My grandmother on my mom's side decided that she would like to "spend her inheritance on her family and experience it alongside us while she is still here." This led to a trip to Italy scheduled for the summer of 2017; coinciding with my mother's 50th birthday. I booked a trip that had us arriving in Venice and leaving out of Rome so as to fit into the trip schedule. The flights were AWI4282 from STL-PHL, AAL714 from PHL-VCE, AAL239 from FCO-DFW, and AAL51 from DFW-STL. I booked the trip in January of 2017 and then waited for the day to come.June 16, one day before the trip:
I was to go and pick up my sister from the STL airport in the afternoon, so I decided to have a productive morning. I had already packed, so I spent the morning the best way an aviation student could: a 3 hour cross country flight to Topeka, KS, St Joseph, MO and back to Skyhaven.
After the flight, I ate lunch, loaded my car, and drove to the STL airport. I picked up my sister at STL drove to my Grandma's house for the night.June 17
I woke up naturally at 6 a.m. (having an early morning flight slot will do that to you) and did some last minute preparations. at 11:00, my uncle and a family friend drove us to the airport. Once there, we checked our bags, got our boarding passes, and went through security.
After passing through security, we stopped at Schlafly bar and grill to get a lunch. I had their signature slinger which tasted delicious. It consisted of a burger patty, chili beans, tater tots, and plenty of cheese.flight #1
Filed route (Skyvector)
actual route with hold (Flightaware)
After lunch, I went to the gate and saw our aircraft: N418AW, a 12 year old CRJ-200. I noticed that our scheduled boarding time had passed and nothing as happening. Then a fire truck came to the gate and the gate agent told the reason for the delay. They had spilled fuel onto the tarmac and couldn't start the APU so we had to wait until that was cleaned up.
Luckily, the delay didn't take that long and we began boarding. I waited patiently until my group was called and walked down the jetway to the aircraft
I settled into 11F and set up my gopro to record portions of the flight. the seat had a nice wing view and still offered a view of the ground below. However, I didn't look outside all that much because the low window height made it difficult and a pain on my neck
We pushed back and started the engines. I found it funny that people were desperately reaching for the air vents during startup since all the bleed air is used for the engines and nothing goes to climate control. the cabin did get quite hot in the 5 minutes it took to start the engines considering it was a hot and humid midwestern day. We then taxied to runway 29 and took off following the JHART4 depatrure.takeoff video
The flight was nothing spectacular. The flight attendant came around with a snack and beverage service. I had a ginger ale and watched the world pass beneath
A very nice article in American Way
the wide angle of the gopro makes the cabin look larger and more spacious than it is. Don't be fooled, this is still the infamous CRJ-200. It dos show how thin the seat is though.
apparently the snapchat speed filter even works in airplane mode.
About 90 minutes into the flight the aircraft started to make long turns. At first, I thought it was vectors to set up for the approach. Then I began to see the same scenery time and time again. We were in a hold. Soon enough the captain came on and explained that we had been in a holding pattern due to low clouds and congestion at PHL. We had inishe our current hold, but due to the fuel situation, they would have to divert to Allentown if thy received any more holds.
Thankfully we didn't recieve any more holding instructions and we were soon on final approach for runway 17. We landed hard and stopped fast due to other traffic on runways 9L/R. (That's LAHSO for you) landing video
We taxied to terminal F and parked at gate F28. The hour layover we were supposed to have was now 25 minutes. And we had to go all the way to A23. Thankfully there is an airside bus transfer system and it only took 15 minutes to get from one side of PHL to the other. I even had time to take some pictures.Flight #2
filed route (Skyvector)
actual route (Flightaware)
I waited at the gate until boarding was called. Eventually group 6 was called. I showed my passport and my boarding pass and walked down the jetway. We boarded through the "e" in "American"
I sat down in my seat (29A) and waited for the flight to start. We had a slight delay due to not being able to push back because there were planes behind us in the queue waiting for takeoff during the evening rush.
Eventually, we got our pushback and taxi clearance and joined the long queue waiting for takeoff. "Soon I'll be on my way to Italy." I thought. That was until a tug pulling an aircraft broke down as it as crossing a major intersection. We sat and waited until the tug got fixed and finally received our takeoff clearance at 7:56 p.m., 1 hour after leaving the gate. takeoff video
After the takeoff and during the climbout via the PHL1 departure, we were treated to a wonderful view of the sunset
About an hour into the flight, the meal service began. For economy passengers, it was a choice of chicken or pasta. I chose the chicken seeing as how I was going to be in Italy and eating a ton of pasta there. It came in an apricot sauce with steamed vegetables and rice. Rolls, salad, chesse and crackers, and a dessert were also included. It was an adequate meal given the fact that I was flying economy on AA.
After the meal, I sat back and explored the IFE. The screen was about as responsive as you'd expect from a resistive touch system. I finally found Rogue One
after spending 3 minutes to get to the 3rd page of movies. Not wanting to annoy the person in front of me any longer, I watched the movie, and then tried to sleep.
After dozing on and off for about 45 minutes, I started to watch The Founder
, a documentary about Ray Kroc and the McDonald brothers, the founders of McDonald's. By this time, the sun was rising and we were approaching Ireland.
little cold outside
Eventually, as we were flying over paris, the crew came around with a small breakfast consisting of yogurt, granola, dried fruit, and a muffin top. The came around again and offered coffee, juice, or tea. I chose coffee because I knew I'd be awake for a while still.
As we began our descent, we passed over the Italian alps, offering us stunning views.
Soon we were lined up for approach to runway 4R flying over Italian villagesUntitled
, on Flickrlanding video
After landing, it was a short taxi back to the terminal. Since I was in the back of the aircraft, it took a while to exit. On my way out I did pay a quick visit to the cockpit area.
I walked down the jetway and through some construction to get to the passport control. I got my passport stamped and went to baggage claim. Unfortunately, my grandmother's luggage did not make it, but It eventually got over by the next day. We walked out of the airport and over to the water transport stand, where we took a small waterbus (the Alilaguna Orange line) to our hotel by the Rialto Bridge
Thank you for reading. Part 2 ( concerning the trip itself), and part 3 (the flight back) will be up in the following months.