Hello everybody I'm back with another trip report. These flights happened back before Halloween but I've been pretty backed up in terms of finishing up my other recent trip reports. As some of you may know, I'm from the Milwaukee area and I currently go to school at the University of Arizona in Tucson. A lot of my friends from high school are at UW Madison and I had always played around with the idea of flying out there for Halloween weekend. I always get told how crazy the parties are over there during that time, but at the same time I didn't want to miss out on the stuff going on in Arizona. Well, this time around Halloween fell on a Thursday and it turned out that most of the Halloween stuff in Madison was going on the weekend before, while in Arizona the day of Halloween. This way I'd be able to take in the fun of Halloween at both schools! Aside from that I was also excited about being able to fly into MSN
for the first time. I pretty much went with the cheapest flights I could find, and MSN
isn't usually a very cheap place to fly from. So without further ado, on to the report...(Oct. 25-28)
This first couple of pictures don't really have anything to do with the flights, but I thought I'd include them anyways since they look kind of cool. I took them during sunset from the roof of my apartment a few days before I left for Madison.
Looking towards campus.
On the day of departure it was an early wake-up call for me since my shuttle ride up to PHX
was at 4:15 AM
. Like I said, I went with cheapest flights I could find and that ended up being a 7:45 AM
departure. I was already pretty worn out since my hell week with school had just ended and then I didn't fall asleep that night until after midnight.
In other words, it was going to be a day full of red bulls, coffee, etc. When we got to PHX
the sun was just starting to come up.
I headed inside terminal 2 to check in for my flights and everything went routinely. This terminal never seems to get too busy since only UA
use it. When I got to the security checkpoint I put my toiletry kit on the belt for the x-ray machine since I had forgotten to get a plastic zip-lock bag for my liquids. Then one of the TSA
agents proceeded to lecture me on how I have to leave it open and unzipped or else it "slows up the whole process." I didn't so much care when I was younger, but now that I'm flying a lot more often I'm starting to get tired of all the hassles that come along with dealing with TSA
. Anyhow, once that was taken care of I headed over to gate 3 where our 739 was getting prepped for the flight to DEN
I walked down to the end of the concourse (where there's a lot of empty, boring space) and this AS
734 was going to SEA
With not much else going on, I headed back to the gate and waited for boarding to start. This flight was going to be full so I took advantage of getting my bag checked for free at the gate. My seat was 30A.
Once everything was set, we pushed back and taxied out to runway 7L
. There wasn't any other traffic so we took off immediately and continued to climb out smoothly over eastern Phoenix.
Not long after departure we passed over the famous Arizona Meteor Crater. This is the second time I've seen it on a flight from PHX
During the beverage service I got a cup of coffee along with cranapple juice. Overall the flight was smooth and after the snow-capped Rockies came into view we started descending into DEN
We landed on runway 35L and then taxied over to the B concourse.
We parked at gate B20, and our 739's next flight was to EWR
I checked one of the flight information monitors and saw that my next flight to ORD
was leaving from gate B45, so I started walking down that way. On the walk over I got an up-close encounter with one of UA
's new 787s. This particular flight was heading to NRT
When I got to the gate the aircraft for our flight hadn't arrived yet, so I walked around the concourse some more. The last time I was at DEN
, our evening flight got cancelled and we ended up having the sleep overnight in the terminal! Eventually the 757 for our flight did arrive though, so it didn't look like there was going to be any problems this time around.
I was seated in 31A for this flight, and after pushing back we taxied out to runway 8 for takeoff.
Luckily for me Channel 9 was turned on for this flight. I only flew UA
for the first time a year ago so I've only been able to experience it a few times, but I love it! It’s too bad it’s not installed on all aircraft across the fleet.
Similar to the first flight, this one had a full load and it was pretty smooth throughout. I got some more coffee during the drink service and then just listened to channel 9 and looked out the window. Our descent into ORD
took us out over the Lake Michigan coastline before turning around to line up with runway 27R. I love this approach into ORD
because you get a great overview of downtown.
It must've been a kind of windy outside because as we got lower it got a little bit bumpier. After landing we taxied over to gate C25.
Since I had such little experience flying UA
up to that point, this was the first time that I had been in terminal 1 at ORD
. It also felt a little weird having to make a connection there, because in the past being at ORD
meant the trip was over except for having to drive back up to Wisconsin.
As expected, my flight from MSN
was leaving from the F gates at terminal 2. I passed through the tunnel connecting both concourses of terminal 1, and reminded me a lot of the one at DTW
On the walk over I stopped a couple times to check out some of the action. This UA
738 was going to ANC
- quite a long flight!
Once I got over to terminal 2 this ended up being my LAST up-close encounter with a DL
DC-9 before they were all removed from service.
It’s pretty sad that they're all gone, but at least I managed to get on several flights the past few years in anticipation of their eventual retirement. This particular flight was to ATL
The gate for my flight to MSN
, F1, was one of the ground level boarding gates and it was kind of a madhouse over there because it seemed like they were boarding 3-4 flights at a time. I walked around to get a view of the CRJ for my flight, and unfortunately it ended up being one in the boring OO
livery. For some reason I always get annoyed flying in planes that have a mismatched/generic livery.
After a little bit of waiting they started boarding for our flight and we headed downstairs and onto the tarmac.
