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Topic: A West Side Flight On The East Side!
Username: MSS658
Posted 2011-01-09 08:07:43 and read 10938 times.

A West Side Flight On The East Side!


Other reports related to this trip.
1. A Ride With A Rare Blue Bird! (by MSS658 Oct 31 2010 in Trip Reports)
2. Air Canada, North America's Hidden Jewel? (by MSS658 Nov 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
3. Wifi And Condensation On US Airways! (by MSS658 Dec 10 2010 in Trip Reports)


Background:
The summer season of 2010 was getting closer and closer and it was time to travel again. I had more time to travel this time so I would be combing Florida, South Carolina and another US city. On this trip I wanted to add an aircraft that was on my must-fly list which consists of the MD11, A310 and the B753. I finally decided to fly KLM’s MD11 between Amsterdam and Montreal (covered in the first part of this series trip reports.). After a one night stopover I flew down to Fort Lauderdale via Toronto on Air Canada (covered in the second part of the series). On my journey back up north I chose to opt for the US Airways flight to Charlotte.

Before heading back home in Belgium we wanted to visit a city in the US. This summer Boston was chosen. For the flight from South Carolina to Boston I have chosen to fly US Airways on the same ticket as my flight from Fort Lauderdale to Charlotte a few weeks prior. This flight would be together with my dad and his girlfriend who would be flying from Brussels to Atlanta and back from Boston to Brussels via New York JFK (Delta in J). This would put them automatically in the CoachChoice section. Coachchoice is located in the first 4-6 rows of each aircraft, you can select them for a small fee. On this flight I was first seated in seat 19A. Another thing that came to mind was that this was the only flight from Charlotte to Boston with 2 digits. Later I found out that US62 would be operated by a “West side” crew and aircraft based in PHX.

Pre-departure:
A week before departure I wanted to select seats for my Dad and his girlfriend but could not do this online, a later call to US Airways confirmed them in the first row of the aircraft, they would be in 4A and 4B. As I said above I was first booked in seat 19A. Soon the 24-mark came and decided to move me in the ChoiceSeat section and chose 5A, one row behind my dad and his GF. Thereafter I payed the 23 dollar bribe for our checked in suitcases, and another 10 to get a ChoiceSeat. The next day we where ready to leave hot and steamy South Carolina for a bit cooler Boston. At about 945 we were ready to go and started our drive on I-85 to Charlotte


@ the airport
We arrived at the airport at around 1130 and went to drop off our bags, I dropped of my bag immediately and received my boarding pass, my dad however was having some problems, his luggage was overweight and paid another 50 dollar fine, he was not allowed to put his stuff in my suitcase to balance the weight. At 1150 it was up thru security, as usual we always use the D-security checkpoint where there was no line at all. After passing security my dad and his GF went out to the food court and I went out to the D-concourse for some spotting, but as excepted the concourse was empty. With the exception of some passengers waiting on a jetBlue flight to Boston and N252AU that was pushing back for a flight to Santo Domingo. Then it was up to the A-concourse where every US airline had their flights to their hubs. On my way there I could spot the Piedmont livery A319. The special in the A-concourse was a Delta DC9-50 (N766NC) preparing for it’s flight to Minneapolis. By now I was starting to get hungry but found no time to buy something to eat, so instead of wasting 3 dollars for a pack of cookies. I bought me a salad. By now it was almost 1230 and I met my dad and his GF at the gate. A few minutes later boarding began, my dad and his GF were in zone 1 and I was in zone 2.


The flight:
Friday, 6 August 2010
Charlotte (CLT/KCLT) – Boston (BOS/KBOS)
US Airways 0062 (Codeshare: United Airlines 2462)
Airbus A320-232 N653AW. Economy SeatChoice 6A
13h10-13h20 (Gate B4; wheels up on runway 18L at 13h36)
15h20-15h20 (Gate B20; wheels down on runway 27 at 15h15)
Est flying time: 1hr 36mins.
Cruising Altitude: FL 350
Load factor: 100% in Y
Routing: Route: KCLT-MERILS-MERIL-RDU-J207-FKN-J79-SBY-J¬79-JFK-BNWDYZ-KBOS
CLT-RDU-FKN-SBY-JFK-HVN-BOS%0D%0A&RANGE=&PATH-COLOR=red&PATH-UNITS=km&PATH-MINIMUM=&MARKER=1&SPEED-GROUND=&SPEED-UNITS=kts&RANGE-STYLE=best&RANGE-COLOR=navy&MAP-STYLE=" target="_blank">http://gc.kls2.com/cgi-bin/gc?PATH=C...mp;RANGE-COLOR=navy&MAP-STYLE=
Personal statistics
127th registered flight.
8th flight in 2010
8th flight on US Airways
10th flight on the A320 aircraft series.
3rd flight on the A320.
1st flight on N653AW

