Bless you if you read this all the way through. My routing for this trip was much too long for a title: ATL-IAD-JFK-LAX-BOS-IAD-ATL
Where to start with this. This trip was 6 flights across 3 airlines using 5 different airports, and 4 different aircraft types. I scored three new aircraft types with the E190, E175, and A321, a new airline in JetBlue, and a new airport, New York JFK. My cousin and I were flying to another Nascar race along with some of my other family from up there. Instead of hooking up a Los Angeles like we did in Cincinnati last summer I decided to fly up to IAD and fly out there with everyone mostly because I could.
The first segment was flying up to Washington on Thursday March 23. This segment was on Southwest and got messy. I’ll explain as I go along.
So I actually worked half a day before arriving at the airport at 1:20 pm. Unfortunately as soon as I was going down the escalator to the train I received an email that my flight was delayed. It wasn’t much, just 20 minutes or so. Is was N398SW that was supposed to operate my flight. It was coming from West Palm Beach. I noticed through Flight Aware the aircraft hadn’t even left the gate yet though. I walked around to see what I could see in the meantime.
T gates on the south side. It was a beautiful day.
N550NW boarding for New Orleans.
N817NW at Concourse E. It was going to FCO I think.
As I kept looking at my phone for the incoming flight and it still hadn’t left PBI and emails started coming with delay after delay. Unfortunately this ruined my evening plans with my family. We were all planning on getting together for dinner and a general evening together, but because of ultimately how late I would be and our very early departure Friday morning I didn’t get to see them at all. I ended up booking a room at a hotel near IAD for the night as a result. I felt terrible for everyone who went out of their way to spend a Thursday evening together only to have me nix it.
I was tracking N398SW as it flew north from PBI. I noticed it was flying very low and pretty slow, no more than about 23,000 feet. No clue what maintenance issue this would indicate, but there was one.
Finally it arrived at gate C7 at 3:51 (my original departure time was 3:35). Almost immediately a maintenance crew went to work on this thing, and at first I guess they were confident it would be fixed because they announced we would start boarding in a few minutes and I started a note in my notebook (which I would ultimately scratch out). They kept working on this aircraft for probably 90 minutes before it was ultimately withdrawn from service. Unfortunately this left us with no aircraft. The gate crew were keeping us updated pretty well. Their first attempt was to pull an aircraft on the way in from Houston Hobby. Unfortunately that didn’t work out. They were finally able to get an aircraft that was on the way in from Richmond, N384SW. It pulled in at about 6:15.
During the time in between I was mostly surfing the internet or listening to air traffic control because I had a clear view of aircraft taking off from runway 9L. I heard from the counter passenger names being called in alphabetical order and being told to “come get your vouchers.” I assumed this was a $10-$20 food voucher, but when I went and claimed mine it was for $100 on a future Southwest flight. No complaints here.
N384SW at gate C7.
Finally we started boarding at 6:40. Unfortunately it was so late everyone who used a mobile boarding pass had it disappear and had to be reissued a paper one (myself included).
Southwest Airlines Flight 1715
Depart ATL 3:35 pm (was actually 7:02)
Arrive IAD 5:15 pm (was actually 8:40)
I ended up sitting in seat 6F in an effort to face away from the sun. Thankfully in A group that was easy.
View from my seat at a 737-800 next door (and a lot of crap on the engine).
Finally after a 3.5 hour delay we pushed at 7:02 and pointed the nose to runway 9L.
767 in front of us. I can’t remember if he was going to Europe or the west coast.https://youtu.be/E0Eb_L4vPaw
I took a video of takeoff with a very loud child across the aisle. I suppose that’s as authentic as it gets. I’m pretty sure she didn’t stop yapping the whole flight.
Ascending to 37,000 feet as the sun sets.
Cabin service happened pretty quickly starting at 7:20.
