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Maine For Thanksgiving On US And Cape Air!  
User currently offlineKPWMSpotter From United States of America, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 458 posts, RR: 2
Posted (3 years 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 12957 times:

Planes, Planes, and Automobiles; Thanksgiving in Maine on US and Cape Air!


This Thanksgiving holiday I made a trip home to Maine to visit family and friends. I had originally resigned myself to a holiday alone in Atlanta, as airfare from ATL to PWM, BOS and surrounding airports was ridiculously high. In October, in more of a "just for fun" exercise, I began searching nearby city pairings to try to find some cheaper fares. In one last search, Orbitz brought up a surprisingly low fare out of Charlotte. Taking a look at the destination I almost did a spit-take, the arrival city was listed as Augusta, Maine (AUG), and the carrier was Cape Air!! Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to fly on one of Cape Air's Cessna 402s, I booked the ticket on the spot.

My final routing ended up as CLT-BOS on US Airways, BOS-AUG on Cape Air, and returning directly from PWM to CLT on US Airways. Both legs of my trip would fall on the busiest domestic US travel days of the year; the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving and the Sunday after. Weather would threaten to turn my trip into a real Steve Martin-esque adventure on Wednesday, but I'll get to that later.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Cape Air; Cape Air (9K) is a small carrier based in Boston which was founded providing service between Boston and the Cape Cod region. For those of you familiar with the TV show 'Wings', they're basically Sandpiper Air. Recently the carrier has expanded substantially, opening up bases in the Caribbean, South Florida, Guam, and the US Midwest. All Cape Air services are provided on nine-seat Cessna 402C Businessliners (with the exception of some Guam services, operated on two ATR-42s).

Augusta, Maine is a relatively recent Cape Air route, an EAS route acquired from US Airways (Colgan) last summer. Augusta and Rockland were previously operated by US Airways on Colgan Beechcraft 1900s and Saab 340s. Even though both routes saw a capacity decrease with the start of Cape Air service, both have seen a significant increase in passenger numbers due to Cape Air's much more reasonable fares and frequent service.

This trip report will include my drive from Atlanta to Charlotte, US Airways flights CLT-BOS and PWM-CLT, as well as my Cape Air flight BOS-AUG. On to the flights!

KCLT - KBOS
Flight # AWE 1770
Equipment:
Airbus A319 (N746UW)
Scheduled Departure: 14:20 Actual Departure: 14:15
Scheduled Arrival: 16:27 Actual Arrival: 17:30

The Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving day in the United States is widely regarded as the busiest travel day of the year as students and families make their way home to consume Turkey. Flights are expensive, roads are busy, and travel is generally much more unpleasant than usual. Adding to travelers' stress this Thanksgiving holiday was a large low pressure system dumping rain and snow across the Northeast.

Not knowing how busy the roads around Atlanta would be, I set off early on Wednesday morning. I made it to Interstate 85 by about 7:00am and settled in for the 4.5 hour drive straight to Charlotte. As it turns out, the roads were wide open and I averaged about 70mph (+/- 10% or so...) for the vast majority of the drive. After only one or two minor slow-downs I pulled into the Charlotte airport at about 11:15. CLT offers long term parking for only $4/day, so even with the added gas and parking costs I would be saving money over the comparable fare from Atlanta.

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Cruising down I-85 NB, somewhere near the Georgia / South Carolina border.

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Surprisingly wide open roads, for being the busiest travel day of the year. Early start ftw...

Charlotte's parking lots were in full swing for the holiday, a chain of flag-men directed me (and the dozens of cars in front of and behind me) to an open row. A queue of empty shuttle buses was waiting and I was dropped at the bustling terminal within ten minutes of entering the long term lot.

The US Airways counters were surprisingly quiet, but I skipped the lines altogether and checked in at a kiosk at the back of the ticket hall. Even though my US Airways and Cape Air flights were listed under different PNRs, my Orbitz purchase had apparently lumped them together under the US Airways itinerary. The Kiosk spat out an error message that "no seats were available" for my Cape Air segment, but printed me a generic boarding pass for "Seat 1A" anyways.

Making my way through the TSA screening took substantially longer than check in (far too many inexperienced travelers), but soon I was through to Charlotte's main concourse with more than two and a half hours to kill before my flight...

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Charlotte's main atrium area. All concourses connect to this airside mall, making transfers between gates very easy.

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Part of a spinning mobile of miniature aircraft above a bar, a surprisingly accurate Dornier Do-X.

Airside, the Charlotte airport was very busy. Crowds of college students and families of young children bustled back and forth, all pausing randomly to gawk at airplanes or FIDS screens. For those not fond of crowds, the main concourse connector mall at CLT was a place to avoid. Wandering out into the individual concourses there were a few quiet areas, but US Airways seemed to making good use of all of its available gate space. I didn't see a jetway open for more than a few minutes my entire time at CLT, and empty seats were very hard to come by. After a bit of wandering I made my way to a small restaurant on the C Pier where I ate a burger, watching dozens of A319s, 737s, and Embraer jets stream in and out of the airport.

