01. Introduction: Business class battle royale – British Airways vs. Virgin Atlantic
02. British Airways 747-400 Club World (business class) San Diego to London (LHR)
03. Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London
04. Hilton London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 4
05. The 3 things that I love most about London
06. Virgin Atlantic Club House, LHR
07. Virgin Atlantic A340-600 Upper Class (business class) London (LHR) to New York (JFK)
08. InterContinental New York Barclay
09. jetBlue A321 Mint (business class) New York (JFK) to Los Angeles
10. Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy class Los Angeles to San Diego
I never realized how much of an airline nerd I was until I sat down this morning to write this particular trip report. “Dude. I’m writing about an economy class Delta Connection CRJ-900 flight in excruciating detail. Who does that sort of thing?” That’s when I had a sort of come-to-Jesus moment and realized how much satisfaction I get writing these airline reviews. I seriously considered skipping it, but then the anxiety in me bubbled up to uncomfortable levels when I realized that leaving a segment like this out would mean that that the entire trip report would be left incomplete. Sends shivers up and down my spine I tell ya…
I suppose that someday I could see myself skipping writing about these less-interesting segments, assuming that I start flying in a lot more international premium cabins. Ben Schlappig is a perfect example a trip-reporter that does just that – he flies a ton of domestic flights, but doesn’t write about any of them since he’s in a different international first or business class cabin every week. If I flew that much, I’d likely do the same thing. But for now, I’ve got to take all I can get and you the reader will have to suffer reading about what life is like way back in economy class on tiny regional jets. My sincerest apologies.
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Duration: 27 minutes
Seat: 16D (economy class)
To be honest, I’m not even sure how to begin this one. What is there to say really? I just spent the last four days flying around the world in some really good business class cabins, so finding myself standing curbside just outside of terminal 3 at LAX was a bit of a downer. The only thing standing between me and the end of this journey was a short CRJ-900 ride (in economy class) down to SAN and to be honest I really wasn’t looking forward to it. Travel isn’t always glamorous, folks.
Despite the calendar saying it was October 20th, the Santa Ana winds were blowing hard and bringing in some oppressive heat in from out of the desert. It was HOT! The heat was so intense that I actually went into the Tom Bradley International terminal to cool off for a bit as I made my walk around the airport to reach Terminal 5 (the Delta terminal). I ended up staying there for an hour and a half, just stretching my legs and doing a bit of plane spotting from the big windows on the ground floor. I’m not a fan of Delta’s terminal here at LAX (it’s much too crowded) so spending a little time in the international terminal dreaming of my next big trip was a perfectly fine way to kill some time.
I finished walking the rest of the way to terminal 5 at an hour before boarding for my flight down to SAN was scheduled to begin, and by the time I got there and did the security checkpoint thing, I didn’t have much longer to wait. I grabbed a quick bite to eat, walked up and down the terminal a time or two, and then sat down in the gate area just before the gate agents started the boarding process.
Despite the lack windows, my spirits were starting to build as I began thinking about the really nice departure pics I would be able to get from this flight. The sun was setting beautifully, and I had a window seat on the correct side of the aircraft to get nice views of the terminal as we blast off into the stratosphere. Perfect! Hey – at least the sunset departure pictures would help to make this dull trip report more interesting, right?
Wrong. Things went sour as soon as I plopped down in my seat and assessed the view out the window. Saying that the window was dirty isn’t strong enough to describe the horror I was feeling as a trip-reporter and aviation photographer at that moment. The window was so grimy and scratched up that I knew right away that photography would be impossible.
Argh! I knew I had to dig deep in order to find something (anything) that would make this trip report interesting, but it wasn’t looking good. I was packed in like a sardine way back in the bowels of economy class in an old and smelly CRJ-900 – with no decent views of the outside world to be had.
I’ve been in four wheel drive trucks caked with layers of mud that had cleaner windows than this, and it was such a let down knowing that I would not be getting any window view shots from this flight this afternoon. No beautiful views of the LAX terminals bathed in warm late afternoon light. No stunning coastline pics. No beautiful pics of downtown San Diego on final approach into SAN. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
I really wish I could write something like “then, out of nowhere, the most amazing thing happened…” but I wasn’t that lucky. There was absolutely nothing at all amazing about this flight, so all I have to say is that we basically flew down to San Diego. That’s it. Well, the flight attendant did come by offering water to anyone who wanted some, as the short flight time of 25 minutes didn’t offer much time for anything else. But other than that, flights don’t get any more boring and routine than this.
For as much complaining as I did in this trip report, I was still quite thankful that it was a beautiful evening in southern California, and my trip to London had been a smashing success. Not being able to see out the window was an insignificant problem when looking at the big picture, I know, and to be honest I was feeling great knowing that I was able to put another great trip behind me. It’s always such a nice feeling to come home after a long journey.
Thanks for reading about my little adventure to London! Be sure to stay tuned for my next trip report, starting soon, which involves a 747, two long delays, and a last-minute ticket purchase to get me home…