I’m doing a lot of travel this month, so you can expect more trip reports than normal. This particular one was for my grad school reunion up in the Bay Area. I love flying to the Bay Area because there are so many different choices. Both my choices worked out well, though I did have some airport problems along the way.
On the way up, I was flying alone and I had some people to see near SFO. A long time client of ours had a $100 voucher on American that was expiring that he couldn’t use, so he gave it to us. I found a $99 fare on the flight I wanted and that was that. On the way home, my wife was with me and we wanted to fly to Long Beach. But that meant we had to fly from SFO and fares were over $100 more per person than flying from San Jose down to LAX. That was a no-brainer for such a huge fare difference. We took our $69 fares on Delta and ran with it.
Overall, the flights were all fine, but the airports weren’t nearly as good. I was again reminded why I prefer Long Beach over LAX every time.
With a flight out of LAX around midday on a Wednesday, I didn’t expect much traffic. I was wrong. I got toward LAX with no trouble, but then things stalled in the Sepulveda Tunnel (for those who know it.) When the road split between the departures and arrivals levels, the bottom level looked better. Oops, it wasn’t. Both continued to crawl slowly around the airport. At one point, a traffic cop stepped out in the road and stopped two lanes of traffic so he could let others get in. It was a mess. I finally crawled up to Terminal 4 and hopped out. I can only assume this mess was due to LAX construction. I was just glad to be out of it.
Once in the lobby, I saw a lot of panicked faces. People were running for security, clearly anxious thanks to the long delay getting into the airport. I still had an hour, so I took my time. I had checked in on my phone, so I strolled up to the Pre Check line and sailed through. When I got into the concourse, I was reminded of just how narrow American’s Terminal 4 is there. It was like swimming upstream in a sea of people. Just the frantic nature of it all was enough to raise the stress level a little.
I grabbed a sandwich from the Homeboy Cafe and then went over to the gate to wait. My 737 had just arrived from West Palm Beach sporting the new colors. I still don’t like that tail at all.
April 30, 2014
American 2456 Lv Los Angeles 1225p Arr San Francisco 145p
Los Angeles (LAX): Gate 42B, Runway 24L, Depart 5m Late
San Francisco (SFO): Gate 58B, Runway 28L, Arrive 7m Late
N827NN, Boeing 737-823, New American flag colors, ~99% Full
Seat 19F, Coach
Flight Time 55m
After everyone got off, they boarded us on this packed flight. I’m not sure exactly why, but we took a few minute delay. When we pushed back, we had to take the scenic route taxiing over to the northern runways. We couldn’t even cut over where we normally would by the Bradley Terminal because that was blocked by an airplane. After a 16 minute taxi, we were finally on our way. I was expecting a bouncy departure because the Santa Winds were roaring, but it wasn’t too bad at all. There was a usual drink service and then the seatbelt sign came off for 10 minutes. Soon we were descending over Monterey Bay.
We had a JetBlue A320 just off our wing as we approached SFO. I love that view. Once we landed it looked like we’d be on time, but it wasn’t to be. They held us on the taxiway (no announcement was made, but I assume it was due to no gate being available) and we chocked in a few minutes late. I raced through the terminal so I could get my car and meet some friends at the Elephant Bar to start my week off right. It was there that I found out that less than an hour after I’d left LAX, air traffic control computers had failed and operations were shut there. Glad I made it out when I did.
By Sunday, I was happy, tired, and ready to come home. We were at a brunch with some friends and slightly underestimated the amount of time it would take to get to San Jose Airport. I hadn’t been there since the new Terminal B had opened (and C closed), but I knew that the rental car facility was right across from the terminal so I wasn’t concerned. We pulled in to drop the car off exactly one hour before departure.
It was then that I realized that the rental car facility is only across from the terminal used by Southwest and Alaska. For everyone else, you have to wait for a bus (or walk a pretty far distance) to get back to Terminal A. We waited, but I started to get anxious. I wasn’t worried about me, but my wife still doesn’t have Pre Check. And the clock was ticking.
Sure enough, it took me about a minute to get through the empty Pre Check line. The line for my wife didn’t look long, but they were going very slowly. It probably took her about 15 minutes.
We walked over to our gate to find it, like the rest of the gates further north, pretty empty (above). In fact, this already small aircraft appeared to be only about half full… on a Sunday. That’s not good, though maybe Delta will soon benefit from both Alaska and Virgin America dropping this route.
May 4, 2014
Delta Connection 4574 Lv San Jose 122p Arr Los Angeles 237p (operated by SkyWest)
San Jose (SJC): Gate 7, Runway 30R, Depart 4m Late
Los Angeles (LAX): Gate 53A, Runway 25R, Arrive On Time
N614SK, Bombardier CRJ-700, Standard Delta colors, ~50% Full
Seat 9A, Coach
Flight Time 56m
Boarding was leisurely with so few people. My wife had to tag her bag to be gate checked, but as always, mine fit perfectly in the bin.
I took my seat and it seemed like the windows were placed higher than I’m used to usually on the CRJ-700. Does Delta have lower-sitting seats on this airplane? I liked it because I had a much better view.
We were ready to push back on time but the captain came on to tell us we had been given an air traffic control metering spot. We would sit at the gate for a few minutes so we didn’t have to wait at the end of the runway until our 238p wheels-up time. When we did push back, it was a quick taxi and we took off at 236p. Go figure.
The flight was uneventful with the usual drink service. I pulled out the magazine and started doing the puzzles in the back only to find that the answers they gave were definitely not right. If anyone else is flying Delta this month, take a look and you’ll see what I mean.
We had an odd approach into LA. I’m used to flying in from the Bay Area by going east over the Santa Monica Mountains and then looping around to the south to line up with the northern runways. But this time, we flew more to the southeast. Then, somewhere near the interchange of the 605 and the 105 (for locals), we looped around to the north and lined up with the southern runways. That made for a very quick taxi back to Delta’s terminal. My wife’s bag was brought up to the jet bridge and then we were on our way home.