Alright everyone I'm back again with another trip report. Ever since I went off to college I haven't been able to accompany my family on as many vacations as I had before, and understandably so, especially since we don't really go anywhere during the summer. However, in early June my dad approached me with the idea of going to Lake Tahoe the week before my fall semester of school started. He had a medical conference there and wanted to take the rest of us with for a little family vacation. Now I go to school at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and for some reason my dad wanted me to fly down there the day before and move into apartment, drop my stuff off, and so forth. Apparently he thought my luggage would take up too much space in the hotel room, or something like that.
Then the next day I would fly out to RNO
and meet up with them. Sure it sounded a little tiring, but have you ever known me to pass up on a few extra flights? WN
and US were the obvious choices for this trip and since I decided to go with US ORD
on the way down, I went with WN
for my flights to/from RNO
. I decided to fly from PHX
and save my dad some money since the flights were a lot cheaper than the ones out of TUS
. I know you're probably thinking I just made it hard on myself by opting to connect through LAS
, but both of the n/s flights from PHX
that day didn't match up at all with my family's arrival time into RNO
, so I just went with that one to avoid any long waits. Now with all that explained, on to the report...(Aug. 12-18)
As previously mentioned, the day before my trip to RNO
I flew in on US from ORD
, but since I've already covered/addressed similar flights in my previous reports I'm going to leave that part out. Now since I was flying to RNO
I was going to have to take the airport shuttle up from Tucson. My flight's departure time was 9:30 AM
and usually they have shuttles that leave every hour, but as my luck would have it they decided not schedule one for 6 AM
... This meant I'd have to get up even earlier and catch the 5 AM
, because if I left at 7 that'd be cutting it way to close in terms of time. It only became worse when I didn't get to bed until around 1 AM
that night, mostly due to the fact that I locked my keys in the car at the grocery store and then had a huge mess to clean up in my kitchen after I dropped a can of Pepsi and it exploded everywhere.
So anyways I woke up that morning at 4:30 AM
, tired, and starting to regret the decision of having to trek up to PHX
for my flight
. Nevertheless I got up, showered, and walked a few blocks from my apartment to get picked up for the one hour and forty-five minute drive to PHX
. It’s a drive I've done quite a few times now, so it actually went by somewhat quick.
After getting dropped off at terminal 4 I headed inside to the WN
counters to check-in. There was a decent line, but since there were plenty of kiosks I obtained my boarding passes and dropped off my bag in no time. From there it was off to the security check point, which also didn't take long, and I was now in the gates area with still over two hours to go until my flight to LAS
. I grabbed a coffee from Starbucks to keep me awake and then walked around the concourses to check out some of the action. Here's "Lone Star One" getting ready to fly PHX
Obviously on this side of the airport WN
is the dominant force.
Down at the west end of C concourse I stopped for a while to watch some of the departure traffic.
With less than an hour to go until my flight I decided head over to my departure gate C7, and not too long after I got there I saw the 735 for my flight rolling in. WN
's website originally said this flight was going to be with a 733, but since the 735s are in the process of being retired I guess it was a welcome surprise.
The turnaround was pretty quick and soon I headed aboard. This flight was completely full and I always make sure to buy the "early bird check-in" to get put in the A boarding group whenever I'm flying WN
, that way I never have to worry about getting a good window seat.
After everyone had boarded there was about a twenty minute delay as a mechanic came aboard to fix some sort of switch up in the cockpit. Once that was taken care off we pushed back, made a quick taxi out to runway 7L
, and then took off after waiting for a few planes to go up before us.
The flight attendants started taking orders for drinks right after takeoff and I opted to keep the caffeine flowing with some more coffee. It was a short flight and not too long after what looked like to be parts of the Grand Canyon came into view, we started our descent into LAS
Our decent took us over Lake Mead and then we made a left turn to line up for landing on runway 25L.
We taxied over to gate C21 and parked right next to one of WN
's new 738s. It was my first time seeing one of these in person and even though to me it seemed like they got their first one only a short time ago, I was surprised to find out that they already have over 20 of them in the fleet!
