No full trip report on yesterday’s trip down to LAX for Dorkfest but just a brief overview of what was a pretty good day. I got to go down to LAX last year for Dorkfest and at the time, David joined me. However this time it was just me on my own. I didn’t mind, there was plenty of Avgeeks around to chat to etc. I had picked up the flights super cheap so again like last year it was just a same day turn. But this year I was going down on Virgin, coming back on Delta. Not only would I get to try out Delta’s new service on their own metal between LAX and Seattle, I would have a double wammy in that I would be starting my requalification off early. 30 status credits in the bank (which is just under 10% towards requalification) within 2 days of starting again? Sign me up!
The flight down with Virgin was pretty average. The onboard crew were not the usual you would expect from Virgin and in fact felt more like flying United. The whole morning with Virgin America was a shambles. No recognition of status with Virgin Australia so that meant if I had not of even pushed for it, I would of been stuck in the giant security lines. The person who checked me in even said and I quote “This line is for those flying First Class only, you shouldn’t be here unless you wanted to upgrade”… ummmm I don’t think so! The little Gold Card in my hand should be worth something! The only good thing about SeaTac in the morning is that they seem to have expanded the amount of coffee outlets in the terminal and there is now 2 in the B concourse so it means that the one right out at the end of the pier is empty when the close one fills up. Perfect! The funniest thing was my TSA experience which was pretty good considering the usual suspects, but one of the guys working the bag scanner had a good joke about my camera gear telling me I “need more lenses”. I commented back that I was only going for the day so didn’t want to bring them all. He joked back “Well you sure as hell brought one that is big enough”. Ahhh the Bigma… getting comments everywhere!
Dorkfest was great, and it was great catching up with some people, getting some tips and just generally talking shop. I did manage to score myself the new Boeing Calendar. No one else seemed to want it and I was going to buy it myself anyway, so figured why the hell not! Also scored an Etihad A340-600 model… that made me happy. The days spotting was hit and miss though. I missed out on the KLM MD-11 because it went North when I went South. I did catch a couple of One World aircraft and also got the Eva Airlines Star Alliance, so the day was not a total failure. National Car rental made it a tough morning as the variety on the lot wasn’t that huge, but there was a number of Challengers to choose from. Though next time I might try the Kia Optima that they had (some of them were Hybrids). The weather was amazing, the sunburn was avoided. It was a great day out!
The flight back with Delta was probably one of my highlights for the day. Security at T5 was pretty empty and the TSA screener even wished me a “pleasant trip Malcolm” which was nice. The SkyClub staff were great and we had a little discussion about how nice and handy the new Virgin cards are. At least with Delta being a Virgin Aus gold means something. T5 is a bit of a mess though, can’t wait for them to hurry up and finish all the work that is going on. I left the Skyclub a bit early (After snagging Salmon 30 Salmon in REALLY nice light) to get a better seat and was told “take my pick.. its wide open”. Exit row it is! I was originally slated for a CRJ-900 flight, direct back to SeaTac. Though for some reason as I stepped onboard it was 3-3 and my brain didn’t even flag it for a good 3 or 4 minutes and then it went…. umm WHAT THE HELL! We must of been equipment swapped. The crew had mentioned onboard that tonights load was 33. That is one EMPTY plane and it made for the best service onboard. Hand service of snacks and drinks, crew who wanted to do everything to please you cause they had nothing else to do. I had a full 3 rows of 6 seats to myself. Two of those rows were exit rows! Having 18 seats to spread out on is a bit much.
By the end of the day we were early into SeaTac, and I was hopping off my flight and things just timed well. I managed to make the light rail back to the station within seconds of it pulling out and within half an hour of that I was driving into the Apartments driveway.. Can’t beat that for a day in the sun!