mkeflyer717
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Posts: 388
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Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:10 am

For those of you who are familiar with my past trip reports you are aware of the interesting traveling experiences I have encountered this year. Well let me say that this will certainly be another one for you to read. Being the third trip for us this year I was a little weary that something would happen again.

As school was coming to an end me and my mom decided to visit our relatives in Mississippi since we hadn't been down there for a couple years. I checked flights online and Airtran was the cheapest followed by Northwest, but we did not buy any tickets just then. My uncle who works for NW said we could get down to MEM on standby for only $135 per person roundtrip and that sounded good to our ears. We flew down on standby about 3 years ago, but at that time my uncle had to fly up and then fly down with us for some reason... that has now changed apparently. My nephew who is only 10 months old was to come down to visit the relatives too. I never traveled with an infant before and I wasn't sure I ever really did want to, but I was glad to be going anyways so I didn't really care too much.

The night before we were to leave I rushed to get my clothes packed because I procrastinated greatly. I went to bed at midnight and woke up at 4am. My dad dropped my mom, my nephew, and I off at the airport at about 5:30am. We used the self-check in and found out that one of our bags was almost overweight at exactly 50lbs. After completing the check-in process we headed up stairs to find a very long line for security. The line for Concourse E was longer than I ever saw before, but I was not worried because we had ample time. It sure was fun trying to get the stroller through security and even funnier when the TSA guys couldn't open the stroller. Once at our gate E68 my mom checked with the gate agent to see how the flight was looking as far as seats went. Unfortunately he said it was looking bad because they had a cancelled flight to DTW that morning which backed up all the other flights as well. I didn't really know the extent to the unlikelihood of getting on so I sat back and waited. While waiting I noticed several fire trucks and an ambulance pull up out side and they came up to attend a passenger who was having some difficulties of some sort. After that little incident I walked around and snapped some shots of planes like usual.


FL 717 sporting the new colors at E61


NW A320 I believe going to DTW


NW 752 pushing back for a flight to MSP


FedEx heavy taxiing by heading to the active.


NW flt. 949, the one we were supposed to take to MEM


Airtran's two gates were occupied so this 717 waited off to the side.




One of YX's new CRJs





When I came back to our gate boarding was underway and we sat and waited until last minute to see if we could get on. Confirming what I thought was going to happen, the guy said we wouldn't make it. I was pretty pissed especially because our bags were going on that flight and because the odds weren't looking good for getting on a later flight either.


here's the flight leaving without us.

We had the gate agent put us down for the 11am flight to MEM but there were a few other non-revs before us. After grabbing a quick bite and killing some more time I thought of a wonderful idea... check with other airlines to buy a ticket to MEM. First we checked with DL and the price was $635 per person; AA and US matched that same price. I thought our best bet was to check with FL so we did even though lately I would have been a little reluctant to fly with them because of the whole merger deal lol. FL gave us two options: $394 per person one way in business class that left MKE at 11am and arrived in MEM at 5pm or something like $274 per person in coach that didn’t get to MEM until 10pm. I didn’t really feel like spending the rest of the day at the airport or going home for that matter so my mom and I decided to take the first option that left around 11. The lady who took care of us was very kind and at times I probably freaked her out with all my knowledge on the flights like when I told her the flight options and what aircraft pretty much before she even looked them up. It was funny when she even said she likes to fly Midwest as much as she can. I don’t think that’s a common thing for an Airtran employee to say these days. As soon as we bought these one way tickets I called my uncle and told him the news and I assumed we would just fly standby NW home because the morning flight is usually easy to get on. One thing we didn’t know was that he would have to fly with us home because we did not fly down on NW. My uncle said it would be hard for him to do that so we said we would just by FL tickets home. The sad part is we thought of this a little to late and we would have to buy more one way tickets home. It would have been better to buy roundtrip tickets on FL in the first place since that would have saved us $600! Because this all took place around 8am we still had plenty of time so we walked around the terminal then headed back through security. For the next two hours I tried my best to entertain myself, but that was not a problem since my nephew was the center of attention in the gate area.

The inbound Airtran flight was running a few minutes late but nothing that affected our flight too terribly. As passengers were deplaning a lady mistakenly placed a used headset in a clean headset basket at the gate counter. Then a FL employee snapped and dumped the whole basket immediately in the trash. I know that was the right thing to do but she did not have to make such a scene as she did.


Our 737 arriving to the gate.

June 14, 2007
Airtran 81
737-700
Seat: 3F
Load factor: 100%

Airtran was probably the first airline I ever heard that persistently requested that the passengers remove everything from their carry-ons that they would be using before boarding the plane in order to make the process quicker. That was ironic because the boarding process seemed to take longer than usual. While others were taking their seats we were offered drinks and I got an orange juice. The flight attendants were very kind and humorous. One lady FA in particularly was very funny and nice and said that she “likes the young one’s (referring to my nephew) because they don’t know what’s going on, and the old people because they usually forget what’s going on.” lol


View from my window while sitting at the gate.

