Frontier flight 823
Depart: Kansas City International, MO (MCI)
Arrive: Denver International, CO (DEN)
Departure time (actual): 6:30 a.m. CDT (6:28 a.m. CDT)
Arrival time (actual): 7:10 a.m. MDT (7:13 a.m. MDT)
Departure gate: C84
Arrival gate: A24
Equipment: A319, N947FR
Tail: Maya the Jaguar!
Load factor: 50%
Photo © Ben Wang
OK, so this was going to be a fun weekend. Not much sleep, but fun. High school football Friday night, first time on Frontier to Denver in the morning, Mizzou game at Colorado at 4:30, switch up the airlines to good old American at 7:30 Sunday morning through DFW for my first time and then drive back to Mizzou.
I had to get up at 2:30 a.m. after getting about an hour and a half of sleep Saturday to drive to Kansas City. I left Columbia, MO, right at 3 in the morning and was off down I-70 West. Had to deal with deer (only one) crossing the highway, but fortunately made it to KCI economy parking at about 5:05. Froze my butt off standing for the shuttle for just 3 minutes.
Anyway, made it up to the "C" terminal at about 5:25. I had never been into the terminals of MCI, I just sat on a WN plane once here during a stopover. I'm not a big fan of the consolidation and division they have set up. It's a far less thrilling experience than walking into the main entrance of the terminal and seeing counter after counter of all of the airlines together. It's kind of sad at MCI.
Oh, I'm sure the airlines love it. They've got all of their ops right by their gates. They never have to walk more than 10 feet to do anything! And baggage claim between gates? Don't like it.
Had the timeless reminder of home (CMH) when I saw the Skybus counter at MCI. It makes you feel good to see such staples of your hometown on display out here!
I walked around to check out the American, ExpressJet, Continental and Northwest gates. Same. Same. Same. Same. Boring airport!
Went back to the checkpoint for our four gates. I mean, that security setup makes it go quick, but it's lame.
I was through security in three minutes, waited around for about 10 inside the 4-gate pen and then boarded nearly last at about 6:10.
.......Green! It felt like a National Rental Car counter, but I liked the interior. So exciting to see a Frontier for the first time! I went on back just a few rows, slid into 6F and had that side of the row to myself!
I saw the F9 commercials playing on the little DirecTV screen on the back of the seat in front of me and they looked so cool. I thought they'd be playing for a while, but by the time I got my headphones out, I was only able to listen to one of them -- and it was great! They are a really fun airline.
Pushed back a few minutes before 6:30 and had a little bit of a taxi out to runway 27. The engines buzzed the familiar Airbus sound and the map on the DirecTV flickered on as we left the ground. I've never even been on a plane with the in-flight map yet (yeah I fly the old legacies like American and United)! It was cool -- made me want to stay awake at this hour. I didn't.
I dozed in and out of sleep and stretched my legs out through my entire row. I kept peeking at the map: Topeka, Manhattan, Hays, Colorado!
The sun started to make an appearance, chasing behind us from the east. Cool colors.
Easy descent into DEN, not really familiar with the area so couldn't tell ya how we went, but it was smooth, like the Rockies.
Came down on one of the 16s -- I'm pretty sure it was 16R -- at 7:08 MDT. Turned left towards the terminal, and I saw the famous peaks.
Another fuzzy friend was pushing back from its gate as we pulled up to A24 at about 7:13 a.m.
That's a twisty jetway at A24 -- and I loved it, a great way for Denver to welcome me. Jetways are so cool.
Anyway, this place was deserted! Some passengers, but NO planes -- at 7:15. I think the one I saw pushing back next to us was the last of the first bank. Talk about banks -- there were just a few (like 2) more Frontier's at the other end of the hall, but other than that it was cleared out. I was pretty shocked.
Had tons of time to kill at DEN! Walked the entire length of all three concourses, including the UA express addition.
It was great. Can't get the underground train's banjo "twang" thing they play out of my head now!
Ate breakfast and watched College GameDay at a restaurant in the UA concourse and then finally caught the 10:15 SkyRide to Boulder to cover the game for www.thepalestra.com. Mizzou @ Coloardo! It was a beautiful day on a beautiful campus with a beautiful win for the visiting team! Check out the stories at http://www.thepalestra.com/schoolsite.php?sid=1783&id=8019&rid=31. There's another one on there -- below this one I posted.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
American Airlines flight 872
Depart: Denver International, CO (DEN)
Arrive: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (DFW)
Departure time: 7:30 a.m. MST
Arrival time: 10:25 a.m. CST
OK, this is a really funny story, and exciting.
So, my very gracious and fellow reporter for www.thepalestra.com, Katie O'Block, let me stay at her Boulder house on Saturday night. What a great person!
