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CollegeAviator
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Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with N891GA, to divert or not to divert (LAS-GFK Nov '16)

Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:13 pm

Picking up from where I left off..
Following a tremendous Days 1 & 2 in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, we move on to some of the touristy stuff, and no-drinking parts of Las Vegas (the last part wasn't by choice... I wasn't 21 then!)

The video trip report of this flight can be found here: Allegiant Air Las Vegas to Grand Forks

Day 3 - November 25th 2016
We decided to take it a little slow on the third day, seeing as we had a long Thanksgiving at the Grand Canyon. Day 3 entailed of the Nuclear History museum, walking through the hotels/casions, down the Las Vegas strip and finally dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Some interesting information at the Nuclear History museum, and Area 51 - this was the day I found out what Janet Airlines was (or was it?)
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I had my first Chipotle lunch. Seeing as we college kids don't have this in Grand Forks, some go down to Fargo, while others (us) stick with Qdoba.
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We headed over to the Welcome to the Las Vegas sign - time for some spotting?!
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Walking through the impressive hotels, we nearly got lured in to buying a couple of rooms here and there. How I wish we could spend a night or two in these impressive hotels! Mandalay Bay and The Luxor first. Luxor was my favorite of all of the hotels on the strip!
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New York New York and some window shopping at M&M and Hersheys... (okay maybe a milkshake LOL!)
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MGM Grand
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It became evening pretty quickly - and a little chilly, too! Las Vegas by night -
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Bad bad decision to try out Coke Samples & Coke floats before supper..
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At the Hard Rock Cafe and Hotel, the collection was decent (seeing as I like hard rock and heavy metal music), but I was actually quite horrified to see Nicki Minaj and Beyonce's clothes be present. They aren't, in any shape or form, hard rock!! Supper and some of the relevant collection at the HRC.
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Day 4 - November 26th 2016
Brunch of the high kind at Paris Las Vegas - we got our money's worth :)
Mob Museum, and Fremont Street
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We went up the Stratosphere - god was it windy and cold!
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The Mirage volcano was off because of how windy it was...
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Venetian - major Macau 2010 vibes! :)
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And we kept it easy on the pocket for supper -
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Day 5 - November 27th 2016, Allegiant flight G4484 Las Vegas to Grand Forks
The holiday ended much too soon. Seeing the hotels, museums, casinos, the performances, the Grand Canyon….it was a fulfilling trip! Being an F1 weekend, the last of what was a tight 2016 season. I just needed two things to fall in to place - a Nico Rosberg world championship, and an MD-88 back to Grand Forks, since I’ve already been on the MD-82 and MD-83.

I completed the web check in while inside the Mob Museum (which was very impressive!), where I once again changed from seats 22A & B to 34D & F, once again in the hopes of an empty middle seat.
These screenshots were taken for the inbound, hence the inaccurate dates/times, but it gives you an idea of Allegiant's pretty convenient (and trying to convince to buy stuff :) ) mobile check in system.
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A survey was done, too...
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With that, we were up nice and early at 0400 hours for our 0725 departure. Calling a Lyft was easy, since its Vegas, and its full of drunk people in the morning, so. :)

CHECK IN, SECURITY, ETC..
Reached the airport at 0505 hours. Our plan was to purchase the $5 boarding passes for each of us, being a nice flight souvenir (well, no printer in the BnB, too!). Check in lines were long, but by and large being processed quickly. The pre-printed list of gates for aircraft showed GFK as Great Falls, not Grand Forks :D

Curbside
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Inside the terminal
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List of flights departing
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On being issued the boarding passes, we asked where we have to pay. ‘Seasons greetings!’ said the nice agent behind the desk. ‘Happy holidays, and have a great flight!’ said the nice man. A positive start to the flight indeed :D

