West to go East

by Charles M. Kunz

For a little over the last three months, I have been attending Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. Since I got there the only communication with my family has been via email, Instant Messaging, the phone and once with my father when he came to AZ for our football game against California. But now it’s Thanksgiving and twelve Kunz’s in New York are calling my name so it’s time to head back to my birth place and residence for the first seventeen of my life. Being the head case I am, I decided to book a trip that involved an American redeye as I didn’t want to skip any classes on Wednesday. Living in Phoenix, this was no easy task, but I decided to fly America West to San Diego, and then connect to American there. That’s right, I’m re-writing geography!

America West Flight 6262
Scheduled Departure: 6:49 PM
Scheduled Board: 6:19 PM

Of course the way things turned out was that all my classes were canceled so I was able to spend Wednesday lounging around my mostly empty dorm room. At 4:30 my friend Jordan who lives down the hall so graciously drove me out to Skyharbor. Once there I noticed the incredibly long line of cars trying to get to the Arrivals section of Terminal 4. There was a traffic jam on the roadway that services the airport as traffic had stopped on the access road to the Arrivals section. Departures was far less empty and Jordan was able to easily find me a place near the curb allowing me to grab my bags and exit his aged LHS with ease. Once inside I joined the First Class/FlightFund Elite line (I’m FlightFund Gold) and after three people in front of me were done, I had my boarding pass and a ticket jacket. I glanced at the Departure Board on my way upstairs to Checkpoint B and I noticed my flight was now running thirty-six minutes late. No matter I figured, I had a three hour connection in San Diego for my AA flight.

At PHX I had arranged to hang out with my friend Ben who was going up to Las Vegas. After he got the full wanding check at the security checkpoint, (which was quite empty for the day before Thanksgiving I might add, I didn’t even really need to use the FlightFund Elite line) we went and sat at his Las Vegas gate for a little bit. Once 6 PM came, I bade him goodbye and I decided to go sit at my gate on the other side of the B concourse. While walking there I saw a departure board announcing a new time of 8:19 PM for my flight. Now I was irked, I knew my CRJ-200 was coming in from Medford, Oregon and it had arrived EARLY so why am I delayed? Once at gate B5, angry red letters stared at me from the Gate Monitor showing our delay until 8:19. I called Sean (B747 437B) who runs mission control for me on my trips and he asked me to find out where the crew was inbound from. I asked the Gate Agent (who was quite cheerful despite presiding over a delayed flight) and he told me Fresno. Sean checked for me and discovered the flight had yet to leave Fresno. Upon hearing that I walked up to the Customer Service Center and I asked them to rebook me on HP 188, they did so gladly and I was awarded the last First Class seat available on the A320. Of course this now means I have had two America West flights delayed, one canceled and one rebooked. I could see why the young woman in front of me online declared loudly that they should call themselves America Worst.

America West Flight 188
Scheduled Departure: 8:27 PM
Scheduled Board: 7:57 PM

I checked my boarding pass for the gate I had to walk to, A18, oh lovely, the entire way across Terminal 4, my luck is only improving so far today. So I walked from what seemed like Phoenix to Mesa and on the way called Sean and told him things were ok, then my friend Josh to see how his trip home had worked. Of course he gets the flawless trip with on-time flights and I get an extra two hours at PHX, typical. I found gate A18 currently boarding an A320 up to O’Hare. Once that left our A320 taxied in and people began to slowly creep towards the boarding door. By the time they called First Class customers, it seemed like half of Maricopa County with Group Numbers covering all of the first ten numbers had congregated around the boarding door. Of course as the agent picked up her PA microphone and said “America West Airlines is now pre-boarding Flight 188” half the crowd leaned forward, when she finished the sentence with First Class and FlightFund Silver, Gold and Platinum only ten people came forward, the rest would just have to wait.