So, I got to bed about 12 a.m. Boulder time, but set my watch back (thank goodness after the long day) to 11 p.m. Got up a little before 5 a.m. to get out of there and catch the SkyRide back to DEN in time for my 7:30 flight to DFW and then on to MCI.
Katie, the unbelievable host she is, got up at 5 to say goodbye. I planned to walk to the bus station at 14th & Walnut in Boulder, but of course, Katie had to offer a ride. So, we got in the car and said goodbye and I was waiting for the 5:27 SkyRide to DEN by 5:20.
And I waited. 5:25. No bus. 5:27. No bus. 5:28: I hear a bus leaving somewhere around me. I see a reflection in an office building of a SkyRide bus. Oh crap -- I missed it. I was standing 15 feet away from the bus, but I didn't know it was there.
I was at the bus station, on the other side of the indoor waiting room, so my view of the other side of the station was blocked, where the SkyRide departed from. Katie said it would come right where she dropped me off, so I stayed there. But, I can't be mad at her at all after all she did for me. It was just very frustrating!
So now I was going to miss my 7:30 flight. I went into panic mode for a quick minute because I was stuck at a bus station in a city I had been in for all of 18 hours. I thought about calling a taxi, but that would have cost me about $150 (I knew that from the night before)!
But then I calmed down and realized standby on American would probably work. I called the fine folks at the AA call center at about 5:45 in the morning and the woman I talked to said it looked like there were seats available on the 8:50 a.m. flight from DEN-DFW. Then I'd standby in DFW.
OK, no problem. I called WN just to see what they had in case. They had an 11:10 a.m. flight, DEN-MCI, with one seat left for $191. I'll stay on standby.
So, I waited around the bus terminal for another 45 minutes, bought a Sunday Denver Post, you know normal stuff for hanging out at the bus station at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning. There were a few interesting people in there.
Boarded the SkyRide at 6:24 and was at DEN at 7:30, just as my original flight was pushing back.
Went up to the kiosk, it said it couldn't retrieve my reservation (expected), so I went up to an agent. She quickly put me on standby for the 8:50 flight, but now warned because of a delay to a later DEN-DFW flight, they were trying to get more people on the 8:50 flight so chances didn't look as good for me. Oh well, there's plenty more AA DEN-DFW to try to get on. And I had all day.
Went down through security. Kind of a confusing system -- I was down at the north checkpoint, but not bad. Through in about three minutes again. And onto the "wubdubow, wubdubow" (that's my imitation of the train arriving noise at DEN)! Cool Frontier ads down at the train stop.
American Airlines flight 1032
Depart: Denver International, CO (DEN)
Arrive: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (DFW)
Departure time: 8:50 a.m. MST
Arrival time: 11:45 a.m. CST
Made it to concourse C and checked in at C39 with the friendly agent. I just confirmed I was on the standby list. They don't have the usual AA TV screens at their gates like they have at most of their big stations that display the standby list.
It was obvious I wasn't getting on this flight. It was packed in the gate area. Antsy looking people standing by the podium -- meaning lots of standbys. Sure enough, they were full, I don't think one standby made it on.
There was a 9:45 to DFW that was the delayed flight the agent talked about. It was now due to depart at 10:35. There was also an originally scheduled 10:35 DFW flight. Craz-i-ness!
I went to Caribou Coffee by the US gates to get a bagel and a smoothie (good!). Saw some planes when I was down there.
I came back and the same friendly man I talked to before was now working the delayed DFW flight at C37. He made an announcement to all standbys to come up to get a seat assignment! Hoo-ray!
He also got me confirmed on a 2:30 p.m. from DFW-MCI. What a guy! This turned out to be huge, very huge, later on in the day.
American Airlines flight 732
Depart: Denver International, CO (DEN)
Arrive: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (DFW)
Departure time (actual): 9:45 a.m. MST (10:26 a.m. MST)
Arrival time (actual): 12:35 p.m. CST (1:08 p.m. CST)
Departure gate: C37
Arrival gate: C31
Equipment: MD-82, N7531A
Load factor: 90%
Photo © Gabe Pfeiffer
Waited with my laptop for my sweet Super 80 to arrive to take me to DFW.
Dude, they were super fast on this turn. It's like AA wanted to be like WN or something. The jet got into C37 at about 10 and they were boarding about 10 minutes later. And we were out by 10:26!
It was hilarious, though. There were two AA flights to DFW departing from C37 and 39 at 10:35! Boarding announcements were a mess!
I got on the plane, walked just past first class, when a FA shooed me into row 12, without saying anything. My seat was in row 25. I said, "I can sit here?" She said, "Sure, that's fine." It was great, it was a window seat. I had 25B on my ticket! The FA was just trying to get us out of there as quick as possible because we were delayed. She did a good job.
