Seattle to Dallas
Dallas to Seattle
Sunday 10th February 2013
I woke up super early, I was determined to hit the gym to make up for any badness that was bound to happen today and last night. I clocked my 5k run in the gym in a good time (for treadmill running anyway) while watching House on the treadmill and a storm batter DFW. Pretty wierd if you ask me, the airport was desolate, not a single movement anywhere. With that done, I got myself to a state of readiness and rolled on out of the hotel. Quick stop to check out and then it was down to security where I was the first person in the priority queue… for a closed checkpoint… dandy.
I had a simple plan. Clear security in the D terminal (the hotel had given me a pass for priority security) and then while airside change terminals over to E. It meant going the long way round as the Skylink only goes one direction at that time of day not both, but hey. Better than having to waste time on a shuttle bus going to every terminal and waiting and waiting then checking in, then security and more walking all for nothing. So I waited the 10 minutes till the checkpoint opened and I was first on through for the morning nude oscope & pat down (it seems to not like the metal studs on my jeans).
With that complete I hopped the Skylink around to the E gates (not without leaving DFW a little present 😉 ) and the Skyclub for breakfast (or at least coffee and a take away breakfast). The Skyclub again was closed but 2 minutes later it was open. I had not had a single problem getting into the clubs over the weekend with the Velocity Gold Card, sure they had to do a couple of double checks as I was on a domestic itineray and they didn’t believe me, but that was all of a few extra seconds, they then recorded the number and billed VA for my entry I am sure.
Coffee grabbed (no oatmeal in sight this time) and I was out of there after not to long as the flight was approaching the time when I was meant to be boarding. But again boarding didn’t happen on time this morning (mainly cause it was so empty) but for a rare moment this weekend I was able to get a shot of my first ever CRJ-900. I now have almost the entire collection within 12 months of moving here.. awesome (although I know many who would think that shouldn’t be an achievement).
Delta Airlines – DL3357 (Operated by Pinnacle)
Dallas Fort Worth to Memphis (DFW-MEM)
Canadair CRJ-900 (N927XJ)
Economy Class – Seat 9A
Boarding: 0550 (Gate E16)
Push Back: 0615
Take off Roll: 0625 (Runway 35L)
Top of Descent: 0727
Touch Down: 0758 (Runway 18R)
Shut Down: 0800 (Gate B28)
The flight was called with the usual boarding process and I headed down the Jetway with what seemed like the entire first class cabin (although I had kinda snuck in at that point) and settled into my seat. I was joined by a seat mate though as the plane boarded and it was obviously not full, he appropriated a seat in the Economy Comfort section (at no additional cost to him) and left me to my row in peace.
This was a good thing for the moment as I was just wanting to spread out as I knew the next two flights were probably going to be full. Might as well take the space and comfort while I can. The shortest of my 3 flights lay ahead of me, and considering that the next one would probably be a bit easier and I wouldn’t have much time between flights, I figured I would work now, relax and eat breakfast on the next flight, grab a snack in MSP for the long flight, where I could eat and work on the wifi at the same time. So I set myself up ready as we pushed back in the darkness and I bid farewell to Dallas. Not much point in talking all that much about what was a climb out in the dark a few bumps here and there but nothing all that bad. A coffee, some water and working on the trip report. Having the chromebook has its benefits.
By the time we hit descent I was well and truly good for the connection and we had a bit of a delay due to the rain in Memphis so the descent was a little bumpy (but nothing much) and without all that much hassle. We touched down about 10 minutes late into Memphis but didn’t spend much time between Runway and gate.
Memphis had one thing at it’s airport that was prevelant. It may have been a Delta hub, but it was tiny compared to FedEx. FedEx dominated this airport, there were aircraft everywhere and if you took the entirity of the passenger side & doubled it, that would be the FedEx hub that we had landed next to… damn!
As I stepped off the flight in Memphis I had about 30 minutes till departure of my next flight. This meant boarding was probably already underway. Thankfully we landed at B28 and my next flight was out of B31. Practiclly opposite! It took all of 30 seconds to go between gates and I was walking up to the podium to hear that Skypriority could board. Thing is.. that is when it happened again. The Delta app crashed out my boarding passes and my paper copies were in my bag and there was so many gate lice around that I just asked for another one and explained the predicament.