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One of many, many US Airways Airbi at CLT.

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One of the few non-flying-cactus-swoosh aircraft at CLT, the PSA Retrojet.

After lunch I found a quiet corner of the airport and sat for a while enjoying the free wireless internet. The D Pier, Charlotte's international concourse was all but deserted at this point. A delayed 767 to San Juan was taking up a single jet bridge at the end of the terminal, but all of the European arrivals weren't due in for another few hours. Sitting in an empty gate area it was almost possible to forget the surging masses of people just a concourse away.

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Bellanca Crusair N1KQ, hanging in Concourse D.

As my departure time approached I made my way back to the end of the B Pier and snagged an empty seat. I made a quick check of my flight on Flightaware and saw something unsettling. "Flights into Boston are experiencing arrival delays averaging 1 hour 20 minutes." A quick check of the FAA's ATCSCC web page confirmed that, yes, a ground delay program was in effect at Boston due to low clouds and heavy wind. With only two hours in Boston to check in with Cape Air and re-clear security, I wasn't thrilled about the prospect of a delay.

Seeing that the gate agent wasn't very busy (she was leaning against the podium texting...) I walked up to inquire about any possible delays. The gate agent didn't seem aware of any delays, and when I mentioned the ground delay program her only response was "well I hope we get out on time!" This response didn't instill any confidence in me, so I sat back awaiting further word.

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Lots of US traffic, looking out at the US Airways maintenance hangar.

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My ride up to Boston being prepped for a flight.

The inbound flight arrived on time from Memphis and boarding began shortly thereafter. I boarded with group five (the last boarding group), and somehow found ample overhead bin space available for my small bag. Boarding progressed, and everything looked fine for an on-time departure.

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The view from 13A.

As the boarding door closed the first officer came over the PA for his typical welcome announcement. This time though, it began with "Well folks, I have good news and some bad news..." At hearing "bad news" I knew exactly what was coming - a ground stop. The announcement proceeded "the good news is, we've closed the door and are ready to push back ahead of schedule! The bad news is, there's a flow control program into Boston and they won't let us go for another...hour and twenty five minutes."

At that, the collective jaws of all the aircraft's passengers dropped. Perhaps it was the up-beat mood of the pilot contrasting with the bad news of an hour plus worth of delays, but the news didn't go over well with the majority of passengers. An elderly couple behind me started loudly ranting about how "the airline is trapping us here! They don't want to let us off!" It wasn't even past our scheduled departure time and passengers were already planning to throw in the towel and get off the plane...

The flight deck did a great job of keeping the cabin updated with progress. The FO originally added a glimmer of hope at the end of his announcement - "sometimes if we get out to the runway and wait out there, they can find an earlier slot for us." We taxied a very circuitous route to a remote stand near the 'E' concourse and shut down both engines.

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Taxiing out past very full B and C concourses.

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North Carolina ANG C-130 Hercules, getting in the way of the Charlotte skyline.

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Waiting patiently in a forgotten corner of the CLT airport.

With both engines shut down, the A319's notorious "barking dog" Power Transfer Unit sprang to life and remained active until the end of our delay. A few curious passengers made comments about the noise, and one of the flight attendants described it as "the liquid that powers the flaps" when asked by a passenger. I was surprised that the PTU kept barking through the whole delay, as I was under the impression that the system was disabled when the parking brake was set. Perhaps it runs continuously when the APU is the only source of power? Anyone more familiar with the A319's hydraulics, feel free to chime in.

Only thirty minutes into our 90 minute delay the flight deck came over the PA once again and announced "good news!" We had been granted a wheels up time as soon as we could taxi to the other end of the airport. The engines were started and we joined a parade of aircraft coming out of the gates headed to 36R.

On our way by the Carolinas' Aviation Museum, I caught a glimpse of N836D, a DC-7 which has been stranded in Charlotte for a few weeks now. The aircraft, painted in Eastern Airlines colors and based at Opa Locka in Miami, had flown up with the crew of US Airways 1549 as part of a fundraiser. On departure back to Miami the aircraft suffered an engine failure and has been stranded ever since. I hope they get it up and running soon, I wouldn't mind taking one of their sightseeing flights from Opa Locka to Key West and back on a DC-7...

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Look closely and you'll see a stranded DC-7.

The line for takeoff progressed very slowly as the runway was being utilized for both takeoffs and landings. I believe 36C is still under constriction, adding to the congestion at CLT. Eventually we made it to the runway and were underway.

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Finally made it to the front of the line!

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Airborne, over the still bustling terminal.

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Climbing away from the setting sun, into a deep blue fall sky.