Gate A18
Seat 3A First Class
A320 N664AW
Actual Board: 7:59 AM
Actual Depart: 8:26 AM – 1 Minute Early
Take off 15 minutes after departure

I really do enjoy flying these America West Airbuses, the First Class seats are big, and colored dark green with winged headrests. IFE radio is built into the left armrest and there is a small recess in the center armrest where you could tuck something small, like a folded newspaper. Pre-departure drinks were brought around, I found it amusing when the drink orders went from 3D to 3A (Jack on the rocks, rum and coke, Bloody Mary, Orange Juice) I am so young. The flight boarded full and there were repeated announcements about shared overhead space and bulkheads not being proper storage areas, but soon the Jetway was wheeled back and we were pushed out into the alley and started taxing our way back. During the taxi out the safety video was played and it opens with an African American flight attendant saying “we recommended you follow along even if you are a frequent traveler” I followed along, they are amusing. Soon our wheels were up and we were over the 202 Loop making a bank to the west. I shut my eyes and started wondering how this weekend was going to be. I realized that I had changed in my three months away but I worried that my family wouldn’t have and they’d have problems adjusting to my change, but I realized that I’d have to deal either way.

Soon they ran their trivia program, the flight attendant said to introduce it “This is not a contest, just something for fun.” I wonder if on a previous flight a brawl broke out in Row 18 over what team the Milwaukee Brewers were before they moved to MKE (it was the Seattle Pilots by the way). Our flight attendant them came around handing out drinks and bags of America West snack mix (cranberries, pistachios and brown sesame crackers) who thought that combination up? I enjoyed a 7-Up and munching on my snacks while watching the trivia. First it started with a section on sports, and then it moved to travel. Questions like “What is the Airport code for Los Angeles International Airport?” A. LOS B. LAS C. LAX D. LGB were asked. In between questions ads for the FlightFund Bank of America Visa and promos for their new Coast to Coast service were run. I do not think there is a single person in the Phoenix Area who doesn’t know about the Coast to Coast service but they kept running the shots. I followed our path out the window over the deserts of the Southwest until we came over the hills that lie outside San Diego. I reminisced about the last time I’d been on this segment on an A320, I’d been with my then girlfriend Marissa and we couldn’t land because of fog. Alas, since then things have not worked out the way I would have wanted them to, but as Mr. John Cougar Mellancamp has sung, Life Goes On. Soon we were wheels down in San Diego and after waiting a few minutes for our gate to be cleared, HP 188 was done for the day. Ironically the plane that cleared the gate was an America West CRJ-200 that had been operating HP 6262, it turns out I didn’t need to be rebooked, but I’d rather have a First Class seat then 2F on a Regional Jet.

Land Time: 12 Minutes before Arrival
Scheduled Arrival: 8:41 PM
Actual Arrival: 8:39 PM
Gate 34

American Flight 208
Scheduled Departure: 10:00 PM
Scheduled Board: 9:30 PM

I walked off into a rather empty Lindbergh Field and stopped for a second to think. I remembered walking out of the same gate with my beautiful girlfriend and now I walked out alone physically and alone emotionally, but this was an airport which is no place for being depressed and I turned on my heal to the left and headed off to the Admirals Club. I entered into a silent club, from the entry way I couldn’t hear a single voice. I told the woman manning the desk I needed to be checked in and her face lit up “You mean I get to check you in? I DON’T GET TO DO THIS ANYMORE!” and in one deft maneuver she had flung herself into another chair and was clittering away at her computer before I could say “yes”.

