My first mileage run ever: US coast to coast on NWA (Part II)


Airbus A320-212 N362NW (msn 911, first flight on 27/10/1998)
ETD: 12h00
ETA: 17h53
Seat: 01D

January 7 2009

Bearing in mind that I was flying back to MSP in the same aircraft in which I had just flown, that annulled all chances of misconnecting. Basically, I just crossed the jetway to go to the terminal, stretched my legs, waited 20 mins. and boarded again.

The terminal itself was quite small and had nothing to see; the views to the tarmac were limited too.

Boarding started on time. The gate agent was a cranky one, but I had no trouble with her and interaction was not necessary.

After boarding, the Purser saw me again, looked at me with surprise, smiled and said “We have to talk!”. I laughed and said “Sure we will”. The same procedure regarding the coats and drinks took place; I asked for a Pepsi. C class was once again full; Y class was about 60%. Prior to the closure of the doors, the captain announced the flight time would be of 3h15 and that we would be cruising at 35.000 ft.

At 11h55 doors were closed and shortly thereafter we pushed-back and started our taxi to rwy 27; at 12h15 we took off.

Once again, during our climb, I managed to spot some great views, including one of Seaworld San Diego and of Mexico.

As we were getting away from the coast, the landscape started changing once again and the green gave place to the brown as the dominant colour: the mountains first and the desert next. I could track down this first batch of photos via GoogleEarth as they were not far from SAN, but unfortunately the lack of an inflight map didn’t allow me to identify the other landscapes.

Service started 25 mins. after take-off with a round of drinks and nuts / pretzels. I declined both.

15 mins later, lunch was served. There were two options: a sandwich of pastrami and cheese or a salad of pasta and chicken. As I am not a big fan of salads and try to avoid pasta in US airlines, I went for the former without even giving it much thought. Wrong choice!!! It was tasteless and came with a pickle (cucumber), which I detest. Apart from that, it was served also with a minuscule bag of chips (thankfully, not flavoured), some fresh fruit and a brownie ― which, in the end, were the highlights of this meal. To drink, I asked for a 7up but… I was offered Sierra Mist; I didn’t say anything to the FA just because he was very competent. In the end, the sandwich was average, but I certainly didn’t expect this (or even the cold pasta salad) would be the lunch of a 3h+ flight in domestic first class.

During the flight, the captain drew the pax’s attention to the Mojave Desert and to the Grand Canyon. Due to turbulence, we climbed to 37.000 ft.

The views from my seat were still spectacular and the more Northeast we flew, the snowier.

At a certain point, the captain came out of the flight deck and due to that, the FAs put one trolley across the aisle, blocking the way into the galley.

I got up at a certain point and chatted with the Purser, whose name was Rick. We had a nice chat about NW and the merger with DL, he told me a bit about his trips and I told him about mine. His day would end in IND, where this aircraft was heading after MSP.

More drinks were served 1h before arrival.

At 17h15 CST we reached our TOD. The sun was setting.

25 mins. later we landed on rwy 25. We got to the terminal exactly at the schedule arrival time.

Final evaluation
Reservation [1]: 6
Check-in [1,5]: 5
Lounge [0,5]: ―
Boarding [0,5]: 9
Seat [2,5]: 9
Aircraft overall ambience [0,5]: 8
IFE [1,5]: 1
Power outlets [0,5]: 0
Crew [3,5]: 9
Food [2]: 4
Beverages [0,5]: 7
Freebies [0,5]: 0
Disembarkation [0,5]: 10
On-time record [2]: 10

Weighed overall impression: 6,71 (inflight overall impression: 7,18)

* * *


Airbus A320-211 N345NW (msn 399, first flight on 06/01/1993)
ETD: 18h55
ETA: 22h33
Seat: 01D

January 7 2009

This time, the transfer took longer, even though it was quite easy. When I saw the departures monitors, I checked my flight’s status and realised it was 35 mins. late, with ETD at 19h30. As the previous flight to LGA was also delayed (to 18h45) and its gate was not too far from mine, I decided to try my luck. The gate agent was very nice. Even though I was on heavily discounted fare, she told me I could change flight; the trouble was that first class had checked in full (there were lots of coach seats available, though). I thanked, but declined and headed back to my flight’s gate.

Prior to boarding, some security agents approached the gate agent and requested to inspect the aircraft. At that point, I started getting pessimistic and expected further delays. But they were quick and left shortly after they entered the plane.

Boarding started at 19h05 sharp, following the usual method. Upon embarkation, I was offered a drink (water, in a plastic cup, as always before the closure of the doors) and my coat was hung. The boarding process was quite fast as the Y class only had a 50% load and C class wasn’t full; actually, for the first time in this MR, no-one was seating next to me. At 19h25, the doors were closed and 10 mins. later pushback started.

The Captain apologised for the delay, which was due to weather and air traffic control reasons. The flight time would be of 02h05, but further delays in departure and arrival were to be expected due to the amount of traffic that had been delayed that evening. ETA would be 23h05.

We left the gate and taxied to a remote parking stand near one of the runways – which is known as the “penalty box”. The engines were shut down. The captain announced it would for around 20 mins., after which we would depart. We eventually took off at 20h05.

Service started 25 mins after take-off with a drink offer. I asked which wines they had and the reply was Merlot or Chardonnay, both from California. I opted for the Merlot ― which was bad. A pack of pretzels and a pack of fancy nuts were offered too.

10 mins. later dinner was served: cashew chicken or vegetarian pasta with black olives and parmesan. Due to my bias against pasta onboard U.S. airlines, I went for the chicken. It was ok. It came with a salad (greens, cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers and feta cheese with vinaigrette sauce on the side) and a chocolate cheesecake.

In this flight, the crew was… unbalanced. The purser was over-friendly, the female FA was very kind, and the other male FA looked very sloppy and slightly gazed; he was tieless.

After service finished, I took a short nap.

The descent and approach were very bumpy and we landed at 23h30, i.e., one hour behind schedule.

During disembarkation, the purser was standing near the aircraft front doors, as usual. But instead of greeting the pax, he was sending sms.

Final evaluation
Reservation [1]: 6
Check-in [1,5]: 5
Lounge [0,5]: ―
Boarding [0,5]: 9
Seat [2,5]: 9
Aircraft overall ambience [0,5]: 8
IFE [1,5]: 1
Power outlets [0,5]: 0
Crew [3,5]: 3
Food [2]: 7
Beverages [0,5]: 4
Freebies [0,5]: 0
Disembarkation [0,5]: 9
On-time record [2]: 3

Weighed overall impression: 5,00 (inflight overall impression: 5,11)


~ by Tiago on May 17, 2009.

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