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March '24 Southwest Flight Photo Trip Report + Sacramento Airport Terminal B Walkthrough (SAN-SMF)

Frequent Flyer A

Hello Community Southwest:



SoCalFlyer97 took a roundtrip flight to the California State Capitol city of Sacramento earlier this month--Historic Folsom was the actual final destination.


This was a day trip from San Diego, purchased--you guessed it--during last September's WOW50 sale, which I've bloviated extensively on this board--but I can assure to everybody who is reading this that this is the last trip from this 50% off sale. The final flight day from reservations booked during the WOW50 sale was March 6. Weather was a little touchy for the return trip but the disruption was expected and nothing major.


@CarlyeThornton, this is for you: "What do you love about Southwest Airlines?" I believe only the folks from the LUV airline would put something like this together inside SAN...


...It's the Hospitality Farm of Paper Pineapples greeting everybody at the Southwest Check-In counter. Gotta LUV that creativity in décor.



Getting ready for Saint Patrick's Day too...





Oh me...Oh my...Need I say this again?

If you qualify for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and don't have it...Think about applying, even if it's just a few trips per year; the effort to go through the application process is well worth it and will pay off. I felt like a super-VIP passing by this queue. Not eligible? SAN's Southwest Terminal 1 currently has a Priority Express Lane for Business Select, Anytime, and A-List. No CLEAR...yet!


Outbound Flight:



Plane: Gull

Domain: Eukaryota

Kingdom: Animalia


Okay...I don't think this little bird parked at my gate can haul 175 passengers and their luggage to SMF.

Airport Paging: Aircraft Swap at Gate 15, please.



Okay, this one will do!


Plane: 737-8H4, N8613K
Full Flight, On Time
Preboards: 3



Shortly after the 10'k mark, the captain got on the microphone and announced this beautiful cloud formation near Newport Beach.


Passing by the Camanche Reservoir and CA Highway 88 during final descent. Highway 88 passes through the Sierras and feeds into Highway 395 just south of Carson City.



Welcome to SMF!


Better than rideshare! SoCalFlyer97 is the sole passenger aboard this downtown transit bus. Day Pass $7 and works on both Sacramento Transit and Yolo Bus.


And the fields are blooming...


Took an hourlong train ride from Downtown to Historic Folsom and enjoyed the day there.






Right around that time, I get a text alert that my return flight home is running a little behind. Our friends at FlightRadar24 showed me why:



The assigned plane was at LAS and there were very high crosswinds from the south that essentially shut down both of the east/west runways during the early afternoon. Only the north/south runways were in use and that created a bit of a traffic jam on the taxiway according to the flight tracking map.

Nevertheless, as tempting as it was to spend that extra hour at Historic Folsom, best that I get back to SMF. Two tips:

  1. If your flight is running behind, both FlightRadar24 and FlightAware can track exactly where the plane is.
  2. As I mentioned before, always return to the airport based on the original scheduled flight time, not the delayed time. Although I was able to track the plane down real-time, SMF was the starting point for my return flight number; that meant the possibility of an aircraft or crew swap that would shorten the delay. 


By the time I got to SMF, it turned out that the original plane would still be used. Thus, it was safe to tour Terminal B.

One of my favorite amenities of SMF are the landside glass elevators. If you've got time to spare, be sure to check them out:









The famous Red Rabbit above the landside escalators.


Leap by Lawrence Argent


Slabs of wood make up this art-piece on the departures level near the check-in counters.



The Baggage Handlers by Christian Moeller



A nice quiet spot to hangout. Located on the top-level to/from the gates landside next to the glass elevators.


SoCalFlyer97 is in the deck once again aboard the automated people mover.

Tip for those who want the cab view: If you're not in a hurry and waiting in line for the people mover at an airport near you, simply wait on the platform for the next train and be the first to board through the front doors. Chances are, the front seat area will be yours. Of course, if anybody needing ADA assistance come aboard, yield the seats to them and if there's staff ushering people, listen to them...but with some patience, you may get some nice views


I think it's obvious by now that this traveler likes window seats...even on the APM...


Went through TSA, both the general and PreCheck Lane were wide open. Let's chow beneath the central Airside Oak Tree:


Acorn Steam by Donald Lipski


Under $10 airport food anyone?


Stromboli's for sale from the pizza stand!




Sitting beside the big horn in the airside food court.


Your Words are Music to My Ears by Po Shu W./ Louise Bertelsen (Living Lenses)


And after braving wind-driven traffic jams out of LAS...


...the bird pulls up to the gate!

Return Flight:
Plane: 737-MAX8, N881OL
50% Full, Delayed 64 mins
Preboards: 3

The tardiness of the return flight paid off in the end with some nice city light views to wrap up this trip! Plus with a 50% full flight aboard the 50%-off WOW50 flight, the middle seat was empty.



Over the Palmdale/Lancaster area with the Victorville area in the background.



High above the coast in between Laguna Beach and Dana Point. In the background across the mountains, Lake Elsinore and Temecula.



The skyline greeting into SAN!



Prior Trip Reports:


More Info on the SAN-SMF Flight Route:


Safe Travels,