Topic Author
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:10 am

28 Hours in Phoenix! (DEN-SLC-PHX-DEN)

Mon May 14, 2018 7:01 pm

Hello all and thank you for reading this trip report. This is in fact my first trip report, so please let me know what you think! This past weekend my wife and daughter had traveled to Phoenix to see my in-laws for mother’s day, and naturally not wanting to miss an opportunity to travel myself I decided it was time to start looking for flights departing Saturday the 12th and returning Sunday the 13th. Having recently discovered how few miles I was able to travel with on Delta, I began looking for one way flights from Denver to Phoenix and stumbled upon an itinerary that would get me to Phoenix with a fairly short connection in Salt Lake City. 6,500 miles and less than $6 later I was booked into Delta’s Economy Comfort, and now the task of finding a return flight to Denver was the next task. Checking on Kayak to see what airfares were like I had the ability to fly United, Delta, or American all within a reasonable price of one another. The goal was to find a flight that departed and arrived relatively closely to my wife’s return flight, and despite seats being available on her same United flight I opted to book American as I hadn’t flown them since 2007 returning from Puerto Rico and I was a little tired of constantly being on a United 737-900/ER. I was able to book the flight for $132 as well as reserving an exit row seat for an additional fee.
Tickets booked, it was time to take my wife to the airport for her flight down to Phoenix on Thursday the 10th, she was flying aboard a United A320 in seat 1A. Interesting tidbit, having an 8 month old daughter and lots of baby stuff to travel with we’ve found it’s often cheaper to book Domestic First and get free bags versus economy and having to pay for baggage. Fast forward two miserable days and work and it was time to head to the airport at 3:15AM to catch my 6:00AM flight to Salt Lake City.

Flight Number: DL1977 DEN-SLC
Airline: Delta Air Lines
Aircraft: Airbus A320-212 N361NW
1st flight on N361NW, 13th A320 flight, 31st Airbus A320 family flight
STD: 6:00AM ATD: 6:04AM STA: 7:34AM ATA: 7:21AM

Having arrived at the airport several minutes before 4:00AM and already having checked in online the morning prior I was able to quickly get through security and by 4:15AM I was airside. While I certainly don’t mind early morning flights, it sure doesn’t make taking pictures very easy. Luckily I’ve got a very flawed system down wherein about half of the pictures I take actually turn out. This morning there were the usual A Concourse suspects present, at least 7 Delta jets, along with a handful of American and several Frontier planes.
ImageDSCN2883 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN2886 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN2893 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN2895 by N194DN, on Flickr
After wandering around for close to an hour taking pictures and just generally taking everything in, I decided it was time to stop by the restroom and then make my way to the gate area. Boarding was scheduled to commence at 5:20AM, however shortly after 5:10AM it was announced that due to the light load on today’s flight that they were going to attempt to depart at 5:50AM, and at 5:26AM I was at the boarding door for our A320 operating todays flight. My assigned seat was 12A, the last row in Delta Comfort, and shortly after I sat down boarding was completed and I was lucky enough to have the entire row to myself. We pushed back, and following the safety demonstration the FA’s announced that passengers were free to move seats provided that they remain in their booked cabin. After a short taxi to Runway 34R we quickly took to the skies, due to the light fuel and passenger loads it was one of the quickest takeoffs I’ve had out of Denver.
ImageDSCN2901 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN2904 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN2913 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN2922 by N194DN, on Flickr
15 minutes into the flight the FA’s came around offering snacks as well as beverages, and due to being booked in Economy Comfort I elected to have a bloody Mary to start my day. I know I’m not the only one, but there’s nothing that starts a day of flying off quite like Mr. & Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary mix. After a fairly uneventful flight before I knew it we were descending into the Salt Lake City area, and due to a very northerly routing for our flight we flew directly over the airport prior to making a 180 turn to approach runway 34R. After a fairly short taxi we parked at gate C8 about 15 minutes prior to our scheduled arrival time. My connecting flight was departing from gate D4 and given now having over an hour connection I managed to snap some pictures of the various Delta aircraft here in Salt Lake City. After 20 minutes of picture taking I once again made my way to the restroom before heading to my gate where boarding was to begin shortly.
ImageDSCN2940 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN2933 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN2931 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN2994 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3022 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3026 by N194DN, on Flickr
Flight Number: DL2877 SLC-PHX
Airline: Delta Air Lines
Aircraft: Boeing 737-900/ER N838DN
1st flight on N838DN, 14th 737NG flight, 5th 737-900/ER flight
STD: 8:25AM ATD: 8:41AM STA: 9:05AM ATA: 9:00AM

