21 December 2004
Midwest Connect YX2019
Minneapolis/Saint Paul (MSP) to Milwaukee (MKE)
Fairchild-Dornier 328JET N357SK
Photo © Art Brett
I arrived at MSP via the new Hiawatha Light-Rail line at 4:45am. I made my way to the Midwest counter where there was a short queue. After about a five minute wait, I was checked-in by the friendly agent, who tagged my bags, assigned my exit row, and issued my boarding passes all the way to Nashville. I placed my bag on the luggage cart adjacent to the ticket counter (Midwest has no conveyor belt) and proceeded to the Skyway security checkpoint to save some walking (the tram to Concourses A&B doesn’t run between 11pm and 6am). I cleared security without issue and arrived at Gate B15 (the very furthest gate in the airport) at 5:30am, after a lengthy walk.
Boarding, via the Jetway, began late at 5:50am, due to a fueling delay. I was greeted at the door by the smiling, perky FA and headed to my seat 9A, the single side emergency exit. This flight’s load was 29 of 32 seats. We pushed back at 6:12am and headed to the 30R deicing pad for a quick deicing. We then headed to runway 30R where we took off without delay at 7:20am. The Fairchild-Dornier 328JET takeoff is very similar to the 757’s, where one is pinned against the seat by the G-forces. Once we passed 10,000 feet, the FA began her service, which consisted of Juices, Pepsi products, and very tasty Cranberry Cheese or Chocolate Pecan Kringles.
Descent began at 7:00am am, we then headed out over Lake Michigan, did a 165 degree turn and landed on runway 19R at 7: 14am. All the stands were occupied so we had to wait about 5 minutes for a gate to open up. This was much to the dismay of many of the passengers on board, such as myself, who had very tight 20-minute connections. We finally arrived at the free stand at 7:23am. The gate agent said that they were holding all connections and asked us to allow the Ft. Myers and Orlando passengers to disembark first.
Transit at Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
Once I reached the terminal, I immediately asked the agent if Nashville was boarding already. Luckily, it had a mechanical delay and was estimated to depart at 8:30am. I took this opportunity to take a walk around Midwest’s facilities at MKE, which are also shared by United, Air Canada, and US Airways. It is a small (around 15-gates) terminal that is roughly shaped like a T, with an atrium, food court, bookstore, and Starbucks stand in the center. Everything in it is Glass, Light Grey, or White giving it a somewhat modern-appearance. Its concessions offer extremely high prices. All in all, it is adequate for an airline of Midwest’s size. My flight was called to board early at 8:05am.
21 December 2004
Midwest Connect YX2265
Milwaukee (MKE) to Nashville (BNA)
Fairchild-Dornier 328JET N355SK
Photo © Remi Dallot
I boarded this flight through Gate D52, door C. I waked across the tarmac, around a Beech 1900 headed to Appleton, to N355SK which would be my aircraft to Nashville. The FA greeted me at the door, as usual, and I made my way to seat 11A in the rear of the craft. Since the flight was leaving earlier than expected it took about 15 minutes before they could round up all the passengers. This flight’s load was 15 of 32 seats filled. We pushed back at 8:20am and headed to runway 19R behind three other Fairchild-Dornier 328JETs. We had the usual extremely powerful 328JET take off at 8:30am. Once airborne, we had the exact same service as on my previous segment. The flight path took us out on Lake Michigan, over Valparaiso, IN, we followed the Illinois/Indiana border south, went over Louisville, and then straight in to Nashville. We began our descent at 9:30am, at which time the pilot began handing the plane like a fighter jet, making fast, tight turns, which caused quite a few audible groans from the passengers. We touched down on runway 20R at 9:44. We made a swift Southwest Airlines-style taxi to Gate C13, where we docked at 9:47am. The American Eagle contract rampers were extremely fast and my bags were on the belt before I arrived at the baggage claim.