Renovations in terminal 1 meant that after checking in we had to walk out of the terminal and back in towards security. This was crowded, too.
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The TSA were generally very nice time around. The lady scanning my boarding pass said ‘Oh come on Allegiant, get your barcodes to work…’. Seems like the ultra low cost carrier does not have best in class barcodes ;) We cleared security at 0534 hours, and proceeded towards concourse B, gate B2 in particular.
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Boarding gate, B2
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The gate slowly filled up, the sun was yet to rise and the F1 championship was reaching its closing stages: I would know who the 2016 world champion would be by the time I boarded. But the real question was, which aircraft would it be? An MD-88? Or the MD-83? I had to wait and see.
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As the sun rose to an impressive spectacle shining over the Las Vegas Valley, up-slope fog formed, and the answer became clear. It was N891GA for me. Again. A repeat registration in the USA, the land of over 5000 planes! I thought I’d never see this day come! My allegiance with N891GA indeed...
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As it panned out, being on the exact same plane was least of my concerns.

But at least some thing went right! Nico Rosberg was crowned as a brand new Formula One world champion, beating his team mate by 5 points, and fending off the charging Sebastian Vettel of a resurgent Ferrari team. I was happy to see a new World Champion after 7 years of just two people sharing the title…

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BOARDING
Boarding announcements were made about 7 minutes after the scheduled time, at 0631 hours. Once again, the group boarding procedures were enforced. Group 2 for my girlfriend who had the personal item, group 4 for me, the carry on group.
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Once I lined up (and unfortunately, got the boarding pass stub part only. My girlfriend got the entire boarding pass. Ugh :(), we received information that the weather in Grand Forks. Visibility was marginal, and it was expected to get worse over the next few hours. We had just over three hours to make it back, or else face a diversion. With the flying time itself being about 2.5 hours, and boarding still underway, it was cutting it close. A couple of passenger and I heard over the walkie talkies that we were already planning an alternative: Bismarck, North Dakota.

With that concern in mind, the very broke me was worried I would not make it to work. I needed the money :P The cabin crew making her announcements once again had no clue what a Grand Forks was. I cannot blame her. This was the second time the FA did not have a clue (not as bad as the DL flight attendant, lol) but hey we are in the middle of no where, after all! :D
The plane was packed. I recognized some people from the inbound flight (every one was in Vegas to have a good time!). I took my seat 34F, just one row behind the seat I sat on the way in
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But this time, a much better view of the Pratt & Whitney JT8D engine! My plan backfired. There was just one seat in the whole aircraft that was empty, and it wasn’t the aisle seat we hoped we could take… dang it! I said to her ‘well, be prepared for more middle seatings!’ I joked. She was unimpressed.

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It sounded like the engines were being fired up at one point, even with the doors open! While the APU was already turned on while we boarded, I’m not sure what else was fired up… do check out the video trip report (around 03:37) if you have any answers! :D

The very calm captain came around and explained some details of the flight: the east bound flight would be a short 2hr30min, while visibility in GFK was between 0.5-1 mile. He also explained that the MD-83 burns about 1000 gallons of fuel per hour, which sounds like a lot! An absolute gas guzzler the Mad Dog was! :D

DEPARTURE
With everything in place, we pushed back at 0729 hours, just 4 minutes behind scheduled time. Both (yes both…so I guess it wasn’t an engine being fired up earlier) PW JT8D engines were fired up…I was loving the sounds! :D
Start up video

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Janet Airlines -
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Taxiing to the runway -
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Taxi to runway 25R was quite short, as we followed some other t-tail birds…Delta’s B717 to Los Angeles, for example. Lined up with the runway at 0744 hours, and blasted down at 0745 hours, with an impressive view of the Strip as we turned over the Sin city and headed East for Grand Forks! There was quite a lot of turbulence straight after take off.
Take off video