Having just flown on a Delta 737-900/ER just a few weeks prior in seat 12F, I knew that row 11 had a storage closet in front of the seats and as such booked seat 11F for my flight down to Phoenix. Yet again this flight had a very light load, and after the woman seated in 11D moved to row 10 which was unoccupied I yet again had an entire row to myself. Anyone who has recently flown through SLC knows that due to construction certain gates on the D terminal have rather long pushbacks, followed by having to taxi all the way around the construction area. For the second time departing SLC in recent weeks it was very cold and rainy, much to my frustration as this makes taking pictures quite difficult. After a rather long taxi to runway 16L the captain announced we were third for departure. Several minutes later we line up on 16L and after a fairly long takeoff roll we made our way through the clouds, which remained fairly thick until we had made it nearly to Arizona.
ImageDSCN3030 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3036 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3049 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3075 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3095 by N194DN, on Flickr
After reaching our cruising altitude the captain turned off the fasten seatbelt sign, and as the cabin crew hadn’t made their way from the galley yet I ran to the back of the plane to grab a cabin shot as well as use the restroom. Much to my chagrin one of the flight attendants rather sternly asked what I was doing, to which I responded that I was taking photos for a trip report. She seemed put off by this, and made sure I knew I wasn’t allowed to take pictures with anyone’s faces in them, nor was I to take any pictures of the exit doors onboard the aircraft. After this exchange I made my way back to my seat, and shortly thereafter the flight attendants made their way down the aisle, and I once again got a Bloody Mary, as well as a snack mix and biscoff cookie. Another 40 minutes or so passed, where at one point the captain announced we were flying over the Grand Canyon, and not much longer after that we began our descent into the Phoenix area.
ImageDSCN3102 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3104 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3112 by N194DN, on Flickr
As cabin crew began making their final rounds through the cabin, I was busy taking pictures of the desert landscape below. Shortly thereafter we began our final descent into Phoenix, and I finally experienced one of the hot a fast landings the Boeing 737-900/ER’s are famous for. Lots of movement side to side and a very, very firm landing on runway 26 we made a fairly short taxi over to gate 18 at Terminal 3. Along the way we passed a very long line of American aircraft, which I can only assume were arrivals as well as takeoffs seemed to be from 25R that morning. After a quick chat with one of the FA’s I was on my way to passenger pick up where my wife was waiting and shortly thereafter we were on our way to her Grandmother’s house in Scottsdale.
ImageDSCN3149 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3183 by N194DN, on Flickr
A fun night spent with family later and it was already time to head back to Denver. Much to my dislike, my mother in law is not one of the people who like to arrive at the airport two hours prior to departure, and so after a stressful car ride we finally arrived at Terminal 4 shortly after 11:00AM for my scheduled 12:23PM departure.

Flight Number: AA1790 PHX-DEN
Airline: American Airlines
Aircraft: Airbus A321-231 N560UW (Scheduled), N524UW (Last minute aircraft change)
1st flight on N524UW, 3rd A321 flight, 32nd Airbus A320 family flight
STD: 12:23PM ATD: 12:38PM STA: 3:11PM ATA: 3:12PM

After making it through security at 11:15AM I headed directly to gate A29 hoping to be able to get some pictures of our scheduled aircraft to Denver this afternoon. After grabbing a few pictures, I made my way over to the desk at our gate in order to request a hard copy of my boarding pass. While waiting for the gate agent to print it off the phone at her desk rang, at which time I overheard her talking about a mechanical problem with no expected time of completion. This normally wouldn’t bother me, however my wife and daughter were flying back on United and I had the car keys, creating a short moment of panic as the car seat was also in the car at the airport, meaning any significant delay and my wife would be stuck at the airport until I arrived.
ImageDSCN3189 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3202 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3205 by N194DN, on Flickr
I remained in the gate area taking pictures of planes, when about 5 minutes prior to boarding being scheduled the entire crew came back up the jet way. Again, being overly nosy I was listening to the conversation between the flight crew and gate agent, they weren’t sure whether an equipment change was in order yet, and having checked FlightRadar I apparently knew before the crew did that we would be flying N524UW instead, and several minutes later through American’s app I was notified of a gate change to A13. Speaking to one of the flight attendant on the way to our new gate he expressed relief that they were able to swap us to another A321, as apparently they have had occasions when the flight would get swapped to an A319 and end up having to bump close to 70 passengers off the flight.
ImageDSCN3212 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3216 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3215 by N194DN, on Flickr