Boarding happened thru the 1L door as usual and was greeted by a friendly flight attendant, I could also smell the usual fresh lime smell, after passing the full F-cabin that looked identical to the ‘East’ F-class section I found my seat in the second row of coach. The aisle seat was taken and the middle seat was open. Every time I wanted to talk with my dad (In dutch) I got a weird look from the person in the aisle. It was quite nice to be on board early and see the rest of the passengers que-up. What came to me was the large carry on bags that the majority of the pax had, this to avoid the 23 dollar bribe for checked bags. I was wondering how many the airline saved since there is more weight in the carry-ons than they used to be. Identical to US Airways 1630 from Fort Lauderdale to Charlotte the middle seat stayed open until the very last moment before someone occupied it. At 1310 the door closed and 10 minutes later we were on our way. Traffic was exclusively US Airways, by 1330 we were taking off from runway 18R
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nS8yWR8SVBg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYwqinDTsG8


As I mentioned a few times before, N653AW is a former America West aircraft. Even with the First class cabin that looked identical to the east aircraft, you could see the difference in the coach cabin. First of all the seats were still the America West seats overdone with leather, also you could still see the standard “no smoking/Fasten seat belt sign” instead of the No smoking/turn of all electronic devices sign. Another interesting detail is our flight number which only had 2 digits instead of the usual 3 to 4 digit flight number. All US Airways ‘West’ flights have 2 digits (correct me if I’m wrong on this one please). The Cabin and Flight crew where all Phoenix based flight attendants flying on a 4 day trip on the east coast. They came in earlier from Dallas and would fly back to Phoenix the next day. The aircraft flew from Phoenix to Las Vegas before making a red-eye flight to Boston. From Boston it became US61 down to Charlotte before turning back as US62 to Boston. Back to the flight it self from Charlotte to Boston, After takeoff I started to work on my salad immediately, which was pretty good. Soon thereafter the beverage service commenced but there was no BOB service on the plane. From what I understood, one had to go to the rear galley and ask for a snack. I was glad to have my own food on this flight, that would be pretty annoying not getting even BOB on a mealtime flight. I first tought this would be normal for the ‘West’ flight, but a later ‘East’ flight (also in the Choice section) the same would happen as well. Sure there is enough time to serve a full A320 on a 90 minute hop from Charlotte to Boston. Another fact I noticed was the amount of passengers in Y crossing to the First Class section to use the lavatory, even with an announcement that only passengers sitting in First Class are allowed to use the First Class lavatory. Not that that bothered me, but if I was sitting in F, I sure would not like all the thru-traffic. This plane, as any US Airways domestic plane does not have any IFE. As this flight takes about the same duration as the Fort Lauderdale to Charlotte flight, I could not care more or lesser. But just as the A321, these birds are used for transcons as well and being on a flight that long without IFE would get pretty boring. Besides these facts the flight was very uneventful.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJLs7AN4UK0


At 1450 we started our descent into Boston. 15 minutes later we broke to the clouds and started our approach for runway 27. I was quite amazed by the approach, I did not knew it could be so spectacular. Going over the ocean with a quick glance of downtown. Passing a few nice little islands before touching down on runway 27. I will let the pictures do the talking. Once we touched down we used full reverse and had a very short taxi to the end of terminal B where we shut down our engines at 1520, just on time. On the way out I had a nice talk with the captain who told me how much he loved Belgium because his biggest idol lived in Belgium (the famous cyclist Eddy Merckx). I thanked the crew for everything and left the plane
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH5iJTzWQkY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLFgJUPQpNM


Once I deplaned I checked where the next destination of N653AW would be, She would return back to her home base in Phoenix in a little over an hour as US225 to Phoenix. I made my way to the baggage claim where my dad and his GF were awaiting me. After a short 10 minute wait we had all our luggage and made our way to the taxi at 1515. We arrived at the Boston Harbor hotel at around 1600.


A little extra due to the lack of pictures during the flight. Some pictures during my stay in BOS.


Overall verdict
This is my first US Airways “West” flight and was quite surprised by the differences between this flight and my US Airways “East” experiences. I was quite surprised about there being no BOB service. I think that they could at least sell what they promote. And there is IMO enough time to serve a full A320 on a flight from Charlotte to Boston. Delta can even serve a full 757 on a similar flight, so why can’t US Airways. However, meal service was not a big deal on a flight this short, and I even brought my own meal. Which I can only suggest everybody to do on domestic US Airways runs during mealtime hours. What surprises me the most is how US Airways ‘West’ and ‘East’ are still separated from each other, even after 3 years since the US-HP merger. Besides this it was an uneventful standard US Airways domestic flight.


Remarks.

US Airways 0062: (Total 68%)

Departure: 70% (As usual for Charlotte, very smooth and seamless)
Aircraft cleanliness : 70% (Aircraft was clean, nothing to worry about here.)
Seat Comfort: 70% (ex America West seating, but still comfortable)
Crew: 80% (Friendly and attentive crew)
Catering: 50% (Did not see anything of catering, except if one asked. I still gave it 50% due to having my own meal with me.)
Arrival: 70% (Smooth with a little wait.)


As a bonus I would like to give a list of regs I spotted in CLT and BOS.

CLT:
N653AW
N252AU
N761NC
N766NC
N654UW
N712US
N192UW
N433US
N419US
N4390S
N678AQ
N137HQ
N911EJ
N209PS
N906FJ
N330EN

BOS:
N653AW
N711UW

My Total travel time was about 6 hours and 15 minutes.

Total facts on this trip
1 New Airport (BOS)
1 New registration (N653AW)

Thank you for viewing comments and feedback are appreciated.

Next trip report:
A Short Hop On A Big Bird!



Past trip reports (related and not-related to this trip)
Wifi And Condensation On US Airways! (by MSS658 Dec 10 2010 in Trip Reports)
Air Canada, North America's Hidden Jewel? (by MSS658 Nov 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
A Ride With A Rare Blue Bird! (by MSS658 Oct 31 2010 in Trip Reports)
US Airways A333's.Are They Really That Bad? Part 2 (by MSS658 Oct 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
US Airways A330-300's. Are They Really That Bad? (by MSS658 Oct 16 2010 in Trip Reports)

Topic: RE: A West Side Flight On The East Side!
Username: staralliance38
Posted 2011-01-09 11:21:12 and read 10347 times.

Thanks for the TR! Glad to hear that you had a great trip with US!

Topic: RE: A West Side Flight On The East Side!
Username: oa260
Posted 2011-01-09 11:23:08 and read 10343 times.

Hey nice report and nice photos , also like the pic of the NCL cruise liner  


Look forward to the next one

OA260

Topic: RE: A West Side Flight On The East Side!
Username: cofannyc
Posted 2011-01-09 13:04:30 and read 10169 times.

Quoting MSS658 (Thread starter):
Another interesting detail is our flight number which only had 2 digits instead of the usual 3 to 4 digit flight number. All US Airways ‘West’ flights have 2 digits (correct me if I’m wrong on this one please).

Actually not entirely correct. Flights operated by West crews have flight numbers between 1 and 699. East flights are 700-1299 and 1400-1999. The Shuttle is 2000-2199 and then Express flights above 2200.

Topic: RE: A West Side Flight On The East Side!
Username: aflyingkiwi
Posted 2011-01-09 13:21:34 and read 10123 times.

Hi

Nice TR with good pics. Sounds like you had a great time in the US. US Airways service just seems uninspiring and boring.

Quoting MSS658 (Thread starter):
From what I understood, one had to go to the rear galley and ask for a snack. I was glad to have my own food on this flight, that would be pretty annoying not getting even BOB on a mealtime flight.

I'm surprised by this. It sounds like US are losing some revenue

Regards
aflyingkiwi

Topic: RE: A West Side Flight On The East Side!
Username: MSS658
Posted 2011-01-09 13:40:27 and read 10082 times.

Quoting staralliance38 (Reply 1):
Thanks for the TR! Glad to hear that you had a great trip with US!

Thanks for the comment. US is ok for domestic flying. Even with this flight that had a few shortcomings!

Quoting oa260 (Reply 2):
Hey nice report and nice photos , also like the pic of the NCL cruise liner


Look forward to the next one

OA260

Thanks, there are several more in the making, hope to post them soon!

Quoting cofannyc (Reply 3):

Actually not entirely correct. Flights operated by West crews have flight numbers between 1 and 699. East flights are 700-1299 and 1400-1999. The Shuttle is 2000-2199 and then Express flights above 2200.

