I’m starting this trip report on a Friday night. I tell you, I live a hardcore life.
In 2017 my aunt and uncle in the Tampa Bay area celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. In 2018 my other
aunt and uncle pair in the Tampa Bay area celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Actually, their anniversary, as luck would have it, actually was on Thanksgiving Day. Of course, y’all know I don’t particularly care for long-distance driving, so flying it was. So, N776AU, are you gonna quit yacking and get to the flying part? Sure, let’s do that.
So we flew down on Tuesday November 20th (again, this procrastination thing). I had my parents on my ticket, so it was a little more than just me this trip. Once we got their stuff loaded in my car we were off to ATL shortly before 3:30am. I’m not a fan of super early flights, but my parents were happy with it. This trip wasn’t about me anyway. This flight was actually so early that TSA Precheck wasn’t even available yet, so we had to pass through regular security like peasants.
There wasn’t really any time to do anything, even grab a quick bite at the club out on concourse F. It wasn’t open yet, so we went out to gate C12. It was kind of chaotic in our gate area. In the adjacent gate there was a flight to LGA carrying a high school band to the Macy’s Parade. Ok, quit talking and give the world airplane stuff.
Our flight today was operated by N7860A. Not super new, and lived a previous life in China. Interesting aircraft there.
Southwest Airlines Flight 997
Depart ATL -6:15am (was actually 6:16)
Arrive TPA – 7:40am (was actually 7:37…talk about appropriate!)
This flight was only about half full. We were able to pretty easily to snag a trio of seats in row 5. I didn’t count, but I would guess there could have been almost no middle seats occupied this flight except by choice. We pushed at 6:16 and headed for runway 26L. I was a little surprised by that since we were heading south, but that may have been because of the early hour. I know ATL does some funky stuff with runways overnight.https://youtu.be/tHy-7s34eq8
Hey, have you ever wanted to see a 4K video of a 737-700 taking off from Atlanta at night in the rain? Boy, do I have good news for you. There’s a link to one above
Oh yeah, it was raining in Atlanta. I forgot to mention that.
You could definitely tell the aircraft was light. It got up quickly. Until we broke through the thick layer of clouds, I was totally disoriented with regard to direction. I didn’t even feel the left turn to the south.
Finally we broke through and I could catch a sunrise. There wasn’t much to see or do until we got down toward Tampa. The air was rough enough that we didn’t have cabin service. No matter for me. I’m content to stare out the window, the flight map, and just enjoy the ride.
At 7:12 we started descent for runway 1R. Sitting on the left afforded some excellent views of the bay.
As you can see, it was much nicer in Tampa than it was in Atlanta.
And passing right by the airport.
Cool stuff to see.https://youtu.be/Be0pU-MHh5o
Y’all, this may be legitimately the smoothest landing I’ve ever experienced. This was pure butter.
Our arrival gate this morning was C34. Check out the British Airways 737-400 in the background!
Nobody sane was awake when we landed, so we had some time to burn. We took the new train over to the new rental car center to get that all squared away. That was really nice. I didn’t know they were even working on such a project (shows how much I pay attention). Very nice facility.
So to burn time we went for breakfast at the Armature Works in Tampa. That was pretty cool, and different from the usual fare. I would like to go back there at a lunch hour for sure. There were some good looking options a little later in the day.
I had some chicken and waffles, and damn was it good
There wasn’t really much to photograph while we were there. Our hotel was right under the approach for PIE, but there weren’t many good photo ops just because of our location. The celebration was lots of fun, and come Friday it was time to go home. It was another very early start, up and out at 4:00am for a 6:00am flight.
It was a foggy, gray morning in Tampa. This particular aircraft was traveling somewhere northeast.
I couldn’t see out aircraft because we were at gate C32 down in the corner. Today was N7751A, an ex-AirTran bird, N337AT. Damn, I miss them.
Southwest Airlines Flight 878
Depart TPA – 6:00am (was actually 5:57)
Arrive ATL – 7:35am (was actually 7:19)
This flight, just like our inbound, was only about half full, so snagging decent seats wasn’t terribly difficult. Today we got the trio of 16 D, E, and F.
We pushed for runway 1R. I didn’t video takeoff because it was too dark. Seemed like our takeoff roll was long, but it was ok.
It was a nice morning for flying.
Sunrises and pretzels. What more could you want?
And watch the sunrise, I did.
At 6:50 we were on our way down for altitude for runway 9R. I was hoping for runway 10, but oh well.https://youtu.be/YjkGDLz1pWc
Speaking of runway 9R, here is landing. It was smooth as hell, but still only the 2nd smoothest of the week. Just like in Tampa, it was a nice morning in Atlanta for flying (quite a stark contrast from when we left).
Concourse C was looking very nice after renovations. We brought it in at gate C16.
One last look at N7751A. It was turning around and going to Austin.
Good flights. I just wish they weren’t so short. I always am game for more time in the air, and it’s always better than eight hours on I-75. This now leaves me only one trip report behind with two more on the horizon.
Thanks for reading
Careful, doors are closing, and will not reopen. Please wait for the next train.