I have only been living in Southwest Michigan for a little over four months now, but I am already hating it. It is a drastic change from southern California, and by December I was doing what I could to get out of Michigan and back to the west coast for good. In the meantime, I am stuck in the midwest with my only immediate source of relief being frequent travel to other places far (far) away.
The good news was that I had two trips in late December that I had really been looking forward to: Paris (CDG) and West Palm Beach (PBI). Oh heck yes – I was a happy boy to pack my bags and get the heck out of Michigan for a little bit! I should note that these were not intended to be aviation photography adventures – the trip to France was just because, and the trip to Florida was to visit family. I planned to bring my camera along, but I had no real intention of getting any really good pictures.
First up was a quick two-day trip overseas to Paris. I was really looking forward to this one, mostly because it was my first international trip in nearly three years. I had very little money to spend on travel during that time, so you can only imagine how eager I was to be going somewhere very far from home – even if it was going to be as cold there as it was in Michigan. I didn’t care.
My routing for the trip was SBN-ATL-CDG-ATL-SBN with the overseas segments operated by an MD-11 and 777-200. All of it was on Delta Airlines, except for the SBN segments – those were operated by ASA under the Delta Connection name. Not exactly exotic travel arrangements, but hey – I wasn’t complaining.
Long story short, I took very few pictures of airport and airline related things during this trip. But the lead photo in this article is a picture of an AeroMexico 757-200 (XA-TQU) sitting at the E concourse at ATL, which just happened to be across the way from the gate my flight to CDG was leaving from.
The image below was the view of the inflight map on the return flight from CDG to ATL (operated by a 777-200). The flight attendant asked me if I wouldn’t mind switching my aisle row seat to a bulkhead aisle (in order to accommodate a family traveling together). No problem! She seemed very apologetic about it, and to this day I don’t know why – it was an upgrade as far as I was concerned. She was so sorry about it that she gifted me with an unopened bottle of Brut champagne just before we landed in Atlanta.
And here is a picture of the ASA CRJ-200 (N868AS) that brought me back to SBN from ATL that day. I hate CRJ’s with a passion, but this one was interesting because it wore the Blue Bonnet livery – which didn’t look all that bad actually. Still, I would have much preferred to had been on a mainline Delta flight instead.
A few days later, I flew down to West Palm Beach Florida to visit my family. The routing was SBN-DTW-PBI-DTW-SBN, all on Northwest airlines. This is the view from the window on the DTW-PBI segment, operated by a DC-9-31 (N964N):
On the return flight, my flight out of PBI was cancelled so they bussed us down to FLL. For my troubles, I scored an upgrade to first class on the FLL-DTW segment. Nice! That flight was operated by an A320 (N328NW), and this is the view I was looking at as I was downing my complimentary gin and tonic: