Saturday, March 22, 2008

Del Rio, TX: Arriving in Del Rio International, Del Rio TX (DRT)

22MAR08 Del Rio International, Del Rio TX (DRT)

We taxied up to the gate and then disembarked after the flight attendant welcomed us and advised to wait for the gate claim bags to arrive.

I saw this plane as we pulled up, do you know what it is? [a friend responded that it is a Beech 18]

Here is another one I saw as well [the same friend said this is a Beech Kin Air]:

I deplaned last via the airplane stairs and told the flight attendant that I’d be back so don’t leave without me. She said “have a nice day,” so I know she does not believe me at all.

This airport is really small and due to its proximity to the Mexican border it does have border patrol facilities; I assume the International is due to its proximity to the border. There must be charter flights that come into here as Continental Connection is the only scheduled service game in town.

I entered the very narrow terminal and smiled as it is so small and quaint and well maintained. The check-in counter is off to the left with one self-service kiosk and only one position. TSA is off to the left of that. On the right is the Admin. office and a refreshment center with a soda machine. In front of me was the main entrance to the terminal. I went straight outside and took a picture of the single building terminal, breathed some non-tarmac Del Rio air and then came back inside, got a boarding pass, chatted with the agent a bit and then left to walk around a bit.

Oh, there are three flights on the board to Houston, but today there are only two. Only one more to arrive for today so TSA is closed and headed home after this flight leaves.

I walked around for a bit and took some pictures.

I also picked up some brochures and then cleared the tiny security area. The area is about the size of four of our cubes at work put together.

While we waited a Learjet with Mexican registration (XA-UJQ) showed up; aha, there is the “International” in "Del Rio International,” I thought. Some Customs Officers came out and did their inspections and one person came off the jet followed by the flight crew.

Some of the passengers noticed the First Officer walking around the plane which had a hatch open. He had his cell phone to his ears. It does not look good I thought. Our 10:45a departure time came and left.

At 10:50a one of the gate agents came in and advised that we have a mechanical as the airplane is leaking oil. She said that they have to possibly call a mechanic. It was funny as I was looking at a spring on the left landing gear before takeoff. Once we landed, I did not see that spring again and wondered what had happened to it, just silly thought as I am sure it is there, but it is ironic that we have a mechanical delay after all that.

There was an off duty flight attendant who said that the mechanic lives in a nearby town about 35 minutes away. The agent then said that she does not know about flight connections or anything like that as she does not yet have an estimated time of departure. She would keep us posted though as soon as she knows more.

At 11:03a, people started to get restless and wanted to leave the area. The TSA agent went to find out if it was O.K. for people to leave.

The TSA lady had an update, nothing to say as yet, they are trying to get in touch with the maintenance guy. She did offer to go and purchase drinks at the machine which can be consumed here, but cannot be taken on the plane. A few people had her buy stuff. She came back and advised that they were out of water, but she can get water from the office to which the lady said O.K.

Someone asked if they can go out and smoke, the TSA lady said she is not sure, but will find out. She came back and said that they can smoke, so two of them left with their stuff.

At 11:17a, the TSA lady came back and said that we should leave the secure area, but not the airport. It makes it easier since the area is small and people are getting antsy. This tells me that the delay may be a little longer than anticipated.

At 11:43a, a passenger volunteered to go and get food, but no one was hungry as yet. People were hanging out outside, watching TV smoking outside and just mulling around as we waited.

At 11:57a, two passengers returned with McDonald’s (I did not see them leave at all, oh well).

At 12:02p, they made an announcement that they are going to offer another flight at 6:30p, so come by the counter and be rebooked. No one moved though. Eventually they did move over to the counter. I also went outside and told four people who I saw sitting in two chairs. They are flying out another plane later with a mechanic, that plane will then take us all back to Houston while the mechanic work on fixing the issue with N194CJ.

So I could go see the town or stay at the airport for six hours? I could walk into town or I could rent a car, what to do?

Well, I decided to walk into the town which was fine and I had a blast. Here are some more pictures of the Del Rio airport.

The Del Rio fire station is at the airport.

The VOR [my friend also said that this is not the VOR, but it's a localizer antenna, for RW13, that provides lateral guidance to get to the end of the runway. It's on the opposite end as the approach- meaning if you're landing RW13 (towards town), the antenna is on the other end (the RW31 approach end- the southeast end) of the runway, which you walked by on the way into town. The nearest VOR is DLH (Laughlin) at the USAF base.

I got back to the airport at about 5:00p (I walked back, it took about 45 minutes); I was the first one back. At about 5:24p, the TSA folks started to arrive. The flight status was showing a 6:00p departure time on the Continental Web site, but the guy had said it would be 6:30p earlier. I was talking with one of the ramp guys and he stated that the airplane had left Houston about 45 minutes ago. I watched some TV after chatting with him for a bit as he had to go to work.

The first set of passengers showed up at 5:34p.

At 5:45p, the plane landed and we all filed through security. There were less passengers now; about 11 in all. We started boarding at 6:00p.

The new plane.

Airside view of the terminal.

1 comment:

Olaf said...

DRT is really is a quaint, well maintained airport that is a great stepping stone for visiting big bend or the davis mountains. Unfortunately last time I flew there I also had a major inbound delay.