Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – Seattle to Dayton
Part 3 – Dayton
Part 4 – National Museum of the United States Air Force
Part 5 – Dayton to Seattle
Part 6 – Conclusion
Saturday September 1st
O dark 45. Whoever invented this time of the day deserves to die. Way to early and way to dark. But I struggle out of bed, get myself ready and drag myself out of the apartment and into the truck. I am airport bound on an empty I405 there are maybe a handful of cars and I make the airport within half an hour.
Parking was meant to go easily, it was meant to be valet, meant to be completed in seconds. Nope not this morning. I get to the nominated lot and it is closed. WTF! I do a lap in case I missed the entry but nope its closed. I find someone who I can talk to and they tell me my booking will be honored at a different lot. So over I go. Getting a tiny bit lost in the mean time as the entry was not even marked. Again I park and more time is wasted as I get told it won’t be honored as valet and I have to go park myself, dandy. More wasted time!
By the time I was parked and on the shuttle, paper and coffee in hand (free thank god) I was a good 20-30 behind schedule. But the shuttle was quick and check in was pretty empty (well the priority lines… sorry Premier Access were empty). I was offered a possible bump and volunteered using the system in the hope I could get a $250 voucher out of the situation. Hell i had all day to get to Dayton, who cares which way I go for $250!
Made my way to security and the closest priority line was empty and then I was instructed to go to a different checkpoint, so I did but the line was MASSIVE! I did not have time to wait through that and there was no priority queue to help me speed up. So I went to the next smallest checkpoint, found the priority area and got through in Meer minutes compared to previously expected.
I found the gate a few metres from the United Club so after seeing if they needed bump volunteers (they didnt) I went to the club for a coffee and some quiet time. But that only lasted a few minutes as I walked out boarding had already started so I strolled to the line and through I went.
Seattle to San Francisco
Boeing 737-700 (N16713)
Economy Class – Seat 24A
Boarding: 0500 (Gate B7)
Push Back: 0534
Take Off Roll: 0545 (Runway 34C)
Top of Descent: 0700
Touch Down: 0731 (Runway 28R)
Shut Down: 0736 (Gate 83)
Couldn’t see the rego of the plane in the dark and didn’t notice it by the door so settled into my seat, watching as people fought over bin space and just made idiots of themselves. It was a non eventful boarding to be honest, we pushed back dead on time but waited a little for an Alaska Airlines aircraft to be towed past but we were quickly onto the 34 end of the runway and turning onto the Centre runway before we knew it.
Sadly this plane was ex continental so no channel 9 possible but it had direct tv (not that I was gonna watch it anyway) I had a newspaper, my tablet, my ipod and a 90 minute flight South to wake up.
The sunrise was Damn beautiful as we cruised south and my only complaint was that they had no coffee. Turns out it wasn’t loaded. I was shattered. I wanted to murder @united but I sucked it up knowing that the club would have some and I could hold out for a little while at least.
We descend trough clouds to SFO and the bay, touched down easily and didn’t spend all to long making our way to the gate. All in all a good flight they got in about 10 minutes early. Can I complain about that? Doubt it. When your only problem is a lack of coffee, it’s not the end of the world. The crew were scheduled to take me to Cleveland so I said I’d be back soon, and headed to the United Club for breakfast.
The club was a minute or two walk away and I had been there before so knew what to expect as long as it had coffee and a bathroom I didn’t care I could work the rest out. A light breakfast (well normal for me anyway) of Granola and a banana, two cups of coffee, read a few emails, sync the tablet and back to the gate i go.
When I got to the gate the crew from my last flight were all standing around the counter and it was funny seeing the Captain trying to help people when his experience is flying not exactly customer support. There was no gate staff and after joining a small line and waiting a funny conversation was overheard when the Captain answered a ringing phond: (the words by the person on the other line are assumed, the Captains are exact)
Captain: myself and all the crew are locked out of the gate.
Phone: who am I speaking to?
Captain: I’m the Damn Captain flying this plane, there’s no gate staff here.
Phone: O sorry
This had the people in line chuckling for a bit. After the staff showed up, I got myself down on the volunteer list and sat down to answer a few tweets. Boarding began and I watched as the scrum built, people were scrambling to get on board, the gate staff were fighting with each other about the boarding process (pretty sure the supervisor won and the agent who called general boarding was going to get a massive ear bashing later.