Thanks for correcting me on this one  
Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 4):
Nice TR with good pics. Sounds like you had a great time in the US.

Thanks, I did had a fun time in the US.

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 4):

I'm surprised by this. It sounds like US are losing some revenue

I was surprised as well, Had this encounter on another mainline flight as well (seated in SeatChoice as well). Report more on that later..

Topic: RE: A West Side Flight On The East Side!
Username: 767747
Posted 2011-01-09 16:02:12 and read 9835 times.

Good report! Looks like you had a nice flight with US Airways  
Quoting MSS658 (Thread starter):
Another fact I noticed was the amount of passengers in Y crossing to the First Class section to use the lavatory, even with an announcement that only passengers sitting in First Class are allowed to use the First Class lavatory. Not that that bothered me, but if I was sitting in F, I sure would not like all the thru-traffic.

This is a pet-peeve of mine! Whenever I see people going into F from Y to use the lavatory, I get frustrated. It's a complete disregard of the Flight Attendant instructions ... If you want to go into F, then pay for the ticket! I think this is something that people freely do now, but I'm sure back when in the glory days of flying, no one would have dreamed of crossing into that section if you weren't seated there!

Matthew (767747)

[Edited 2011-01-09 16:02:40]

Topic: RE: A West Side Flight On The East Side!
Username: EWRkid1990
Posted 2011-01-10 04:58:22 and read 9239 times.

I was on a US shuttle flight on friday morning, and while glancing through the airlines magazine I noticed that they only have full BOB service on flights longer than 2 or 3 hours. I think most people could survive a 90 minute flight with just a drink. It really isn't that big of a deal. Also, there really shouldn't be any difference between "west" and "east" flights. Its the same airline with the same standards. There might be some small differences with the aircraft but that being said, it really isn't that much of a big deal. I was on US/US Express this weekend going LGA-DCA-DTW returning DTW-PHL-LGA and thought that US Mainline as well as the Air Wisconsin crews do a pretty good job for themselves.

Overall a great trip report!

-EWRkid1990

Topic: RE: A West Side Flight On The East Side!
Username: eastafspot
Posted 2011-01-10 08:47:21 and read 9121 times.

Hi MSS658

with all this serie you should have topped up nicely you * alliance account isn't it?

reading your TRs was interresting when written like this

Quoting MSS658 (Thread starter):
he was not allowed to put his stuff in my suitcase to balance the weight.

did they stated any reason?

looking forward to read your next installement ( a BOS-NYC?)


East African Spotter

Topic: RE: A West Side Flight On The East Side!
Username: MSS658
Posted 2011-01-11 02:20:09 and read 8750 times.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
Good report! Looks like you had a nice flight with US Airways

Thanks for the comment, glad you enjoyed reading it.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 6):
This is a pet-peeve of mine! Whenever I see people going into F from Y to use the lavatory, I get frustrated.

So is it one of mine, Definitely did not want to be in F on that flight.

Quoting EWRkid1990 (Reply 7):
I was on a US shuttle flight on Friday morning, and while glancing through the airlines magazine I noticed that they only have full BOB service on flights longer than 2 or 3 hours. I think most people could survive a 90 minute flight with just a drink. It really isn't that big of a deal. Also, there really shouldn't be any difference between "west" and "east" flights. Its the same airline with the same standards. There might be some small differences with the aircraft but that being said, it really isn't that much of a big deal. I was on US/US Express this weekend going LGA-DCA-DTW returning DTW-PHL-LGA and thought that US Mainline as well as the Air Wisconsin crews do a pretty good job for themselves.

Overall a great trip report!

Thanks for commenting, there are snacks provided (as BOB) on flights longer than 60 minutes. I had a few US Airways Express experiences that where rather negative, but things can change...

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 8):
with all this serie you should have topped up nicely you * alliance account isn't it?

Actually, this series did not top it that much, my longhaul experience was on Skyteam (KL/AF)

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 8):

did they stated any reason?

No  
Quoting eastafspot (Reply 8):
looking forward to read your next installement ( a BOS-NYC?)

Thanks, I hope to get it on soon. BOS-JFK-BRU was the routing of my dad and his girlfriend a day after I returned. I will give a hint, It is in the same ticket as my ZYP-AMS-YUL sector (see the trip report here: A Ride With A Rare Blue Bird! (by MSS658 Oct 31 2010 in Trip Reports) )


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