These two photos are terrible quality I know. The clouds finally cleared and I was able to figure out we were flying over Charlotte. These two photos are of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. They ended up being the last photos of the evening since we were headed to darkness pretty fast. There wasn’t much eventful happening. There were small periods of rough air, but mostly it consisted of me looking out the window and being disoriented. Eventually we began descending at 8:04, passing the airport and turning around for a landing on runway 19R and arrival at gate B64. Knowing there were basically no food options around the Dulles Marriott I grabbed a burger from Five Guys in the B gates and hung around the otherwise dead terminal. There was a little action down on the A side with some Middle East flights, but B had nothing at all. It would have really been nothing if not for our delayed flight. Once I was done it was edging up on 10:00. I didn’t have any checked bags so I gathered up my duffel bag, took the train to the terminal, and went to my hotel for some sleep.
I didn’t have a ton of time there. I woke back up at 4:15 and was dropped off at Dulles just an hour later.
I essentially did what I had done the night before in reverse. I hopped on the train to the B gates and went to B70. There weren’t too many people going this early in the morning.
This caught my eye in the terminal. Virgin 69 to San Francisco. You can’t make this stuff up…
I beat my family to the gate by about 15 minutes. It was great to finally see them and get ready for the weekend together.
JetBlue Airways Flight 1208
Depart IAD - 6:45 am (was actually 6:32 am)
Arrive JFK – 8:03 am (was actually 7:29 am)
“Come Fly With Blue”
JetBlue’s first E190 as I found out later. New airline, new aircraft. There was a lot for me to take in. I’m one who refuses to fly regional jets, but knowing what I know about the E170/190 I was very willing to. The aircraft was very comfortable and unlike the old ERJs and CRJs I can actually stand up straight. Very cool.
Speaking of Barbie Jets there was one next door. I guess it was going to Detroit. I don’t remember seeing a mainline aircraft flying to DTW from Dulles.https://youtu.be/nb0vPWWzy1E
I caught a video despite it being pretty dark. Per the norm at Dulles we took off from runway 30, turned to the northeast and headed toward New York. Cabin service happened quickly at 6:51 since the flight was only about 45 minutes and only lasted about 20 minutes at altitude. It was short enough we only got up to 17,000 feet. I didn’t really watch any TV. I just looked out the window and played with the wifi. It was as fast and reliable as advertised. Beats the sh*t out of my experiences with Gogo that’s for sure.
Climbing through Virginia and Maryland as the sun rises.
That’s the breakfast of champions I guess.
I was following us on FlightRadar24 (yay free wifi!) and saw we were close to the Dover International Speedway (another track I have visited in the past).
We went out over the Atlantic and back in toward runway 31Rhttps://youtu.be/Yee7S1hKQd8
Landing in 4k and followed by a short taxi to gate 10.
Some A321s and A320s close to us.
I had about 2 hours to explore this terminal, which we did after we all got some breakfast.
Down the corridor
That sign that I’ve seen in pictures so many times. Very cool.
JetBlue’s demo jet engine. For some reason my phone tagged this as a photo of a hat. Don’t ask me why. Nice display though. After eating we walked around much of the terminal and even to the little outdoor park near gate 25. It was very cold outside (my kind of weather). That was nice to stand in. Our next flight was leaving from gate 24 so we eventually made our way there for the second and longest flight of the day.
JetBlue Airways Flight 323
Depart JFK – 9:59 am (was actually 9:51)
Arrive LAX – 1:02 om (was actually 12:42 pm)
“This Magic MoMint”
My second new aircraft type I was stepping on in almost as many hours. I had been looking forward to this flight for a while. I’m not so well traveled overseas and as a result this flight would be one of the longer ones I’ve ever taken (the 5th longest if memory serves me correctly). With the competition of the JFK-LAX route being so fierce I was excited to see a more premium product. Living in ATL I’m used to a land with zero competition, especially with Southwest moving in and cutting Airtran’s operations in half.
N946JL waiting to load and go. It’s a beautiful aircraft. We started boarding at 9:15 right next to a flight to San Juan. Announcements were flying around like crazy.
We all boarded with 15 and up and I sat down in seat 15A.
In enjoyed the fancy blue sign right by the door.
