Just a little note beforehand, I didn’t take many photos inside the airports and I apologize. I can promise the next time I take a trip, the report will be much more detailed. And no, I do not want your photography or video advice. All I had on me was my iPhone 6 camera, and a dirty plane window. Without further due, let’s begin!
Me and my family decided on a last minute trip down to South Florida in late May to visit our relatives down there. Of course, we chose Southwest Airlines out of MacArthur Airport.
Check In and Security:
We got to the airport around 8:10 AM, plenty of time for our 9:35 departure. Besides a brief line, we got through curbside check-in rather quickly. WN has both curbside check-in (called SkyCap) and regular interior check-in at ISP, and we saw there was a line at regular check-in so we stuck with curbside check-in.
After passing through check-in, which took about 10 minutes, we went through security. We had TSA Pre Check which made it much easier, I got to keep my shoes, belt, and hat on. There were 2 lanes open which kept the flow moving.
TSA Pre-Check paper given to me before passing through metal detectors
After getting through security and gathering all our stuff it was 8:30. We then went into the main terminal. Southwest owns 7 gates in Concourse A at ISP but only operates out of 4 of them. I personally think they should give up the other 3 to Frontier, so that way they don’t have to use the cramped and outdated Concourse B.
My plane, a Boeing 737-700 with split scimitars is at gate A6. Next to us is a 737-800 headed to Orlando which is scheduled to leave 5 minutes before us. Both flights were pretty full, there were only 2 or 3 seats on each plane to spare.
My plane, N556WN
WN 4178 headed to MCO
With about a half hour until boarding begins, I decided to check out the rest of the A concourse, and the B concourse.
Gates A4 and A3
Gate A1 which American operates out of (they actually operate out of A1-L, not sure why they have all that stuff set up here
Perhaps my favorite part of the airport.
After going down the stairs, you will find gate A1-L which American operates out of. They send Dash 8’s here 3x daily including one that stays overnight, to and from PHL. Starting in October they will be replaced with E145’s.
Walking up towards the old concourse B.
Most of the B gates are just doors, however there are 2 jetways which Frontier utilizes. Again, I really wish they would upgrade the terminal like Southwest did with their part.
Gate B19, which Frontier uses along with B23. Elite Airways used to operate out of this gate until they left earlier this year, due to their company loosing money.
The other end of the concourse.
Back in Southwest territory. Pretty much the only time they use gates A2-A4 is when they have a bunch of early morning flights going out or if they are unable to use gates A5-A8.
Some closed up shops, they have all relocated to the other side of the concourse where all the action is.
Headed back to the gate, our flight was going to board in 10 minutes.
Around 9:00 AM, boarding for the flight to MCO began. Then, 5 minutes later, boarding for my flight begun.
Airline/Flight Number: Southwest 5524
Plane Type/Registration: Boeing 737-7H4/N556WN
Date: Saturday, May 27th 2017
Scheduled Pushback Time: 9:30 AM
Actual Pushback Time: 9:33 AM
Scheduled Takeoff Time: 9:35 AM
Actual Takeoff Time: 9:42 AM
Scheduled Landing Time: 12:15 PM
Actual Landing Time: 12:07:00 PM precisely!
Cruising Altitude: 40,000 feet
Scheduled Gate Arrival: 12:20 PM
Actual Gate Arrival: 12:18 PM
Departure Gate: A6
Arrival Gate: B7
Time From Gate to Gate: 2 hours 45 minutes
I was in the A boarding group. I believe I was A38. We got let through at 9:13, and by 9:16 we were onboard. Of course, you had to stand in the jetway and wait for the people who take forever to put their bags in the overhead bin.
Boarding and being greeted by a Flight Attendant
I settled into my seat, 10F, at 9:17 AM. This is one of those seats that has 2 windows so I was pretty happy.
I was pretty happy, but then I realized I picked a seat in front of the emergency exit row. Why is that bad, you might ask? Well, they don’t recline! I learned it the hard way. But I love sitting over the engines, I love the sound they make at low power/idle.
As the flight was boarding, the flight attendants were reminding us that it was a full flight and to sit in any seat available. One of them even jokingly said “Sit Down, Shut Up, We Gotta Go!” which made everyone laugh.
By 9:35, we were all loaded up. I was able to see through the left side window and noticed that the plane to MCO was still here which should’ve pushed 10 minutes ago. Then we started pushing back. I was pretty confused but then stopped thinking about it and paid attention to the flight attendant’s soothing voice doing the usual announcements.