Soon I had my boarding pass in hand and a quick once over of the club told me why I had heard no noise upon entering, I could literally count the occupancy on one hand. I decided to make the most of it and used the computer no one seemed to have discovered before having a drink at the bar. I had a most interesting conversation with the bartender about family reunions; she had one planned for December in Guam of all places. After gulping down a Sprite, I was feeling a mite bit puckish and I figured that something more then the tasty snack mix they served there would feel good and I went off in search of sustenance. On the way out I passed the seat my girlfriend had had her sullen fit in during the wildfires in October and then walked by the AC agent who was playing solitaire in an effort to keep herself awake. I hung a left after leaving the club with the intent of getting a couple of Burgers at Nathan’s but I found it closed, in fact every concession in the pier except a bar was closed, this was during a night with at least three redeyes. I was annoyed but I decided that I’d demand lots of bags of salty pretzels on the plane. Soon after getting back to the gate they called First Class and shortly their after my Group Number 1 for:

Gate 25
Seat 10A Main Cabin – Exit Row
757-200 N-it-was-dark-AA
Actual Board: 9:33 PM
Actual Depart: 9:58 PM – 2 Minutes Early
Take off 19 minutes after departure

It turns out my luck was finally starting to change. There was no one in 10B so I was able to keep my laptop bag with me in my row instead of having it in an overhead bin. Furthermore, my row occupant in 10C had bought food somewhere, he’d only wanted chicken but they’d given him fries and he bestowed them to me saying he’d had fries for lunch. The hot food was exactly what I needed and everyone who boarded looked jealously at his chicken strips and my fries. He had a very amusing conversation on his phone before we taxied out, he tried to explain the exit rows at the front of the 757 but it appeared the other party was confused. He would explain how he was in a seat of three but there were only two seats ahead of him, this was repeated several times until he gave up. The flight was buttoned up early and we were pushed back soon there after and began the long trek across the entire airport and after holding for a WN 737 to land we were off. Charles was returning to his native birth place and natural habitat, god help Suburban New York. Once airborne we made a large right turn and I was presented with a beautiful view of Southern California by night. I thought to myself then “this is what it’s all about, this is why I’ve gone out of my way to fly time and time again, for views like this.”

I got another piece of luck when the drink cart was rolled out, behind it was another cart piled high with white bags. Well this I wasn’t expecting! I dumped the contents out onto 10B’s tray table and was met with two crackers, a triangle of cheese and two Pepperidge Farm cookies. It wasn’t much, but it wasn’t expected and I was extremely grateful for it. I was made happy by the fact that American didn’t try to pass this off as a snack flight because of this bag. I was grateful to the FA who said after her initial announcement that she would make no more for the entire flight so we could sleep. I then brought out my laptop and played the Aerosmith greatest hits CD “Big Ones” if you are an Aerosmith fan this is quite a good CD, it has become tradition for me that I always open a trip with this CD. Once it was done I decided to take a crack at copping some Z’s (sleeping if you haven’t read Ken Keysey’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test ). I was unable to as nervousness about meeting my family again as well as the light from the TV Screen was quite glaring.

Being unable to sleep I sat in my seat and just thought for the rest of the flight while taking occasional glances at what IFE was being offered. The movie was “Pirates of the Caribbean” followed by CBS Eye on America, the David Lettermen segment that was offered was amusing but I for one do not love Raymond or his comedy so I skipped that part. Shortly there after the PA crackled to life and the pilot announced decent into to the New York area, at this point I sat up and got ready to pick out familiar landmarks. We came over New Jersey and over the Hudson River at the GWB giving me a breathtaking view of Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, Yankee Stadium was discernable. Had I been on the right side of the plane I could have seen the Manhattan Skyline. We then made a bit of a bank and ended up over LGA near the Whitestone Bridge, visibility was clear and I could see up the Long Island Sound to the Westchester beach communities of Pelham, New Rochelle, Larchmont et al. We then swung out over the Atlantic and crossed over Rockaway making a landing near the International Terminal, a long taxi later and we were parked at T8.