San Francisco to Cleveland
Boeing 737-700 (N16713)
Economy Class – Seat 30F
Boarding: 0840 (Gate 83)
Push Back: 0913
Take Off Roll: 0941 (Runway 01R)
Top of Descent: 1610
Touch Down: 1640 (Runway 06L)
Shut Down: 1643 (Gate C11)
No bump was forth coming so I grabbed back my boarding pass and headed onboard before the throngs were to horrible. A line in the air bridge was evidence of people scrambling to stow bags. This was not a good sign and was a precursor to the flight. I was welcomed back by the crew, and while waiting to get to my seat had a joke about my bag (though not as fancy as the kids suitcase infront if me, it was okay, but the Backpack was accepted) and made sure there was coffee on this flight. The crew had been just as disappointed in the lack of coffee on the other flight so that was a good sign and they promised to keep me caffinated during his flight.
At my seat, it was evident this flight was going to be interesting. A baby on one side, two children and a father who didn’t control them behind and a couple of older folks as seat mates. Normally that would be okay but these two were shocking. I read a lot of people using the term “kettles” when describing people who don’t fly often and are your average American, not that bright, a stereotypical person who a flight is a once in a lifetime event. These two sure acted like ones! Taking forever to get out of the way, blocking you in with their mountains of bags and in the case of the guy next to me, I had barely sat down before I had an elbow in my ribs. Dandy.
The flight was okay, we held a while on the ground in SFO for other traffic, managed to spot a pretty awesome looking Delta 767, and a quick take off, right turn and above the clouds we went.
The crew were great and kept me plied with coffee while I watched a few tv shows and chilled out writing the trip report. What was not good was Ma & Pa kettle who had a great time elbowing me in the side, kicking me, and just generally causing problems. I wanted to get up to use the bathroom at one point and they took so long to get up by the time they both got up 5 people had queued for the bathroom and the Seattle belt sign went on so there was no way I could go now. I got the dirtiest look from then when I didn’t get up and when they said “aren’t you getting up now?” I shot back “The seat belt sign is on now, looks like I have to wait”. I wanted to say more but with children around (who mind you kicked my seat for an hour) I controlled myself. In the end the seat belt sign did not go off due to some mild bumps so I held on all the way to Cleveland (almost 90 minutes by the time we landed). By the time we landed I was about ready to murder people to just get to a bathroom.
I farewelled the crew in a hurry, almost smacked ma & Pa kettle in the head as I ran past them, making a beeline for thr nearest bathroom. No worrying about anything but that. After emerging from the pit stop I noticed something. Cleveland airport was empty! Don’t know if it was the time of day or whatever but certainly didn’t help my opinion of Cleveland after my last time in the city.
I hit up the United club for a quick drink and get some opinion on where to get some lunch, went for a walk around the terminal for a bit but it wasn’t all that busy or exciting. A good non eventful layover.
The United Club in Cleveland was much nicer than San Francisco but that is mainly cause it is an old continental lounge. There was lots of Continental signage around. Lots of them. Pretty much everything had an old sign on it. My time at Cleveland was coming to an end so I made my over to the Dr gates which is where all the little United Express flights go from.
There was multiple flights departing from my gate since it was pretty much just an entry to the downstairs area where you walk out to your aircraft. I grabbed a seat but was barely sitting down when my flight was beginning to be called.
United Airlines (operated by Trans State Airlines)
Cleveland to Dayton
Embraer ERJ-145 (N809HK)
Economy Class – Seat 2A
Boarding: 1815 (Gate D17F)
Push Back: 1830
Take Off Roll: 1840 (Runway 06L)
Top of Descent: 1855
Touch Down: 1918 (Runway 24R)
Shut Down: 1931 (Gate C13)
I was first through the gate, down the steps, grabbed a photo from the ramp and up the steps I go. Greeted onboard and then sent straight back down the steps with my bag as there was no stowage on the A seat side. Not a big deal I knew it was going to happen. Gate check and regional jet are one and the same.
Boarding happened quickly and pretty soon we were buttoned up and being pushed back. This was my first flight on an ERJ and I couldn’t complain. Sure the Seats were old but we were informed out flight would be 33 minutes from wheels up to wheels down. Damn quick. But due to the short flight means no service cause United attendants are lazy, just kidding. It’s United’s silly rule not the crew.
The ERJ taxiied quickly to the runway and barely stopped before hitting the Skies. It was a boring flight to be honest. No entertainment, seat belt sign never came off due to bumpy bits and there was way to much cloud about. Hell electronic devices were only allowed for 10 minutes.
We landed in Dayton to what looked like a quiet evening and the rain began. Not to heavy to start but it built up. We sat on the taxiway for a while and apparently the airport forgot we were coming. Then when we got moving again we had to do a U Turn on the ramp! First time for everything. When we got to the gate we had to wait for the jet bridge connection as it wasn’t there.
Eventually we were off into a desolate terminal and to save everyone from wet bags they were going to take all our bags to the carousel which meant time to wait, but it allowed me time to grab some brochures for stuff to see. Bag soon showed up and I was on my way to picking up my car, which thanks to National meant I just picked whatever I wanted, but that was a hard decision on its own.