They pushed back only about three or four minutes after I sat down. Really. They were moving it.
We taxied out to runway 25. We were third in line to depart.
This is a sweet runway. Taking off straight toward the Rockies! The little UA Dash 8 that took off before us looked so helpless as it slowly inched off the ground towards the towering mountains ahead of it. But, the little guy made it alright, making a slight turn to the north to avoid its daunting challenge.
We took off after a UA 737 and went south. I saw downtown straight out my window.
Continued south. And south. And south. Not much going on.
I read the AA magazine, had some water, typed some trip report and dozed off a bit again.
Hey, we flew over the NASCAR race going on at the Texas Motor Speedway and by Chase Daniel's (Mizzou quarterback) high school and football stadium -- Southlake Carroll Dragons! That was neat.
We landed on 18R at about 12:58. Very nice touchdown.
And boy was I happy to see this megaplex for the first time. So big! Grand AA hangars everywhere, Delta buildings, former NW DC-10s turned ATA parked outside of Delta Air Lines buildings. What's going on here?
I was happy to see this place. And it was just the start.
We waited to cross 18L for a jet, then made our way across the road and over to the C gates.
We pulled up to C31 a little after 1 p.m. and we were off quickly. I was greeted with lots of anxious New Yorkers waiting to get to LGA on their delayed flight with this plane, now -- gasp! -- 30 minutes late with a 1:50 p.m. departure to the Big Apple.
But I was in a new world, a new adventure, the AA fortress of DFW. I couldn't wait. What is this mysterious place I have heard and wondered so much about? At first glance, it reminded of AA's concourse at San Juan, Puerto Rico. In fact, now that I think about it more, they really seem very similar. Just in terms of the apparent age and condition of the gate areas, podiums and building in general. The way some of the gates are staggered (C32, 33) are really reminiscent of SJU.
But there was the SkyLink train to get to. Oh, how amazing this was. I couldn't have imagined a view like this.
When I first got on, I stared straight down on an AA 757!
The rest of my ride, all the way back around to the stop I got on at C32, was just jaw-dropping. Perfect views of DFW ops at their busiest, all aboard a smooth, windy tram car.
Saabs here, 777 there.... here comes another Mad Dog, there's one pushing back, going to TUL... oop there's a United 737... woah -- what's this?, a non-circle concourse, an elegant, square-shaped figure, a shopping-mall that resembles the Mall of America inside, that's novel... OK, back outside, around the train track, over some parking lots, here's the US old America West colors retro A319 again, here's a Frontier A319, I see a NW A319 taxing in... and finally we were back to the stop at gate C32. Great ride.
So, I stopped and got lunch at Au Bon Pain, good chicken sandwich, and went one gate over from where I arrived, to C30 for the 2:30 MCI flight.
American Airlines flight 1712
Depart: Dallas/Ft. Worth International, TX (DFW)
Arrive: Kansas City International, MO (MCI)
Departure time (actual): 2:30 p.m. CST (2:28 p.m. CST)
Arrival time (actual): 4:00 p.m. CST (4:01 p.m. CST)
Departure gate: C30
Arrival gate: C78
Equipment: MD-82, N70401
Load factor: 100%
Photo © Chris Waser
I was glad my man helped me out in DEN with a confirmed seat. I took a glance at the standby monitor at the gate -- it looked pretty full.
When they called my group to board at about 2:10, I got an even better look. There were 41 standbys! 41. That's bad.
I later learned (the pilot announced on the plane) that a previous flight that day was canceled to MCI. I also later learned (when I got home) that the canceled flight was flight 880 -- the flight I was scheduled to connect on if I had made my 7:30 a.m. flight from DEN. So, I would have been one of those 41 (or 42) standbys that didn't get a seat! But because I missed my first flight in DEN because I couldn't find the stupid bus, I'm getting home earlier than if I would have if I made my first flight! Crazy.
I was on the full plane. I had seat 8D, an aisle. That was the only problem. I was happy though, I was on the plane.
We pushed back on time and headed out among the masses (of AAs). We went for 18L. We got on the strip pretty quickly, lined up and were outta there.
The flight deck told us just about every city we were going to be going over between DFW and MCI. It was nice and detailed.
I didn't get to take any pictures because I had the aisle. Sorry.
I listened to my iPod a lot on this flight. Had to do it sometime this trip.
It was a pretty short flight and we landed on 19R a few minutes before four. Some overhead bins opened (just slightly, but they made a noise) when we touched down. Some people were scared by this.
We went over to C78 and were guided in by a fine ramper. I got out, got the reg. number for you all and was out on the curb in two minutes and on the shuttle bus back to parking in four minutes.
Good experience, this trip.