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The Cincinnati Kid returns - DCA-ORD-CVG UA Trip 4/6-4/10 (w/ pics)

The Cincinnati Kid returns - DCA-ORD-CVG UA Trip 4/6-4/10 (w/ pics)

Old Apr 20, 11, 10:44 pm
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The Cincinnati Kid returns - DCA-ORD-CVG UA Trip 4/6-4/10 (w/ pics)

I took a little "spring break" trip back home to see the parents and friends in Cincinnati, leaving DC April 6 (Weds.) and returning the 10th (Sun.), all on UA. Luckily, weather was sunny and 60s-70s the whole time, with the exception of 50s and cloudy during my outbound layover at ORD on Weds. So still nice weather overall. No delays to speak of (unless waiting for a gate once we arrived at CVG counts ).

One of customary pre-security pics of the ramp:


Busy DL ramp -- I'd be interested to hear guesses on where these suspects are headed. I believe the tail sticking up behind the 319 is one of the S5 E-Jets in their customary Shuttle spots.

The first flight on the outbound leg was UA7514, the 12:30pm DCA-ORD flight that recently switched to an E170. On that note, I noticed there are a couple E170 flights throughout the day now -- is this a result of merger-related fleet changes/shifting, or just adjusting for lower demand? For what it's worth, they were asking for volunteers on the flight, so persons 60ish pax is a bit few for that departure. Then again, I guess UA doesn't really have anything between that a 120ish pax A319. Sorry no pics of the plane before departure we were were at the corner gate where the jetway blocked any good views of the E-Jet from inside the terminal.

One thing I noticed was that there was a company A320 sitting at the adjacent gate from before I cleared security until after we departed:


Are the mid-day turnarounds really that long? It just seemed odd given that my plane was doing a quick turnaround back to ORD but the Airbus was just cooling it's heels.

Also, just for fun, anyone know whether this RP E-Jet for USX is a 170 or 175? I still haven't figured out to discern the two.



I was in boarding group 2, though I got up to the gate agent right as they called for group 2, so there was still plenty of room to get settled and secure overhead space. We pushed back about on time and taxied down to the end of Runway 1 for a northbound departure. I always like that so I can watch the city on the way out, and I can even spot my apartment complex usually as well.

The flight was smooth and we flew straight West just South of downtown Chicago before they switched the runway configuration at ORD and we had to circle around and do an eastward landing.

I will post the ORD-CVG stuff in the next post....
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Old Apr 20, 11, 10:59 pm
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ORD layover and ORD-CVG segment

While DC was sunny and mid-60s, ORD on that day was cloudy and mid-50s with some wind. I was inside the whole time, but 50s still wouldn't have been that bad had I been outside. We landed about 20 mins. early but then had to taxi around the terminal complex to get to the B-spur where it looks like all the E-Jets go (incidentally, on the initial approach we were set up for a landing on one of the 22s that the pilot said would have dumped us right by our gate). So we hit the gate just about on time.

Here is a pic of my plane after arriving at ORD:


Since this was my first time at ORD, I decided to make the trek over to Concourse F without dawdling too much, but I did manage a few interesting shots:


Not sure how many are in the UA/CO c/s yet, but still nice to see.

To my surprise, April 6 was the day that Smisek was on hand to gladhand UA employees and do a press conference. Unfortunately, views of the throwback UA c/s A320 at the gate where he was were blocked by the setup for Smisek's photo op .


I took this one because I just like watching the prep work during the turnarounds.

Then it was time to head to my F-gate to wait for departure on an XJ generic c/s E145.

Once I got to CVG, it was back to the same weather as DC - close to 70 and sunny. The only wrinkle was that we had to wait for this UAX CR7 to push back, and that took about 20 mins.



In addition, I snapped a shot of an FX Airbus sitting by the old T1 and CVG. I always like seeing the big FX Airbii at CVG (seems like a lot of package traffic for a market that size, but hey it's nice to see some widebodies other than DL44 coming in to CVG these days!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5639871012/

Next up is the return leg.
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Old Apr 20, 11, 11:27 pm
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Return leg

Sunday morning I had an early 10:45 departure from CVG to ORD, again on a Jungle Jet. This time, it was a UA/CO hybrid c/s (taken after landing at ORD):



I noticed DL's Concourse B busy with RJs and only a couple mainline a/c:



Anecdotally, I feel like there are more CR7s and CR9s at CVG than ever, but that's probably just due to the extreme falloff in mainline traffic.