Pushback was a few minutes behind schedule and we taxied to runway 1L for departure. We waited for one aircraft to depart ahead of us than we rolled on and powered up.

Those engines sounded great as we made are way smoothly off the runway and into the air.
Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
 
mkeflyer717
Topic Author
Posts: 388
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RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:12 am


We continued north briefly before making a westward turn .


Flying over Miller Park.



After one more turn to the south we passed through the cloud layer which made for some nice views.
I absolutely love those blue winglets!

The business seats we were seated in seemed very similar to YX’s signature seats, just that they were blue leather instead of brown. It didn’t take long for me to get comfortable and I spent most of my time listening to music.


We were offered a drink and a choice from a variety of chips and snacks. My mom didn’t want hers so I got two… what a deal.

Approaching ATL, clouds began to build and the pilots said that some showers/t-storms had developed in the area. The descent was very nice because of the interesting clouds we passed through…






On final for 9R

Video of the landing which was pretty hard.



ATL.jpg" width="640" height="480" border=0>
Welcome to ATL where ever plane is DL

Or FL. lol

It took a few minutes to be able to cross 9L due to the high volume like usual. Once we did we made our way to concourse D. When we deplaned we stopped in the jet way to wait for our stroller to be brought up. As we entered the concourse we were greeted by a friendly lady who gave gate information for connecting flights. We were told our MEM flight was leaving out of C10 so we took the airport tram over to C. Upon reaching the gate there was little room to sit because there was a flight bound for Savannah that had not left yet. My mom found a seat while I walked to the end of C to do some spotting….






Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
 
mkeflyer717
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Posts: 388
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RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:14 am

When I came back to the gate my mom wanted to go get some food so I was left responsible to watch my nephew. I did not mind because I watch him all the time and he was doing fine that morning. Well, as soon as my mom was out of view he began to fuss and there wasn’t anything that would calm him down. I felt really embarrassed because everyone probably did not enjoy the crying. The best I could do was walk around holding him which worked temporarily until my mom came back. When my mom arrived everything was all better. There’s just something about babies and their bonds with moms/grandmas that guys do not have I guess. lol Attention was drawn off our little situation with a guy pacing around the area screaming at assumingly his wife or girlfriend on his cell phone.

Airtran 529
717-200
Seat 3F
Load: near 100%


Our 717 at the gate.

Boarding began ontime and we walked up when zone 1 was announced. Like the other flights we dropped the stroller off at the end of the jet way before entering the aircraft. When that was done we took our seats in row 3 again. The business seats were cloth on this 717 instead of leather like the previous flight.


As we pushed back I was lucky to see this LH A343.

We had to hold for a while where we were right after being pushed back because of traffic. As we inched forward I took a few more pictures…



Making our way closer to the runways I noticed what the hold up was….

That looked like it would take forever, but the pilots said that all northbound flights were on a ground hold because of weather and that because we were westbound we would not have to wait as long. It still took about 30minutes to reach 8R, our departure runway.

Here are some of the pics I took before we took off…










At one point we shut our engines down for a minute or two before restarting and continuing to taxi.


One more view of the never ending line before we took off.
Sometimes I can’t decide whether to video or take pictures on take off, but this time I opted to video.

Notice all the planes that were waiting in line as we cruised on by.


DL departing parallel to us.


We ascended through some stormy clouds but little turbulence was felt.

For the majority of the 56 minutes we were inflight I listened to more music and enjoyed my snack/drink. Like the first flight my nephew, who sat on my mom’s lap, slept through the trip. The movement from taxiing usually put him to sleep pretty easily and he hardly made a sound during the flights thank god! lol Before I knew it we were beginning to descend into MEM. The weather looked very nice as we flew in for 36C over my relative’s town.


On final for 36C
Landing video..


Taxi time to our gate was brief and we pulled into C16 next to this UAex CRJ700

We got the stroller again and were greeted with the warm southern hospitality by several airline workers. My uncle told us our bags made it on the original NW flight and were sitting in the baggage claim so we headed that way. First we had to pass through the gloomy dungeon. We took the elevator down and ended up in some dark, small, winding hallways that had no signs directing us anywhere, but we eventually found the baggage claim. I think MEM needs to remodel more of there terminal and baggage areas; their concourses seem fine. After we claimed our bags we met our relatives and loaded up their car before leaving for the short drive to Mississippi.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the report so far. I will have part 2 up with the return details soon so check back for it.

