Ah, the life of a graduate student - I had been extremely busy with a research project for the past couple of months and on top of that, I took the Ph.D. screening exam that allowed me to continue as a grad student. I was getting pretty burnt out, and I was planning a trip to Utah to visit some family over spring break, but the fares were a little out of reach. Instead, I managed to find some cheap fares for April, and bought them pretty much straight away. My family lives in the Salt Lake City area, but closer to the smaller regional airport in Provo (PVU) than the larger international SLC. I knew from past experience that Allegiant (G4) flies there 2x weekly from LAX, so booking G4 was a no brainer - I didn't even check flights into SLC. Allegiant was the perfect carrier in terms of convenience, price, <em>and</em> schedule - flights on Friday and Monday, perfect for a (long) weekend trip.
I knew I'd be traveling light, and the round trip ended up costing me $84, to which I added $5 each way to make sure I had a window seat. All in all, under $100 for the trip was a great deal!
My flight out of LAX on a bright sunny Friday morning (not really a surprise in LA). I took the super convenient Bus 102 which stops a block away from where I live. It dropped me off at Parking Lot C, from where there is a shuttle to the terminals. I had some amazing luck while waiting for the shuttle: back-to-back landings of a Korean Air A380, a Norwegian 787-9, and the only A350 at LAX - from Hong Kong airlines.
20180413_093539 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_093823_052 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_094005_002 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
[I apologize for the quality. My Samsung Galaxy S8 only has virtual zoom, so faraway objects appear fairly grainy.]
After a quick pass through security at Terminal 5, I was at the gate way earlier than expected. My flight was departing out of Gate 58, but you can't really see the parked aircraft from that gate, so I took a seat at the adjacent gate, face-to-face with a Spirit A320.
20180413_102735 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Due to my earliness, I did quite a bit of exploring, and was delightfully surprised to find that LAX now has wireless charging stations as well. Way to go LAX!
20180413_111712 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
I pretty much let my phone charge as I texted a couple of people and waiting for boarding to begin. The incoming flight from Provo (PVU) landed right on time, and boarding began almost immediately after the last passenger from that flight deplaned. Boarding was fast, and boarding groups were strictly enforced. A couple of people were sent back for trying to board before their group was called.
Date: April 13th, 2018
Flight: G4 131
Aircraft: Airbus A319-100 (with wingtip fences)
Aircraft Reg: N311NV (ex easyJet)
From: Los Angeles (LAX)
To: Provo (PVU)
Flight Time: 01:46
Seat: 22F (Economy, Window)
I settled into my seat. Seat pitch was okay - I'm not super tall, so I'm not usually bothered by even the tightest of seat pitches.
20180413_120255 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Our neighboring aircraft was the Spirit A320 from earlier.
20180413_113601 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
We pushed back right on time. Taxiing at LAX is always a great experience as there is just so much variety of aircraft and airlines, for example, this Ethiopian Boeing 787:
20180413_113608 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
or this Sun Country Boeing 737 leased from Transavia, still in hybrid-Transavia colors:
20180413_120505 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
The Bradley terminal always has a nice lineup of international tails:
20180413_120550 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Wingtip-to-wingtip with the Korean Air Airbus A380:
20180413_120602 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Airbus A350s are rare at LAX. At the time, this was the only scheduled A350 here. Starting in May, Asiana also flies the A350 here, to be joined by Delta and Cathay Pacific (with the -1000) by the end of this year.
20180413_120620 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_120642 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
This Airbus A340 from Air Tahiti Nui is always a pleasure to catch:
20180413_120805 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
We made our way to runway 24L for takeoff, passing this Delta Connection Enbraer E-175:
20180413_121000 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
followed by a Westjet Boeing 737-800:
20180413_121120 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
and past a Delta Boeing 777-200LR named "The Spirit of Atlanta":
20180413_121138 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Highlight of the day was also this Boeing 737 MAX 8 from Southwest:
20180413_121229 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Here's a view of the famous In N Out by LAX, one of my favorite planespotting areas:
20180413_121627 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
After a powerful takeoff, we turned north pretty much straight away.
20180413_121554 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_121725 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Some decent views of Marina del Ray as we turned:
20180413_121735 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_121756 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
I don't think I'll ever get tired of watching out the window on a flight:
20180413_133253 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_143535 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
The rest of the flight was fairly uneventful. I didn't buy anything during the inflight service. Allegiant charges for everything.
Before I knew it, it was time to land in Provo. Coming into PVU always provides some stunning views of the surrounding mountains:
20180413_144050 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_144147 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_144245 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_144254 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
It had snowed the day before, and as you can see, the mountains still had a coating of snow left:
20180413_144358 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_144406 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180413_144702 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
One of my favorite things about traveling through PVU is the ramp boarding/ deboarding. Door 1L had a ramp and door 2L had stairs. I was seated at the back, so I disembarked through the rear exit.
20180413_145640_LI by Ne Ni, on Flickr
There was a steady trickle of people through the front exit as well.
