Friday, April 20, 2018
United Airlines flight 939
Depart: Oklahoma City, OK (OKC)
Arrive: Denver, CO (DEN)
Departure time (actual): 6:25 a.m. CDT (6:24 a.m. CDT)
Arrival time (actual): 7:01 a.m. MDT (6:55 a.m. MDT)
Departure gate: 3
Arrival gate: B18
Equipment: Boeing 737-800
Load factor: 100%
I’m ready. Ready to head back to the West Coast. Ready to visit San Diego for the first time! Ready for my first flight into SAN and the famous skyscraper-filled approach!
But first it was a connecting flight through DEN to meet my girlfriend and head out for an amazing long weekend on the California coast.
I only live 10 minutes from OKC so getting to the airport isn’t a problem. I requested an Uber from my apartment complex at 5:05 and it was here five minutes later. I loaded my bag and we hopped on I-44 for a quick drive to the airport.
I was dropped off on the west side of the terminal just before 5:15 and, with only a carry-on bag, headed straight for the security checkpoint.
It was a fairly busy morning, but I made it through the security line in about 15 minutes. I had no issues, redressed myself and then made my way down the west concourse to gate 3 where my flight to Denver awaited.
The gate area was getting full with passengers awaiting this flight. I took a couple quick pictures of the podium and our aircraft before waiting to board.
Boarding began at 5:55 with just a few boarding with groups 1 and 2. I joined the larger line when group 3 was called.
I was greeted by a friendly agent, scanned the boarding pass on my phone at the gate and then was down the jetway. There was a small backup of people boarding but it didn’t take long before I found seat 23F. I slid my carry-on bag into the overhead bin and took my seat.
The flight slowly filled up completely but boarding finished on-time. We pushed back one minute ahead of scheduled departure time and the safety video began to play. I actually like the safety video on United. They keep it moving pretty fast and entertaining at the same time.
We followed a taxi that took us totally around the terminal and to runway 17L. I don’t know why so many departures on the west side of OKC tend to use 17L but it seems to be common. We had a short takeoff roll and were off the ground at 6:37, banking to the right back towards the field and west to DEN.
The flight was mostly uneventful and smooth as we climbed to cruising altitude. We had some nice views of the sunrise as we headed to the northwest.
A drink service was offered about 20 minutes into the flight. I had an orange juice which was just about right for this time of the morning. No complimentary snacks were being served on this flight.
It didn’t take long before we were descending towards DEN. It was one of the easier descents I’ve ever had and soon we were on final for runway 17R.
After a nice touchdown, we turned to the right and towards gate B18. We parked at the gate at 6:55 and were walking up the jet bridge a few minutes later.
Only a few minutes after I got into the terminal, I spotted my girlfriend walking my way. She had flown in on the early flight from TUL that arrived at gate B49. We grabbed some breakfast before heading back to the same gate and plane for the flight to SAN.
United Airlines flight 2387
Depart: Denver, CO (DEN)
Arrive: San Diego, CA (SAN)
Departure time (actual): 8:38 a.m. MDT (8:30 a.m. MDT)
Arrival time (actual): 9:53 a.m. PDT (9:45 a.m. PDT)
Departure gate: B18
Arrival gate: 41
Equipment: Boeing 737-800
Load factor: 100%
My girlfriend and I waited around the gate area until our flight began to board. We had some nice views of Frontier, Delta and American jets pass by to the south. I always enjoy the views from the large terminal windows at DEN.
Boarding for our flight started just after 8 and it was quickly on to group 3. I boarded then and hoped my girlfriend would be able to negotiate to switch her seat when she boarded with group 5.
After a long backup in the jetway, I got down to seat 22A and again placed my bag in the overhead. Soon after, an older couple came to fill out my row. Much to my surprise, these two were both professors at the University of Missouri (my alma mater). It was fun to chat with them for a bit.
I found out neither of the seat mates of my girlfriend in row 37 (the last row of the plane) were willing to switch with me so I stayed in seat 22A. That was really silly I thought that neither would want to move to a window seat further up.
We pushed back eight minutes early at 8:30 and the safety video played to get us on our way. The captain gave us a briefing and told us to expect some turbulence out of DEN.
We started a taxi out to runway 34L and it didn’t take long before we were down the runway. This takeoff was a very long roll compared to takeoff at OKC. Definitely more fuel onboard.
The turbulence came as the captain promised as we started to climb to cruising altitude. He promised to get us to smoother air in about 15 minutes. Finally, we found a nice pocket and continued cruising from there.
For most of this flight, I listened to podcasts, slept and read my book. I didn’t get anything in the drink or snack service after having breakfast in the airport.
The rest of the cruise was smooth with some varied landscape below as we got closer to California.
Our descent was fairly direct and before I knew it, city streets were appearing below. As we got closer, Coronado came into view and then the downtown skyline. The tall downtown buildings whizzed by as we got closer to the runway. It was really a cool view of getting such a close look at downtown. We came down on runway 27 easily and made a turn towards the terminal.
We made a fast taxi over to gate 41 and parked at 9:45. It took some time to unload from our row, but I walked up the jetway, met my girlfriend and we were off for four incredible days in San Diego!