Here's the 735 that had just brought me from PHX
. Its next flight was to OAK
With less than an hour to go until my flight to RNO
I checked the departures screen and saw that I had a bit of a hike ahead of me over to the B gates. When I finally got down there I checked the monitor again to confirm my departure gate, only to see that it had been switched back to gate C25
...So I walked all the way back and got to the gate right as they were about to start boarding.
Now unlike with other airlines, WN
's gate agents keep your boarding passes after scanning them instead of giving them back to you. I don't really have a problem with this, except when I got halfway down the jetway I realized my luggage claim sticker was inside the ticket jacket that I had given to the gate agent. I stopped for a second and thought about going back to get it, but then I said to myself "Eh, I've never had any problems with airlines misplacing my bags, surely it won't happen today, right?"
So I went aboard, took my seat, and then this time the flight attendants came through the aisle taking drink orders even before pushback. When we finally did push back we taxied to runway 7L
and took off. I guess the winds must have shifted around or something because when we came in from PHX
just over an hour ago all flights were going east to west instead of west to east.
Once we got up to our cruising altitude it was a smooth flight and eventually the flight attendant brought out the coffee and ginger ale that I had ordered before takeoff. Like the previous flight this one was also just about full, and it went by pretty quickly as well. During our descent into RNO
it got kind of bumpy as we got lower, probably due to the rocky terrain I'm guessing.
It wasn't the smoothest approach, but the pilots did a pretty good job greasing the landing and after exiting runway 16R we taxied over to gate B3
The rest of my family had flown in on AA
an hour earlier, and sure enough my dad was waiting for me outside concourse when I got down there. Now all we had to do was get my bag and then it was off to Lake Tahoe. It sounded easy enough, but as time went by and my bag didn't show up on the luggage belt I started to get ancy. Eventually there was just a few of us left and then the belt shut off. At that point I pretty much was like "crap". My dad obviously got kinda pissed and he didn't get any happier when I told him that I didn't even have my luggage claim sticker. The few of us from the LAS
flight who didn't get our bags went over to the WN
office next to the baggage claim area and after answering a few questions about my bag they said they'd call me about delivering it to the hotel once they found it. Fortunately about 15 minutes after we left the airport I got a call that they'd found my bag and would deliver it to my hotel later that evening. Apparently for some reason that had put it on a flight to SLC
, though I'm thinking it might have had something to do with that rather late gate change for my flight to RNO
. Anyways, with that taken care of it was time for some relaxation!
The hotel we stayed at was called the Resort at Squaw Creek. It was in Squaw Valley, and to be honest up until that point I had no idea this place had hosted the Winter Olympics back in 1960.
On our second day we went rafting out on the Truckee River. It was nice and relaxing, probably the sort of "outdoors" type of stuff Lake Tahoe is known for during the summer. I always figured Lake Tahoe would be more busy with tourists during the winter because of all the skiing, but then I was told it’s actually a lot more packed during the summer. Any truth to that? Here's me in the raft.
We drove over to Tahoe City to check out some of the beaches, though I must say I was a bit underwhelmed because even the beach back home in Racine, Wisconsin is better than most of the ones we saw out here.
The best beach we saw was the one at Emerald Bay. This is also a nice place to go if you just wanna get some nice scenic overviews of the lake.
And then here's a picture of our hotel.
The week actually didn't go by to quick, which was good, but eventually it was time to head back to Tucson for my fall semester of school.