Land Time: 10 Minutes before Arrival
Scheduled Arrival: 6:07 AM
Actual Arrival: 5:50 AM
Gate 3

On the way off the plane, the First Class FA stood in the galley with a large tray of Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin cookies offering them to all passengers. I took a cookie and it was quite strange eating one so early in the morning but Charles M. Kunz does NOT turn down free food! I left security and met my father who drove me back home. As we pulled into the driveway in the middle of a very depressing morning (cold, no leaves on the trees, gray skies etc.) my thought was “The Kunz is back”

November 27, 2003 – Rye, New York

My entire immediate family as well as my Grandmother, Aunt and her partner clustered around the table for an enjoyable Thanksgiving Dinner. It really is the little things about home you appreciate when you come back from college, things like the laundry machines not having quarter slots, a good hot shower, and food available whenever I need it and it doesn’t come from a vending machine and good old fashioned family love of course. I got out in my car and drove around Rye, Port Chester and Mamaroneck and I found that very little had changed in my three month absence, the same was true for inside my house as the place and the people are the same.

November 28, 2003 – Rye, New York

I got lucky enough to have a day when it just rained, reminding me of why I left New York. I spent the day lounging around my house, watching TV and enjoying my families company, I also had my first slice of decent pizza in months.

November 29, 2003 – Rye and Queens, New York

Today was the day when everyone besides me went home. I drove my Grandmother back to LaGuardia for her US ERJ down to Greensboro and when I returned the house was at its usual state again. I went out for dinner with my brother James that night at Ray’s Café for some decent Chinese Food. I also attended a party with “the old crowd” as they’ve been dubbed. It wasn’t exactly enjoyable as they haven’t changed one iota and I have. The worst part came when I got up to leave and no one noticed.

American Flight 1135
Scheduled Departure: 7:55 AM
Scheduled Board: 7:25 AM

“GET UP YOU’RE LATE!” Being woken up by the angry voice of your father is no way to start a day but it was how my Sunday started. I was so comfortably ensconced in my bed I’d overslept two alarms and was running slight behind schedule. Even so I made it to JFK at 6:45 with plenty of time to spare. My father dropped me off by T9 as he isn’t one for goodbyes (or anything else involving human emotions) we just shook hands and he told me to take it easy and then he was off. I’m not one for goodbyes either but I would miss him, my father is one of the more positive influences in my life. I made my way into the terminal and headed up the escalator to the upper level, once there I stopped and blinked my eyes to make sure I hadn’t just hallucinated. The line for the security check point stretched back past the Admirals Club, it was literally over 250 deep and growing. After checking to make sure that there was an operating Elite line I ducked into the Admirals Club and checked in. I had a pending upgrade for the DFW-SAN leg and I made sure to get on the security list. I knew I had a Bistro Bag (mmm) flight coming up so I stocked up on bagels. Usually I would have stayed longer but the line outside worried me and by the time I left the club it was longer, it had no doubled back upon itself and had at least 400 people in it. The Elite line was about a third as long, it only reached TGIFridays. Even with over one hundred people in front of me, the TSA did a good job this morning and I was through security in only ten minutes. For some reason, after you left security, two American AAgents were rechecking boarding passes; I can only figure they wanted to make sure people were in the right concourse. After two minutes at Gate 42 First Class and Group 1’s were called for:

Gate 42
Seat 9A Main Cabin
MD-80 N979TW
Actual Board: 7:28 AM
Actual Depart: 8:17 AM – 22 Minutes Late
Take off 18 minutes after departure

I grabbed a white bag of joy (not blue anymore) which was labeled, they used to be labeled with MRTC but now that the 757’s don’t have it anymore I guess they don’t want angry gourmet diners complaining that they didn’t get the legroom the bags promised. I settled into 9A, my preferred MD-80 coach seat and 7:55 came, and then 8 came, then 8:05 and as the minute hand on my watch continued its trek, I began to worry more and more, I had a 50 minute connection at DFW for an oversold flight. By the time I made it (if I did) there’d be no overhead space and I’d be soaked in sweat from doing a DFW shuffle. After rearranging half the baggage in the fore-hold we finally pushed back and after a B6 A320 and DL 757 we were off and New York breathed a sigh of relief as Charles M. Kunz was gone (whew).

