Thanksgiving trip to MSP on American Trans Air: SBN-MDW-MSP-MDW-SBN

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I’m starting to become accustomed to flying out of a small regional airport, and it really makes me miss SAN that much more. I hate regional jets, but I hate turboprops even more. And since SBN (South Bend, Indiana) is my nearest airport, that’s pretty much what my choices are any time that I chose to start and end my travel from there. I am already counting down the days until I would return to good ‘ol San Diego. I’m not exactly sure when that will be, but I sure as heck am planning it.

My sister lives just west of Minneapolis, and my entire family was gathering at her house for Thanksgiving. Being the aviation nerd that I am, I chose to fly to MSP instead of drive. I had flown ATA once before (just one month earlier) and I thought they were a good airline – so I had no problem giving them equal consideration with UA and AA.

MSP Terminal B at Night

Delta Connection CRJ-200

American Trans Air 737-800

Flying Over Downtown Chicago

American Trans Air 737-800

American Trans Air 757-200

Vanguard 737-200

Of course I brought my trusty Nikon CP880 digital camera with me, ready for any aviation photography opportunities that may present themselves. Long story short, I was extremely happy with the photos I got from this trip. Here are some highlights:

  • Delta Connection flights at SBN park right in front of a large window that is accessible without going through security, which offers really great close-up views of parked aircraft. On this morning, I was able to capture a picture of an ASA (Delta Connection) CRJ-200 waiting for a flight to ATL before sunrise.
  • The weather was fantastic in MDW as I waited for my connecting flight to MSP. The old terminal was ground level, which provided some very unique spotting opportunities around the airport. I found a spot at the the end of one of the terminals (can’t remember which one) to capture some great sunrise-lit shots of aircraft taxiing past the windows.
  • I had a window seat on the 737-800 connecting flight (N302TZ), and we took off to the east directly over top of downtown Chicago. I got some great shots of the city skyline framed by the aircraft engine and wing.
  • Finally, on the day of the return flight from MSP to MDW (November 25th), I got  great nighttime shots of terminals E and C from the observation deck. Yes, that’s right – MSP has an observation deck. It’s small, but it’s a very welcome feature of the Minneapolis airport. If you’re interested in checking it out, it can be accessed via a small set of stairs right at the left-side entrance to terminal D.

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