Following push back we made quick taxi over to runway 32L and then took off to the north. It was hard to take any decent pictures for the first half of the flight due to glare from the sun setting. Obviously this flight was just a short hop so there wasn't a regular drink service, but the flight attendant did come through the aisle offering water. About halfway through the flight I looked across the aisle through the other window and I could make out my house as well as MKE
. It definitely was a little strange seeing that when I wouldn't actually be over there until Thanksgiving! Once was passed MKE
we turned to the west and started the descent into MSN
We flew in from the northeast and our descent was mostly over the rural outskirts of Madison.
We landed smoothly on runway 21 and then taxied to the gate. The terminal was pretty deserted at the time.
After deplaning I headed downstairs to the baggage claim to collect my luggage. Once down there I waited, and waited, until eventually the belt shut off and my bag was still nowhere to be seen. Lately I had been having some problems with airlines misplacing my bag so I was starting to think "here we go again." I went over to the UA
office next to the carousel and saw my bag sitting in there along with a few others. The guy told me that apparently it had come in on an earlier flight about an hour ago. Not sure if that meant they put it on the non-stop DEN
flight instead or what, cause I didn't think there was an earlier flight at ORD
that I could've made it to in time. Anyways, with that taken care of I headed outside and about ten minutes later my friend picked me up.
During my weekend stay in Madison I stayed with one of my friends from high school. He lives on campus in a house run by the Evans Scholars Foundation. It’s kind of like a fraternity, but instead its more of a scholarship house and they recruit people out of high school who were heavily invested in caddying/golf. On Friday and Saturday night we went in our costumes, and of course, I had to make my costume aviation related so I went with the Tom Cruise Top Gun outfit.
Overall it was a fun couple of nights. We went out to a few parties, and also hit up some of the bars. It was cool meeting up with some of my other high school friends who go to UW Madison and then also seeing the few others who came in for that weekend as well. It was also nice being able to experience the fall weather for the first time in a while, something I had been unable to do the past few years since I've been in Arizona during that time. Here's a picture looking down State Street up to the Capital Building. The campus in Madison is a lot different to mine in Arizona in the sense that it’s much more urban and blended into the city.
Looking up Bascom Hill. It’s kind of the symbolic "center" of campus.
On Sunday we didn't really do a whole lot but just kind of relaxed/recovered from the past two nights. In the evening we watched Packers-Vikings game The Packers smoked them that night, but then the following week Aaron Rodgers got hurt and things kind of spiraled out of control for a while...Anyways, after the exciting weekend it was time to head back to Arizona.
My flight to MSP
was at 9:30 AM
so I got up a little bit after 7 to shower and get ready to go to the airport. It was a short ride over to MSN
and when we got there my friend and I said our goodbyes - although nothing too dramatic since we'd be seeing each other in a few weeks during Thanksgiving break. I then headed inside to check in and things were pretty quiet. I understand that MSN
received some renovations not too long ago and the terminal definitely has a nice, modern feel to it.
After printing out my boarding passes I headed upstairs to the TSA
checkpoint. Remembering what happened at PHX
, I proceeded to take my toiletry kit out and unzip it, when one of the TSA
guys interrupted and said "No, you don't have to do that. It slows everything down." At that point I was just kind of like "wtf?". I was about to tell him that the people in PHX
had told me to do the exact opposite thing, but it was still pretty early for me so I just dropped it and went on through into the gates area.
At first the only other flight there was a DL
flight to LGA
that had been delayed, until this UA
CRJ arrived from DEN
I went over and bought a coffee and a muffin for some breakfast and soon afterwards the A320 for my flight arrived and pulled into the gate.
The traffic started to pick up at that point as two more UA
Once everyone finished deplaning from the inbound flight they started boarding for my flight to MSP
. Similar to when I left in PHX
, the flight was full so I was able to check my bag at the gate for free.
We pushed and then taxied out to runway 36 for an immediate takeoff.
Not long after reaching our cruising altitude we passed over the LSE
Soon afterwards we started our descent into MSP
. It was a pretty cool, scenic approach, especially given the clear skies that day. We flew past the airport and went right over downtown before turning around to line up with runway 12L.
After landing we made a bit of a long taxi over to gate G15. Our A320's next flight was to ABQ
My connection time at MSP
was somewhat tight, so after deplaning I headed straight over to gate F8 for the flight to PHX
. Right as I got there boarding was about to begin, and almost fittingly at the adjacent gate they were also boarding this MD
-90 to TUS
. I ended up taking this flight following winter break on my way back to Tucson.
Eventually they called my zone and I headed aboard to seat 37F.
Once everyone one was seated we pushed back and taxied out to runway 17. There was a small line of aircraft in front of us, but once they went up we took off. During the climb out I got another great overview of the airport and downtown Minneapolis.
It was a smooth, uneventful flight and for the most part I just looked out the window and listened to my IPod. I took out my laptop and was going to access the WIFI, but it was a little too pricy for me. I think it’s a much better bargain on WN
After we passed over the mountains the terrain below started to resemble the desert a bit more and that meant we were getting closer to PHX
Similar to the first flight, the perfect weather outside made for another great approach. We landed on runway 26 and from there it was a short taxi to the gate.
Here's our 757 at the gate getting prepped for the return flight.
I then headed out to the baggage claim to collect my suitcase and from there I went over to the shuttle pick up for the two hour drive back to Tucson.
This is my 30th trip report and I hope you enjoyed reading it! I know there wasn't really anything that special about these flights, but like I said who knows when I'll get another chance to fly through MSN
so that's the main reason I decided to write this report. It’s definitely a nice little airport (kind of like TUS
) so hopefully the amount of flights through there continues to increase. Oh, and in case you're wondering I didn't skip class on Friday and Monday.
All of my classes were Tuesday-Thursday. Thanks again for reading!!!