The flight to ORD short and sweet, and we flew right over MDW before veering out over the lake to do a landing on the 22s. While taxiing to the gate, I got to watch an NH 77W push back and taxi to the runway, although I should have snapped a pic of that beauty! I've gotten the QR 77W at IAD a couple times, and those are always a treat to see up close.

I took a timeout from spotting to get a Torta at Frontera, and it was amazing as per all the recommendations on here. The limeade was really a nice touch too. I will have to try that special Goose Island beer next time (the bar was closed since it was Sunday morning).

The other highlight of my layover was a CO 753 with winglets:


Only the second time I've seen a 753 in person, and for some reason they really catch my eye.

When it was time to board UA614, the 1pm 757 to DCA, the gate area was overflowing with pax. It went swiftly enough, but the purser kept making announcements such as "please try to board and get settled ASAP as the scheduled time of departure is rapidly approaching and we strive to get you out on time!". I would normally be fine with such encouragements, but he kept repeating them and using a rather shrill tone, especially when mentioning that we should be considerate of overhead space. Overall, the impression was one of "get the heck in your seats so we can get this plane moving and I get on with my day!". which is certainly not want you want customers to be hearing. This didn't really bother me that much, but it did strike me as a bit lacking in customer appreciation/respect for those who may not fly as often.

My ride to DCA:


The view from my seat:


Looking out over the rather large wing:


As usual in the 757, takeoff was brisk and powerful, with a nice climbout. The ride was quick and relatively smooth, and as a bonus we flew the River Visual so I got a nice view on the way in to DCA.

Back at DCA, a shot my plane in the background, and the flight to DEN in the foreground:

Always nice to see twin UA 75s at DCA in the afternoon -- in different c/s it would look like the DL concourse!

Closing thoughts:
This was my first UA/UAX trip in many years, certainly since I can remember, and I was definitely impressed. I've had the MP Select Visa for about 18 months, but had previously only flown USX due to their n/s schedule between DCA and CMH during grad school. It really was a far superior experience to the US one, and I've decided that traveling DCA-ORD-CVG is now my default option over doing US n/s DCA-DAY. I realize inflight service is a bit of a joke nowadays, but still there was a bit more professionalism among the UA/UAX crews and just a more professional ambience to the whole experience, ORD itself included.

UA's grade (taking into account what I was expecting beforehand): :-::-::-::-::-:
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Old May 4, 11, 9:45 am
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Did you get some Skyline?
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Old May 4, 11, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by SRQ Guy View Post
Did you get some Skyline?
Yessir! 4-way onion (don't really care for the beans on the 5-way).
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Old May 4, 11, 11:00 am
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Originally Posted by LHCVG View Post
Yessir! 4-way onion (don't really care for the beans on the 5-way).
Same here. I also like cheese coneys with onions and mustard.

Skyline Chili is the only thing I miss about Cincinnati (besides the people I know there, of course).
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Old May 4, 11, 11:03 am
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Originally Posted by SRQ Guy View Post
Same here. I also like cheese coneys with onions and mustard.

Skyline Chili is the only thing I miss about Cincinnati (besides the people I know there, of course).
I also like to hit up Graeter's/Aglamesis depending on your preference, although neither of those is as unique as Cincy chili.
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Old May 4, 11, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by SRQ Guy View Post
Same here. I also like cheese coneys with onions and mustard.

Skyline Chili is the only thing I miss about Cincinnati (besides the people I know there, of course).
Love the 4-way (I grew up in Columbus). We have boxes of Gold Star spice packets shipped to us. My wife, who grew up in California, became a convert when I brought some back once.

Coneys I can't do, however, after one very bad day when I ate 4 with cheese and onions.

Greg
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Old May 4, 11, 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by greg99 View Post
Coneys I can't do, however, after one very bad day when I ate 4 with cheese and onions.

Greg
Yeah that's a lot of coneys. A few years ago Gold Star had a Coney Crate that had 10 coneys in it, and I actually had a friend in high school who ate the whole thing for a "how to" presentation in a public speaking class. He didn't feel too hot after that.
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Old May 6, 11, 9:50 am
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I used to easily go through 10 Skyline cheese coneys in a night when I was in high school. I'd probably die if I tried to do that today.
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Old May 6, 11, 1:10 pm
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I'm sorry that I can't see his pictures during the trip and can he will have to do fixed the photos. Can he will have go on photobucket.com? He should have better pictures and better website that he can easily way to upload his pictures.
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