At 9:38, we began our taxi to Runway 6. Pretty odd considering a lot of runway changes. A flight to BWI 90 minutes earlier took off from 33L, a flight to PHL took off from 24, and now we’re taking off from 06. The winds were out of the northwest, meaning we would be taking off from 33L. But since they were relatively light and our plane was full, the pilots must’ve opted for the 7,000 foot Runway 6, as 33L is only 5,184 feet long.
At 9:42 AM, we reached Runway 6 and the flight attendants came on the speaker saying we were cleared for takeoff.
Our Boeing lining up on Runway 6
The takeoff was smooth. We soared off and since it was a bright day it was nice looking at all the lush green trees. I heard a whirring sound as the gear was lifted up and then a sort of clunk sound as they were locked up. Video
Some pictures from the climb out. There are so many trees it makes it look like this airport is in the middle of nowhere, but in reality the trees are covering up most of the houses and businesses.
Turning southbound. The flaps were retracted about 5 minutes into the flight.
We passed 10,000 feet 8 minutes into the flight. I turned on my laptop and went to the SouthwestWiFi. I was greeted by this funny glitch! See if you can spot it. And no, it’s not the black bars on the screen. It looks like that whenever you take a pic of the screen :/
Continuing our climb southbound. I love the sleek look of the split scimitar!
Cookies were passed out about 20 minutes after takeoff, and drinks were passed out about 45 minutes after. I was surprised there were no peanuts and pretzels like there usually are, I guess there was someone onboard with an allergy.
A few pictures from the cruise. It was a beautiful day for flying!
The rest of the cruise was pretty uneventful. I watched HGTV and people were shopping for lakefront houses. I must say, one couple did a really good job on fixing their new house up after they bought it! After the show ended and another one that I wasn’t interested in came on, I decided to just spend the rest of the flight on the tracker, and looking out the window. I was able to see a few planes off in the distance zooming by headed northbound, including one that was a few miles off to our northwest heading south like us.
We began the descent about 30 minutes out. I was able to distinguish a United plane a few miles to our southwest descending with us, but at a lower altitude. About a minute later, he banked off to the right and out of sight, likely headed for MCO or PBI.
You can make out that plane in the distance. Of course, it looked clearer in person.
The initial descent was pretty smooth, you could feel when the pilot increased/decreased the VS. At first, we made the left turn to go parallel with the FL coast. Then, we made a right turn, heading SSW. Eventually, we made another right turn and entered the left downwind for Runway 10L at FLL.
Making the left turn to run parallel with the coastline
Coastline and some clouds
Beginning the right turn to head SSW
Slightly after the first right turn we made the next one to enter the left downwind. By this time we were at about 8000 feet at 12:00 PM. Clearly visible is the Ft. Lauderdale coastline and boats cruising back and forth.
We also went cloud surfing. Here’s a pic from one of them. Whenever we went through a cloud, everything got white and the plane became bumpy. Video
Shortly thereafter, we made a sharp left turn and we were headed ESE towards FLL. I heard the landing gear come down and the flaps extending.
Final approach for Runway 10L. The pilot was going really fast on the approach, I saw we were at 223 KTS ground speed just 5NM out
We touched down at 12:07:00 PM, 7 minutes ahead of schedule. The landing was extremely smooth, I am not being sarcastic, there were literally no bumps or shakes except for when the reverse thrust started. Video
We exited the runway at 12:08 PM, and then taxied to gate B7 of terminal 1.
Construction of Concourse A, now in operation and used entirely by WN like Concourse B
Pulling into gate B7, next to a 737-800 getting loaded up for Hartford. I’m not sure why, but we stopped short of the gate and waited a good 7 minutes before continuing pulling in.
Boeing 737-300 in the new livery (rare) being pushed back for Dallas.
My plane. Thanks for a great ride, N556WN!
N8306H awaiting pushback clearance to Havana
Dreaded baggage claim. Fortunately my family’s bags were some of the first ones out.
Being greeted by a delicious meal prepared by my wonderful grandparents!
The drive from FLL to my grandparent’s house is about 30 minutes. Occasionally you can see planes on an extended downwind to FLL, and GA activity is common due to North Perry airport being nearby.
And, I later found out the reason we pushed back for the 738 bound to MCO is because they were delayed for an hour. I guess it came up at the last minute, because they had already boarded all the passengers.
Thanks for viewing my first trip report here on the IFC! The one back from FLL-ISP will be up soon. Flying is the best, I just really enjoy it!