Although the aircraft was very near to 100% full, the cabin was quite comfortable. Everyone seemed relaxed and happy to be underway, I had lucked out and ended up on a screaming-baby-free flight today. With the earlier than anticipated wheels-up time, I felt confident that my connection would be made. I settled in and watched North Carolina disappear under an ever-growing layer of clouds.

Drink service began shortly after the "no electronic devices" sign was switched off at 10,000ft. The seat belt sign remained on for the entire flight, though flight attendants didn't seem to mind passengers walking about the cabin throughout the flight. US Airways does not serve any food on flights less than three hours. On longer flights buy-on-board fresh food choices are available, but still no free snacks. A standard selection of sodas and juices were available for free.

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Drink/snack service. Yep, this is all of it.

Were it not for the lack of Biscoff, I would have easily mistaken the service for a Delta flight. The cups and drink offerings were identical, the cabins are configured with the same amount of space, and the in-flight service was comparable. I had heard plenty of horror stories about US' grouchy flight attendants, but so far all of my interactions had been pleasant and efficient. Despite the less-than-spectacular livery US has applied to its planes, I found myself liking the interior branding on the aircraft as well. All surfaces were clean, and the US logo was printed crisply on service items. The serif font of the logo, and the simplistic design on the napkin suggested a classier airline than US has become known as.

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Overhead PSU. Note the lack of the "no smoking" light.

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Low sun playing off of the building clouds.

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Clouds getting higher as the sun is getting lower.

As we began our initial approach into Boston, the last of the day's sunlight was disappearing. High clouds were building all around through our descent, and much of the approach was in the darkened clouds.

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Last hint of sun, just before we dove into the clouds.

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Lights of Boston in the distance, just before touchdown at Logan.

We broke out of the clouds at about 1500' AGL and made a very smooth landing on Runway 4R. After five minutes of taxing we pulled up to gate B-something and I rushed off of the plane. At this point I had about an hour and twenty minutes to make it from Terminal B to Terminal C, check in with Cape Air, re-clear the TSA and hopefully find my flight still on-time and ready to go.

From what I saw Terminal B was nice, but I didn't pause to admire the architecture. A quick jog across a parking lot, up some stairs, and through a lengthy hallway brought me to the Terminal C check-in counter, where I was second in line to check in with the sole Cape Air agent on duty. My bags were weighed and tagged to be plane-side checked (no space for carry-ons on a Cessna 402) and my weight was recorded. I was handed a boarding card (manually ink-stamped with the gate, "C27") and was quickly on my way to the Terminal C security checkpoint...

KBOS - KAUG
Flight # KAP 1009
Equipment:
Cessna 402C (N2649Z)
Scheduled Departure: 20:20 Actual Departure: 20:25
Scheduled Arrival: 23:30 Actual Arrival: 23:15

The TSA inspection took almost twenty minutes, but at this point I had time to spare. The TSA agents appeared to be taking their sweet time, after what I assume was a very busy day earlier on. Concourse C, shared by JetBlue, Cape Air, and a handfull of other carriers, is currently under renovation and was nothing to write home about. Cape Air occupies a single gate area (C27) nestled within JetBlue's wing of the airport. The gate is equipped with a jetbridge, but Cape Air only makes use of stairs right down to the tarmac. A podium with two gate agents was swamped with tired travelers waiting in line, but a quick check of the Cape Air specific FIDS screens showed my flight still listed as on time.

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Cape Air's single gate at Boston, quite busy with displaced travelers.

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Cape Air's New England route structure, along side the band of weather causing so many problems.

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Not looking very good, but at least Augusta is still on time!

A number of passengers were waiting around in the gate area trying to get to Rutland, Vermont. A band of snowstorms had been moving through the Northeast and had forced the cancellation of the day's previous flights, and while I was waiting for my flight to be called for boarding I overheard the gate agent announce that all flights to Vermont and New Hampshire would be cancelled as well due to continued snow. The evening Rockland, Maine flight was called for boarding, raising my confidence that I'd still make it home, but shortly after I heard this announcement: "May I have your attention: the flight to Hyannis which is now boarding will be the LAST CAPE AIR FLIGHT TONIGHT. NO MORE CAPE AIR FLIGHTS WILL BE OPERATING DUE TO WEATHER."

Before the announcement was complete I was on my feet and in line to talk to the gate agent.

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That's a lot of red... At least Augusta still *shows* that it's operating...

All of the passengers in front of me were headed to either Rutland, Lebanon, or The Cape. I finally made my way to the podium (very close to my scheduled departure time) and asked if Augusta was still operating. The gate agent turned to a twenty-something year old man using the computer next to her (who I had assumed to be a ramp agent) and asked "are you still going to Augusta?" He answered "yes, but we may have to go to Rockland instead." In a slightly comical moment, the gate agent turned to me, as if I hadn't been standing two feet from their conversation and replied to me "yes, but you may go to Rockland instead."

