I took this flight as part of a Baltimore-Denver-Seattle routing on the way home from visiting family in Delaware, traveling by myself as an unaccompanied minor. Unfortunately, before I left BWI, I got a notification on my phone that my DEN-SEA flight had been delayed 2 hours, now leaving at 8:55 and arriving at 10:55. My BWI-DEN flight was smooth and uneventful, on a 1.5 year old 737-800 in their new livery and cabin.
Layover in Denver:
I arrived in Denver around 4:30, and I explored the airport, got dinner, and did some plane spotting during my layover.
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During my exploring of all three concourses, I couldn't help but feel impressed by the design of DEN. For those that have never visited, it's basically three linear concourses connected by an underground train running through the middle of them. There was plenty of shops and amenities, and despite the airport having some 90's-esque design elements, it's still open and airy, and has aged very well IMO. There were a few old planes and aviation-related statues throughout the airport too, to keep my avgeek self entertained. :) View from the C Gates train station. Looking out at Concourse A from one of the mezzanine levels. The least nice part of the airport (which is still pretty good, not gonna lie), the United RJ concourse extension. An interesting structure in the middle of Concourse B. Some planes and statues I found in various locations throughout the airport. I returned to my gate, which was C27, at about 7:15, in time for a (supposed) 8:55 departure. Here's a photo of the FIDS (Apologies for the blurriness). The delay didn't change much until about 8:20 or so, when it became increasingly evident that we wouldn't leave at our scheduled time since there was no airplane at the gate. The gate agents weren't saying anything, and I started to hear chatter amongst the other passengers about this. Being curious myself, I checked Flightradar24 to see where the inbound aircraft was, and I saw this: Yup, my inbound plane was diverted to Albuquerque. The first thing I did was walk into another gate area (since the other passengers didn't know and I didn't want them to freak out) and call my parents to let them know. At about 8:30, the gate agents announced this news, and announced a new departure time of approximately 11 pm, getting into Seattle shortly after midnight. Apparently what had happened was that there was a ton of wind shear around Denver, and the flight crew decided to divert. Flightradar24 confirmed this, with lots of aircraft circling around DEN. I'm not sure exactly why there was windshear though, since the weather wasn't bad at the time. Since it was already 8:30 and I would have essentially pulled an all-nighter with my body clock being on East Coast time, I went back over to Concourse B to get something from Caribou Coffee. I got a mint iced coffee of some sort, which was good. When I returned to Concourse C, there was a gate change over to C43. Once I got there, they said that there was an aircraft change so we were now leaving at about 10 pm. At about 9 pm our new plane, N213WN, a 13-year old Boeing 737-700 in Southwest's old livery, pulled into the gate. It was arriving from New York-LaGuardia (on time, I may add). Our gate area. The terminal was mostly deserted at this hour except for a few stragglers, such as this flight.
The gate agents said that the crew was doing a quick turnaround to minimize the delay, and true to their word, at 9:30, they started boarding. I bought EarlyBird check-in so I had spot A30, and I grabbed seat 7F, just ahead of the wing. Despite the crew's efforts for a quick turnaround, boarding was sort of leisurely given the hour, which was understandable. The cabin was tidy but plain, and legroom was tolerable for my 6'4" (1.93m) frame. This plane had the old Southwest "Evolve" seats, but they had new all-blue seat covers instead of the previous tan/blue color combo. Typical pre-Boeing Sky Interior PSU. Boarding finished at about 9:50, and we were waiting for some paperwork before pushback, so the crew went on the PA to give a bottle of champagne to a couple in Row 1 celebrating their wedding anniversary. I really liked this touch, and as bland of an airline that Southwest can be, the crews are typically top-notch and I get the feeling that they have a great work culture. Once that was done, we pushed back at 10 pm without any wait. The airport was mostly dead at this hour since it's too late for eastbound flights and too early for most redeyes so the only departures at the time were either westbound or regional jets RONing at nearby airports. At the runway, we waited for a United Express CRJ-200 to depart, after which we left. The takeoff roll was sluggish given Denver's altitude and the fact that it was still pretty hot outside, but once we got airborne we climbed quickly. A low-quality video of our departure from Denver:
Interesting pictures of lights and the Denver airport I took while climbing out. Shortly after departure, the cabin lights were turned off, and they stayed that way for the cruise portion of the flight. For the first half-hour or so of the flight, there was a small sliver of light visible on the horizon, which was fun to watch. Unfortunately photos couldn't really do it justice. I imagine that this flight would have been very scenic if it were on time, but, alas, that didn't happen. The FAs came around with snacks and drinks too. I took peanuts and Wheat Thins, but didn't get anything to drink. My snacks, which I enjoyed while watching a truly iconic episode of The Office. There was some live TV, TV shows, and a flight map available online but I didn't spend much time looking at that. Eventually the caffeine wore off, and I fell asleep 45 minutes into the flight, not waking up again for an hour and a quarter, when my ears started popping during descent into Seattle. The approach was from the north, giving me some nice views of downtown Seattle at night. We landed smoothly on runway 16C at about 11:20. Here's another low-quality video, this time of the landing.
There was some air traffic that we had to wait for before crossing the runway, after which we promptly taxied to gate B14. I disembarked, got my bags, and was out of the airport and on my way home by 11:50. To finish this review, here's the stats from this flight on Flightradar24. Yes, the 3 hour delay and 5.5 hour layover was pretty painful, but I can think of worse places to kill time at. :P
Denver - DEN
Seattle - SEA
I was happy with this flight on Southwest. Despite the delay, they got me where I needed to go in comfort and safety, and that's really all that I can ask for. If someone were flying economy within the US or to any other destination they fly to, I wouldn't hesitate to suggest Southwest because of their fun crews, "bags fly free" policy, and excellent customer service.
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