View out the window and the cabin looking forward. Really it was everything I could have asked for. First thing I notice is legroom and general comfort. Most regular coach legroom is a squeeze for me since I’m 6’3”. I had plenty of room and it wasn’t created at the expense of seat padding. I had room on the E190 as well. I appreciated it. Also the 18 inch seats. Again noticeable and very much appreciated. I could have gone another 6 hours in the aircraft as comfortable as I was. I get all this plus a 10 inch TV, free wifi, a place to charge my phone, and unlimited food and drink? Man it’s like being at home.
We pushed at 9:51, although we waiting a long time to even get moving toward runway 31L. It ended up being about 25 minutes from pushback to takeoff.
Getting to 31L and a Barbie Jet behind us.https://youtu.be/dCBBzc7-7sg
4k takeoff from 31L. It just floated off the runway. I know the airplane was heavy as hell being fully loaded with people and fuel for a transcontinental flight and you could definitely tell. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I’ve flown an Airbus A320 powered by anything other than the CFM56. Those IAE engines sound nice.
Climb was pretty rough on the way to 27,000 feet and up again to 30,000 feet. Not that that bothers me. It doesn’t
Going up. There was a round of drinks at 10:50 Eastern and food at 8:38 Pacific right after (I set my watch back in between).
A little Price is Right action come 11 Eastern
And some fancy blue chips.
At this point we worked up to FL320 and 340 over Illinois and Missouri and settled in for the ride.
St. Louis from above. That was a rare moment actually. The rest of the ride on either side consisted mostly of clouds.
At 10:15 I took a break to stretch and wander to get some more food and drink from the marketplace up front. That was probably 15-20 minutes or so.
That back window
Cabin in from the back. Beautiful.
It got a little rough over Kansas and the Rockies. We had another water round at 11:10. In the time in between I surfed the internet, watched some TV, and listened to Neal Boortz’s podcast. I was pretty much living the life just enjoying the hell out of it really.
Monster Energy Cup practice from Auto Club Speedway, ultimately our destination for the weekend.
We started descent at 12:17. It was pretty bouncy all the way in. Again no complaints from me. We had some great views.
We greased the hell out of the landing on runway 24L. I didn’t get a decent video because I’m stupid and kind of overheated my phone. Oops. Oh well. This was my first time in LAX in 11 years. Taxi was very fast and we pulled in to gate 31A
Spirit A320 to our left. Talk about a juxtaposition.
Tiny terminal 3.
So it was off for 3 days in Los Angeles culminating with the Auto Club 400 in Fontana.
First up was lunch with a view at In-N-Out. That 3x3 and animal style fries went down quick. Crowded as hell but totally worth it.
I found my star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ok that’s not really me, but it is my name.
We ate at this place called Beer Belly in Long Beach one night. Included in my fabulous picture collection are an order of fried pork belly chips and a dessert of a banana fluffernutter rolled in Captain Crunch crumbs and fried. Worth a visit if you’re in Long Beach and want to be the opposite of healthy. Actually the reason we were in Long Beach was to drive around the Indy Car street course (or as best we could legally anyway). Since we were only staying 20ish minutes away.
Don’t ask me why we got a giant Pikachu, but we did.
Kyle Busch Camry at the Toyota area on race day
I got to meet Matt DiBenedetto. That was kind of fun.
We were sitting off of turn 4. Good views on the whole.
As per the norm all good things must come to an end, and so too did this weekend. Monday morning we woke up at 4:30 and were dropped off at terminal 3 a little under an hour later.
Not much happening at check in. We were already checked so no worries there anyway. The security line was crazy, but somehow or another we all got precheck. That was easy.
Virgin America A320. I can’t remember where he was going, but I thought it looked nice and took a picture.
I couldn’t get a very good look at our aircraft, but this was what I had. We started boarding at 6:39
JetBlue Airways Flight 288
Depart LAX – 7:20 am (was actually 7:19)
Arrive BOS – 3:43 pm (was actually 3:25)
“A Blue Mintality”
An ever so hasty photo snapped while getting on.
I took my seat in the exact same spot as the flight out there, 15A.
We pushed pretty much right on time and headed for runway 24L
Looking down. We were #2.https://youtu.be/rI1ioXbzSL4
Takeoff was nice over the coast, but almost as soon as we crossed over the beach we were in clouds so no good views.
