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Occasionally, the planets are aligned properly…

August 16th, 2005 · 7 Comments

Some times, the events that make up a day of flying just seem to work out perfectly. It’s especially pleasing when everything aligns properly on the last day of a four day trip. It makes the transition from work to home much easier, particularly if you have to commute.

That happened to us today. We couldn’t help but laugh at our good fortune, especially since we were thrown a big curve ball right before our last leg of the trip.

We started this morning in Ontario, CA (KONT) at 0550. Fortunately for us, the hotel is nice enough to have someone working in the breakfast-room who makes flight crews omelets and stuff in addition to the continental fare. I chose to eat a few bowls of shredded wheat and a banana.

Out the front door we went, clamoring into the hotel shuttle for the five-minute ride to the terminal. Security was relatively easy today, and we made it to our gate with time to spare. The airplane had been parked in an overflow spot the previous night, as there aren’t enough gates for the number of airplanes that overnight in Ontario. Consequently, we had to wait a little while for it to be towed up to the jet-bridge. When it arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that it was one of our newest 737-700′s! We were slated to fly an older -300 for the day.

We left the ground at about 7:00, bound for Sacramento with a full load of happy morning passengers. An uneventful hour-and-ten later, we pulled into the gate in Sacramento right on time. Twenty-five minutes later, we pushed back again, headed this time for Burbank.

In Burbank, the station agents made short work of the offload and onload of passengers. The managed to empty 137 passengers and board another 137 for Las Vegas in all of twenty minutes! Another on-time push!

Some in-trail spacing (America West launched ahead of us) to Las Vegas had us off the ground in Burbank about 8 minutes later than we thought. But we were still able to get there and pull into the gate right on time.

Here’s where we saw the curve-ball. The station agent told us we were involved in a last-minute aircraft swap. Our new aircraft was parked on gate C9 in Las Vegas. We’d just pulled into gate C24. With only 20 minutes left of our 20-minute turn, we had to really hustle the three-quarters-of-a-mile to our new gate. A very smart gate agent talked two very agreeable pilots into waiting for us to arrive so that he could board the passengers at the normal time. By the time we got there, all 137 folks were already loaded and ready to go. All we had to do was drop our stuff in the flight deck, do the preflight, get the clearance, and go! With all that mess, we were still able to push on-time for our last leg to Phoenix!

Air traffic control was extremely helpful on our way to AZ, giving us shortcuts and asking us to keep our speed up, as we were apparently leading a pack of a half-dozen or so airplanes into PHX. All that combined to help us land nearly 15 minutes early!

Top all that off with the fact that we parked at the same concourse as our crew-lounge and my flight to LAX was out of the gate right across from ours. I even had time to grab a bite to eat for lunch before boarding my flight home!

I just love it when a plan comes together!

(Edited 8/17 to get rid of some really stupid typos. What the hell are plantes, anyway??)

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anonymous // Aug 17, 2005 at 7:40 am

    Glenn… your blogs are very interesting to read. I’m just curious what your typical trip would look like?

  • 2 Edge // Aug 17, 2005 at 1:49 pm

    That’s so interesting.

  • 3 GC // Aug 17, 2005 at 2:30 pm

    Well, I’ll give you the basic run-down of my last four-day trip.

    Started in Phoenix at 1100C on Saturday. Flew three legs through Detroit and Nashville to Fort Lauderdale for the overnight. 7:40 scheduled block time. In bed by 2100C.

    Sunday started at 0740C in Fort Lauderdale. Flew three legs through Orland and Houston to Los Angeles. 6:45 scheduled block time. At home (I live near LAX) by 1600C.

    Monday started at 0830C in LAX. Flew four legs through San Jose, Burbank, and Oakland to overnight in Ontario by 1405C. 4:25 scheduled block time.

    Tuesday started at 0850C in ONT. Flew four legs through Sacramento, Burbank, and Las Vegas to finish the trip in Phoenix by 1435C. 4:35 scheduled block time. Caught the next flight out to LAX and was home by about 4pm local time thanks to crappy traffic on the 405 freeway.

  • 4 Anonymous // Aug 18, 2005 at 2:26 am

    Thanks for the info… much appreciated. I live in Orange County and know all about the 405, 55, 5, 91… list goes on.

    SoCal is great, but the traffic is terrible.

    Thanks again,

  • 5 Aaron DeAngelis // Aug 18, 2005 at 12:28 pm

    Our paths almost crossed! We were only a day and three gates away. I left LAS from C27, Wednesday!

    Maybe I saw your plane land.

    Glad everything worked out for you; we had to sit in Nashville for two hours while a pair of storms passed.

  • 6 Anonymous // Aug 19, 2005 at 1:00 am

    Glenn – Fantastic blog. I used to work at Albuquerque Center and I’m glad to hear you got their great service into the Valley of the Sun. Of course, on another day you might not be the lead dog into PHX, but it is nice when it works out!!

    Fly safe!!

  • 7 kala474jerrica // Aug 21, 2005 at 5:30 am

    damn good blog, check out mine http://juicyfruiter.blogspot.com, comments always welcome!

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