Delta Airlines – DL1064
Memphis to Minneapolis St Paul (MEM-MSP)
McDonnell Douglas MD88 (N937DL)
Economy Class – Seat 20E
Boarding: 0750 (Gate B31)
Push Back: 0827
Take off Roll: 0836 (Runway 18R)
Top of Descent: 0951
Touch Down: 1033 (Runway 12L)
Shut Down: 1043 (Gate G2)
I had my new paper boarding pass in hand and off I went down the boarding lane. I had barely been on the ground 5 minutes. Can’t beat that for a connection! I settled in and had a quick chat with my seat mate who was pretty cute, but again.. had a wedding ring on, so went from “hey shes cute to” “boring… hello book” We had a quick chat about why I was scribbling stuff in a notebook (aka writing in my log book), what flights we had been on today, that kind of thing. The usual pleasentries.
We pushed back right on time and I have to admit I liked the emergency exit speil on the MD-88 (again this was a new aircraft to me) as she said “at the very rear of the aircraft). The MD-88, similar to the 727 had the rear air stairs right below the tail of the aircraft. That would of been an awesome way to board an aircraft. Most avgeeks I am sure would want that unique experience.
We taxiied through the rain as it just seemed to pour down the windows and I couldn’t get over the site out the window of how similar this aircraft was to a F100 (the only other non CRJ twin hole tail mount that I had flown. This kind of aircraft just seems to fascinate me more than the usual configuration you would see on an Airbus or a Boeing aircraft. Other than Canadair they just aren’t made anymore. Maybe they just were not as good as they figured (although Delta do have some DC9s that have been flying since the type first existed).
We took off with a suprisingly loud power up but the second we lifted off that noise seemd to dissapear (or at least it did for those in my row, Im sure the back of the aircraft was different) and we climbed out with plenty of rocking and rolling. As we passed 10,000ft and the wifi went on I stayed offline and kept reading. The pilot came on and apoligised for the Turbulence and said that this would be a bit of a bumpy ride. I was up for it! It did mean I wouldn’t be drinking coffee though on this flight as Delta uses the tiniest coffee cups ever and they seem to bounce a lot. Not good in Turbulence.
The seat belt sign stayed on for pretty much the whole flight and there was a bit of light chop and this flight was pretty laid back really. I read, I drank, I had my “breakfast” on the flight (first time I have had peanut butter or nutella in months and boy was it good). This weekend may not have been all that behaved but I had missed some of the good stuff lately, been going a little too hardcore.
As we started our descent the pilot warned us that it was not going to be pretty as the snow was falling in Minneapolis. Right as he said that not only did we get the usual descent bump as they throttled back, we hit a nice wollop of turbulence and everything went bounce. Definately in for a ride. We seemed to have a wierd spiral approach into MSP (you can see the flight aware track here) kind of felt like we were burning donuts in the sky.
As we rocked and rolled into MSP our 10 minutes ahead of schedule turned into an on time arrival and then into a late arrival. Meh! I had plenty of time on this connection compared to my last one in MSP and I only had to go from G2 to F13. Maybe a 2-3 minute walk. Plenty of time to hit the SkyClub for some snackage.
As we deplaned there was a large group of people spread out throughout the aircraft who had some crazy connection (though more than mine from yesterday to a flight to Steamboat springs). They had like 20 minutes and barely any gates to go yet they were worried. I let them know about what I had done yesterday and told them that they had barely to worry, then they saw their was no aircraft at their gate so they worried even more thinking it had left (it hadn’t).
For me, it was off the plane in reasonably good time and then on my way to the F concourse to the club. But I reached F2 and still no club, figured I had gone past it. I had to go back a little bit around a different way (rather than taking the shortcut I did yesterday) and there it was right in front of me. Aweome! The skyclub looked like a nice warm inviting area for me to spend the next few minutes for a bathroom stop, snack raid and then hit the next flight.