Connecting the dots, I realized that the man at the next counter was going to be the pilot of the Augusta flight and side-stepped over to talk to him. The other four passengers scheduled to fly to Augusta had apparently been standing behind me in line and clustered around. The pilot explained that snow was still falling and blowing across the runway, and that the braking action was being reported less than the legal minimum. He proposed flying up towards Augusta and requesting a field report half-way, if the conditions had not improved, he planned to divert to Rockland.

Since the entire passenger manifest was currently standing around the desk, he offered the "try it and see" approach as a choice, asking if we wanted to give it a shot. Everyone agreed that it would be better to end up in Rockland than stuck in Boston, so the pilot headed downstairs to prepare the airplane. Throughout the whole exchange the pilot had been quite understanding, promising to hire a taxi or bus over to Augusta if we ended up diverting. The one-way fare for this flight was only about $60, not even the cost of a taxi between RKD and AUG. Kudos to Cape Air and the pilot for being so accommodating even with such a small group of passengers.

Five minutes after the pilot headed downstairs, boarding began. Cape Air doesn't have any electronic scanners for boarding passes, the physical boarding cards were collected and retained by the gate agent. (dang, no souvenir boarding pass...) Heading down the stairs, our small group was met by a ramp agent who escorted us across the cold Boston tarmac to a waiting Cessna.

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Stepping out onto the ramp, greeted by 9K's "green" plane promoting solar energy. Still good 'ol 100LL powering the plane though.

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Logan's iconic control tower, alongside a B6 E-190.

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My ride up to Augusta, N2649Z, a 1980 Cessna 402C.

At the door of the aircraft (a single door with air stairs at the rear of the plane) a ramp agent asked that we drop our bags under the wing and head inside. I had taken my camera out of my bag previously and was the first on board. While the ramp agent was shoving my bags into the nose and engine nacelle baggage compartments, I made my way right to the front. The right hand flight deck seat was occupied only by the pilot's headset case. I asked if he would mind me taking the seat, he simply responded "sit anywhere you want!"

He advised that I would need to keep my knees clear of the yoke, flap handle, and other controls located around me - I told him not to worry.

The safety briefing was less than standard. While the pilot hit the required points (tab into the buckle, exits can be found here and here), he also mentioned his flight plans in case of a diversion or go around, and told everyone not to worry if they saw him using a flashlight to look at the wings, he would be periodically checking for ice buildup. Not thirty seconds after the door was closed the engines were started up (not even a cough, both engines caught in less than a full turn) and we were on our way.

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My view out the window, looking out over one of two Continental TSIO-520 engines.

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Not many commercial flights come with a view like this...

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The best IFE in existence...

During the brief taxi out the pilot ran through a rolling runup. Both props were feathered and brought forward, the mixture was pushed to full rich, and by that time we were at the runway. We made an intersection departure from 4L at Charlie and were very quickly in the air. The initial climb rate was very fast and the low clouds quickly engulfed the aircraft. The cloud layer had thinned out significantly and above 1500' we were on top in the pitch black winter sky. Compared to the dim, hazy night skies I've become accustomed to in Atlanta and Florida, the stars shone brilliantly, adding to the peaceful (but loud) drone of the two piston engines just outside the window.

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Climbing out of the clouds into the dark winter sky.

All of the navigation and control functions in the cockpit were clearly visible (they better be, I was sitting in the co-pilot's seat), I was able to observe every action of the pilot. Navigation was done primarily by GPS, the multiple VOR and NDB receivers sat idle. I later noted that the plane's secondary transponder was being used simply as a memory aide for the pilot. As he was assigned altitudes, he dialed that altitude into the transponder to have on hand for future reference. I'm not sure what he would have done if we were assigned higher than 7777ft, but we leveled out at 7000' and didn't ever come across that problem.

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Still in a steady climb, heading to our initial navigational fix, PSM (Pease, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire).

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Adjusting the prop settings, getting ready to level out at 7000ft.

Shortly after reaching our cruising altitude the autopilot was engaged (nothing fancy on the C402, a simple two-axis altitude and heading hold, linked to the GPS.) After passing over Pease we were likely handed off to Portland Approach, who gave us a clearance direct to JALMI, the initial approach fix for Runway 35 at Augusta State airport. In the loud cockpit I wasn't able to hear much at all. I was tempted to bring along my own headset to listen in, but didn't bother. Ear plugs would have been a good idea though, I later found that my hearing was slightly dulled when stepping out of the loud plane.

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Cruising at 7000ft, somewhere around 150kts indicated.

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Engine instruments. Cruise power set at around 2400rpm and 31" of manifold pressure.

The available leg room was quite limited due to the presence of the flight controls. For the short one-hour flight it wasn't a problem. I was more than willing to suffer a leg cramp for the ability to take this unique "mandatory leg room shot" for this trip report...

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Mandatory legroom shot...with a twist.

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Now direct JALMI, the initial approach fix for the RNAV/GPS to Runway 35.