It was a nice enough day anyway as we headed up to 33,000 feet. At this point I set my watch back to Eastern Time.
There was a round of snacks at 11:31 and the marketplace opened at 12:00. Again we have the Price is Right and in general enjoying the ride.
Unfortunately it was cloudy over much of the country today much the same as when we flew out. We had some rough moments over Nebraska and Iowa. I took one stretch break and again got some snacks. It was sort of a mirror of the flight out there except an hour shorter. I listened to my podcast, watched some tv, and surfed the internet. No complaints from me.
We started descending at 2:53 for runway 4R, pulling in to gate C9. Almost as soon as we pulled in I was notified out flight to Dulles was delayed. As I found out on FlightAware it was held up in Savannah. More time to explore the terminal I suppose. I did walk around a little bit.
Gate C19, paying homage I suppose. Actually this wouldn’t be the first 9/11 gate I would visit tonight little did I know.
Finally our delayed aircraft arrived at 5:05 at gate C28. They got it turned around pretty quickly and we started boarding at 5:30.
JetBlue Airways Flight 357
Depart BOS – 5:15 pm (was actually 5:48)
Arrive IAD – 6:59 pm (was actually 7:46. Story below)
I was in seat 7A
Not much a view for where I was sitting.
Once we pushed at 5:48 there was a nice view of an A330 going to Dublin who was also pushing back.
We headed toward runway 9 but then we sat and sat, and sat, and sat not moving. Pilot said they were trying to reset a system. I’m not even going to pretend like I had a clue what they were doing. We were sitting there for almost 45 minutes. Despite being told we would have to go back to the gate we didn’t actually go back. https://youtu.be/uohKeRW76f8
Eventually we did takeoff and turned to the south.
There was a round of cabin service. I just watched Family Guy the whole way. It was getting dark and there weren’t too many photo opportunities.https://youtu.be/zG8c4D81OOU
We landed on runway 19L and taxied to gate B70. We all got off and boarded the train toward the terminal. There we split and said our goodbyes. My family went home and I headed toward United’s concourse for my flight back to Atlanta. I almost booked flights home on American through Charlotte but it would have meant a super tight connection if everything was on schedule. I’m glad I didn’t. I would have missed it and been screwed. My flight wasn’t until 10 so I had a lot of time as I walked down the mostly empty concourses C and D. My flight was leaving from gate D26, the same gate American 77 left from. I don’t really have any pictures because at this point it was completely dark.
United Express Flight 6322
Depart IAD – 10:05 pm (was actually 10:01)
Arrive ATL – 11:54 pm (was actually 11:33)
A new aircraft type again with the E175 and I guess a semi-new airline with United Express. I’ve only flown mainline United flights in the past.
We boarded at 9:36. I was a little farther back for this flight in seat 18A. Seat Guru didn’t say the window on this row is misaligned, but I would say it is. The first thing I notice after that is that the seat is hard as a damn rock. Holy crap. Zero padding. Talk about a stark contrast to what I had stepped off of a couple hours earlier.
Look out at another E175. I can’t remember where it was going though.
Anyway we pushed at 10:01 and went to runway 30 to head home. It was pretty choppy the whole way through. What is it with me and clouds? I had no idea where we were the whole flight until we were about a minute away from landing. We landed on 26R and taxied via the victor loop to gate T13. United has 3 gates down there but I’ve only used T13. I’m beating the odds I guess. I had to wake up at 5:15 for work on Tuesday so I got off as quickly as I could to head home.
I noticed JetBlue was almost ready to go at the end of the week. I’m glad they’re back.
Quite a trip and what a day Monday night with all that flying. JetBlue was awesome. They definitely lived up to the hype. Very
impressed. I hope their venture in ATL again works out for them. I will definitely try to fly them again if their prices are competitive. We had an option to fly IAD-LAX on United for $40 less. I think I’m glad we paid the extra to fly JetBlue. Great trip, great flights. I can’t ask for much else. This report has been very long, I know. I hope my errors were kept to a minimum and aren’t too distracting.
Thanks for reading
Careful, doors are closing, will not reopen. Please wait for the next train.