As I walked in, my mobile boarding pass again had issues so she printed me off another boarding pass (I think I have like 3 by now, all on crappy fax paper style print offs). I just went with the flow anyway, I was approaching my final flight home, I was looking good, even if delayed I was sitting in a terminal with no further connections needed to get home, a warm spot in a sky club with endless supplies of snacks and coffee… What could be better?
As I noticed the oatmeal actually looked good and was grabbing a couple of mouthfulls for the walk to the gate, it happened. “All flights are currently grounded”. w00t! I could sit down. So I grabbed a coffee and was readying myself when they advised that San Francisco was still boarding and will be departing shortly. Great… So tweeted Derek and he told me to get my ass to the gate as it was now showing boarding. So I gave up on my coffee, grabbed a mouthful of water as I walked out the door and hot footed it to the gate.
Delta Airlines – DL1753
Minneapolis St Paul to Seattle Tacoma (MSP-SEA)
Airbus A320 (N350NA)
Economy Class: Seat 13A
Boarding: 1115 (Gate F13)
Push Back: 1205
Take off Roll: 1312 (Runway 12L)
Top of Descent: 1345
Touch Down: 1408 (Runway 16C)
Shut Down: 1414 (Gate S5)
I rocked up to the gate and Priority boarding was well underway, hell they were trying to hold back Zone 1 and to let them through. I got through using one of the paper ones I had and been given at some stage during the day and weaved my way through the crowds around the gate. By the time I was onboard it was a bit crowded but not too bad. I managed to get my bag in the overhead without an issue and I settled into my seat.
The A320 seats are not at all that horrible but the legroom was good! I looked out the window and then realised, there isnt much of a view when its covered in Snow & Ice. The window was at that point, not to bad, but it got worse as everyone else was boarding it just covered up. The pilot came on and said that we would have to deice before we head off, this would add about 30 mins to our taxi time apparently.
By the time we pushed back we were late but not by much, but the schedule was padded a solid hour as they kept saying “A flight time of 2h54m today” yet Delta had it down for 3h 50m. Ahhh schedule padding, o how convienient you are at times.
We headed for the de ice area and at this point the window was just not able to see a thing. We took ages to taxi over and wait in line so I shut my eyes and I was napping for a little bit before I heard “whats that out the window” and I knew it was our turn. I looked out and through a tiny gap and there was about 2 inches of snow on the wing. O boy. It took FOREVER to be de iced.
From Boarding to Wheels up…. 2 HOURS!! It took an hour alone from push back to wheels up and that included deicing. The Captain came on just after wheels up and apoligised for the wait and while he was doing so, he said that one of the De Ice trucks had run out so they had to wait for a replacement to come over.
By the time we got out of the clouds it was bright sunlight and I had to close the shade so I could work on the laptop. I powered up the chromebook, used up one of my freebies that has been sitting around for a while and got a heap of work and tweeting done. The flight just flew by as it does when your doing other stuff.
I don’t know what it is with my accent and flying in the USA but I have to repeat myself over and over again to people. Apparently “Diet Coke & A Water” is difficult to understand as I had to repeat myself this time like 4 times and I could see the couple next to me roll their eyes after the second time around. But I just grinned and bared it and stuff into these yummy Scone bites I had picked up at the Skyclub in MSP.
By the time we started descent I was well and truly engrossed in my work and didn’t really want to finish as I was almost finished this trip report. We descended in amonst smattered clouds covering up some of the mountains but the peaks of the Cascades were amazing! I got a good glimpse of Mt Rainier off in the distance and we came in from the Northeast onto a 16C approach.
As we came into the airport and touched down badly (the pilot was all over the place not as bad as landing in the snow on an MD88 though, that was fun) I was to busy focused on the 2 Horizon College schemes at the terminal. Oregon Ducks and WSU Cougars were sitting at the gate. Jealous!!! We taxiied pretty quickly over to the S Gates and soon enough we were stopped. The Mileage run was over.
I let people go ahead as for once, I wasn’t in all that much of a rush, and I had carry on, so I was going to go straight out, grab the shuttle to my truck, and get on the interstate home. That’s what I did! Within an hour of touching down, I was pulling into the Fred Meyer car park to do my grocery shopping so I can eat for the week