Monday, April 23, 2018
United Airlines flight 2210
Depart: San Diego, CA (SAN)
Arrive: Houston George Bush Intercontinetal, TX (IAH)
Departure time (actual): 3:48 p.m. PDT (3:48 p.m. PDT)
Arrival time (actual): 8:50 p.m. CDT (8:38 p.m. CDT)
Departure gate: 40
Arrival gate: C44
Load factor: 100%
After a really fun time exploring this beautiful city, it was time to head home. We visited the zoo, Mission Beach, La Jolla, Coronado and downtown on this trip and got to spend some good time with my girlfriend’s family. Can’t beat it.
My girlfriend’s mom dropped us back at SAN at 2:30. We headed for the United counter so my girlfriend could get a boarding pass and check her bag. She was flying on Basic Economy on this trip while I had the ultra-luxurious “Economy” ticket, which allowed me to pick a seat assignment.
My girlfriend checked in and the boarding pass said “At Gate” for her seat assignment. We were hoping to arrange sitting together before going through security. We asked an agent at check-in but he said she would have to go down to the gate to get her seat assignment. Oh, the fun of Basic Economy.
We headed to the security line that took about 15 minutes to get through. After heading through there, we walked through the length of the Delta and United concourse to our departure gate.
My girlfriend checked with one agent at the gate about getting a seat but he told her to wait for the other one working the flight to call her up for an assignment. I went to fill up my water bottle and snap a few pictures.
By the time I was back, the agent had called up my girlfriend and myself since he noticed we were sitting together. We handed him each of our boarding passes, he asked if we were OK with sitting in an exit row which we said ‘yes’ and then gave us two seats next to each other in row 16. This was working out a lot better than the DEN-SAN flight!
After getting our seat assignments, we waited around another 15 minutes until I boarded with group 3. I was down to row 16 in no time and took my seat to wait for my girlfriend. She came down about 10 minutes later and we were ready for the flight.
Boarding finished pretty quickly on this full flight and the safety demo began. I watched out the window as some Delta and United planes taxied by.
We pushed back from the gate at 3:45 and were on our way to runway 27. Our captain announced we were number three in line for departure. We followed a Spirit Airbus to the runway and waited for traffic to land.
After turning onto the runway, we powered up and were off at 3:59. We flew right over Mission Beach, where we had rented a house for the last four days. It was a nice final sendoff to San Diego.
We made a bank to the left to turn east and our way to Texas. The climb out was smooth and scenic below.
The cruise was easy on this flight with only a few bumps along the way. Again, I listened to a podcast and read. The snack was pretzels on this flight but I declined a drink. Not a whole lot to report went on during this flight.
We started to descend towards the airport around 10 after eight and made a few turns close to the airport to land on 26L. We taxied for quite awhile before parking at gate C44.
Deplaning was easy from row 16. We made our way out into the concourse, checked our connecting gate information with the agent and started heading that way. At the split for concourses A&B, I said goodbye to my girlfriend as she caught her flight to TUL. I was going it alone the rest of the trip to OKC.
It was fun to have my first experience at IAH. It seems like quite the setup for UA, but isn’t too hard to navigate.
United Express flight 6268
Depart: Houston George Bush Intercontinental, TX (IAH)
Arrive: Oklahoma City, OK (OKC)
Departure time (actual): 9:40 p.m. CDT (9:50 p.m. CDT)
Arrival time (actual): 11:14 p.m. CDT (11:08 p.m. CDT)
Departure gate: C36
Arrival gate: 5
Load factor: 90%
It didn’t take long to walk down to gate C36. This was a busy little part of the C concourse.
The gate agent announced the flight could be delayed by about 10 minutes due to the engine needed to be started at the gate but it wouldn’t delay boarding.
After waiting for about 20 minutes, boarding began at 9:20. I boarded towards the end of group 3 and waited for a bit in the jetway before stepping on board.
I didn’t have to go far to find seat 11A, it’s pretty close to the front of the plane. We had awhile to go because of the engine start at the gate so people continued to come aboard as we prepared to push back. It did take us about an extra ten minutes before we left the gate.
The woman next to me was talking on her phone all the way through taxiing. I wondered why one of the FAs didn’t tell her to end the call but finally she finished a few minutes before takeoff.
We had a long taxi over to 15R, where we were second in line for departure. Plenty of UA planes going out at this time of night.
We made a turn on to the runway, sat for a minute and then powered off at 9:59.
The rest of the flight was basically a straight shot north to OKC. The FAs came around with a drink service but didn’t even notice me or ask if I wanted a drink. I did have my eyes closed for a minute but they were back open as they were passing my row, so that was surprising.
The flight deck came on to inform us we were cruising at 30,000 ft. and had about 42 minutes left to OKC.
We followed an approach from the south to runway 34R and were on the ground at 11:03. We again taxied over to the other side of the airport and parked at gate 5.
That ended a really fun trip highlighted by two new airports for me and some fantastic approaches. The service was basic as you would expect, but United gets credit for getting me there on-time and getting my girlfriend and I seats together on the way home. Overall, I really enjoyed the flying and the trip!
It's funny when I tell people I love planes and they think I'm weird.