The layer of clouds began to break up near Portland, we passed just East of PWM on our way to Augusta. Our flight would be paralleling the path of the first night cross country flight I ever flew. Just about two years prior I took off from PWM in a much smaller Cessna with my flight instructor, to fly PWM-AUG-WVL and back. That night my flight took 2.1 hours round trip and I landed behind a Colgan Saab 340 in Augusta. On this night it took about 20 minutes to fly the PWM-AUG leg, and no one else was crazy enough to be flying at the same time...

Approaching JALMI we ducked in and out of some clouds and broke out on final approach with the airport about five miles ahead. The ground was covered in blowing snow, but we maintained our final approach course to the runway with ease. A plow truck vacated the runway as we neared the threshold, hopefully the airport staff had done a good job of sanding and clearing the asphalt.

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Getting bounced around a bit, established on final for Runway 35.

The whole approach was very bumpy. After a number of failed photos in the dark conditions I began to shoot rapid-fire, hoping that one of my shots would come out between the numerous bumps and turns. Of thirty or so shots, at least one of them came out...

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Short final.

The runway was still quite snowy, and the landing roll out was accomplished well left of centerline (snow drifts were blowing onto the right side of the runway). The initial brake application was less than successful, fishtailing in the snow, but we eventually slowed to a jogging pace, aiming for a waiting plow truck to guide us down the taxiway. Only when we turned onto the taxiway was I convinced that we wouldn't be going around and heading over to Rockland.

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Sliding to a stop, less than 2000' of runway remaining.

The taxiway appeared in much better condition than the snowy runway, the taxi into the terminal was slow nonetheless, taking care not to clip the occasional high snow bank with the low wing tips.

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Finally able to hold my camera steady again, taxiing back to the terminal.

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Thank you snowplow guys, I really didn't want to end up in Rockland...

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Augusta's tiny FBO/Terminal, the sole employee waiting in the door.

Augusta's sole airport employee came out to meet the flight and marshaled us into a spot right in front of the terminal. The rear door was opened and everyone quickly shuffled out of the cold and into the small airport facility. The airport was no more than an FBO, with a few dozen chairs and no obvious ticket counters or security checkpoints. Everyone's baggage was unloaded from the aircraft and placed on the "baggage claim", a small chute cut into the wall next to the door. The ramp agent/ticket agent/etc handed each bag through the hole to its respective owner inside.

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Coming to a stop, nowhere in particular, in the middle of the ramp.

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One last shot of the aircraft while ducking inside, out of the cold.

At that, my epic Thanksgiving adventure was over, I'd made it to my intended destination and had almost made it on-time per the schedule. Despite the threat of weather, delays, and cancellations, everything worked out. I met my ride (who was rather surprised at the diminutive nature of the plane I'd arrived on) and drove an hour back to the South to my home.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I logged a number of additional miles on the ground, visiting family and friends in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. I ended up forgoing the Thanksgiving turkey on Thursday and ended up eating Maine Lobster instead (don't worry, I had the traditional Thanksgiving feast the following day). I refused to participate in Black Friday, and generally had a good time visiting back home. I didn't take many "destination shots", but here are a couple photos from the drive up to Northern New Hampshire, in the pine filled woods of Western Maine.

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Winding through the hills in the woods of Western Maine.

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A slightly different definition of "highway" compared to the ten lanes of I-85 earlier in the week...

For my return flight I decided on a direct route from Portland to Charlotte. While I would have enjoyed experiencing another segment on Cape Air it wasn't worth the added cost and additional drive up to Augusta from my house. This flight would give me plenty of time to drive from Charlotte to Atlanta and enough time to recover from the massive amounts of food I had consumed the previous day.

KPWM - KCLT
Flight # AWE 1663
Equipment:
Airbus A319 (N744UW)
Scheduled Departure: 07:45 Actual Departure: 07:45
Scheduled Arrival: 10:15 Actual Arrival: 10:00

US Airways operates a single daily flight from Charlotte to Portland. The flight is operated by an A319 (the largest aircraft US operates into PWM, all other flights are on E-Jets and CRJs) and departs for Charlotte at 7:45am, at the end of PWM's early departure bank.

US Airways recently moved over to PWM's new terminal extension. Only US and JetBlue occupy the new wing of the airport, giving it a very unfinished and empty feel. US's check in desk had a small line of maybe ten passengers waiting to use the automated kiosks to check in. All of the kiosks are placed directly in front of the counter, forcing everyone to wait in line for those checking baggage. I much prefer the system that JetBlue and Delta use, where the kiosks are plentiful and located remotely, so that only those checking baggage need to wait for an agent to be free. I quickly checked in, made it through the almost deserted security line, and was airside in no time. For more shots of the new PWM terminal (land side and airside) see my previous trip report from PWM last month: ATL-PWM-DTW-ATL, DL Y + New PWM Terminal (by KPWMSpotter Oct 31 2011 in Trip Reports)

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N744UW, waiting in the pre-dawn haze.

