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May 28/June 1 CLT-BDL/BDL-CLT On US (few Pics)  
User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3446 times:

Disclaimer: I've found I like to write trip reports in a stream of conciousness style, so as my past TRs have been, this is lengthy, but detailed Smile
Little back story here, when U2 (the band, not easyJet Wink) announced the Vertigo Tour back in February my dad and I (both huge fans) knew we had to go. So come ticket sales, all the shows sold out within seconds due to errors with Ticketmasters online encrypting, allowing brokers to get in and snatch up all the tickets before fans. So we did the next best thing... eBay! Eventually finding a good deal for a couple tickets for the 5/28 Boston show, upper level but with a decent view of the stage, he purchased them. About a month later, my parents and I decided to let me stay in Charlotte for the summer for a few reasons: summer classes, work, girlfriend Smile So after registering for classes, housing, etc... we realized that we had the U2 concert... so my eyes lit up knowing I would get a couple flights in, on my favorite carrier US Airways. Found a decent deal, Charlotte-Hartford usually is pretty decent for a hub O/D route, probably because both are big business cities. Friday May 27 eventually rolls around and as I hung out with my girlfriend, I packed and got psyched for the flight and the show Smile

May 27
US415
CLT-BDL
scheduled 3:30pm-5:25pm, actual 3:30-5:15pm
B737-300 N340US
Seat 10A
Having become a veritable frequent flyer over the past 2 years, I've got my timing down to a science. Left school at 1:30 to get to CLT at 2pm, about an hour before boarding. Took the usual drive over to the $2.75/day satellite lots, only to find them full, and the overflow lots full; I thought great... but realizing that the new daily fee garage was recently opened, there's a whole lot of new parking, drove over there to find it wide open, with tv crews filming inside (must have just opened... lol), got a spot, quickly jumped out of my car, grabbed my roller and my carry-on and made my way to the shuttle bus. Usually I would walk the distance (about a 1/2 mile), but on this day it was very humid; didn't feel like being a saturated sponge. Hopped aboard the shuttle and we cruised around to departures, had a driver in training, there was an instructor giving directions to the driver and tips on how to deal with traffic, kind of interesting. There was a huge traffic jam leading into arrivals, over the bus's radio it sounded like there was a fender-bender blocking traffic. No problems getting to curbside, checking my bag pretty quickly; Skycaps seem surprised and happy when I give them my usual $2/bag; maybe people aren't tipping that often anymore, or maybe they're not used to college students tipping... lol. Through security quickly, no SSSS yet since 9/11 (knock on wood!) The CLT TSA are a good group, haven't had any problems and they do their work efficiently and smoothly. Over to Starbucks to get my ritual pre-flight soy white mocha, where in waiting for my drink I look over and just next to me waiting is the professor I just had the night before for Psychology of Personality; we talked for a couple minutes, met his wife, found out they were heading to Washington DC for the Memorial Day weekend. Got my drink and headed down to C17, flight ontime (I had been worried the plane was coming in from ORD Wink) I was in zone 5, I like US's Zone boarding method, it seems like its an even amount of people spread throughout the plane in each zone, not in order back to front. Flight was absolutely full (lots of people requesting upgrades... only to get the usual CLT-BDL response "sorry first has checked in full"... and coach (well a couple middle seats were blocked off to help a couple elderly passengers, and a mother with a toddler, who requested it at the gate... kudos to US on helping them out). Got to my seat 10A (exit row... I love how with US you can request exit rows when checking in online). Sat down and soon found that my seatmate in 10B was not a man for personal space, elbow jutted into my side for the whole flight. Pushed back ontime and got underway to 18L. We were one of the first flights in the 3:30pm bank, so we were second in line when we got up, behind another US 733. Took off with the usual 737 takeoff- efficient. Pretty bumpy as we climbed out, and got up to 35,000ft quickly enough. Pulled out my iPod and put my U2 library on shuffle, only listened to U2 for a few days before the concert Smile Drink service started, got a diet coke and the usual Snyders Snaps; seatmate in 10C requested a full can and got it no problem. Listened to U2 as we cruised up the coast, read the current Spin magazine too. The interior of N340US was clean, no seat tears, stains, etc... the paint job on the outside needed a little work though, but when you're flying who's looking at the paint? Wink Followed the usual route CLT-ORF-ACY-JFK-HVN-BDL (don't know the VORs, so I think by airports...lol) Began the descent around ACY, skirted the Jersey shore and got a good view of JFK, and then up past New Haven. According to our captain we would be landing to the northeast (runway 6). Flight got pretty bumpy again as we descended past the Hublein Tower and Farmington, flaps down, gear down, and we came in pretty high to runway 6; firm touch down, and used the whole runway! (first time in my life using all of 6, all 9800 ft of it, usually planes will taxi off using the closed runway 1/19, but we just kept going and going...) Maybe the pilots were trying to kill time as we landed a good 20 minutes early. I take advantage of the fact that as passengers we can use cellphones as soon as you turn off the runway (don't want to see the inflight usage idea go through though..) Called my parents to see if they had gotten to the airport yet, they had; called my girlfriend to tell her I got in safe; by that point we were pulling in. Present at BDL were a couple birds of interest: DL 738 in Ron Allen scheme, and WN 73G "New Mexico One" (photo'd this before, and now after winglet installation Smile); plus a DL MD88, UA A319, and a couple cargo 727s. Into gate 29, deboarded shortly after (US is pretty quick with getting the door open... lol). Met up with my parents (big reunion with mom- she gets emotional; whereas my dad stays low-key, especially in public) retrived my bag, and off to home.