20180413_145658_LI by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Here's a final face-to-face shot of the A319 as I left the ramp:
20180413_145722 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
After a fantastic and much needed weekend away from LA (and school) in Utah, it was time to go back. I was cutting it fairly close. My return flight was supposed to land at 11.20am at LAX, and I had class at 12.30pm. Knowing the long taxi times in LA, I wasn't sure if I'd make it to class on time.
My aunt and cousin dropped me off at PVU just as the incoming aircraft was taxiing in, having just landed from the inbound flight. I caught a sweet view of the A319 from the chain-link fence outside the small terminal.
20180416_092839 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
As I already had my boarding pass on the Allegiant app on my phone, I bypassed the check-in counter and proceeded straight to the tiny room that functions as a security checkpoint. Passengers trickled in slowly, and while I was going through security, we had a one-to-one passenger to TSA officer ratio. That's why I like traveling through small airports! Security was a breeze, I've noticed the PVU officers are always super nice and friendly. As with all my flights out of PVU, the mix of passengers seems to be seasoned fliers and first time fliers equally. Every time, I notice people for whom the flight is their first.
Apparently, there are no photos of this aircraft on the A-net database, so here are a few picture from its previous life with easyJet.
Date: April 16th, 2018
Flight: G4 130
Aircraft: Airbus A319-100 (with wingtip fences)
Aircraft Reg: N337NV (ex easyJet)
From: Provo (PVU)
To: Los Angeles (LAX)
Flight Time: 01:52
Seat: 22A (Economy, Window)
Boarding was again done through the front and the back. I took the back stairs as I was seated in one of the last rows.
20180416_094210 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_094225 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_094238 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Boarding completed way ahead of schedule and we were basically waiting in the plane as we waited for the departure time. The guy sitting behind me had a small, loud dog. He kept it on his lap, and it kept barking and barking and barking. I'm a huge fan of dogs, but at that moment, I was getting ticked, because I planned to catch up on some sleep during the flight, and it seemed like that would not be happening. As we taxied towards the runway, the guy behind me put his dog in its carrier, placing it underneath my seat. The dog kept letting out random barks while the guy tried unsuccessfully to shush it every now and then.
Once again, the views out of PVU are exceptional:
20180416_102242_001 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_102348 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_102542 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
There were some training flights going on as we taxied:
20180416_102844 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_103059 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Takeoff was powerful as ever on the A319.
20180416_103205 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_103213 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
One of the things I like about PVU is that you take off directly over a lake, providing views of the mountains and the water:
20180416_103316 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_103430 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
With all hope of snoozing lost due to the yipping dog underneath me, I browsed through the inflight magazine, as always flipping towards the page that interests me the most:
20180416_104925 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
The Airbus fleet outnumbers the McDonnell-Douglas fleet now! I should also note here that this was the day after 60 Minutes did its infamous exposé on Allegiant, and I heard a couple of people talking about it nervously during boarding. Allegiant stock also tumbled sharply that day, but as expected, the flight was pleasant and uneventful.
Here's a shot of the cabin, where you can still see the easyJet orange on the overhead bins:
20180416_104933 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Legroom was adequate as always:
20180416_105143 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
The flight was fairly quick, and it was time to descend into LA.
20180416_110528 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
I've flown into LAX lots of times (too many times during the night), so it was a real treat to be a part of a parallel landing and see another aircraft - an Aeromexico Boeing 737 - landing just ahead of us on runway 25R while we landed on 24R.
20180416_111202_LI by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_111208 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
It looks tiny due to the awful zoom on my camera, but it was a pleasure to see from the window!
We landed just as a Delta Boeing 737-800 took off. Now that was fantastic to see!
20180416_111749 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_111903_020 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
... followed immediately by a Delta Boeing 757-200:
20180416_111957_012 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Immediately after landing, there was an awful smell as the dog underneath my seat, uh, relieved itself. I could hear the guy complaining about it afterwards.
A long taxi to our gate on the other side of LAX yielded some interesting views, as it usually does:
20180416_112109 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_112414 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Bradley and its lineup of international tails:
20180416_112519 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_112530 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_112629 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
Taxiing past sister A319 from American:
20180416_112901 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
We parked next to an Airbus A320neo from Frontier, with Flower the Hummingbird on the tail.
20180416_112955 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
20180416_113023 by Ne Ni, on Flickr
I love the Frontier animals. I haven't had the chance to fly Frontier yet, but I look forward to it, just to check off the different tails!
By the time we got to the gate, it was 11.20 (a timely arrival), and by the time I disembarked, it was already 11.30 since I was towards the back. After a mad dash through the terminal, I went outside to grab and Uber to take me to class. By the time I got on the Uber, it was 11.55, and I was cutting it REALLY close. The app showed an ETA of 12.35, but luckily, my driver turned out to be amazing. When he found out I was trying to get to class, he weaved in and out of traffic so skillfully, that he managed to get me there by 12.20! Needless to say, he received a great tip! It was a successful end to a fantastic trip.