-Gaston

[Edited 2007-06-23 23:26:48]
Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
 
AirTranTUS
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RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:55 am

Good report and pics. Flying standby is always a risk, isn't it?

Looking forward to Part 2.
I love ASO!
 
airtran737
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RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 7:46 am

Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Thread starter):
It was funny when she even said she likes to fly Midwest as much as she can. I don’t think that’s a common thing for an Airtran employee to say these days

Not that uncommon, especially in MKE. Would you rather go non-stop or go through ATL? I commuted for 4 1/2 years on YX in and out of MKE, they always took care of me. Besides the employees at FL don't care nearly as much about the merger as the people on a.ne t do..

Great trip report.
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
 
mkeflyer717
Topic Author
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RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 8:16 am

Thanks for the comments.

Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 3):
Flying standby is always a risk, isn't it?

Yeah it is. We checked well in advance to figure out which flight would have the best chance for us to get on and for about a week NW 949 was the emptiest. In general NW flights to MEM usually have some open seats, but with some people referring to this as maybe "the summer from Hell" for NW I guess what happened was kind of expected. about 3 days before we were to leave there were 20-25 seats open. The night before that dropped to 13 but we still felt fairly confident about getting on. That cancellation to DTW did help the situation at all, but from this I experience I think I will probably never choose to fly standby ever again.

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 4):
Not that uncommon, especially in MKE



Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 4):
Besides the employees at FL don't care nearly as much about the merger as the people on a.ne t do..

I guess that is true, that just didn't really cross my mind too much .For some reason what the lady said or maybe the way she said it just came across as funny to me, but that last part especially makes sense. People on A.net can get very hostile at times.  box 
Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
 
boeing743
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RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 8:55 am

I would image how you feeling when flying through cloudy, I has several experience thru it, sometimes very good and smooth flights or turbulance flights. One time on USAir from PIT to IND, after the taking off, as F/As head to gallery to get ready for beverag service, our start to experienced bad turbulance, captial order all F/As to seat and later we suddently dropped over thousand feet. We were so scared and pilot said that we flew thru the jet stream so that he were going to try to avoid it or going higher. for whole flight there were no beverage services and landing was little hard as pilot had plane on full power.
 
jamesjimlb
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RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 9:00 am

jeez how many trips do you take. nice report.
The sky is no longer the limit, but the mere minimum
 
flyingchoirboy
Posts: 270
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 10:45 am

RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 9:00 am

Nice trip report! I'm glad that you enjoyed FL. Business class is nice on FL, I love flying it.

Scott
 
oldman55
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RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 2:35 pm

Great report mke flyer(not mke spotter lol) I am still waiting for my prize for knowing that there are 2 of you  Smile
too bad most of us get too soon old and too late smart
 
b737100
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RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:52 pm

Very nice trip report, thanks for sharing!
Boeing 737 sunjet service
 
mkeflyer717
Topic Author
Posts: 388
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 12:41 pm

RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Mon Jun 25, 2007 4:01 am

Thanks again everyone.

Quoting Boeing743 (Reply 6):
Boeing743

wow interesting story, that sounds pretty bad.

Quoting JamesJimlb (Reply 7):
jeez how many trips do you take

lol well lately I've taken more than normal, but that will probably be over for a while.

Quoting Oldman55 (Reply 9):
Great report mke flyer(not mke spotter lol) I am still waiting for my prize for knowing that there are 2 of you

your prize is a trip to MKE like you mentioned, whether you like it or not!  Wink

-Gaston
Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
 
oldman55
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Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2004 11:38 am

RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:31 am

Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Reply 11):
Quoting Oldman55 (Reply 9):
Great report mke flyer(not mke spotter lol) I am still waiting for my prize for knowing that there are 2 of you

your prize is a trip to MKE like you mentioned, whether you like it or not!

-Gaston

Sigh......ok I guess I can take a tour of the sausage factories and the brewerys and possibly get a free sample or 20  Yeah sure
too bad most of us get too soon old and too late smart
 
travatl
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2001 4:57 pm

RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:20 am

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 4):
Besides the employees at FL don't care nearly as much about the merger as the people on a.ne t do..

LOL!! Heard the other day in the crew room: "Now who's Midwest, again?".
1 Interview. 24 years. 3 Airlines.
 
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mke717spotter
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Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 9:32 am

RE: Airtran MKE-ATL-MEM Part 1 (pics/vids)

Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:44 am

Quoting Oldman55 (Reply 9):
Great report mke flyer(not mke spotter lol) I am still waiting for my prize for knowing that there are 2 of you

Well as if on que I'll lpost my comment haha...Another good report like usual Gaston and some pretty cool pictures as well! Good to see FL bringing some of their 737s into MKE.
Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.

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