Finally we’re airborne! Now I can drop the tray table and spread out the glorious contents of this bag. A tub of raspberry yoghurt, cinnamon sugar granola bar and raisins greeted me. This is my third bistro breakfast of this year and this is the first time it’s been different, I appreciated the change in granola bar and yoghurt flavors and half a minute later the food was gone. I really thanked myself for eating that bagel now. Hats off to the flight attendants on this flight, they did three beverage services and passed around the aisles plenty of times, and this was for a flight that was nearly full, I believe some E seat back in the 20’s was empty. After gorging on my meal I decided to get something productive done and I dragged out my laptop and wrote an essay on A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America , not my preferred type of my writing but it felt good to get some work done. Unfortunately working wasn’t very easy as I had to lay all my papers on my chest as there was no where else to put them, the tray table was so small I had to hold my cup of coffee in my right hand and type with my left.

Once I was done with the essay I put Supertramp’s Greatest Hits into my CD player (a good CD, but it gets slow in the middle) and read another stupid book, this one on American Indians. Once over West Virginia the pilot came on the loudspeaker and announced that we would actually be getting to DFW quite early, I breathed a loud sigh of relief as I would not have to begin a mad dash through the C concourse ending up at my gate hyperventilating and covered in sweat. Towards the end of my flight I began to doze and once I woke up from this upon final decent I became annoyed that when I wanted to sleep on my redeye I couldn’t but when I didn’t really care if I slept or not, I did. Soon my first MD-80 out of JFK was over and I was back in the Lone Star State.

Land Time: 6 Minutes before Arrival
Scheduled Arrival: 11:01 AM
Actual Arrival: 10:46 AM
Gate C28

You have to love padding; you can leave an airport 22 minutes delayed but arrive 15 minutes early!

American Flight 685
Scheduled Departure: 11:51 AM
Scheduled Board: 11:21 AM

Now we were originally announced into gate C16 with my connection at C9 but this ended up shifting for some reason. Unfortunately C28 is one of the double jetways and your walk may start in Dallas, but by the time you reach the concourse you’ll swear you’re in Abilene. Luckily a cart was waiting to meet our flight and the driver agreed to drive me to C6 as the trAAin wouldn’t help me. On the cart I sat next to an African American man who told me how much he preferred connecting in DFW when he was drunk, I’ll have to share that with my ASU dormates! It turned out that my SAN gate had changed as well so I had to have the driver stop at C10 where I hopped out and grabbed my bags off the back. I went straight up to the podium where I asked the man working how my standby upgrade was looking, he said “are you Mr. Kunz?” I said yes and he handed me a boarding pass for 3A and told me I had the last First Class seat. My traveling luck is starting to change it seems!

I knew this flight was oversold and sure enough right before boarding they announced volunteers would be given $200 and put on the 4:38 flight. I decided to do it but first I had to make sure America West had a seat for me on a later flight, after I called their Gold line they told me I could get on their 7:30 flight, if I forked over $100 for the change fee, I told them forget it and went to board my flight. The agent recognized me and told me “oh you’re First Class” and so I didn’t have to wait behind the large mass of people that was forming for Groups 3 and 4 and he personally stuck my B.P. in the machine and wished me a nice flight. I’d never wanted an S.O.S. on me more, I love it when an airline employee recognizes the people who matter and it’s us.

