in to the mall to escape from it. It was bigger than any mall that I had seen before, and my dad and I had a fun couple of hours shopping for souvenirs and gifts for friends and family back home. Had dinner at Sonic Drive-In and then returned to the hotel at about 9pm.
The night view from my hotel room
Thanks for reading
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I take a ride on an AS
737-900 to Seattle.