MyAviation.net photo:
Click here for bigger photo!
Photo © Jeremy Carlson




MyAviation.net photo:
Click here for bigger photo!
Photo © Jeremy Carlson



Show was absolutely amazing, the lighting job, the setlist, the energy, everything!!! Even now at 5 days later, its still sinking in; great job Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam!!! Used the next 3 days to visit family (grandparents anniversary, and grandpa's birthday), dentist appointment, haircut, and some good old rest, as I've had really none since Spring Break. But my rest was cut short as the climate change reaked havoc on my sinuses; and I'm now left with a nice sinus infection. Anywhoo, Wednesday June 1 rolled around, and it was time to get back to my school life!

June 1
US365
BDL-CLT
Scheduled and actual 12:20pm-2:25pm
B757-200 N610AU
Seat 10A changed to 4F
Checked in online the night before and was able to move my seat from 10A to 4F- my first time in US's little coach cabin on the 757! US reconfigured their 757s to 2 rows of First, moving coach up all the way to row 3, so they could place the birds on high density routes, i.e. Florida and Las Vegas; but what they're doing on a heavy business route is beyond me... but hey it works out, I love 757s, and especially the little cabin... we'll see why in a minute, (As a result, to the dismay of many people looking for an upgrade, first "has checked in full today") Left home around 10:30 to get to BDL around 11, said bye to mom, and checked in at curbside; again the skycap was happy with my tip, the woman in front of me checked 3 bags and didn't tip a dime. On through security quickly and without a problem. Like the CLT group, the BDL TSA are efficient and do their job (haven't had a bad encounter yet... so I don't see what people complain about) I was in one line that was moving very slow because of a couple people making a fuss about taking off their shoes and jackets; but an agent caught my eye and called me over to other line, he shot me a look of "yeah... I know what you're thinking about those two"... lol. Made my ritual walk over to the new terminal, usual fare was present: WN 737, Song 757, DL MD88, UA 733, and an NW 319; got a bottle of water from the CNBC store, my cold was leaving me dehydrated (fun stuff), and headed back over to A. Flight coming in reportedly late, so I texted my gf who was luckily on break at work, half hour of texting; and then I watched the action, couple US 737s: one to DCA and one to PHL; in that time all the planes I spotted over at the new terminal departed. Our 757 ultimately landed 15 minutes late, but a quick turn and we were boarding on time. Crew change too, so I listened to the conversation of the pilots- incoming and ours, a little reunion too, came to figure out they were old friends; the incoming captain said it was somewhat bumpy the whole way, so he had left the seatbelt sign on, and all was fine; our pilot was complaining about some ALPA rule that keeps changing, couldn't hear what it specifically was. Boarded in Zone 3 (first time to board in the first regular zone, I'm usually in 4 or 5, I've preboarded with my US Visa Signature, but didn't bother this time). Got to the door and did my ritual skin rub of the plane Smile and made my first left turn (US boards at 2L on 757s), felt good, but knew I was still sitting in coach lol. Plopped down and took in the view, able to see inside the engine, a first for me, I could watch the blades start up! Seat mate in 4D was busy working on his palm pilot, 4E remained empty, so it became our communal table.. lol. During the time a Colgan Saab 340 from Buffalo came and turned around, very light load both in and out; my dad used to fly the route a lot for business and said it was usually full, must have been an off day. 12:20pm rolled around and we pushed back, I watched the blades start up... so cool, really gives an impression of how powerful the Rolls Royces really are! Funny incident ensued for the next 5 minutes, the F/As attempted to get the safety video to work, but it kept cutting out, so ultimately they rebooted the system; but an odd version played, it played in English up to the "Unexpected turbulence may occur" when the audio changed to Spanish, and stayed that way. Because of the reboot, we had to pull into the penalty box to allow the video to finish. We quickly got onto runway 6 and took off with a great 757 stomach-in-the-back-of-your-seat, powerful, buzzsaw noise from the engines... take off; love it! Climbed through the low hanging clouds, kind of gloomy and as the incoming pilot had said, bumpy. Quickly through the clouds, I love the initial climb above clouds, it really gives an impression of how fast and glorious flight is! Our pilot was pretty quiet today, didn't tell us the cruise altitude, I'm guessing 36,000 as I've had that on a previous 757 BDL-CLT flight. F/As quickly got the beverage service started; this is what I love about the little cabin, it turned into semi-First service! The coach F/As started the beverage service behind the mid lavs, around row 9; and the First Class purser came back and took our drink orders and delivered the pretzels from the First class snack tray. It was pretty unique, and felt pretty good Smile The purser was very friendly, I guess its a small thing; but since I never get the chance to ride in First, it was cool to get the attention. I read for World Literature for a bit, in the meantime we overflew IAD just to the east, got a good view of some DH CRJs buzzing around; but then the altitude and my sinus infection started catching up with me, and I got a nasty pressure headache... not fun. So I leaned on the wall and closed my eyes, ultimately falling asleep for about 20 minutes; only the 3rd time in over 80 lifetime flights that I've fallen asleep. But when I woke my headache was gone, we started the descent a few minutes later. Cloud tops were pretty high, and the weather report in CLT from the captain was clouds and rain. As a result the descent was mostly through clouds, spoliers were used quite a bit through the descent. The cieling was pretty low today, maybe 3000ft by my guesstimate, so not much time to get my bearings to figure out what runway we were on approach to; but it wouldn't have mattered, as we landed on a seldom used runway for landing, 18L. Usually when the the 18s are in use, 23 and 18R are used for landing, but today it was just the parallels. We floated over the runway for a bit touching down softly on the wet asphalt, but then broke quite hard... fun! Pulled off about 3/4ths the way down the runway and taxied back to the terminal. We held for a little bit to allow some traffic to pass heading to 18L, and with the all clear continued to gate B8. Pulled in quickly enough, at the time we were the largest passenger plane at the airport lol, all Airbus and 737s otherwise. Walked back to 2L and deboarded, ending my trip home. On to baggage claim, CLT takes forever, at least 15-20 minutes regularly. On to the shuttle, again a sweltering day, not fun, and on to my car which somehow was covered in pollen, even though it was in a garage... hmm. Back to campus, and college life began again.


