For the second consecutive Saturday I’m mileage run, this time to an airport that I have never visited: Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). It’s a quick trip, Austin to DFW to Newark and back, depart at 7 a.m. and be back by 8:20 that evening.

I visited before I left the house to find out if I would have internet access on either of the long flights between DFW and Newark; the website said I would not, so I left my laptop at home.

This trip began like all of my others, arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, short visit to the Admirals Club, and then boarded the plane for a quick flight to DFW. That part of the trip went normally. The unexpected happened later.

Here is our landing at DFW; the plane and its shadow lined up perfectly, it looked like the shadow was trying to catch up with us which it finally did when we landed.

We arrived at DFW Terminal D. My Newark flight would leave from Terminal C, gate 4, so I took the SkyLink people mover to Terminal C. The Skylink is one of the nicest things about DFW; even though it is a massive airport the size of Manhattan with five terminals, the Skylink will get you from one gate to another in any terminal in less than 10 minutes. When I watch this video it seems like we are moving very fast, but we’re not, it’s a reasonable speed.

Once I got to Terminal C I went to the Admirals Club for a cup of coffee, called my wife, and relaxed for a while. Then it was time for the long walk from the Admirals Club at gate 20 to gate 4.

I left the Admirals Club and had gotten to gate 18 when my phone rang; it was an American Airlines flight status update telling me that the gate had been changed from 4 to 24. So, I turned around and had the short walk to gate 24.

I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. If you are going to fly on American Airlines, sign up for the free flight status update service. I knew about the gate change before it was even announced in the terminal. This is one of the best services American Airlines offers, you should take advantage of it.

I got to gate 24 and saw a huge crowd milling about. Had that many people already walked from gate 4? No, this was something else. A flight to Los Angeles had been canceled and the gate agents at gates 24, 25, and 26 were trying to rebook those passengers to later flights. A few years ago that would have been easy, but with the airlines cutting back on the number of flights most planes are at or near capacity with very few open seats. I don’t know how they could find seats for so many people.

As I was watching this my phone rang again, letting me know that the departure would be delayed by 25 minutes; again. I got this message before it was announced in the terminal. I later found out the delay was due to an equipment change as they got us a different aircraft. So, I’d have even less time on the ground at Newark. Eventually we boarded and the flight was like so many others I have recently been on, almost completely full.

I got a nice view of the winglets on a 737 at the gate next to us. More and more planes have them, Air and Space Smithsonian Magazine explains why.

Winglet on a 737

We backed away from the terminal, got to the end of the runway and then started to taxi but I immediately noticed that we were not going nearly fast enough to take off. We went a very short distance then turned off the runway back onto the taxiway. Very odd. Then the pilot announced that there was a minor problem with their computer, they needed to finish loading data onto it which would only take a few moments; then he added that they had some dogs in the cargo hold. Was this why they needed to put data in the computer? I don’t know, I never found out what the dogs had to do with it.

It didn’t take long to load the data into their computer. In fact. we simply went back to the end of the runway and immediately took off.

Speaking of computers, with the equipment change we ended up with an aircraft that had internet service and I could have used my laptop; unfortunately it was at home.

One of the odd things about the flight was the route we took from DFW to EWR. Looking at a map, I assumed we’d take a straight line path flying over Little Rock and Nashville, but we didn’t. Instead we went east, flying directly over Atlanta, and then followed the coastline north to the New York area. Maybe this winds made this the most fuel-efficient route? I don’t know.

I spent a lot of time talking with the gentleman in the seat next to me as we traded stories of all our travels. After a while the flight attendants came through the cabin with beverages and selling the lunch packs. I said hello to one of the flight attendants, she had also worked my flight from AUS to DFW.

I wasn’t hungry but the man next to me was and ordered a sandwich. The attendant replied, “I’m sorry sir, we’re sold out, we only had 5 sandwiches on this flight.” WTH? A plane with over 100 passengers and they only had 5 sandwiches? I could understand that if the flight had originated in Austin where they don’t have a food supply facility, but this flight came from DFW, their largest hub where the aircraft could have been stocked properly. This one makes no sense to me, they should have done better. The only thing I can think of to explain it was they may not have been stocked properly because of the equipment change.

We flew on towards Newark and started our approach. Since we were in the New York area I hoped for a great view like I had when I flew into LaGuardia earlier this year, but we did not get that. In fact, the view as we came in was rather dull. We landed, almost 30 minutes late. I looked and saw that I would be flying back to DFW on the same plane, that was good, at least I would not have to rush to change terminals.

I hadn’t eaten since early that morning and I was hungry. I had 15-20 minutes before I needed to get back on the plane for the flight to DFW, so I started to look for some food I could bring on the plane. But first I decided to take out my phone and check my email. Great news, I had gotten an upgrade to First Class for the flight back to DFW! I’d not only have a more comfortable seat, I’d get a meal too.

I lived in New York many years ago: at that time Newark airport was the least busy of the three New York airports and only handled domestic flights. Now it is a full-fledged international airport with flights to destinations around the world

I didn't see many foreign flag carriers during the short time I was at Newark Liberty International Airport, maybe they were at another area that I could not see. I did see this Air India plane though.

We boarded the plane, the same one that i had arrived on. Everything seemed to be going well until the end of the boarding process when the pilot announced that we would be delayed; there was a leak in our fresh water system and they had to fix that before we could fly.

This was not a big deal to me but it was to the lady in the seat next to me. She let the flight attendant know that they needed to do something for her because she was going to miss her connection. The flight attendant said she’d speak to a supervisor. Less than five minutes later the supervisor was on the plane to tell her that they had booked her to her destination First Class on Delta, and they would get her luggage from the cargo hold on our plane to the correct Delta flight.

I have to give a lot of credit to the people who handled this situation, they could not have done a better job.

After 25 minutes had gone by the pilot finally announced that the leak had been fixed and we took off. The flight attendant in First Class asked if we wanted any refreshments — it was the same FA who had been on my two previous flights! I smiled and said it was good to see her again, but I don’t think she had any idea who I was.

It was a smooth flight to DFW. I had a good meal (pasta) and managed to doze off for a little while. We got into DFW and I had just enough time to change terminals and get my flight back to Austin. I was home shortly after 9 p.m.

This was a good day. I got home at a reasonable hour, earned 3,752 EQMs and 4,690 total miles. Not bad for 45 minutes in Newark!