I don’t think I have written a detailed domestic US airline report for a while, and here is a brief report on today’s flight from Newark to Atlanta via Milwaukee on Midwest Airlines. Well I flew Midwest Express first time quite a while ago, and really like its earlier fabulous service, but with the new reality, the great old lobster dinner become history, so I really did not fly it much. Well, after seeing BOB all over the sky, I decide that Midwest may not be a bad idea, and after spotting a $110 O/W from Newark to Atlanta airfare, I decide to give it a tray again. Also after this trip, I will have 25,000 YX miles, and can have a free YX trip in the US. Of course, saver service is not my cup of tea, so I make sure that it is a 100% signature service route. To quickly summarize, there are major changes but the service is surprisingly pleasant, and Milwaukee General Mitchell is a pretty pleasant airport to deal with. So here is the full report!
May 22, 2005
YX 271 EWR-MKE Lv1110 Arr1218 Boeing 717-100 N920ME
New York was pretty laid back on an early Sunday morning, and without concern about traffic and staying at Midtown with my cousin, I decide that the Newark Liberty Airport Express is not a bad idea, and the ride was actually a quick 35 minutes. Well Midwest uses terminal B now, and has its own separate check in counters with two positions, but no kiosks. That means a line was formed… about 15 minutes wait, it is not too bad, as there are families checking in front of us. I was quickly checked in by Juan, but my request for exit row seemed to fall into deaf ears, or Juan was not busy trying to check in everyone. Line was not getting shorter as departure time was closer. I decided to try the BOB, so I skipped the food court and went direct to the gate, and did a bit of plane spotting. Nothing too interesting, except a lonely El Al’s Boeing 747-400 4X-ELD sitting lonely at a late in the international terminal. The aircraft had already arrived from Milwaukee, but strangely, the agent seemed to be rushed today and boarding did not began till 10:58am, and the catering truck did not come till boarding.
Well the new Boeing 717 was a definitely improvement from the old MD-80s with very comfortable brown leather chairs with new headrests, and I like to the fold down tables that can be flipped into half size, the legroom is still pretty good at 35 inches. The flight was totally full this afternoon, but boarding was completed in fifteen minutes. I immediately notice that YX has reduced its crew arrangement to the traditional minimum, like other major, and 2 F/As are stationed at each Boeing 717 (unlike an extra one before). Push back happened at 11:20am, and the pilot announced that flying time was an hour and forty-seven minutes with a cruising attitude of 34,000 feet. Not much traffic this early morning, and we took off from Runway 4L at 11:30am.
Service began right after a quick service check. The sequence of service was the same as before – first pass with BOB and first beverage service (full can is served, and the F/As are very generous with beverage service), and then a second pass with cookies and second beverage service. Pretty good with a two hours flight, as United is not even doing the second beverage run on medium-haul flights (well up to the F/As). The BOB selection is disappointing, since I am expecting the brand new “Best Care Cuisine,” but I guess EWR is an out-station, so the selection is from the In-flight Café. The choices are
Greek Salad with fruit and chips $10
Turkey sandwich with Brie and a cranberry spread on whole wheat bread, accompanied by a green salad and La Flora Italian dressing, a sealed pickle, and a pack of Lay’s potato chips for $10 – I had this option, which was fine, but I will like a fruit salad, instead of a green salad, and course Cape Cod’s chips will be fancier than lay’s
Snack Box – Italian Hoagie with assorted meats, Goldfish crackers, Potato chips, and Oreo cookies for $5
They did not sell all the meals, but the BOB was freshly boarded at EWR. But I did want to caution travelers. MIDWEST BEGAN ITS SERVICE FROM AFT/BACK TO FORWARD CABIN, AND YOU MAY NOT GET A BOB OR CHOICE OF BOB IF YOU SIT IN THE FIRST 5 ROWS. After the meal, the F/As passed out freshly baked cookies, and she gave us three cookies up front. Nice… considered you did not even get freshly baked cookie on traditional US major airlines in first class.
Just as the cookies slowly reached the front cabin from the back, descent slowly began at 12:43pm, and we landed on R/W25L at 12:17pm local time, and parked at gate D48 a few minutes later, and this a/c will continue onto Kansas City.
YX 107 MKE-ATL Lv1330 Arr1630 Boeing 717-100 N913ME
Well the inbound a/c arrived on time from Dallas Ft. Worth and parked at gate D34. The flight was a bit less packed than the last flight, but almost full. Once again, there were a number of families traveling this Sunday. Sue, the gate agent, was very cheerful and was comforting a couple arriving from Appleton, and taking care of the early boarding passengers. Unfortunately, as she was just about to board, she got a message from maintenance that there is a maintenance issue, and boarding would delay till 1:45pm with a decision made then. (It was scarier to hear the word, “decision will be made at 1:45pm, because you don’t know what is the problem, and they cannot even give us an ETD). Fortunately, at 1:45pm, we were cleared to board, and once on board, we were welcomed by a tall, slim, handsome, and charming F/A, Wade, and his flying partner, Erin. The folks at Row 1 were pretty nervous, but they took good care of them. The pilot apologized for the delay and it was due to a scheduled maintenance, and there was no major problem and was ready to go. Door closed at 2:04pm and we took off from R/W25L at 2:13pm local time. Wade and Eric immediately started the service once we were at our cruising attitude, since flying time was a short hour and thirty-six minute, and we climbed up to 35,000 feet this afternoon. Both flights were pretty smooth, and the Boeing 717 performs very well – quiet but powerful takeoff, steady landing, and this plane is just magnificent. Sad to see that they are not too successful commercial wise!
Service was the same as before, but finally, the new “Best Care Cuisine” was offered, but of course, good luck did not continue onto me excepting giving me an eye-candy to look at. The BOB ran out before reaching the forward cabin, and Wade apologized profusely, but nothing that he could do (well I could use…)… but thankfully other than Synder’s mini pretzels, a trail mix fruit and nuts bar was also offered, and of course, cookies were served later, with Wade making a second pass. For details of the Best care cuisine, please go to Midwest’s website.
Well we began our descent on a busy Sunday afternoon at 3:17pm, and landed on R/W26R at 4:49pm local time (ATL was an hour ahead), and were parked at gate D7 a few minutes later, next to Indy Air, and America West and World Airways’ MD-11.
In conclusion, Wade is the highlight of the day, and Erin’s smile is deeply appreciated. I was a bit upset not to get to try the “Best Care Cuisine), but what can you do? However, another YX trip is definitely in the planning stage, as I get a YX award now. Just hope that their fares can be lower at most times… it is hard to justify a $400 O/W coast to coast flight, while you can almost fly first class on US major on transcontinental flights.
However, I have a question with YX – do they always serve from back to front, or do they switch on outbound or inbound flights? So I will get a seat further back next time. Or is it really difficult to get an exit row seat?
Thanks and good job on YX!