As some of you may or may not know, Hawaiian Airlines has been designated the official airline of the Seattle Seahawks this year, in addition to the same designation that we have held with the Oakland Raiders organization for several years. HA flies both the Raiders and now the Seattle Seahawks to all of their away games. This past weekend, I had the privilege of being a crew member on our charter flight from Seattle to Cleveland and I wanted to share with you what working a trip like this is like.
On Friday, November 1st, our crew left the hotel and arrived at Seattle's ASIG terminal at the south end of SEA-TAC. We were scheduled to work on aircraft # 593 which is the designated aircraft for our Seahawk charters as the Seahawk logo has been affixed to this aircraft
However, we were informed that the aircraft had to make a diversion the night before to Los Angeles due to a medical emergency and that we would now be flying on aircraft #588.
We boarded the aircraft through the portable stairwell as there are no jetbridges at the charter terminal. All crew bags are left on the ramp and placed in cargo.
Prior to boarding, we check our emergency equipment as usual, and then prepare all food and drinks for our pre departure service. Each seat will have a pillow with the Seahawks logo
As well as a blanket, bottle of water and a noise reduction headset that were specially designed for these flights as they too have the Seahawks insignia.
Name plates are placed on each seatback, as everyone in the FWD and MID cabins have assigned seats.
The head coach (Mike Holmgren), as well as position coaches and coordinators, and the Seahawks executives sit in the First Class section. Since there are not enough F class seats for all positional coaches and coordinators, they take turns sitting in F Class for each road game. Coach Holmgren and the executives will always have F Class seats. Players sit in the last half of the economy section and each of them have their own seat grouping as the aircraft is in a 2-3-2 configuration.
Our flight was scheduled to depart Seattle at 2:00pm and at 1:00pm, the 4 buses that carry everyone pulled up and boarding commenced. During boarding, we play a video that has no music but shows the Seahawks logo on all cabin screens.
We quickly hung up coats, served drinks, offered snacks and newspapers, and next thing I knew the door was closing and we were leaving, a full 21 minutes early
Due to very strong tail winds, our flight would only take us 3 hours and 39 minutes, on a northerly route over Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Once airborne, we offer digi players to everyone and then start a movie on the cabin screens. Today's movie was "The Contract". Movies are chosen by the team.
About 20 minutes after takeoff, we commence with our meal service. Choice of entree's were Herb Crusted Filet Mignon or a Roasted Chicken Breast. All entrees are big and come with either potato/rice, vegetables, as well salad, rolls, and dessert.
For those not wanting a big meal, we also have chef salads, and fruit plates on board. In addition, snacks are always available. We offer fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, deli sandwiches, ice cream, candy bars, protein bars, you name it, we probably have it.
After the meal service, we do frequent walk throughs with water and offer drinks and snacks, although most people are full and they all have water bottles at their seats.
One hour before landing, we come through with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and milk.
On decent, we pass out all of the coats, and p
repare for landing.
Our flight landed at 8:38pm and we taxied over to the Jet Center terminal and parked. The aircraft would sit here for about 49 hours.
After everyone disembarked, we walked downstairs and boarded the van that would take us to our hotel in downtown Cleveland. It was my first visit to Cleveland and also my first time to Ohio. The first thing that we all noticed as we got closer to downtown, was the smell. I wasn't sure if it was coming from a factory or the lake, but there was a distinctive odor to the city. Otherwise, we were all excited to be there and we made our way to the Crowne Plaza Hotel at City Center. I got to my room and was really happy to open my curtain and see that I looked right out to the Cleveland Browns Stadium.
I have been a football fan my entire life and always enjoy visiting stadiums across the U.S. as well as other parts of the world. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to work this particular charter was so that I could visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. One of our crew members had a brother living in Ohio and he picked us up the next day and drove us there. It was awesome!
I have been a Denver Bronco fan my entire life and it was great seeing all of the exhibits dedicated to my favorite NFL player of all time, John Elway.
They even had an exhibit dedicated to the infamous "drive" in the AFC Championship game played in the old Browns stadium. It was great!
After visiting the HOF, we drove back to Cleveland and made our way to a nice restaurant in the Cleveland Heights area that was recommended by fellow A.Netter HPAEAA. It was called the Mad Greek and it was very good! Thanks for the recommendation HPAEAA!
The next morning we got up and visited the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame which was also conveniently located near our hotel and right next to the stadium.
[We all enjoyed that as well, but sorry, no pictures as they don't allow photography inside the exhibits.
After visiting the Rock HOF, we went next door to the game as we were all given tickets.
As has been my experience with working the Raiders charters, the visitors section of stadiums are almost always located in the nosebleed section, but I certainly wasn't complaining. Free tickets are free tickets! We were able to stay until mid way through the 3rd quarter as we then had to hurry back to the hotel and get back to the airport to prepare for our flight back to Seattle.
The game went into overtime so we were delayed a bit going back to Seattle. We were originally scheduled to depart at 9:00pm but we didn't leave until 9:47pm, and unfortunately, the Seahawks lost, so the mood was a bit subdued going back.
I wont go into detail about everything that we did going back as it was basically the same thing, with slightly different entree choices and movies. We showed "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larrry" as well as "Death Sentence".
In addition to our normal food offerings, we also have hot cheeseburgers and hot chicken sandwiches at each door during boarding as the team is very hungry after the game.
The flight going back to Seattle was 5 hours and 6 minutes as we now had strong head winds, and we didn't arrive back at the ASIG terminal until 12:08am.
And for those interested, our crew was a Honolulu based crew. We worked HA flight 22 from HNL to SEA on Thursday(11/1), and then worked HA #29 from SEA to OGG on Monday (11/5) then deadheaded back to HNL from OGG.
I have probably left things out that some of you want to know, so if you have any questions for me, I'd be happy to respond.