MyAviation.net photo:
Click here for bigger photo!
Photo © Jeremy Carlson



Aside from the occasional surly CSR or FA, I've never had problems on US Airways, and they will continue to be my airline of choice; except my next trip is on United lol... staying in Star Alliance though! I have a trip home in August, connecting in IAD, which will see my first time on a CRJ700, and my first time on a United Express EMB170 (flew a US Airways Express 170 last year and loved every minute of it).

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFjnovak1 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 607 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3135 times:

Sounds good...hopefully I will have a similar positive experience on US June 23-26 when I break from my typical NW/CO/DL loyalty to try US trans-con BDL-CLT-LAX-CLT-BDL in 10 days... all on the A321 except CLT-BDL which will be a 757...i haven't had much good luck on US in the past (although in relative little experience -- lifetime i've logged only 9 US mainline and 4 US Express flights), but since with a discount voucher i'm going for about $150 r/t, i won't feel especially badly if i get the cruddy service i normally associate them with. I'm just glad i dont have to connect throuh PHL....i deliberately avoided that.


Go Blue!!
User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3082 times:

Thanks for the comment... yeah I remember your incident in Philly en route from DTW to HVN. I think you'll enjoy this one, CLT routes seem to usually get CLT based flight crews (unless a Philly is cycling through)... and overall they seem to have the southern charm thing going. The best BDL-CLT was back in January... had a crew that so warm and welcoming, it really made us feel at home on the 737.

User currently offlineFjnovak1 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 607 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3002 times:

Even better than the PHL to HVN debacle was missing my connection (and the chance to ride the E170) on a BDL-PHL-DTW back in January. I was told that the connection was being held but that was a lie. I ended up on a NW flight from PHL to DTW and got in only about 90 minutes late, and there was space up front too (i'm silver on NW) so that was nice. On the way back I went through PIT on TransStates and that was fine (although Trans States is a very bland carrier IMO).. Im keeping my fingers crossed this time but seriously check out my record with US--

1st trip (August 1999): DTW-PHL (B732), PHL-BOS (B734)... the intended flgiht to BOS got cancelled and I got on a different flight that was delayed from earlier in the day...bags got lost in transit and were not found until the next day.
1st trip return: BOS-PIT (A320), PIT-DTW (B732)... Brand-new airbus was great with excellent service but the flight crew on the PIT-DTW segment was about as nasty as they come.

2nd trip (May 2001): DTW-PIT (D9S), PIT-FLL (B733)...both were great flights, continental breakfast served in coach on the flight to FLL...

