A trip with a no-go flight thanks to snow. A trip with the inevitable rebooking. A very intoxicated self. A closed international airport. A historically very delayed flight. A last minute change in plans. A snowstorm. Another closed & crippled international airport. An uncertain delay because of the closed & crippled airport. And finally, in the midst of all this, some smooth flights. This is the story of what was a wobbly winter 2017/18 as I made the 2nd of my bi-yearly trips back home to India. I was in Minneapolis, awaiting a smooth & uneventful flight back home. That is all I needed. I present to you - the last of 11 flights of this report.
JANUARY 7TH 2018 -
Following brunch of nuggets & a big mac, it was looking like a smooth sailing deal from here. There was however no time to go up to the observation deck. The delay from JFK meant that this was not possible, unfortunately.I decided to take the tram about 1hr45min before departure - but of course this tram was closed for maintenance. I was a little disappointed to be honest - it is Snapchat tradition amongst the friends & I to share a quick snippet of being onboard the tram. It was a slight walk to Concourse B - given that Concourse C is light years long…. (25 gates :P ).
A quick bathroom break along the way because British Airways’ meals were still disagreeing with my stomach. The McDonalds probably did not help either…
THE CRJ-200 CONUNDRUM
Now let’s be honest: not many people like the CRJ-200. We just don’t. They’re small, they’re uncomfortable, they’re cramped - they even take a long time on final slowing things down for ATC. It is however the plane that has pretty much redefined Essential Air Services - seeing this tiny planes scoot across the taxiways in the major hubs connecting small cities to pretty much the rest of the world. Despite that, I am dedicated to take as many pictures possible to make my reports worth something…. but even on this day Concourse B was quite empty, or a CRJ-200 hiding behind inconveniently placed windows. There was something going on at Concourse A though, with airport police & a fire truck showing up….
Hmm, what's happening here?
Most of the CRJ-200s depart from here
The best I could for spotting at Concourse B -
Waiting around by Gate B2, another full flight to middle-of-nowhere North Dakota. It was looking good for everything to of on schedule, thankfully. However, this flight was indeed oversold - vouchers of up to $800 were being offered. It was quite tempting, however I did not take on this. I wanted to get back to Grand Forks just fine, the 2hr layover at MSP sufficed just fine and that another 4 hours added to that would be no fun.
The plane taking me would be N8888D, a 14.1 years old CRJ-200ER. It’s rotation for the day was: -overnight at GFK- Grand Forks - Minneapolis DL3918 0750 0920 Minneapolis - Grand Forks DL3896 1310 1441 Grand Forks - Minneapolis DL3896 1515 1641 …. ….. and it would overnight. That's it. Quite the utilization, eh?
Boarding started right on time, 35 minutes before departure time. All too familiar sights and sounds for me as I boarded the CRJ-200 for the 6th or 7th time at MSP, with a predictable crew member who was quite obviously pissed off about the fact that he had do his job. Oy vey.
Took my seat 4D - only for 4C to be taken by a big-built gentleman with several layers. This was going to be a tight squeeze of a flight for me, oh was I glad this was going to be 45 minutes long. A huge space crunch on these tiny regional jets. View from the seat
Unsurprisingly the flight attendant’s announcements sounded more like commands than anything else. A quick word from the cockpit: it would be a slightly bumpy flight, gusty winds & overcast skies in Grand Forks, aka a typical winter’s day. Waited for the last few passengers to board as there were some other delayed connections as well. Cabin view - cramped cramped crammed!
A bigger CRJ - the -900s and -700s share Concourse C with the big(er) planes: A320s, MD80s, B737s, etc
Despite the delayed connections, we pushed back just fine at 1312 hours just 2 minutes late. Both engines were fired up without too much of an issue, taxied to Runway 12L, the same runway I had landed on. Pushback!
So far looking so good for an uneventful final flight of the trip. It was a rolling taxi all the way on to the runway before the tiny CF34s were powered up all the way and we took to the skies just fine at 1320 hours, 10 minutes behind schedule. The airport looked quite empty - the arrivals would be flying in soon before the ultimate 1500 hour rush at MSP began. Course was set Northwest for Grand Forks.
Flew over the St. Paul Downtown Airport that goes alongside the Mississippi River - quite cool given that hopefully some day I will be able to fly in there….
The disinterested flight attendant gave us more orders & commands, quite unwelcoming if anything. A huge sign of cost cuts: there was only water or coffee on offer, in addition to just pretzels and cookies. Wow, this was quite sad….
‘Service’ started of sorts with the FA having absolutely no emotion, no fucks given, ‘paired perfectly’ with 2 phrases: water or coffee, and pretzels or cookies. I went for water and pretzels…
33 minutes in to the flight the first officer came around with latest weather from GFK: WNW winds at 16mph, 31F and overcast but clearing clouds, we’d be down in about 15-20 minutes. This was quickly followed by the FA’s orders of throwing trash away, seatback upright, etc etc.
DESCENT & ARRIVAL
Descended and lined up with Runway 35L - the 7351 feet runway as we lovingly call it. It was fun chopping through the clouds, didn’t really break out till we were about 800 feet off the ground. Such was the perfect timing of my arrival the lovely girlfriend managed to get a picture of N8888D on short final:
Touched down at 1412 hours, after 53min in flight. A pretty brave Cessna 172S in the distance took off, doing some traffic pattern work. We pretty much went down the entire runway and taxied off on to Runway 9L/27R.
For the final act of the disinterested flight attendant - he welcomed us to Grand RAPIDS. Amazing.
Pulling in to the terminal area, there was no one to assist our taxi in, and rightfully so! We were so early the DGS folk weren’t ready for us yet.
However, it was a pretty short wait, pulled in to gate 2 and engines off at 1419 hours, 23 minutes before time. Disembarked, got my baggage after a slight wait, and then headed out for a parting shot with N888D: http://u.cubeupload.com/college_aviator/IMG5460.jpg
Minneapolis - MSP
Grand Forks - GFK
Well, all’s well end’s well (again!). What started out as a very tired & jet lagged me walking around JFK, to going nowhere for the next 2 hours due to a frozen fuel truck, to this uneventful flight, but not without a side of uncomfortable - this flight really made me hate the CRJ-200 a lot more (as a passenger) because of how long I had my nose on the window pretty much. Not to mention yet another flight attendant who really couldn’t give much of a damn, and the beverage selection was pretty appalling compared to past experiences. Sad. Here I was hoping Endeavor Air was usually a tad better than SkyWest, but I suppose it is what is, and there's not much to choose from. But here is the [url=https://youtu.be/O35z4aPNz_Y][b][i][u][color=#FFFF40]YouTube video trip report[/color][/u][/i][/b][/url] anyway.
And yet another trip with delays, with uncertainty, with me changing plans at the last damn minute because I simply can’t seem to plan ahead properly. In hindsight, should’ve just stuck to Air India with the return. Delta caused quite the headache at the beginning with an awful lot of confusion and a sleepless night on the way out. British Airways were OK for the most part, nothing extraordinary but the 2nd meal on the TATL legs were horrible. Meals on the LHR-DEL-LHR flights were fantastic, though.
3 LIKESLIKE TO THANK THE AUTHORTHANKS ! FLIGHT-REPORT LIKED
Flight-Report is a free website hosting more than 500 000 pictures and 17 000 reviews, without ads, this website can't exist. We understand that ads can be annoying, this is why we only display a maximum of 2 non-invasive ads per page.
To continue using Flight-Report, we invite you to add Flight-Report to your blocker's "white list".