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INFLIGHT
My bad choice of seating became worse as the glare of the sunrise meant that there was only bad images waiting to happen. Having already seen the impressive land features on the way to Vegas, I decided to put the window shade down and fall asleep. If anything, it was a beautiful day to fly, but that was until we got any where near North Dakota. I think there was just the one service being conducted in the flight, while the crew were more or less away, but attending to people’s needs when required.
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About 45 minutes in to the flight, I decided to do what most of the passengers did: sleep! It was actually surprisingly comfortable on the flight. I first woke up over Wyoming, more than 2/3rd of the way there. Pretty soon, we started descent in to Grand Forks…or was it?
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Day 3 - November 25th 2016
The sun went away was dipped in to the grey clouds. Typical of North Dakota, frankly! The next half an hour was crucial for us. If we made it to Grand Forks, well and good. Great, rather! If not, how long would we be stuck in Bismarck? The answer would soon become clear. Not the weather outside however, that was not clear at all!
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It was everything as normal onboard, however. Regular arrival announcements were made, and the crew secured the cabin. I’m quite sure the few of us who overheard the radio in Las Vegas were concerned about diverting to Bismarck. Just the 10-11 of us, out of the 165 passengers on board. It was a race against time.
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The penny dropped. Captain announced that the visibility in Grand Forks had dropped below minimums. We’d have to circle for a bit before landing in Grand Forks….or heading to Bismarck? But the captain advised the cabin crew to take their seats.

We circled for quite some time, and the situation looked bleak.

A ray of hope! The flaps were deployed slowly - maybe we would make it! But just then, the flight attendant made what was probably the biggest mistake of the day :P She announced that the distance from Bismarck to Grand Forks was a mere 40 miles….heck, people drive down to Fargo so frequently and even that is 79 miles away! She probably meant a 40 minute flight in between the two cities, but not 40 miles! (Its 190 miles between GFK and BIS). The cabin burst in to laughter because of this error - no, she did not correct herself later on!
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Flaps were deployed further, the engine started screeching - it felt like we were getting lower and closer to the ground. We flew through some absolutely thick fog. I had no idea how high above we were - until I could barely make out between North Dakota’s legendary farms and the fog itself through the terrible contrast. It looked more and more obvious that we will land in Grand Forks after the landing gears engaged, and flaps completely deployed. We were going to make it!

We touched down on time at 1221 hours on Runway 35L. It seemed like the fog had cleared up a little, but definitely not more than half a mile! I was relived to be Grand Forks. An eventful end to what was a great time in Vegas! The passengers cheered and clapped as the crew announced our arrival in Grand Forks. Being in UND, some aviation nerds (not me :) ) checked the weather on their many phone apps - and they knew what they had just missed out on!
MINIMUMS landing!
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METAR:
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Taxied to gate 1 as normal. No aircraft in Gate 2, however. The flight was heading back to Las Vegas, and the crew requested us to put the seat belts back in the cross manner, and leave trash on the seats so they’d clear it up…. workings of a ultra LCC! Docked at the gate, luggage was offloaded and we got off.
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The terminal was packed with passengers heading to Vegas…and the passengers on the Delta flight to MSP: a cart with drinks and snacks was set up. The Delta flight(s) were not coming in any time, it looked like.
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Called a taxi and headed back to the dorms. It was back to getting ready for the final push of the semester - 4 weeks before I’d fly back to India! At work, I found out G4485 to Las Vegas got delayed by no less than 8 hours! We surely got lucky in getting back in to Grand Forks!

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Delayed flight back to Vegas -
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Weather made it to the news -
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What a trip. The first for me from my pocket, entirely. A proud college kid for me, hehe! I quite liked Allegiant Air. 9 out of 10 times they get every thing right - no delays, no hassles, nothing. But the one time they get some time wrong, it makes national headlines. I feel that all the skepticism is unjustified. They are a great function, ultra low cost airline. If the passengers understand the policies, its a great travel deal! I also love the fact that most of their fleet is comprised of the Mad Dogs. Sure, I would’ve liked to be on two different Mad Dogs, but N891GA confirmed my Allegiance with Allegiant Air :)

