Quick "mileage run" on a cheap fare to Denver today. Decided to take my youngest (who turns 4 in May) with me as we have family there to visit during the long layover. Couriered some stuff from our house to them since I could check a few bags for free.
Airbus A321 (Legacy USAirways)
Since the wee one would have a hard time getting up too early on a long day, I opted for the 0915 departure to he could wake up on his usual schedule. Left the house at 0645, parked, checked our stuff, through pre-check, and on to the Admirals Club for breakfast. Weather was supposed to be stormy in Dallas, and the snow in Denver was in full swing, so I expected delays. Surprisingly, none were happening.
Left the club to board on time (our plane and flight deck crew were there and ready), but the FA crew for our flight was delayed on the inbound DEN-DFW flight for about 30 minutes. There is delay #1. We finally boarded into seats 4C & 4D in First Class, push back from the gate, and then sit there for an unusual length of time without moving. Enter delay #2: there was something amiss with the left engine starter (I think it was the starter), so we headed back to the gates for maintenance to check it out. Problem is, at 1000 on a Saturday, DFW is busy and we had to wait 40 minutes for one to open up. Maintenance fixes the issue, does the paperwork, and we were pushing back again 30 more minutes later for Departure Scene Take Two.
Up and out of DFW. FAs said the turbulence on the inbound was significant enough that they were not serving hot beverages (no coffee for me), and the coach cabin may or may not get service due to the carts being a danger to everyone if the bumps were bad. Turned out the turb wasn't all that much, so all proceeded as normal (albeit still no coffee). But those Legacy US Airways A321s suck: no IFE, no power outlets, and the seats in First actually have less leg room than the exit rows. AA really needs to update these planes.
Descent into Denver was nice with all the snow on the ground. Deplaned, waited for the luggage, and family picked us up for the now only 4-hour visit. Kiddos played in the snow at their house, dried some wet clothes, then back to the airport.
Checked the now-empty suitcase, hit the Admirals Club for some snacks, then on to the gate. Another minor delay as the inbound aircraft deplaned and was turned around (pretty quickly actually) for us to board. Sat down in 4E & 4F in First Class, and got comfy. Only cabin screens for IFE (really bad luck not getting one of the AA A321s with seatback screens), but at least there were power outlets to recharge my son's tablet and my phone.
Our FA was awesome: gave my son some of the plastic wings to pin on, and was serving coffee before takeoff!! Pushed back a few minutes late, but had to stop at the de-icing station before takeoff. Got underway down the runway about 50 minutes late (and no time was able to be made up in the air).
Again, our FA came through for the cabin and was able to do a full meal service before the bumps came. Right after dropping off the food, the coach FAs announced there would be no service due to the turbulence (sucks to have been in steerage today). A couple minutes later, the "dreaded" double-ding sounded, our FA got on the phone, and with that call all crew & passengers were asked to be seated for the duration of the flight. Not the greatest day to be shuttling back and forth between DFW & DEN I guess. Very expeditiously, our FA got up twice to clear the service items, collect all glasses & replaced them with plastic, and then sat back down and strapped in with about 45 minutes left in the flight.
Nothing intense turb-wise, but enough to make me have to secure my son's drink a few times since he was about to get a lap-full of liquid and ice. Rocked & rolled through the worst of it, and then started out descent into DFW. The lower clouds were puffy and illuminated by the city lights below; really pretty to watch.
Broke through those clouds, and the lowest layer were scattered and the lights below made for a very picturesque approach and landing. Bit bumpy through this part, but it doesn't bother me anymore and my son gave no sign any of it bothered him in the slightest.
Touched down about 50 minutes behind, deplaned, hit baggage claim, jumped in the car, and he was out cold before we even left the airport property.
My 7 year old and I are doing another day run a week from now, but this one to DC for a whirlwind tour of the major sites. Hopefully the weather cooperates!
Happy flying to all!