Gate C10
Seat 3A First Class
MD-80 N459AA
Actual Board: 11:20 AM
Actual Depart: 11:53 AM – 2 Minutes Late
Take off 30 minutes after departure

I reached the front of the cabin and stared at a massive horde of people aboard this flight, its one thing when you see a full flight from the back, but when you see it from the front you realize just how full a blasted Super 80 can get. I managed to get my bags stowed after doing some shifting of sweaters and jackets and took a seat in the bulkhead row next to a man who looked extremely annoyed that he no longer had the only free seat in the plane next to him. I don’t like being in Bulkhead rows, I can’t have my traveling bag with me which contains all my self-pacification devices and row 3 had no foot cutouts so I had less legroom then I would have back in 8F, my original seat. Never-the-less I didn’t let this bother me, I secured an upgrade into a comfortable seat on a meal flight and I was going back to college to see my friends, why complain? It seemed that Texas really had a hold on me as we were number 12 for take off behind AA wide bodies and DL RJ’s but then we were on the threshold and I thought about Steve Miller to sing for me “Big Old Jet Airliner, coming for to carry me away.” Isn’t it great how music can be applied to ones life? Especially when it’s good music coming out of the 1960’s or 70’s and in some cases later, but no where near as much. As soon as my seatmate went to the bathroom I got down my CD player and let Ozzy and Black Sabbath take me back to California.

Soon our extremely attentive FA came around and FEBOed her way to me. I was worried that I wasn’t going to get a meal choice as I was going to be the fourth to the last person to choose my entrée but the catering gods were on my side as she asked me if I wanted a Roast Beef Sandwich or Mushroom Pizza. Now I hate mushroom and I am from the land of the Deli so I decided to try their so called sandwich on for size. After a round of mixed nuts and drinks I was met by what turned out to be one of the best First Class lunches I’ve had in a while. I was given a tray with a salad of lettuce, peppers and onions (very strange combination) but it went well with the vinaigrette once I removed the peppers and onions. There was also my sandwich with a dish of horseradish sauce for it, now it was deemed that sandwiches should be served with potatoes, but instead of chips we got red skinned potato wedges. Now these were bizarre and a bit bland, but salt and pepper did them justice but it was still a strange choice of accompaniment. Now this sandwich was everything I could have asked for, hot melted Swiss cheese with good roast beef on a soft roll. The horseradish sauce wrapped it up nicely and I only wish there was more. Definitely much better then the Chicken Salad Sandwich I ate in August going from LGA to MSY. There was also a large white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie on my tray. The FA then asked me if I would be having coffee and I asked her for it as Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolfe did in Pulp Fiction “Lots of Cream, lots of sugar.” She brought it back saying “I put four sugars in already but here is two more if want.”

Now I don’t think it’s said enough, but I really love American’s Flight Attendants. After twenty eight flights with them I can’t think of anyone I’ve had who I could complain about. They are all consciences, professional and just plain nice. And I’ve flown all different kinds of flights with AA, from RJ’s to Boston to triple 7’s to Tokyo, I’ve sampled a lot and I love them. Their Admirals Club staff is great too, Gate Agents and Check-in Agents are mixed but the FA’s always make me happy. Soon after despite the coffee and the three Diet Cokes I had, I dozed again, once again causing me to be annoyed that I couldn’t sleep on Wednesday night! I also took a crack at the crossword puzzle and this months Mensa quiz, I got an abysmally low 2 out of 10, but hey, I am at ASU after all. Soon decent was announced and I got very excited, other then New York, I think San Diego is the best airport to fly into in terms of the view. After coming over the hills, you cross the freeways and then the naval yard with its Aircraft carriers comes into a view, then an impressive skyline, Interstate 5 and you’re down just after the piano keys. If you’re flying into San Diego, take a window seat on the A side, you won’t be disappointed!

Land Time: 3 Minutes before Arrival
Scheduled Arrival: 1:01 PM
Actual Arrival: 1:01 PM
Gate 27

San Diego is a great airport to use too, its small so taxi times are low, the Admirals Club is nice and the gate areas fine, good ground staff too.

America West Flight 187
Scheduled Departure: 3:40 PM
Scheduled Board: 3:10 PM

I headed over to Gate 34 where an America West flight to Las Vegas and Boston was boarding. I went up to the counter and had the following conversation.

