Mergers and storms.. it's CID-MSP-MEM-SAT!

Have you taken a real-life flight lately? Tell us about it.

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Mergers and storms.. it's CID-MSP-MEM-SAT!

Post by Northwestdc9 » 02 Mar 2009, 21:33

I knew I'd end up on a Delta plane eventually but I didn't think it would happen this quickly... Short trip report of the mini-vacation I'll be enjoying for a little bit longer.

Northwest Airlines 3042 (Mesaba)
February 28, 2009
Saab 340B+ (N448XJ)
Cedar Rapids CID - Minneapolis/St. Paul MSP
Scheduled Departure Time: 1457
Actual Departure Time: 1457
Departure Gate: B7
Scheduled Arrival Time: 1610
Actual Arrival Time: 1619
Arrival Gate: A8
Class: Coach
Seat: 6A (Exit)

I'd had enough of -40 degree weather so it was time for a mini-vacation down to Texas for a couple days before I had to get back for school. Ughh.

Two days out I received my upgrade notification by email at school for both flights on the way down... Sweet. Although I thought it was 24 hours prior? Oh well.

Arrived right on time and checked in smooth as can be, Cedar Rapids is pretty empty on a Saturday afternoon so there wasn't a sole in line for anything including security where the TSA had bins all ready for me. Maybe they're actually doing what they said and upgrading their service? We'll see.

Boarding right on time-new noise canceling headphones on and book out. They block out all the noise except the geeks across the aisle talking about Windows 7, god does that sound painful, even from Microsoft employees. It's sad how far they are behind the rest of the operating systems around like Linux and OSX. These guys were excited about features we've had for YEARS. Needless to say I won't be buying Windows 7.

Two weeks ago I took this same flight and it was the same airplane-448XJ... weird. Takeoff was beautifully dulled out by the headphones which is a real blessing considering how loud the Saab was last time when I didn't have them... Ahhhh, the joy of being able to hear.

The Saab climbed like a pig today, eventually making it up to 16,000 feet for the hour long flight and by that time drinks were being served and I had my usual.

iPhone on-music surprisingly quiet with these headphones. I like.
Something about music and reading but it really passes the time and when I snapped out of the zone, the gear was done, props in their buzzing beta and about 500 feet to go.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Saab must not have a shock absorber in it's struts because it sure doesn't feel like it does on landing, the Saab, even after an incredibly smooth landing feels like you've been slammed into the ground. Ahhhh well.

Landing on 35 means the longest possible taxi and with my connection slipping away that ruled out my favorite meal. *sigh* After what seems like 5 miles of taxiing, we quickly pulled into A8 and then waited... and waited... and waited. Mesaba can't seem to figure out how to dock the jetway with a Saab and it's really annoying and even worse when you're watching the clock, imagining the announcements on the other side of the concourse "Now boarding all passengers, all rows, Northwest 458 to Memphis". Grrrr.

With my luck by the time I made it up to the tram the doors had just closed. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr! That meant running-fabulous. In record time I made it over to G21, one of the farthest possible gates from A8 except maybe the end of concourse F. Lunch time and I needed food... this is the only time I'll get fast food, especially McDonalds when you really do need "fast food". Scarfing it down in line for boarding isn't fun but is necessary.

Northwest Airlines 458
February 28, 2009
McDonnell-Douglas DC9-51 (N776NC - Delta Colors)
Minneapolis/St. Paul MSP - Memphis MEM
Scheduled Departure Time: 1708
Actual Departure Time: 1706
Departure Gate: G21
Scheduled Arrival Time: 1845
Actual Arrival Time: 1847
Arrival Gate: B9
Class: First
Seat: 1A (Bulkhead)

While wolfing my food in line for boarding I noticed that our DC9 was in Delta colors-the first to be painted in fact, 776NC and an aircraft I've been on three times. This would be my fourth trip on her and first in Delta colors. Oh how depressing she looks in white, all pain and boring.
Being back in First is always nice, it's quiet and there's no annoying people around and the snacks are a nice treat. Headphones back on and book out, in case you're wondering it's Stephanie Meyer's New Moon, yes, I know.. the Twilight series but after being forced to read the first one, they're actually REALLY good books, the hype is real. Haha.

I am still enough of an aviation enthusiast to at least take off the headphones for DC9 startup and takeoff-that is a MUST and the reward-although difficult to hear from 1A is never a disappointment. The aircraft was full today which meant a strain on the old niner and we did something I haven't done in a LONG time. After getting into position and holding for an A319, the engines were revved to max power before letting go of the brakes with a sweeeeeeet surge of power. Nothing rockets like the DC9, 7,800 feet later she was lumbering into the sky, engines screaming like nothing else. Headphones back on.

The service was pretty good today-three drink services and two snacks run and a LOT of reading. Sweet. The flight got bumpier and bumpier the closer we got to Memphis and it's storms tonight. Descent was definitely fun with some pretty extreme bumps and a ton of snow flying past the window with visibilities as low as not being able to see the wing tips.

Despite a very bumpy approach the landing was pretty smooth but the braking, with a significant amount of snow and slush everywhere, was not. Heavy reverse thrust and hard braking brought us into Memphis with a bang. A short ground delay before pulling into B9 and I was in a place I thought didn't get much snow. I was wrong.

Northwest Airlines 1887 (Compass)
February 28, 2009
Embraer EMB-175LR
Memphis MEM - San Antonio SAT
Scheduled Departure Time: 2004
Actual Departure Time: 2141
Departure Gate: B38
Scheduled Arrival Time: 2153
Actual Arrival Time: 2300
Arrival Gate: 9
Class: First
Seat: 3A

Oh the weather outside is frightful.... And so were the flight status TVs! The majority of flights were cancelled but mine wasn't, perhaps I'm luckier in Tennessee? I had 20 minutes to kill so grabbed a chair by the gate to watch the snow fall and a little CNN... Boarding started right on time and with only 5 of us in First that made it easy.

I took 3A and a pre-flight Pepsi from a familiar looking flight attendant but I couldn't place her... Then it hit me! It was Donna from last summer, on of the nicest flight attendants I'd met. Then it hit me... I've flown so much that I've gone back around to meet the same flight attendant again. Hahahahaha! She recognized me too and provided fantastic service to not only me but the rest of the aircraft over the next couple hours.

That's when the announcements started... because of the unusual weather, Memphis' tiny deicing station was completely overloaded and hours being schedule. That's ok, I've got my book and a great staff to chat with so the time passed pretty quickly. Snacks and alcohol begun flowing immediately and the passengers enjoyed the flight attendants' fun filled delay. Music over the PA system, free drinks, free snacks, it's all good.

An hour and a half delay before we were able to push back and get deiced before taking off into more snow and rain. After climbing out of the clouds the flight smoothed out and we cruised quickly towards San Antonio. More drinks and more snacks poured into the cabin from the cheery flight attendants who made the flight seem short and all too soon the aircraft turned final approach and smoothly touched down in Texas.

All in all another good trip and I've yet again barely gotten out of being stuck somewhere. Heading home in the morning back in F.. probably be the same breakfast I had on the route back in 2004. Hahahahaha
Aviation Research Engineer - University of Iowa

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Re: Mergers and storms.. it's CID-MSP-MEM-SAT!

Post by Delta320 » 02 Mar 2009, 21:37

Sounds like it was a fun time.
Huge thanks to David Malinowski for this amazing banner!

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Re: Mergers and storms.. it's CID-MSP-MEM-SAT!

Post by DMM200 » 02 Mar 2009, 21:43

Excellent report Nick!
Thanks Fraser Jeffery for the beautiful avatar!
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