Sunday, April 20, 2008

Worst Flying Experience/Aircraft I have Flown in

I will complete the last of the blog challenge today, but also issue a challenge of my own to my readers. After I tell my very short worst flying experience, I will list the aircraft I have flown in and number or times/legs in each airframe model. I am a plane junkie, what can I say!

Worst Flying Experience

While on my last cruise, I developed a nasty head cold the last few days. The day we disembarked, I had a particularly bad runny nose, and spent the day at Sea World while waiting for our flight home to Connecticut. While at Sea World, I kept a supply of paper towels with me to take care of the constant drip. On the flight home, we were over Long Island, NY when we began our initial approach into Bradley. When the plane dipped its nose, I felt the mucus in my cheek sinus cavities move into my ears, while making a crackling noise. I could not unclog it, and my ears were popped for at least a week due to this.

I understand that is not a major issue, but I have stayed informed and do my homework while traveling. Not a whole lot is unexpected when I fly.

Aircraft I have flown in

McDonnell Douglas DC-9 5 Legs
Boeing 737 (various models) 10 (I think!!!!)
McDonnell Douglas MD-80 6 legs
Boeing 767 3 legs
ATR-72 (turboprop) 2 legs
Airbus A320 1 leg
Saab 340 (turboprop) 1 leg
ATR 42 (turboprop) 1 leg
Fairchild 328 Jet 1 leg
Canadair C-100 Regional Jet 5 legs
Canadair C-700 Regional Jet 1 leg
Boeing 757 5 legs
Cessna 152 (single engine trainer) 1 leg

Wow, now that was a challenge! I had to count each multiple times. I should have had paper, but if there is anyone savy enough to try this, I welcome it, and would enjoy seeing the aircraft you have flown on.

Of those planes, I do have some favorites. I would have to say that my favorite aircraft to fly in is the Boeing 757 and MD-80. Both are very comfortable, and the 757 is just fast. It climbs very well! I enjoy the 2-3 seating arrangement in the MD-80 and being the plane junkie I am, I enjoy sitting about 2/3 of the way back and hearing those fuselage mounted Pratt and Whitney JT8D engines spool up.

I look forward to seeing the responses.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Favorite Airport

In keeping with Uncle Dave's blog challenge, and because my last post went rather long, I am continuing the challenge with a separate post.

I have traveled through or from 24 airports in the US, Canada, and Caribbean. I have not really been able to experience many airports abroad, so my comments reflect the airports listed on my comments on Uncle Dave's Blog. I will list those airports now.

Newark (Liberty) Int'l, NJ

Buffalo Niagara Int'l Airport, NY

Toronto (Peterson) Int'l Airport

Rochester Int'l Airport, NY

Pittsburgh Int'l Airport (Old one)

Lexington(Blue Grass Field) KY

Pittsburgh, Int'l Airport (New)

Atlanta (Hartsfield) Int'l, GA

San Juan (Luis Munoz Marin), PR

Chicago (O'Hare), IL

New York, LaGuardia

Cleveland (Hopkins Int'l), OH

Portland Int'l Jetport, Maine

Providence (T.F. Green), RI

Detroit (Wayne County, MI

Erie Int'l (Tom Ridge), PA

Orlando Int'l, FL

Philadelphia Int'l, PA

Cincinati,(Erlanger, KY)

Tampa Int'l, FL

Boston (Logan Int'l)

Sanford Regional, Maine

Hartford (Bradley Int'l) Windsor Locks, CT

Charlotte (Douglas), NC

Of those I would like to announce that my favorite airport for a variety reasons is.

Orlando International Airport (MCO)

In addition to being the gateway for awesome vacations that commenced from central Florida and the Space Coast, Orlando International is a sprawling modern facility that is lovely. It features 4 terminals connected to the main central terminal via automated peoplemovers. Upon landing and seeing the beautifully green Florida landscape on approach, the feel of the Terminal's air conditioning is a reminder that you are in Florida. The concourses are clean and broad. Upon embarkation on the automated Bombardier people movers, one is able to see the network of ponds surrounded by palms and landscaping. The Disney Store, Universal Store, and Sea World Store greet you as you disembark the people movers in the central terminal. It is a very easy airport to navigate, and have never had a problem as it relates to baggage, ground transportation or ticketing.

I must however, give an honorable to the following airport.

Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, CT

Honorable Mention

I have only had the opportunity to fly out of BDL on two occasions, once for vacation and once for business. Both times were totally painless. The airport is a "large small" airport. I realize that may not make much sense, but the airport provides direct flights to most Florida cities, Toronto, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, and all of the other "standard" airline hubs. In addition, Northwest flies a trans Atlantic flight to Amsterdam Schirpol Airport with a daily 757.

I have never had to wait to check in. Security lines are never present, and the TSA workers are friendly. I even got into a Yankees/Red Sox debate with a few.

Parking is very reasonable. I parked for 8 days and it only cost me $42. The bus service was efficient and fast to and from the terminal to the satellite parking.

Low Cost Carriers Southwest and Frontier are present and Southwest has a significant presence.

So there you have it. My favorite airport/s.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Experiences Flying

Uncle Dave over at Reflective Wanderings, has suggested a blog challenge. He writes and I quote...actually copy and paste.

Here is a second challenge, post a blog telling us a) which airport in the last ten years you have disliked the most and why, b) which airport or two in the last ten years you have liked the most and why, and lastly c) which was your worse flying experience. I have two but as they were shared with Evie, I will let Evie post hers choice and then I will post mine.
Airport I Disliked
I am a pretty easy/happy go lucky kind of guy in regards to air travel. I am a savy traveler, so I travel prepared. That said I will reflect my comments to the physical structure and layout of the airport or delays related to the same. Therefore my vote for worst airport is...
Philadelphia International Airport
I have had a few not so pleasant experiences at PHL. Most of which circulate around my connecting flight coming home from MCO (Orlando International for non air junkies). I was returning from CMA on one of my least favorite carriers US Airways. Upon landing we were immediately stuck in the line for takeoff. Something in mind found that hard to comprehend, but we could not get to the gate quickly due to this bottleneck. It seemed to take forever! Upon exiting the 737, I could not find too many decent places to eat. I settled for a cold soft pretzel. Upon finding my gate for my connecting flight to PWM (Portland International Jetport), and finding a cozy seat to sit and read a magazine, the gate agent came on and said we would have a gate change due to a faulty part on our aircraft. We were sent from Concourse E to Concourse A, a signifcant walk. Concourse A happened to be the international terminal and the time was about 8:00 PM. I say that for some air savy readers. That was the time all of the Trans-Atlantic red eyes were getting ready to depart. So we have about 6-8 heavies (wide body two aisle planes for you non air savy readers) getting ready to depart to London Gatwick, Manchester, London Heathrow, Paris DeGaulle. It was a madhouse! This of course was pre 9/11 so family and friends were also in the gate area to say goodbyes. In the middle of the chaos, I was just barely able to hear the announcement from the gate agent saying that flight %$@ (can't remember the flight #) to Portland would be departing from our original gate in the E concourse. I relayed the information to the others waiting and we again, made the long walk to our gate. Even the flight crew were scratching their heads as they walked alongside us.
That story was much longer than expected! However, I have two other stories about PHL that are not complimentary. We were getting ready for our cruise in 2006. We were at our gate at BDL (Bradley International Airport). The agent came on saying that our departure would be delayed due to a ground delay at the airport our plane was departing from to come to Bradley. That airport was non other than PHL! I knew it before she said the name!
Just this Thanksgiving, I picked up Dad and Tracy at PHL. They had arrived just prior to me exiting I-95 and travelling on the loop road. Tracy called me and said that they had no checked bags and would be curbside at arrivals waiting for me at Terminal F. Well i kept driving, first past Terminal A, then B, then C, D, E, but no F! So I waited at E and looked down a bit. They were traveling US Airways, so I was hanging out there, No Dad, and no Tracy. 2 more trips around the very long loop road, no Dad and no Tracy. So finally, I pulled over and asked one of Philly's finest about Terminal F. He said, there is no arrival area for Terminal F and that I would need to go around the loop road again...yes a 4th time and go to the departures area, and that is where I would find Dad and Tracy. I told him with a laugh, "I hate this airport and avoid it like the plague when I travelled." He agreed with me and we wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving. One more trip around the loop road, and there was Dad and Tracy, at Terminal F in the departure area despite being an arrival!
Well I will continue this challenge tomorow night or the next night as I have talked long enough! Enjoy reading.