Charles: Can you check me in for HP 187?
Agent: (pause) Yes this is where HP 187 leaves from.
Charles: No, I need a boarding pass; can you please check me in?
Agent: Will it go quickly?
Charles: (silence)
Agent: Oh ok I can do it (she prints it out) ooh 3A, good seat.

It really is the small things about flying that make me smile, interactions like this that leave you without words to describe the affect they have just makes going miles out of my way to fly extra segments or be on American just makes my life. Before heading over to the Admirals Club, I had an interesting conversation with a Jetblue gate agent who was non-reving to LAS; I do enjoy talking to airline employees. Once in the Admirals Club I decided to buckle down and after sitting down in the same seat my girlfriend had occupied last month (I was actually flying on the same flight last month) I wrote myself a pretty good thematic essay for “We Are Still Here” American Indians in the 20th Century I’ll spare you all the details. After finishing it I went up to the bar for some snack mix and a glass of Diet Coke and the bartender said “Hey weren’t you here with a girl during the wildfires?” After replying in the affirmative I think I’m flying through SAN too much. After a 2:30 departure to ORD commenced, I was left in the club with one other woman. She remarked to me that the airline couldn’t be doing too well if the club was empty save for us on Thanksgiving Weekend. I just said “Oh I’m not even flying them, I’m taking America West” and she said “I’m on Northwest!” It is strange how on this trip the place was so empty for me, but last month it was so full with upset and irate passengers. At 3 I decided to head down to the gate and soon they preboarded First Class passengers and a wheel chaired old lady for:

Gate 34
Seat 3A First Class
757-200 N906AW
Actual Board: 3:07 PM
Actual Depart: 3:37 PM – 3 Minutes Early
Take off 13 minutes after departure

I settled into my seat in the cabin that rapidly filled up to capacity. It felt good that on four out of five flights every seat save a few was empty. On this one there were six empties scattered throughout the back. Pre-departure drinks came around, courtesy of a flight attendant who did a pretty bad job hitting on the resident of 3D, lines like “I’m sorry I have to make someone as good looking as you buckle your seatbelt” just don’t work on today’s attractive youth. And then it was once again time to leave San Diego County, the last time I left it I was seated next to a smarting Marissa, this time I was next to a man I didn’t know. Today’s take off provided one of the best views I’d seen in a long time, the setting sun drenched the coast and I was able to pick out a lot of landmarks I knew, including the La Jolla Torrey Pines I’d stayed in last month. Then we were back over the hills, and then the mountains and I turned my attention to my computer where I did a little typing while listening to Bad Company’s 10 from 6. Although the CD only has ten tracks, it has some of their best songs; I recommend it for any fan of theirs.

The flight passed rather quickly, drinks and snack mix all around and the same trivia as four days ago was played. I spent most of the time thinking about my weekend. It was very strange to be back home as nothing there changed but I did. I realized how much I’ve grown in the three months I’ve been gone and I reflected on the experiences I’ve had. One question rose out of it, “where do I go from here?” That is something that can’t be answered as simply as a question about whether an exit row seat is available, it is something that will be found out as time goes on. I only hope I’ll enjoy flying as much as I do now for the rest of my life. Soon the sun set and we made a big turn over suburban Phoenix, I then realized I knew where we were, we were paralleling the 202 Loop and University Drive. Sure enough we flew right over my dorm and I could pick out my room from the air. Then we were down and Arizona welcomed me back with open arms and no resignation. Also, now that I was back in AZ, I had spent time in every time zone in the continental US today, that’s a new feat.

Land Time: 9 Minutes before Arrival
Scheduled Arrival: 5:53 PM
Actual Arrival: 5:52 PM
Gate A20

I walked out and my cell phone rang and Danyel who was giving me a ride told me “I’m at Terminal 2, where are you?” I was too happy to hear a friendly voice to care that I had to ride the inter-terminal bus to go find her. Once I saw her we hugged and I truly knew the meaning of the words “welcome home.” Home       Trip Reports Index       Whine And Cheez Index       Discussion Forums

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