Thanks to TG for helping with editing!! :D

Once again, the video trip report of this flight can be found here: Allegiant Air Las Vegas to Grand Forks

My other trip reports:
2016
Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with Allegiant! (Part 1, many pictures) (video trip report)
The day I flew the world's most popular plane (GFK-FAR-CKN-GFK, C172)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 14: Delta Connection, a quick hop in the Midwest! (MSP - GFK, Aug '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 13: Super old, Super 80, Mad Dog Across the Midwest! (AA ORD-MSP, Aug'16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 12: Flying the Friendly Skies... (United Munich to Chicago, Aug '16)) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 11: Epic Lufthansa, Epic A340! (Delhi to Munich, Aug '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 10: Konnect, Lite, Delight...(S2 B73H CCU-DEL, Aug '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 9: Take me home, Vistara! (DEL-CCU, Jul '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 8: Vistara's INAUGURAL flight out of Kolkata! (CCU-DEL, Jun '16)) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 7: Efficient IndiGo! (Mumbai to Kolkata, A320, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 6: Big delays, cracked windshield, angry passengers (SG CCU-BOM B73J) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 5: Air India's domestic Dream)liner (DEL-CCU May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 4: Nearly First Class - stories of the empty A380! (LH FRA-DEL May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 3: World's longest jet, Lufthansa's B748i! (ORD-FRA May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 2: ChicaGO on United's A319! (MSP-ORD, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)
The pencil jet(s) for spring break! (+ Iron Maiden bonus): Delta MSP-FLL-MSP, March '16 (DL1608 video trip report, DL2027 video trip report)
De-iced & Delayed, cold onboard a CRJ! (ORD-MSP-GFK on Delta, Jan '16) (ORD-MSP video report) (MSP-GFK video report)
Delta's aged B767-300ER across the Atlantic! (CDG-ORD in Y, Jan '16) (video report)
Air France's NEW Economy (B777-200ER, Bengaluru to Paris, Jan '16) (video report)
Delays and despair: stressed out in the middle seat! (Jet Airways B737 Mumbai - Bengaluru, Jan '16)
Air India's hybrid babybus from Kolkata to Mumbai (Jan '16, Y) (video report)

2012
South Africa 3: 12 days in Scintillating South Africa (Kruger, Kulula and Rand Airport, Apr' 12, LONG!)
South Africa 2: Elegant Emirates Economy! (DXB-CPT, B77W, Apr '12)
South Africa 1: My first flight on Emirates, my first flight on the 777 (CMB-DXB, Apr '12)

2011
International transit with Jet Airways (BOM-MAA-CMB, Oct. '11)
Konnecting to Bhubaneswar (9W BOM-BBI-BOM, Jul '11)
Three trips between India and Sri Lanka (9W BOM-CMB-BOM: Jun '11, Jul '11, Oct. 11)
To India's Orange City: Mumbai - Nagpur - Mumbai on Jetlite & Tadoba National Park (May 2011)
My last flight on Kingfisher Airlines (and 2 other Jet flights, May '11)
 
User avatar
KLASM83
Posts: 415
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:08 am

Re: Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with N891GA, to divert or not to divert (LAS-GFK Nov '16)

Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:34 pm

Another wonderful TR, but as you know I'm, *really* biased lol

GFK looks so empty without CPT, FDX and AIP on the ramps.
Don't you want to hang out and waste your life with us?
 
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CollegeAviator
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Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:55 am

Re: Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with N891GA, to divert or not to divert (LAS-GFK Nov '16)

Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:19 pm

KLASM83 wrote:
Another wonderful TR, but as you know I'm, *really* biased lol

GFK looks so empty without CPT, FDX and AIP on the ramps.

Hehe, thanks for your reply!
More from GFK coming :)

FedEx left a few days prior to this report, and it was quite sad to see no more 'wide body' services. A friend of mine took a picture of two A300s parked side by side... I'll try and find it.

