Saturday 3rd August 2013
I finished off my morning at OshKosh and started my journey north to Green Bay. First stop was the Post Office in OshKosh so that I could post all of the swag and press kits I had accumulated over the week. When it all was weighed up there was almost 12 pounds of stuff to send home. That’s a LOT of swag! But it was either that or get charged mass amounts of excess baggage, so I sucked up the cost ($35). Next stop was just a small cafe in the middle of OshKosh itself as I had been told earlier in the week they had the best cookies around. So I stopped off and picked up a snack and a couple for the road. Back on the road, heading north towards Green Bay it was a good hour or so of just endless Interstate up to Green Bay. My destination was to hit up Lambeau Field and maybe see the packers hall of fame (and maybe pick up a shot glass at the Pro Shop). As I arrived at the stadium I saw heaps of traffic. Part of me started to panic. I knew pre season games were starting soon but their shouldn’t be a game on a Saturday. It wasn’t a game though, it was Training camp! DOH!
The area around the stadium was packed solid and there was no where to park without costing $20 or more. So stuff that, did a couple of drive bys, took a photo from the Car window and headed out. I had seen one of the supermarkets I knew that had a good place to grab some food, and then headed toward the airport for a bit of a picnic. There was 1 aircraft arrival while I was there (literally as I drove in) so entertained myself listening to the LiveATC feed from the OshKosh Airshow. A fitting end to my trip. I gave into a desire for some soft serve ice cream and drove to the nearest A&W to have some. After looking at it all week at the Air Show, I gave in. Sad Sad Mal, but it was tasty! Time to fill the car and get to the airport for check in.
Dropped the car off at Green Bay Airport and check in was empty. Funnily enough I was on the final flight of the day to leave the airport so that was why it was so deserted. The Airport was eerily quiet and small and there wasn’t much to it either before or after security. I checked out the one shop that was open before security and it was filled with Green Bay packers gear. I resisted the urge to bring home some cheese curds (which were EVERYWHERE) and headed up to the TSA checkpoint. It was nice and empty as you would expect in such a small airport. But sadly I got there right behind two older ladies, one of them in a wheelchair. The TSA agent then promptly shut down the checkpoint and made me wait behind them. I was literally the only person in line at this point and couldn’t go anywhere. It would of been smarter to put the able bodied person through, then shut down an empty check point to let the older ladies through, but hey it’s rural Wisconsin, they don’t use them fancy things called Thinking out here! After 10 minutes of waiting to get my boarding pass checked I was finally allowed up to the scanner, where they then kept asking if I knew what I was doing and if I needed the procedures explained to me (even though I had priority all over my boarding pass and have done this like 40 times this year alone). Way to go Green Bay, made me want to deal with the TSA in JFK or LAX. I never thought I would want that. Then by the time I got through to the other side of the scanners my laptop had not come through. Nope, TSA had held me up again while they fought with a lady who had a bag in the scanner, and rather than pull it out and manually inspect it (which they would do at any other airport), they held the bag inside the scanner and kept asking her questions about it while it was still in there. So I was dressed, ready and waiting to go, but couldn’t leave cause they had my stuff still, just as one of the other TSA members was heading up to me to try and get me to move on, my laptop finally came through and I walked away. 15 minutes start to finish for what should of taken 2-3 at most. Utter fail.
On the other side of the checkpoint was a sole cafe where I grabbed a bottle of water and again resisted buying cheese curds (I mean seriously they are everywhere!). I found the gate, our aircraft had just arrived with plenty of time to offload people so I settled in and logged into the free wifi to do a bit of work. I will give Green Bay Airport the props for one thing, their wifi was free, fast and had no agreements to accept. You just connected and it worked! It helped pass the time. I figured I would see if it was a free flight and if I could scam a seat closer to the front, so I approached the gate agent and got a very rough “What do you want?” and then after I asked my question “No”. Wow.. blatant. He at least followed up after a few seconds with “It’s a full flight”. Wow, just wow, very proffessional there. I brushed it off and waited.
