AA415 ORD – SEA
27 Mar 2011
Boeing 737-800 N816NN
Scheduled ETD/ETA: 1205-1425
Actual Time of Departure/Arrival: 1227-1414
Pick up by the GO shuttle was on time and by a great driver who came into the lobby to look for me! There were 2 more stops to go before all the way to the airport. We left the last stop at 08:40 and arrived at O’Hare by 08:58. Once at the airport, I got off at terminal 3 and asked an AA agent who was able to guide me to the self check-in counter but it didn’t work and she had to issue me a boarding pass.
Checking in the bags was a hassle though as after 20 days of travelling, I had accumulated a large amount of new stuff which meant overweight bags! Fortunately I was able to extract some of the stuff and place them on a carry on bag. The main weight has got to be from the Mac Mini and with it carried on the bag, my luggage cleared the scale and I was off into Priority AAccess allowing me to bypass the throng of crowds in the main security clearance area. I forgot to finish my bottled water resulting it in being thrown away. Such a waste, but can’t be helped I guess…
Once in the main departure concourse, I settled down at a Wolfgang Puck Bistro for brunch since I doubt I want to have chips for lunch in the plane. Ordering the classic breakfast set with a sunny side up and scrambled eggs served with italian sausages, potatoes and white toast, it was a great breakfast while enjoying the sight of AA’s planes along the terminal. Since I arrived early at the airport, I was also able to do some photo editing on my Mac after breakfast.
I spent some time on the Mac before deciding to call it a day and take a walk around the terminal concourse. Having done a transit stop here on my way to Fort Lauderdale, I was able to navigate my way around the terminal and since there was still some time before boarding, I walked further down the terminal to do some plane spotting. Just nice at the time, there was a JAL 777 departing for Tokyo, and this nice plane looked very clean in the white livery. There was the crew at the tarmac bidding it farewell and some kind of briefing was being conducted for the airport staff of JAL. It seems the plane just completed boarding and just completed its pullback.
After snapping some shots of the JAL, it was time for me to board the smaller 737 bound for Seattle. Again with priority boarding I was able to get to my row before anyone else, though being seated in the aisle, it wasn’t the best thing. Taking out my essentials for this flight which includes my iPad, I placed the rest of my hand carry items on the overhead compartment. Nothing eventful took place upon boarding, though one other passenger was anxious about his connections once reaching Seattle. It turns out he would be taking the same onward flight to Vancouver later on.
There was a total of two beverage service, one about half an hour after take off, another around an hour before touchdown for this flight. Otherwise there wasn’t much other activity throughout the cabin as most of the passengers were quietly relaxing in their own seats. Makes this flight great for a bit of a rest too since there was no jarring cries or a busy cabin during the flight. I was thus able to get a shuteye during this flight and it was a comfortable and uneventful flight.
By 15:54, the plane started its descent as the crew made an announcement to get everyone to put their seat backs upright and open the window shades. The flight landed at 14:14 Seattle time and it was still an early arrival after the slightly late departure from Chicago. Arriving at Seattle, I adjusted my watch back to Pacific time which I had already gotten used after spending winter in Vancouver. I made my way to gate where Horizon and Alaska Air boards from and it was another trek across a spacious but relatively empty airport terminal. There seems to a good variety of food in the terminal, but the shops are a disappointment, and all in all a very lacklustre terminal in comparison to Vancouver’s International Airport.
QX2314 sold as AA7537 SEA-YVR
27 Mar 2011
De Havilland Canada Dash 8 N440QX
Scheduled ETD/ETA: 1625-1715
Actual Time of Departure/Arrival: 1639-1716
There was a small but packed waiting area for flights departing on the Dash-8s which are visible from the windows on the gate. The cloudy weather also gave way to rain, indicating that I am truly back in the Northwest and I am so not looking forward to the gloomy weather in Vancouver. My early and punctual arrival into Seattle meant I had lots of time to spare in the terminal and I was able to walk around the terminal browsing amongst some of the shops and taking photos of the planes around Seattle.
The highlight at Seattle was perhaps the arrival of the Asiana A330 from Incheon which was an imposing sight against the Dash-8s operated by Horizon. It should still be noted that the interesting liveries of the regional jets operated by Horizon was able to entertain me somewhat. One CRJ jet has the Oregon Ducks livery while the Dash-8 jet bringing me to Vancouver has the OSU Beavers livery. It was nice to see airline companies like Horizon doing some publicity for northwest college athletics.
Around 10 minutes before scheduled departure, boarding commenced and I expected a late departure since most boarding time has been substantially earlier before scheduled departure times. It was slightly drizzling as we made the way down the stairs out into the tarmac to board the regional jet by the stairs. My first time in North America boarding through the stairs but having done this loads of time in my hometown, the experience was nothing new. Since it is a one-class flight, there was no priority boarding, or at least none that I remember.
Upon boarding the plane, I was pleased with the cabin which looks spotless and feels very airy even though it is a much smaller plane. I guess the maroon leather seats and brighter interior helps to make the cabin feel more comfortable compared to AA’s dark navy blue seats. I had an aisle seat though my seat mate has yet to board the plane when I was seated. There was a bit of a commotion as there was this old lady who was seated in 3A that had an onward connection to London from Vancouver and it seems the stewardess for this small plane wasn’t able to accommodate this relatively large hand-carried package on the overhead bins or front storage compartment. The package seems like a painting and the old lady had to mention that she is connecting to her first class flight and how they should try to find space for her hand carried package. In the end they just had to support the package by the windows such that it protrudes out into 4A as well. Well I guess it’s a short flight anyway, so I doubt it will make much of a matter to the flight.
The flight was packed and seats filled up pretty quickly. There was then a short taxi as the crew conducted a safety briefing. The plane took off eventually on 16:39 Pacific time which wasn’t too late as the pilot still expected an on-time arrival into Vancouver. One immediate thing I noticed was how the engines of the Dash-8 are really noisy and it makes me want to be back on the turbojet planes. I guess it has been some time since I was last on a propeller plane.
With cloudy weather over Seattle the initial part of the flight was slightly turbulent though it wasn’t that bad and the cabin was still a comfortable place to be once I got used to the noise from the propellers. It was fortunate I had a set of noise-cancelling headphones, and I managed to continue watching my TV shows on my iPad. There was even a refreshment service onboard during this short flight.
Given that I was expecting cloudy skies in Vancouver, I was surprised by the relatively clear skies upon descent and the nice sunset provided passengers seated by the windows marvelous views of Vancouver and Richmond on descent. Those on the E seats had the better views of downtown Vancouver and the Coast Mountains as the backdrop and I was able to take in some shots of the Richmond town centre. The nice sunset welcomed me back into Vancouver and it was nice to get off the plane as it parked on a remote stand. I was even able to pass through a rarely visited area of Vancouver International. Thankfully, the immigration line in Vancouver wasn’t too long and I was able to collect my luggage fast before meeting my younger brother who picked me up from the airport.