Shocking events that have crippled Las Vegas. Thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families. :(
 
azstar
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 5:25 am

Re: Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with N891GA, to divert or not to divert (LAS-GFK Nov '16)

Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:57 pm

I don't understand why they wouldn't have diverted to Fargo, 75 miles south. Was it fogged in there too?
Last edited by azstar on Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
azstar
Posts: 417
Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 5:25 am

Re: Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with N891GA, to divert or not to divert (LAS-GFK Nov '16)

Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:59 pm

I don't understand why they wouldn't have diverted to Fargo, 75 miles south, unless there was thick fog there too. BTW, didn't Fedex move their operation to Fargo too?
 
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CollegeAviator
Topic Author
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:55 am

Re: Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with N891GA, to divert or not to divert (LAS-GFK Nov '16)

Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:04 pm

azstar wrote:
I don't understand why they wouldn't have diverted to Fargo, 75 miles south, unless there was thick fog there too.

Yup, a line of thick fog all across the border of ND and MN.

azstar wrote:
BTW, didn't Fedex move their operation to Fargo too?

Yup, and the same has been discussed in the post above :)

Thanks for checking it out!!
 
KLDC10
Posts: 850
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:15 pm

Re: Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with N891GA, to divert or not to divert (LAS-GFK Nov '16)

Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:59 pm

Thanks for another great report! Looks like you had a fun trip and an eventful return to North Dakota!

As for your repeat registration; I guess that is kind of surprising. I don't think I've had a repeat registration yet, although I had N960DN and N961DN within three days of each other a couple of weeks back. I thought getting consecutively-registered MD-90s was pretty cool though.
I've also had N938DN and N939DN, but those flights were about a year apart.
About a year ago I flew on N931DN from Atlanta to St. Louis and ran into it in STL a couple of days later. I actually thought it was working my return flight, but it was headed someplace else.

I think repeat registrations are more common in Europe, where airlines are smaller. There are a couple of KLM 737s which keep popping up whenever I fly European short-haul, and back in the "good old days", there was one MD-11 (PH-KCB) which used to make my day when she pulled up at the gate ;)
DC9/MD90/MD11/F70/BAE146/Q400/737/738/739/744/752/763/772/A320/A321/A332/A333/E175/E190
 
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CollegeAviator
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Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:55 am

Re: Thanksgiving '16 in the Sin City - My Allegiance with N891GA, to divert or not to divert (LAS-GFK Nov '16)

Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:28 am

KLDC10 wrote:
Thanks for another great report! Looks like you had a fun trip and an eventful return to North Dakota!/quote]
Thanks for checking it out! Eventful for sure, just when I wanted a regular arrival following all the fun in Vegas...

KLDC10 wrote:
As for your repeat registration; I guess that is kind of surprising. I don't think I've had a repeat registration yet, although I had N960DN and N961DN within three days of each other a couple of weeks back. I thought getting consecutively-registered MD-90s was pretty cool though.
I've also had N938DN and N939DN, but those flights were about a year apart.
About a year ago I flew on N931DN from Atlanta to St. Louis and ran into it in STL a couple of days later. I actually thought it was working my return flight, but it was headed someplace else.

Wow, that is a pretty cool coincidence! The closest I have ever come to 'consecutive registrations' was back in 2012: EK CMB-SIN on A6-EBE, the return on A6-EBC...no where close, LOL! And even better for you - the MD90s are a rare catch nowadays!

KLDC10 wrote:
I think repeat registrations are more common in Europe, where airlines are smaller. There are a couple of KLM 737s which keep popping up whenever I fly European short-haul, and back in the "good old days", there was one MD-11 (PH-KCB) which used to make my day when she pulled up at the gate ;)

The struggle in India is real - being loyal to Jet Airways has cost me as a new registration geek. At least two flights on VT-JWJ (A330-200), VT-JBP, VT-JFC, VT-JBT, VT-JGD, VT-JFP, and at least thrice (!!) on VT-JBM, VT-JLE, VT-JGA.... small fleet problems, LOL!

Thanks for dropping by! :D

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