Delta Air Lines – DL4594 (Operated by SkyWest)
Green Bay to Minneapolis St-Paul
Canadair CRJ-900 (N161PQ)
Economy Class – Seat 8D
Boarding: 1657 (Gate B5)
Push Back: 1719
Take off Roll: 1727 (Runway 36)
Top of Descent: 1753
Touch Down: 1811 (Runway 30L)
Shut Down: 1816 (Gate C4)
The professionalism of the gate agent really stood out when he called boarding. He was not at all what you would expect from any gate agent from any airline. One of his little jokes was “By the time your all wheels up, I will be liquored up” Absolutely not the best thing to say at all. When he announced Sky Priority boarding I fled the gate area as quickly as possible so I didn’t have to hear anything more he said. Stepping onto the CRJ-900 is always a reminder of one thing that I hate about it. Offset windows! I always go for a window seat and I always forget with this aircraft. DAMMIT! You’re either bending way forward or contorting your way backwards. Ah well. I settled into the seat and the aircraft filled up around me. Flight time was announced as 40 minutes so barely up, barely down. The flight attendant’s also announced that they wouldn’t be doing a beverage service, though if we needed anything to ask. So does that mean we can have a drink or not? Confusing! Right before pushing back, Mr Gate Attendant showed up again to give us one final farewell… *sigh*
We pushed back while I wasn’t really paying any attention. and started heading for the runway. One small, fully packed CRJ taxiing all the way across a very quiet Green Bay Airport to the cross runway. We climbed out like a rocket (that weird sensation you get when the engines are at the back and they seem to be able to use it to their advantage). We were up in the air and climbing out into the sky as the pilots gave another briefing to give us advice to say. Since there was no service and it was only a quick flight, I just had some of my water and read some of the book on my tablet. Pretty boring flight really, up, cruise, down, though a boring, uneventful flight is a good flight right?
We descended into MSP pretty easily and we had a slightly different approach to the one I was on before when I landed into MSP from Seattle. I had no idea where we were at one point, so it was like I was confused, but at the last minute I noticed a familiar landmark and realised it was just to the right of the approach we had earlier. We touched down a little bit hard onto the runway on the opposite side of the airport to where we needed to be. Meant to be heading toward the C gates and we landed all the way over by the G gates. Long taxi time, lucky we were early. MSP pulled out the stops and again I got a special livery (always seem to get a retro or something in MSP) with an American Eagle CRJ in new colours. Can’t hate that! Pulling up at the C gates the aircraft emptied out fairly quickly and I was able to get out into the terminal pretty quickly. since we were at C4 and I was heading for F12 I had time to grab some dinner before if there is time, making a stop at the usual Sky Club. I found a fairly reasonably priced Chicken Mandarin Salad that looked pretty good (good ratio of veg to protein) and headed to the lounge.
It was the same lounge that I always seem to visit, so I know it well. I had about 10-15 minutes this time, so time for a quick snack, relax, a snack raid and then time to hit the road again. Wanting some biscoffs for home (since I am a cheap ass) there was plenty on offer, so that meant I had plenty of opportunity to snack raid the biscoffs (both Red & White wrappers for anyone who cares). I timed my departure right, as by the time I had walked out of the lounge and the entire length of the F concourse (with a few stops for photos), Special Pre Boarding was being called.
