Trip Report: American Airlines economy class Tampa to Chicago O’Hare

empty TPA terminal

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

My flight out of TPA was scheduled for 8:45am the next morning, but just like the day prior, I wanted to make sure that I had enough time to check things out and do some aviation photography if possible before departure. That meant that even though I was staying nearby at the airport Marriott hotel, I still woke up at 5am in anticipation of a great morning of photography. The weather looked to be perfect for it. I knew in my mind that it was probably a bit too early, but it just meant that I had some time built into the schedule should I have a delay going though security or something.

But there was no delay to speak of. Since I already had my boarding pass from the kiosk from last night, It took all of 10 minutes to go from my hotel room and all the way through the security checkpoint (not including the time it took to stop at Starbucks for a bagel and a banana). So yeah – I realized I woke up way too early, especially considering that it was still totally dark outside with sunrise still a while off. With nothing much else to do, I picked a quiet spot in the terminal and started work on to trip report. If I had no interest in aviation photography, I could have easily slept in until 7:30. That airport Marriott is ultra convenient.

AA 659
Tampa, FL (TPA) – Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
Sunday September 1 2013
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-83
Seat: 18F (economy)

American Airlines MD-83 N9403W
American Airlines MD-83 N9403W side view illustration by Norebbo

Boarding was called right on time, and the whole process went very quickly because of the fact that the flight was only about 60% full this morning. I found my seat at 18F, and was quickly disappointed to see that there was a young toddler in 19F. After yesterday’s flight into TPA, I was in no mood at all to deal with a shrieking seat-kicker. Thankfully, I had an entire tow to myself so moving over would be possible if it became too annoying. But I’m happy to report that she was overall a good traveler and fell asleep right after takeoff.

TPA departure
Beautiful clear morning as we depart out of TPA bound for ORD
overview of TPA
Awesome view of TPA as we depart for ORD

During the flight, my sinuses stared acting up and I was in serious pain with still over two hours to go. I didn’t have any medication, so all I could do was to hydrate as much as possible. I hadn’t drank anything all morning so I thought maybe the dryness was the cause. It seemed to help, and I was feeling much better by the time we landed.

approaching ohare international airport
Approaching ORD from the east, just north of downtown

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