My flight from RNO
was at 11:55 AM
, so we got up at 7 AM
and then stopped to eat at McDonalds before driving to the airport. We were going to eat breakfast at the hotel, but my parents claimed that the restaurant had doubled their prices from the day before, so for instance it was now like 20 bucks for a stack of pancakes! Anyone else encounter anything like this before? Anyways, it was about a forty-five minute drive from our hotel to RNO
. When we pulled up to the airport the way it looked and was set up really reminded me of MSN
While I was back home in Wisconsin for the summer I was able to find a job working for the Dollar-Thrifty car rental company at MKE
, so when we dropped off our car it was somewhat interesting seeing some of my counterparts. My family was taking AA
back to ORD
, so when we got inside the terminal we split up and I headed over to the WN
counters. Even though there was that minor incident with my bag being misplaced on the way over here, I didn't really have any second thoughts about having them check my luggage again. After all, it’s free and I'd rather not have to haul it around with me when I'm walking around spotting in the gates area. WN
operate out of separate concourses at RNO
, so after saying our goodbyes we headed our separate ways to the security checkpoints. The screening didn't take too long and I was now back in concourse B with under two hours to go until my flight to LAS
share this concourse, though I'm pretty sure DL
only has a few flights a day to SLC
so it’s mainly WN
's. This flight was going to SAN
while the other 737 pushed back in the background was an earlier flight to LAS
Here's my flight on short final from PDX
, another 735.
CR7 to SFO
Once everyone had deplaned from the PDX
flight they started boarding and I headed aboard. The flight was completely full, and the University of Hawaii's women's soccer team was on here too (no smoking hot babes unfortunately
After pushing back we taxied back to runway 16R and took off through the somewhat murky weather that had rolled in. It was a little bumpy during the climbout, but once we got above the clouds it was mostly smooth. I got a cup of ginger ale and then for the rest of the flight just looked out the window. During the descent into LAS
we dodged a pretty big storm right outside the Las Vegas Valley, and then had a great view of the airport and Strip during the downwind leg for landing.
About to line up with runway 25L.
The final approach was a bit bumpy as we bounced around a little bit, but eventually we landed taxied over to gate C16.
I now had about a two hour layover until my flight to TUS
, so I got a slice of pizza and then walked around the airport. It was nice to see that there was some refurbishing in progress, but I think the A/B gates could probably use that that the most.
Obviously the abundant amount of slot machines is what makes LAS
I walked over to A/B gates to check out some of the non-WN action, and there was this NK
A319 pushing back for its flight to ORD
There was also this grey 762 with dark red engines/tail, but I couldn't really tell what airline it was. Anyways, at that point I had pretty much seen all that there was to see, so I started walking back to my gate, C9
. My flight's on the left with the one of the right going to DEN
I was a little tired from all the walking around, so I decided to stay in the gate area and just wait for boarding.
Once everyone had come aboard and taken their seats it was clear that this was going to be a fairly open flight. I'd estimate only about 60% of the seats were filled. Now remember how during our descent into LAS
we flew around that storm not too far out from the city? Well, as we were taxiing out to runway 25R that storm finally started creeping into the western part of Las Vegas and I was starting to think that we were gonna be stuck on the ground for a while. To my surprise we actually took off right into the direction of the bad weather and even though there were flashes of lighting going off, the captain did a pretty good job going around it and it was a pretty smooth climbout.
I was hoping to get some good views of the Grand Canyon on this flight, but instead we passed right over the Hoover Dam.
We pretty much maneuvered around storm systems all the way down to TUS
, which I'm guessing is probably typical during the monsoon season in the Southwest. As we passed over the PHX
area we started descending into TUS
Downtown Tucson clearly visible and then it might be kind of hard to see in this picture, but just to the right of that those red buildings is actually the U of A campus where I go to school.
We flew past the airport and then lined up for a smooth landing on runway 29R at TUS
And then here's my flight at the gate, it was heading back up to LAS
about thirty minutes later.
I headed downstairs to the luggage claim hoping that it'd be a lot easier retrieving my bag than in RNO
, and luckily for me mine was the fourth one to come out!
With that taken care of I headed outside, got in a cab, and drove back towards campus for the start of my junior year of college!
Well this is my 25th trip report and I hope you enjoyed reading it!!! I had a good time in Lake Tahoe, and while I wouldn't mind going back there again during the summer for a nice laid-back vacation, I'm also looking forward to going back there during the winter for some skiing. Even though WN
temporarily misplaced my bag, it wasn't a big deal and overall I was satisfied with all four flights. They've certainly become my carrier of choice lately, especially with their now increased presence at MKE
. Thanks again for reading!!!
Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.