Sunday, July 7, 2013

Trip Report: Dedicated to Grandpa - Sacramento Yet Again, This Time on JetBlue Airways

This was a trip I really didn't want to take. I think I had been up to Sacramento 3 times in the last 2 months because of my sick grandfather. I had to return to Sacramento this weekend so that I could give the eulogy at his memorial service. This post is dedicated to my grandfather from whom I inherited my love of planes and aviation.

After work on Friday afternoon I made my way to LGB (Long Beach). The airport has been renovated and is really nice now. There was a heatwave throughout the Southwest and California this weekend, so when I arrived at the check-in for JetBlue Airways it was very warm inside. I used the kiosk to check-in and since I had booked my ticket so late, there wasn't a seat assignment for me yet. The kiosk said that I would have to wait to get a seat at the gate. Then I needed to give my bag to the desk. Here is a picture of the cool retro terminal at Long Beach.

The security checkpoint at Long Beach is really nice and there were several lines open, so it didn't take very long to get through. One of the neat things about LGB is that it is an indoor/outdoor airport. From the security area to the gate area there is a really pretty desert-scape garden and restaurants with outdoor seating. It was so hot that I didn't bother to wait outside and went right into the terminal. My flight was leaving out of gate 10 and my plane was called "Can't Get Enough of Blue." One thing I really like about JetBlue is that they name all of their planes. There is something really neat about that. Many airlines in Europe and Asia do this. It gives something personal and special to these future aluminum cans.

I was given a middle seat which I knew would happen. I was toward the back of the plane in row 21. Another thing I love about Long Beach and JetBlue is that you have to walk out to the plane and can use the front or back of the plane.

Since I was in row 21, I was directed to use the stairs at the back of the plane. If a passenger were to have mobility issues they would use the ramp at the front of the plane.

It was such a beautiful day even though it was close to 100F and this was at 5:00p. I just love walking up to the plane. It has such a Golden era of flying feel to it.

When I settled into my seat, I had to take a picture of the legroom. They offer a lot of space and with the direct TV and Sirius XM radio, there is a lot to occupy your mind. Once we took off, the flight attendants took drink orders. After they brought the drinks, they gave out snacks. The choices for this flight were mixed nuts or chocolate chip cookies. The flight time was a little more than an hour and I was watching MSNBC most of the time while also trying to read my book. This was the first day that the state of California was issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and the male plaintiff couples in the Supreme Court case were getting married by Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles live on MSNBC. It was pretty neat.

I had never flown into the new midfield terminal at SMF (Sacramento) before, so this was new for me. It's a really nice terminal with lots of space and an airy design that many new airports use around the world now. You have to take a tram to the main terminal which is really overkill because it's not like it is that far away. An underground walkway would have been fine.

"Can't get enough of Blue" parked right next to the tram station so I was able to get one last shot of her. I really like the polka-dot tail on this one.

In the gigantic main terminal building airside there is this massive red rabbit sculpture. I guess it's in honor of the bunny rabbits that are indigenous to the airfield area. I have no idea. The neat thing about this sculpture is that it is made of triangular pieces of different sizes. It reminded me of those tangram things in grade school or even the geodesic dome at Epcot Center but obviously not a dome.

This is a profile shot of the rabbit that I took when I was waiting for the JetBlue counter to open on my return flight. My flight was at 7:05p but the counter didn't open until 5:00p. The massiveness of both the terminal and the rabbit are evident in this picture.

Since I had time to kill in the airport, I decided to look around. I found this pocket California Museum on the tram level. It's pretty neat and has some artifacts and profiles in the Hall of Fame. They had Amelia Earhart, Ceasar Chavez, Barbra Streisand, Clint Eastwood, Sally Ride, Walt Disney, John Muir and some others. It's very nicely done and worth a visit while it is still there.

After a visit to the exhibit, I decided to go to the midfield terminal. Security is not done in the main terminal which is interesting. There is just a sign that says only ticket passengers may take the tram but there is no one enforcing it. I imagine that if one were to take the tram and then arrive at the terminal without a boarding pass, the security there would turn you right around.

I ate dinner at one of the many restaurants in the terminal while waiting for my flight. After eating I walked the length of the terminal which isn't all that big, but it's big enough. I think there are about 14 or so gates there. I caught the A320 that would take me back to Southern California and she was named "Unforgettably Blue."

We left slightly after our scheduled departure time and I was seated in the same row as last time but in a window seat. I was lucky enough to have the middle seat next to me empty. That made for a very comfortable flight. About an hour later we were landing in LGB (Long Beach) and the sun had set. Once again I took the opportunity to take the stairs at the back of the plane, but I took a really blurry picture of the tail.

The sun had set and just a hint of orange and red was visible behind the plane. They sky was so gorgeous behind the A320 that I had to take one last picture. I just wish all the junk around it wasn't in the shot.

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