01. Introduction: San Diego to Tampa and back in American Airlines economy class
02. American Airlines economy class San Diego to Dallas
03. American Airlines economy class Dallas to Tampa
04. Marriott Hotel at Tampa International Airport
05. American Airlines economy class Tampa to Chicago O’Hare
06. American Airlines economy class Chicago O’Hare to San Diego
I had a couple hours to spare in DFW before my flight to Tampa, so I decided to walk around a bit and get a bite to eat.
Dallas / FT Worth, TX (DFW) – Tampa, FL (TPA)
Saturday August 31 2013
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 17A (economy)
Upon arrival at the gate for my flight to TPA, I was excited to see that the aircraft that would be taking us was the special-livery “Flagship Freedom” 737-800. Awesome! That excitement was short-lived, however, as 10 minutes before boarding they announced a gate-change due to a problem with that aircraft. Sigh.
We all trucked three gates down to C14 and waited for about 20 minutes while they prepped another 737-800 that was scheduled to be pulled off the line for the day for routine maintenance. Boarding was finally called, and knowing that I had seat 17A again (with the blocked middle seat) I was really looking forward to this flight. Group 1 boarding pass in hand, I boarded the plane and quickly found my seat and settled in.
That’s when things started going wrong. It turns out my seatmate in 17C was a new dad with is ridiculously fidgety 2-year old lap toddler. Oh well, at least the middle seat was blocked, right? Yeah right. That didn’t stop her from crawling all over it (and me), and to make matters worse, she was a shreaker. Anything interesting she saw out he window was met with ear-pearcing streaks of joy. Cute for the first one or two times, but it got old – fast.
The problem with the whole situation was that dad (and mom in seat 17D with another one of their demon spawn) though they were the cutest little angels in the world so they pretty much let them do whatever they wanted and just laughed about it.
On top of that, there were mechanical issues with this new airplane too. We sat on the ground in DFW for an hour while they worked out the issues. Suffice to say, I was not a happy guy even before this flight had even started.
It was a long flight, and I wanted to get off of it badly once we landed in TPA. It was a beautiful evening in Tampa, with broken clouds and a nice setting sun. I was really shocked to see that the airport was pretty much a ghost-town upon arrival. We arrived at the F concourse, which is fairly large, and there was absolutely nothing going on. I had my hopes of finding a decent sit-down place to grab some dinner, but nothing was open – I had to go to the main terminal building for that.