Hello everyone! Welcome to what is the final part of my Summer 2015 USA series. This is one last final flight for four months as I hop over from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Grand Forks, North Dakota for my higher studies.
This was going to be my second flight on the CRJ200 (or a CRJ itself), the first being a quick hop from Kolkata to Bhubaneswar in May 2010, on Jetlite's ex-Air Sahara VT-SAQ. I remember Mum waking me up every morning before school, asking me to get up for school. She did this one last time (till December at least…) at Minneapolis Airport, Gate A10. ‘Hey, wake up….the plane’s here..’ she said. As any school going kid would say -‘ why did you have to wake me up?! I don’t want to go to school!’, I nearly said - ‘why did you have to wake me up?! There’s still some time for departure!’. Instead, being the lazy me, I said ‘come on, give me five minutes….' I woke up anyway. It was perhaps some of the best sleep I've ever had, despite being in some of the most uncomfortable of positions. The CRJ200 had just come in from Rhinelander, Wisconsin. It was in desperate need of a paint job. N685BR was the 12.8 years old plane owned by SkyWest that would be taking me to Grand Forks. Grand Forks….. home for the next 4 years… A pretty strange feel.
Dominated by the sight of Delta Air Lines CRJs, it wasn’t as bad as seeing the many IndiGo A320s back home in India, but equally boring I guess. There was no variety!
Here's my plane!!
Seeing a couple of international students and University of North Dakota laniards, I knew the MSP-GFK-MSP flights caters mostly to international students connecting to/from Grand Forks and their home country, with MSP being pretty well connected to the rest of the world. MSP-GFK-MSP standalone is quite expensive because of the the monopoly Delta have. Anyway, boarding began more or less on time, again, the 50 seater CRJ being divided into two zones. Like seriously now…..?
My seat was 12A, but my parents were further ahead, so they got to board first. I waited for a bit more, no harm done. Boarded, the lovely flight attendant Jenny would serve us for the 44 minute hop to Grand Forks, ND. It was going to be a hot hot day in Grand Forks, a warm 33C (or 92F). The flight was full.
Pushback was more or less on time as we started a very long taxi to the runway.
The CRJ rocketed down the runway into the sunny skies of Minneapolis. We cruised into a pretty low altitude of 23000 feet.
Usual stuff, the flight attendant Jenny went about giving out the usual American flight snacks…so be it a short 45 minute hop on the CRJ, or a 3.5 hour cross-country marathon on a B73J (or even a B763!), the snack remains the same.
A pretty uneventful flight over the state of Minnesota, we began descent while getting pretty close to Grand Forks. While descending, all I saw was the flat land…all the agricultural stuff. I said to myself - all of that would be covered in snow, a few months later!
A smooth touchdown on to Runway 35L, we taxied to Gate 2.
Believe it or not, this was a very busy time for Grand Forks airport - both gates were occupied! Gate 1 had an Allegiant Airbus A319, presumably the flight to Phoenix-Mesa.
Thanked the FA Jenny for the flight and her services onboard. And there I was. In Grand Forks. And end to all the flying around, but importantly, the beginning of my next chapter in life.
The terminal is, as you’d expect, tiny. Baggage came out more or less on time, and thankfully, free luggage carts! At the table was a lovely couple, whom I’d get very close to over the course of time. With them was my peer mentor who had offered to pick me up. She drove to my dormitory, as I saw Grand Forks, my new home, for the first time.
Don't worry people - I have a few pictures showing what this tiny town looks like!
As the days passed by and orientation went on, it was countdown to the start of college. I bid an emotional goodbye to my parents. Nope, it wasn’t easy. However, I had three letters that always played in my mind that got me excited: KLM, KLM, KLM.
And with that, I conclude my trip from Colombo to Grand Forks, with a lot in between. It has been quite a journey! Taking into account the India trip, seven airlines, nine aircraft types and seven new airports happened over the twenty flights. There I was in Grand Forks, settling down and getting my down for studies!
Thank you ever so much for reading my flight reports. I do apologize for rushing through the USA domestic series, but I came to realize that not much interesting happens onboard. I did fly on some new/unique planes during this trip, however!
Please do check out my YouTube channel. I have NOT monetized my account, so there would be no ads in place whatsoever! I do this because of my passion for aviation, and to share some of the excitement and despair that pop up while flying. To give you all a brief of what to expect very soon, here is a breakdown: 2 KLM B747s 2 Air India B787s 1 Air France B77E Delta's MD90, B76W and a couple of B757s…. And there's so much more to add to that, and I am very eager to share it with you all!
Starting from the next flight report, I will document my December trip back to India and Sri Lanka!
Minneapolis - MSP
Grand Forks - GFK
This was a pretty short flight. Be it this short flight, or the very long LAX-MSP flight, there honestly is not much to choose from when flying domestically. The only differences are IFE (most of which might have to be paid for), aircraft types, and the human factor - crew members. Flight attendant Jenny did a decent job serving all of the fifty passengers on this quick flight. The cabin looked and felt quite tired, the plane wasn't refurbished in a long time, it seemed. However, the flight was on time (way before too, rather!) so that was cool.
Minneapolis is a decent airport, however if you are a spotter searching for a variety of airlines, there is not much to see barring Delta and more Delta. Grand Forks is a pretty chilled out airport, does the job fine for the 6 Delta CRJ flights, and the few Allegiant Air flights as well..
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