Flying from San Diego to Minneapolis for no good reason

A320 wing view

Here’s a quick write-up about my experience flying to Minneapolis and back last weekend on Northwest Airlines:

Oh man, I was excited about this one. Cash in some frequent flyer miles, and spend the day at a large airport taking pictures. I was a very excited boy as I made the reservations. But time went on. The day of the trip came. I flew to MSP. And once I arrived, a strange thing happened…I was not even remotely in the mood for aviation photography. My mind was elsewhere, and I didn’t have much interest in hanging around the airport all afternoon playing geek-boy and taking pictures.

northwest and usairways aircraft at msp
Some of the airliner photos I took right before I gave up and went to the hotel

By 4pm, I had enough and grabbed a shuttle to my hotel, with the the plan being to check in and then head over to the Mall of America for dinner.

It was a very hot and humid day in Minneapolis, and I ended up walking to the mall. And then there was a lot of walking to do inside…mind you this was after spending a few hours walking around MSP taking pictures. Once I sat down to dinner, I was so happy to rest my feet. Dinner sucked (fast food style Japanese), and I walked around a bit more before walking back to my hotel. After a quick shower, I plopped my rear end in front of the TV before falling asleep. And sleep I did…

Morning came, and I was very excited at the thought of getting my first ride on a DC-10 (after 3 failed attempts prior). I was up and out of the hotel early, and I wasted no time checking in and grabbing my seat assignments. Once that was done, I had a little time to wander the airport before the flight. I really wasn’t in the mood for stressing out and getting some pictures, as I was starting to feel stressed from being so busy. So…I just wanted to relax and enjoy the ride to LAX on that DC-10. Boarding was right on time, and I found myself in a window seat just ahead of the wing. Anyway, it was a good flight considering how tight the seat pitch was. That particular aircraft was scheduled to continue on to HNL, and I couldn’t imagine someone suffering through that all the way to Hawaii.

The approach into LAX was nice, as we had to circle out over Palm Springs a couple times to ease up congestion in the approach pattern. Nothing like doing laps 15,000 above the desert in a big honkin’ DC-10, especially when I was on the side of the plane facing down. We touched down on 24R about 15 minutes early, so we ended up sitting way out in the middle of nowhere along the western edge of the airport for a while. All in all, it was a good DC-10 experience…I loved it. My connecting flight down to SAN was quick and scenic. It was cloudy all the way down, but I got a nice view (and a few pictures) of MCAS Miramar as we flew our way into the pattern.

Overflying MCAS Miramar
Overflying MCAS Miramar in a Northwest Airlines A320 from LAX to SAN
Overflying downtown San Diego
Overflying downtown San Diego just prior to touching down at SAN

All in all, it was a weekend more about flying than it was about taking pictures. When I got home, I was thinking about how much of a wasted FF ticket that was. But that wasn’t the case – I got to see the Mall of America, and I got my first ride in a DC-10. Still, as always, it was better than staying home!

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