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A US E-190, pushing back on its way to PHL, the only other mainline flight US operates to PWM.

I had left myself about a half hour to spare, so I wandered around and stopped at Starbucks for a quick (and overpriced) muffin. I should have just had a slice of leftover pie for breakfast before I left home. Oh well.

Boarding began on-time, and despite the abundance of families and young students in the boarding area we were ready to go ahead of the scheduled departure time. I took my seat in 17F and noticed a fuel truck still working to fill up the tanks.

http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/1156/32045080.jpg
The view from 17F, as fueling continues.

After five minutes of sitting inactive at the gate the captain came over the PA with an announcement. He noted that we were ready to go, but we were still wating on the fuel truck. "He's been working at it for an hour now, he must be using an eyedropper to add the gas."

Eventually we pushed back, taxied down Alpha to Runway 29, and were underway without any delay.

http://img600.imageshack.us/img600/2015/18882831.jpg
Lining up on Runway 29 for departure.

http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/5306/95545227.jpg
Rain streaming across the window just after rotation.

http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/8665/27075875.jpg
Above the clouds and in the sunlight once again.

I wasn't so lucky on this flight and ended up with a pair of young children seated behind me. They seemed to be at the age where they spent most of their time (when they weren't fighting and screaming "you touched me!" at each other) entertaining each other by making the strangest and loudest noises they could produce with their bodies... The mother seated beside them made a half-hearted attempt at quieting them down every so often, but for the majority of the flight they continued bouncing around and generally being young children. The flight from PWM to Charlotte is less than two hours, a short hop compared to some of the flights I've done lately. I certainly wouldn't have enjoyed the seating arrangement for JFK-NRT...

http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/5233/98664847.jpg
Full cabin. I didn't see any empty seats.

http://img847.imageshack.us/img847/8519/61716062.jpg
A solitary cup of soda once again. So much for US Airways' clean corporate image on the napkins...

The remainder of the flight was entirely uneventful, lacking any of the drama or excitement of my previous flights. All I had to look forward to during this flight was a 4.5 hour drive through holiday traffic back to Atlanta...

http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/5383/37541175.jpg
Coming to a stop right back to where I started...

Returning in Charlotte I caught a packed shuttle bus to the long term parking lot, paid, and hopped on I-85SB. Checking my parking receipt, apparently I had been parked for four days and three minutes. Had I not stopped in the bathroom on the way out of the airport I may have gotten away with paying $16 for the weekend instead of $20. Either way, not a bad deal for four days of parking. PWM charges $12 for just one day...

In Conclusion:

US Airways: Efficient service, clean airplanes, and professional employees. I didn't experience any of the surliness or anger I had come to expect of US Airways. The flight deck crews were very open with the passengers and honest about any delays. The flight attendants and ground staff certainly weren't as cheery as some FA's I've met, but certainly no complaints here. I won't hesitate to book US in the future if I need a cheap short-haul hop.

Cape Air: Despite all of the delays and cancellations in Boston I have nothing bad to say about 9K. The flight was cheap, it had the best IFE in the world, and the staff were kind and welcoming. There's certainly a risk of cancellation if flying a small plane in bad weather, but I made it where I was going safe and sound. Don't expect first class service or a lot of leg room, but if you love flying for the sake of flying, Cape Air's your airline.

Hope you've enjoyed reading my report, I've certainly enjoyed flying it and writing it! Next up from me, home for Christmas on Continited and a Q400!


Past Reports for your reading pleasure...
ATL-AMS/DUS-ATL, DL F + ICE Train And Köln (by KPWMSpotter Nov 1 2011 in Trip Reports)
ATL-PWM-DTW-ATL, DL Y + New PWM Terminal (by KPWMSpotter Oct 31 2011 in Trip Reports)
ATL-SLC-SUN & Back DL F, Flying The Brasilia (by KPWMSpotter Sep 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
PWM-MCO, STL-MSP-DTW-PWM +NIFA (LONG!) (by KPWMSpotter Aug 10 2009 in Trip Reports)
MCO-JFK-PWM On JetBlue (by KPWMSpotter May 1 2009 in Trip Reports)
BOS-LHR-BOS + Eurostar (Long/Pics!) (by KPWMSpotter Mar 11 2009 in Trip Reports)
DAB-ATL-PWM & Return On DL (+Pics) (by KPWMSpotter Jan 7 2009 in Trip Reports)


I reject your reality and substitute my own...
19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinestasisLAX From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3287 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 12865 times:

Great trip report! I loved the photo comment about the Cape Air Cessna having the best IFE in existence. VERY cool!