Crisis averted, I once again began taking pictures of our new plane to Denver, hoping it wasn’t one I had already flown as I couldn’t recall the prior registrations I had flown. Turns out my previous A321 flights were on N521UW and N540UW, both of which at the time were still US Airways aircraft. After sitting at the gate for what seemed like a long time, an announcement was made that we would be delayed slightly longer due to a broken overhead bin, and that they would board First in the meantime and start general boarding once the mechanics had exited the plane. Flying American for the first time in over 10 years I was concerned with being in Boarding Group 5, however much to my relief American has 9 boarding groups. After a brief chat with a fellow passenger about the hat I was wearing (Furniture Row Racing) and talking about how dominant Kevin Harvick has been this season we were quickly onboard. Having had very few A321 flights prior I was amazed at how slow the boarding process was, however we ended up pushing back only 15 minutes late. Anyone who hasn’t flown in row 10A-C on one of the pre-merger US aircraft, let me tell you, I have never had so much legroom. You could easily sleep next to the exit door on the floor if you really felt the need.
ImageDSCN3221 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3248 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3235 by N194DN, on Flickr
After a relatively short taxi to runway 25R, we were fourth in line behind two other American A321’s and an A319. Upon entering the runway we sat and waited for takeoff clearance, and rather surprisingly (for me, at least) had a very powerful and quick takeoff roll. We were airborne by 12:56PM, and made a quick climb up to our 33,000ft cruising altitude. Once the fasten seatbelt sign was turned off I made my way all the way to the back of the aircraft for a cabin shot and to use the restroom. After returning to my seat the cabin crew began coming around for beverage service. Upon reaching my row I ordered a Bloody Mary as well as a Voodoo Ranger IPA, paying $15 for the two drinks. American also provides small bags of pretzels, a welcome treat on such a short flight.
ImageDSCN3260 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3256 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3309 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3314 by N194DN, on Flickr
After a very scenic flight over Arizona and part of New Mexico, the cabin came over the intercom warning of very heavy turbulence approaching Denver. Shortly thereafter the FA’s came around to collect trash, and then secured the cabin for landing a full 35 minutes prior to touchdown. As we got closer to Denver the clouds grew thicker and thicker, and before long we got our promised turbulence. Flying into Denver it’s very rare that when approaching from the West you don’t get some turbulence, and it seemed every time we’d drop altitude there were be multiple rather loud gasps from passengers seated around me. A very bumpy approach later and we were on final for Runway 34R, and after a greaser of a landing we were on our way to our gate A49.
ImageDSCN3312 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3329 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3340 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3349 by N194DN, on Flickr
After deboarding the plane I took another shot of the aircraft in Denver, before walking over to the gate that a Lufthansa 747 had just parked. I then headed to the bridge from the A Concourse to the main terminal as this provides an excellent photo spot, prior to heading back down to the train to go B Concourse, my wife’s flight was on final at this point and I wanted to be able to get some shots of her plane taxiing to the gate. She was onboard United 2135, and 737-900/ER with a registration of N63899. After making it to her gate, I happened to notice the other Lufthansa flight was an A350, which I’ve never seen in person and am now kicking myself for not walking a little further to grab a picture of it as well. Oh well, you live and learn I suppose.
ImageDSCN3393 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3395 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3401 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3403 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3405 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3417 by N194DN, on Flickr
ImageDSCN3427 by N194DN, on Flickr
Thanks for reading my first trip report, I hope you enjoyed it! Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions, and have a great rest of your day.
User avatar
Posts: 691
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:34 am

Re: 28 Hours in Phoenix! (DEN-SLC-PHX-DEN)

Tue May 15, 2018 12:31 am

Cool report and thanks for posting. DEN is one of my favorite airports. I was lucky to be at Stapleton the evening it closed and at the new Denver Int'l Airport the next morning. I didn't see the first flight arrive (from COS) but I was there for a good part of the morning.
Posts: 2185
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

Re: 28 Hours in Phoenix! (DEN-SLC-PHX-DEN)

Tue May 15, 2018 1:57 am

Great report. It looks like your DL flights were not very full - I've rarely ever gotten to be on a flight with DL where there are so few passengers!

Thank you for sharing.
I love to fly!
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:36 am

Re: 28 Hours in Phoenix! (DEN-SLC-PHX-DEN)

Tue May 15, 2018 5:23 am

Brilliant first trip report. That was a very enjoyable read.
User avatar
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:37 am

Re: 28 Hours in Phoenix! (DEN-SLC-PHX-DEN)

Sat May 19, 2018 9:57 pm

That Bloody Mary sure looks good... Thanks for posting! :airplane:

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: GaryDay, KLMatSJC, milemaster, N776AU and 30 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos