After a quick business trip to the beautiful city of Missoula, Montana (go GRIZ!!) I decided it was time to head to SFO to visit my mom for the next few days. Why not post a trip report while by the bay? Sorry for the lack of pictures, all I had was my Blackberry and the pics turned out blurry, I might add them later. Secondly, this is my first ever trip report!
Leg #1: MSO-DEN
Airline: United Express operated by Skywest Airlines, Inc.
Date: Fri, Dec 12
Aircraft type: Bombardier CRJ-200
Airport: Missoula, MT MSO
Scheduled: 7:05 AM
Actual: 7:05 AM
Airport: Denver, CO DEN
Scheduled: 9:06 AM
Actual: 8:55 AM
Duration: 2 hours
IFE: Skywest Magazine LOL
I arrived at the terminal about 90 minutes before my scheduled departure time and returned my Hertz rental (brand new Lincoln Navigator, quite an upgrade but I was not complaining). I love the smaller western airports like MSO, JAC (my hometown, woo!) and BOI. One thing I hate though is the over-done "Western" theme of many of these airports -- JAC included. BZN for example, just takes it over the top, combine that with an outdated terminal and you have yourself a pretty disappointing first impression of the state. MSO however, seems to have found a way to tastefully present the region with an eye catching terminal design, artwork and overall ambiance. By far, in my opinion, the best little airport the West has to offer.
Anyway, I checked in using the kiosk and headed straight to the new security checkpoint which was a breeze, and seeing as how only a few TSA agents were handling two DL departures, my UA flight, a QX Q400 to SEA and a few early passengers for NW errr DL's flight to MSP, I made it through fast, and had a few minutes to spare to grab some breakfast and coffee and relax for a bit before the flight boarded.
Being Premier Executive with UA, myself and a few others were allowed to pre-board the CRJ, my most hated airplane. I am 6'3" and the CRJ just is not a pleasant experience for my neck as I always cramp it staring out that tiny little window. Thankfully, I had the exit row on this flight.
As the rest of the passengers slowly made their way down the jetway, the one very, very perky flight attendant was busy helping keep things moving quickly to maintain an on-time departure. A few minutes after boarding, doors closed and the CRJ was pushed back for an on-time departure to DEN.
As with my experience on countless Skywest (both UA and DL), the service was professional, the cabin was spotless and the crew was both friendly AND helpful. I love it when the pilots talk to the passengers throughout the flight.
After a bumpy descent, our CRJ was gracefully placed onto the runway and quickly taxied to its position at the end of the B concourse. I personally prefer the terminal layout in DEN for regional flights compared to the mixed-bag experience I tend to find in SLC with OO. I compare these two airports alongside each other simply because for my neck of the woods, these are the two gateway airports for most connections out of the smaller western towns in Montana and Wyoming.
Leg #2: DEN-SFO
Airline: United Airlines, Inc.
Date: Fri, Dec 12
Aircraft type: Boeing 767-300 (new colors)
Airport: Denver, CO (DEN)
Scheduled: 11:20 AM
Actual: 11:30 AM
Gate: Concourse B, gate B43
Airport: San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Scheduled: 1:20 PM
Actual: 1:06 PM
Gate: T3, concourse F, Gate 86
Duration: 3 hours
Meal: Food for purchase
After spending a leisurely hour or so in the Red Carpet Club (east concourse, near gate 43 – how handy LOL) I decided to walk around for a bit and do some spotting before my flight to SFO boarded. I took the train to Concourse C, walked around for a while and spotted lots of WN, an AA mad dog headed to DFW, an OO CRJ headed to SLC (DL of course
) and a “few” UA birds.
I made my way back to B43, boarded the poorly maintained B767-300 (having flown on DL’s 763 last week, UA needs to dramatically improve their fleet upkeep, maybe get a few tips from Skywest) and soon we pushed back and I fell fast asleep wrapped in my comfortable first class seat. My three vodka tonics soon got the best of me and I crashed for the remainder of the flight, oh well. I opened my eyes only to find our plane landed parallel with a company A320! What a sight! We landed smoothly, taxied for what seemed like an hour and eventually made our way to the gate.
Overall, I don’t mind United, I particularly enjoy their regional flights, simply because Skywest does an exceptional job on these routes. Mainline UA is adequate, but their extensive route network generally makes them my carrier of choice.
[Edited 2008-12-13 09:39:14]