"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!" B.Franklin
User currently offlinepilotmanchee From United States of America, joined Oct 2011, 2 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 12835 times:

Great Report. I flew with Cape air a few Years ago out of Key west. At the time I had only just finished my Instrument Licence. I have no idea who the pilot was But I thank you greatly for putting up with an 18 year kid obsessed with aviation. He answer all of my questions and more!! By far the closest airline flying to GA. Cant wait to here here about the Q400

Ethan


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1965 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (3 years 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 12757 times:
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Another great report, KPWMSpotter! What a travel day you had on Wednesday - luckily everything worked out just fine. Sometimes on a chaotic day, everything works out just fine ..

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
With both engines shut down, the A319's notorious "barking dog" Power Transfer Unit sprang to life and remained active until the end of our delay.

I fly on a lot of Delta A319's when I travel here from MSP - always wonder what that noise is. Good description; definitely a "barking dog" ... it goes on for a long time! Wow, it went on for 30 minutes?! That's a long time!

Best,

Matthew


User currently offlineburj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 902 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (3 years 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 12534 times:

Wow what a unique trip report! That is awesome that you got to sit in the co-pilot seat!

Thanks for sharing!

So I take it the pilot didn't mind you taking photographs!

At check in when they recorded your weight...did they actually have a scale their or did they trust that you knew how much you weighed?


User currently offlineSloAir From Slovenia, joined Jul 2010, 339 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (3 years 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 12257 times:

Great report, I'm a big fan of reports that include driving around the States. And I'm very jealous of the special seat on the Cessna  

Thanks for sharing,
Blaž



Visit Ljubljana
User currently offlineKPWMSpotter From United States of America, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 458 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 12146 times:

Thanks for all the comments!

Quoting burj (Reply 4):
So I take it the pilot didn't mind you taking photographs!

Nope, he didn't seem to pay any attention to it. I'm sure Cape Air sees plenty of curious travelers with cameras - not many other places to fly with such a view.

Quoting burj (Reply 4):
At check in when they recorded your weight...did they actually have a scale their or did they trust that you knew how much you weighed?

Not on this flight, the check-in agent simply asked for me to provide my weight. I wonder if they use their judgement and round up the given figure for self conscious travelers?...



I reject your reality and substitute my own...
User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 953 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (3 years 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 11944 times:

Excellent report! I loved the "cockpit" views on Cape Air! That is always a bonus! Thanks for sharing! William


Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 264 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (3 years 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 11818 times:

Hi KPWMSpotter,

Great report and happy belated Thanksgiving!

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
had originally resigned myself to a holiday alone in Atlanta

Glad you didn't have to spend Turkey Day alone!

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to fly on one of Cape Air's Cessna 402s, I booked the ticket on the spot.

No doubt, that's an opportunity too good to pass up.

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
a chain of flag-men directed me (and the dozens of cars in front of and behind me) to an open row. A queue of empty shuttle buses was waiting and I was dropped at the bustling terminal within ten minutes of entering the long term lot.

The organization at CLT airport seems quite good actually...obviously it is a super busy travel day, but it sounds like they were prepared ahead of time.

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
"the airline is trapping us here! They don't want to let us off!" It wasn't even past our scheduled departure time and passengers were already planning to throw in the towel and get off the plane...

I hate hearing things like that...as you point out, it wasn't even past the departure time yet. Yes, there have been bad situations caused by airlines, but it often seems like people are almost looking for reasons to freak out and get pissed at the airline (including in cases of bad weather, which obviously has nothing to do with the airline).

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
Since the entire passenger manifest was currently standing around the desk, he offered the "try it and see" approach as a choice, asking if we wanted to give it a shot. Everyone agreed that it would be better to end up in Rockland than stuck in Boston, so the pilot headed downstairs to prepare the airplane.

Awesome way in which this pilot handled the question, putting it to a vote like that. I like that style.

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
Not many commercial flights come with a view like this...

No kidding!!! What an experience to sit in the cockpit!

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
The best IFE in existence...

Absolutely agree!

Thanks for sharing this report. Glad you had a good Turkey Day and a good series of flights on what is America's craziest travel days.

Best,
BZNPilot


User currently offlineOlafW From Germany, joined Jul 2009, 103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 11639 times:

Thanks a lot for the Cape Air part!
I did my share of US flying last year and the impression was pretty much the same you had. But I missed out on taking a flight with Cape Air. Seems I should cross the pond again to get back to that. I guess during daytime flights you will have the best views on New England.

And congratulations that everything worked out, apparently you were very lucky that day.


User currently offlineburj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 902 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (3 years 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 11609 times:

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 6):
Not on this flight, the check-in agent simply asked for me to provide my weight. I wonder if they use their judgement and round up the given figure for self conscious travelers?...

Really? I would assume the opposite...that people would OVER state their weight...just to build in their own margin of safety! I know I would!!!


User currently offlinepwm2txlhopper From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1360 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (3 years 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 11216 times:

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
In one last search, Orbitz brought up a surprisingly low fare out of Charlotte. Taking a look at the destination I almost did a spit-take, the arrival city was listed as Augusta, Maine (AUG), and the carrier was Cape Air!! Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to fly on one of Cape Air's Cessna 402s, I booked the ticket on the spot.