Delta Air Lines – DL996
Minneapolis St Paul to Seattle-Tacoma
Boeing 767-300 (N121DE)
Economy Class – Seat 27A
Boarding: 1855 (Gate F12)
Push Back: 1953
Take Off Roll: 2005 (Runway 30L)
Top of Descent: 2056
Touch Down: 2126 (Runway 34R)
Shut Down: 2130 (Gate S8)
First class was called and as usual, a giant Bum Rush by everyone who isn’t in first class or even remotely close to Zone 1 or 2. I even heard a wife say to her husband “I don’t care if you want to board now, she said First Class, that isn’t us.” Nice work lady! Sky Priority was shortly called and I dodged around an elderly couple with Zone 5 on their boarding pass who were blocking the boarding lane. I stepped onto my first ever Delta 767 and would soon find out that this wasn’t an ER (extended range) bird, so this would be my first EVER flight on a non ER 767-300. The aircraft was fitted with Delta on Demand (aka a Seat Back TV) so I plugged in immediately and just zoned out. Before I knew it, the announcements began by the crew… one of about 30 that would happen during the flight. They seemed to repeat themselves about 3 or 4 times after everything they said. So they would tell everyone to store their bags etc, then 2 seconds later a different flight attendant would do the same thing as though we never heard in the first place. *sigh*
We were told the doors were closing and to switch off all electronic equipment, but then we sat, and sat without another announcement for a solid 20 minutes! I gave up after 10 minutes and just switched my phone back on and tweeted away a little bit. Just as the doors were shutting they made an announcement that the doors were not shut after we had to load some extra cargo. Would of been nice to say this earlier. One thing that was funny to me was I had been so engrossed in watching the TV that I turned my head outside and there was an A330 sitting at the gate next to us. All I could think was “That Airbus sure did grow” as the last time I had looked, it was an A319! We pushed back as the Sun was setting in MSP, but it would be a race across the Sky as the sun was setting as we were heading west.
Climb out was just as powerful as any other 767 flight I have had but it was a bit of a bumpy climb out and the crew came on early to let us know that it would be a little bit bumpy later on. Once we got to cruise they flicked off the fasten seat belt sign and I did what just about everyone else in the aircraft was doing. Getting up and moving about. I grabbed my laptop out as I wanted to get some work done during the flight and got myself sorted. First off the bat tonight though was to get myself sorted dinner wise then I could get working, rather than the other way round as this was a short 3 hour flight. About half way through the service, it was suspended as the seat belt sign goes on, and we hit some turbulence for about 20 minutes. Nothing entirely bad but a little bit more than I have had most of this year. I ate my dinner and enjoyed my salad. By the time the service restarted I had finished my dinner and was working away on my laptop. Pass on the snacks, just a diet coke for me!
I worked away (though I couldn’t access GoGo as it wasn’t working for some reason) and just settled in to focus. The flight just kind of sped by and before I knew it, we were an hour out of Seattle and it was time for me to get myself sorted out, so I stashed my laptop, grabbed a drink from the back (interrupting the cabin crew chowing down on first class meals) and then headed back to my seat to settle in to finish watching Dark Knight (yes, I did see the Peninsula Helicopter scene, and it wasn’t Christian Bale on it, it was Morgan Freeman). I chowed down on my two cookies I had stashed and since one of them was a “Birthday Cake” cookie I wished myself a slight happy birthday. As we stared descent it was almost solid cloud below us but just barely visible in the distance was Mt Rainier, so I at least knew where I kind of was. We descended way to the south and then turned back around to the North for a 34 series landing. It was then we hit the real sunset and it was just amazing. I even snuck in a mobile phone photo so I could tweet it out later (no hate please!).
We landed on 34R and had a quick taxi to the south gates as they had really stood on the brakes to pull us up quickly. Good thing was, this was the end of my line and considering the bags would have to make their way over from the South Satellite, I wasn’t in a rush. I let them all shove their way out and when there was a good sized gap, I jumped up and grabbed my gear. This trip was at an end! The timing was spot on, as soon as I got to the station the train was there so within seconds I was heading towards baggage claim. When I got to the other end there was a slight problem, our flight was not on the board at all. So I just roamed until I saw my flight number. It wasn’t on any of the baggage claims, So I just wandered till I saw some bags pop out on a fresh belt and checked the tags. They had our flight number… YAY!
Eventually, after a broken belt was fixed, my bag came out. Not that Priority baggage did any good as all that came out first was gate checked baggage 🙁 I made it to the car park just as a shuttle was heading over so within 15 minutes of actually getting my bag, I was in the truck and headed home. Getting home around 11pm after having been up since like 4am EST sleep came easily (I may have had trouble keeping my eyes open on the road).