Going Home

A little California art for you, courtesy the LA Natural History Museum Rotunda...

On my recent trip back to DC, I flew on United 856 – non-stop from LAX to Dulles.  After waking up at 3AM to get to the Airport Bus of Bakersfield by 4:30AM, I was greeted by a bus ride over the Grapevine (for those of you who are not Cali savvy – it’s the section of the 5 Freeway that runs through the San Gabriel and Los Angeles Mountains).  In true California fashion, I hit traffic on the 405 but enjoyed soaking up the last few rays of California sunshine.

45 minutes later (after traffic hit that is, the total trip time is considerably longer) I was at LAX and of course, my terminal was the last of the stops for the bus – #7.  That was fine though, it was 7:45 and my flight was not scheduled to depart until 10:47.  Went into the Security Checkpoint and I think I may credit LAX for a miracle – no line whatsoever to check my ID and boarding pass.  If I hadn’t had all my things with me, I would have simply taken off my shoes and walked through the metal detector.  That was awesome – way to go United and LAX!

I then stopped at Wolfgang Puck’s for some gnashing, only to find out that they don’t offer normal people food until 10:30 (I am notorious for hating breakfast food).  So I got a Breakfast Veggie Pizza, I could only gag down half of it.  Maybe that was too strong of language, to a person who likes morning food it was actually quite good.  Guess I’m not normal.

Wait for the plane some more…

Boarding!  In section two of boarding, which I do like how United loads – windows, then middles, then aisles – makes for a quite speedy boarding.  To my happiness came the revelation that the boarding had finished and there was no one in the middle seat!  (This happened in both directions)  To my distinct unhappiness some pansy up in first class complained that his seat had not been properly cleaned.  Really?  It’s an airplane dude – sip your coffee, eat your free meal, enjoy the leg room, and shut up.  So the flight is now delayed.  Blarg.  15 minutes later we are about to get underway, the seat cushion and seat belts have been replaced and we’re watching the safety video.

United has those handy throw back music stations in the arm rests – love.  What I was not expecting while surfing the 12 channels was to hear Air Traffic Control on Channel 9.  I quite literally am listening to the landing, taxiing, and departure calls from planes coming into and out of LAX.  As we start to taxi, I hear our Captain over the airwaves.  Dude is calm as all get-out – totally the pilot you want to have.  As we’re about to take off I hear that it’s a tight turnover of the runway – I can feel the Captain shrug as he says “thanks, good morning”  That’s it, nothing more – completely level headed – YAY!

Now we’re up in the air, and my Captain is constantly checking with other pilots in the area and Ground Control for the status of turbulence.  I’m writing this at three-seven-zero altitude btw, where the air has light ‘chop.’  We just got clearance for three-nine-zero, and the chop as dissipated.

My favorite part was the female controller back in the Albuquerque area and a pilot from an American Airlines flight when he said “thanks, good day little lady.”  The controller was chuckling as she said “you’re welcome American (number I forget).”

Thoughts? Ideas?

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