I was also recently surprised to notice the cheaper fares out of RKD and AUG compared to PWM! That's the first time I've ever seen one of those cities come up cheaper than BOS/PWM/MHT when I search for closeby alternatives.

I have to go to GPT in a few days. I booked out of PWM, but the flight out of RKD on US, flying on Cape Air through BOS, was something like $150 cheaper than flying from PWM!

I don't have time to drive over to RKD just for the unique Cessna 402 ride, but sure would if time wasn't a factor!


User currently offlineKPWMSpotter From United States of America, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 458 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (3 years 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 11013 times:

Quoting OlafW (Reply 9):
I guess during daytime flights you will have the best views on New England.

Oh, certainly. With fares starting at about $100 r/t to Cape Cod, I'm surprised more people don't make a Cape Air a day trip in the summer, compared to a typical sightseeing flight it's a great bargain!

Quoting burj (Reply 10):
Really? I would assume the opposite...that people would OVER state their weight...just to build in their own margin of safety! I know I would!!!

That was my thought as well, it's safer to round up than down. My decision was motivated by the Private Pilot in me, a lot of Cape Air passengers are likely more concerned with being embarrassed by stating their true weight in public. I'm sure the gate agents use their judgement and adjust weights as necessary.

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 11):
I don't have time to drive over to RKD just for the unique Cessna 402 ride, but sure would if time wasn't a factor!

Compared to driving to Boston, Cape Air actually saved me time (and probably money as well). My house is about 25 minutes from PWM, an hour from AUG, and about three hours from BOS. If gas keeps going up and Cape Air fares stay the same, it almost makes sense to fly from AUG rather than have someone drive me down to Logan. Certainly was much more fun than I-95 and US-1...



I reject your reality and substitute my own...
User currently offlinerichierich From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 4298 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (3 years 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 11005 times:

Awesome trip report - I've never flown Cape Air but wouldn't hesitate at the opportunity! I'm guessing this is the first TR on airliners.net involving AUG! That part of Maine is stark but so beautiful after a snowstorm!

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
Cruising down I-85 NB, somewhere near the Georgia / South Carolina border.

This is a drive I have done several times in order to get to CLT and it isn't much fun. North Georgia is so boring on I-75 and SC isn't much better, except for the giant peach tower and perhaps the opportunity to grab a bottle of Cheerwine, if that's your thing. At least Charlotte comes up quickly once you cross into NC....!

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
KBOS - KAUG
Flight # KAP 1009
Equipment:Cessna 402C (N2649Z)
Scheduled Departure: 20:20 Actual Departure: 20:25
Scheduled Arrival: 23:30 Actual Arrival: 23:15

So the flight isn't really scheduled for three hours, is it? I'm assuming you meant 21:30 and 21:15, respectively?



None shall pass!!!!
User currently offlineKPWMSpotter From United States of America, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 458 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (3 years 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 10973 times:

Quoting richierich (Reply 13):
So the flight isn't really scheduled for three hours, is it? I'm assuming you meant 21:30 and 21:15, respectively?

Yes, my mistake. Block time is scheduled for just over an hour...   



I reject your reality and substitute my own...
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3372 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (3 years 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 10846 times:

Great report - lucky you managed to make it home through the bad weather, and found a good value and interesting itinerary to boot. Sounds like an adventure!


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineairportugal310 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3719 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (3 years 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 10579 times:

Great report
Having worked for 9K in Boston for 4 years, it brought back some memories

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
Cape Air (9K) is a small carrier based in Boston

Close...based out of HYA.
BOS is arguable busier than their base, though

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
Waiting patiently in a forgotten corner of the CLT airport.

Would that be the corner by 18L? I flew out just the other day and noticed those cars too!



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineLGWflyer From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2011, 2348 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (3 years 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 10556 times:

Hey KPWMSpotter, a brilliant trip report cheers!!! Love CLT airport, fantastic place!!!


3 words... I Love Aviation!!!
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 18, posted (3 years 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10343 times:

Hi


Wonderfull trip report, having a bunch of relatives in Anderson, SC (just passed the SC/GA border) I'm quiet familiar with that drive on I-85 both to Charlotte and ATL. Must agree with your vision on US, not the best but still ok.
Nice to see you got to snag the best seat on the Cessna. I'm glad you made it in without Rockland diversion!

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Thread starter):
Cruising down I-85 NB, somewhere near the Georgia / South Carolina border.

Hah, This is the exit I always take when visiting relatives!

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineDash8Driver16 From United States of America, joined Dec 2011, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 10114 times:

Sounds like it was a Fun adventure. I remember those storms very well I was with the last flight to PWM out of LGA. It was pretty fun heading into PWM. The new terminal in PWm is very nice but its almost creepy the way the check in counters in the new portion are all empty except for a few.

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