2nd trip return: FLL-CLT (B734), CLT-DTW (F100)...left pax on plane with no a/c for three hours after it taxied out and evidently was not airworthy and returned to gate. Pilots then swapped aircraft with incoming Philly flight, but everyone missed their connections. Had to fight with CLT personnel to even get a $6 meal voucher, and was late for work. Bags thankfully made it.

3rd trip (November 2004): DTW-PHL (CRJ), PHL-HVN (DH8-100).u know this one...was supposed to be on DL but mechanical on DTW-CVG a/c caused me to be switched to US...got to HVN almost at 1 AM, nearly 3 hours late.

then the missed connection on the BDL-PHL-DTW trip in January. But the solace in all this is the price i have paid... the trip to BOS in '99 was like $125 on priceline, the FLL trip was like $145 r/t, the HVN flight was a DL ticket, the DTW trip in Jan was $113 after using a $100 voucher, and this trip to LAX is $150 after a voucher..... US is my definition of LCC!!!!  Smile



Go Blue!!
User currently offlineEric777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 199 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2923 times:

Very goo report.
Its always good to see positive trip reports on US. I have never flown them but hope to one day. Also it is nice to see TRs from BDL, ne of my favorite airports.

Regards,
Eric M.


User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 1 month 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 2884 times:

My life is basically shuttling back and forth between CLT and BDL lol... so I'm picky about the runs I do TRs for... but this one seemed worth it. Fjnovak... yeah I've flown Chatauqua and PSA as US Express and they were fine, but yeah kind of bland. Eric, being a BDL fan... do you know what's going on with the terminal A gates that are unoccupied? I had heard they were for AA; but BDL's picking up and the old B is busy again with AA, American Eagle, Midwest Connect, AC Jazz, Indy, and charters.
-Jeremy


User currently offlineEric777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 199 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2847 times:

I haven't heard anything recent about those gates. I looked at BDL's site and it talks about AA and AC still moving over to those unoccupied gates. But then I noticed it says "expansion work at the end of the existing concourse will be completed in the fall of 2003 . . ." This tells me that basically this facet of the BDL site has not been updated for a couple of years now. Terminal B is still pretty busy. I flew from there to SJU on AA last June and it was swamped. My flight was at 7 AM. AA had a flight to ORD, RDU, MIA, STL, and SJU all leaving within the 6-7 am hour.
-Eric


User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2795 times:

Yeah I flew in on AA back in March from DFW, we got in about 20 minutes early and the SJU flight had just arrived.. let me say the baggage claim was a trip... almost 500 people... mostly Spring Breakers coming from the Islands on the SJU flight, and out west (like me) on the DFW! I vaguely remember that AC was going to take an a gate in the new terminal, but I think all are accounted for... I don't know if the 4 former US gates in A could handle American and Eagle's ops; and then there's Indy and Midwest to think about. Maybe the old Murphy Terminal has escaped the wrecking ball for now?
-Jeremy


User currently offlineFjnovak1 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 607 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 2770 times:

There is one unoccupied gate on the new pier as well, Gate 8...its only used for a Southwest RON aircraft. Indy or Midwest could use that gate.


Go Blue!!
User currently offlineEric777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 199 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2735 times:

Quoting Uswyjer (Reply 7):
I flew in on AA back in March from DFW, we got in about 20 minutes early and the SJU flight had just arrived.. let me say the baggage claim was a trip... almost 500 people...

Exact same thing happened to me in February of 2004. We arrived minutes after the A300 got in. I go downstairs and see all these people and think how could they have all fit on one MD-80 until you realize that 250 of them just returned from the islands.
-Eric


User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 2673 times:

Was just checking the schedules for the fall, and it looks like BDL is losing our AA A300 once again, back down to a 757; while BOS keeps their's.. kind of peeved over that. Maybe it'll equate to a 2nd flight being added at some point. Just speculating: Indy and Midwest could share at Gate 8, AC Jazz could share with United or US, all being in Star; but that still leaves AA and Eagle, and with their 17 or so flights, I'm not sure if only 4 gates could handle it, esp in the morning.
-Jeremy


User currently offlineEric777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 199 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2628 times:

Quoting Uswyjer (Reply 10):
it looks like BDL is losing our AA A300 once again, back down to a 757

Yeah, I noticed that as well. They do it during peak hurricane season when Caribbean travel is at its lowest. The A300 returns in November. A couple of years ago, when BDL-SJU was non-A300, AA flew a 757 in the morning to SJU and a 737-800 in the afternoon.

While on BDL sked changes I noticed CO now overnights the IAH flight and they replaced a CLE ERJ with a 737 for the summer.
-Eric


User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2597 times:

I remember the 2 SJU daily, AA at the time also had 2 daily to Miami- the 6am that we've always had, and a 5pm in addition. Oh... I noticed, HVN has more capacity, US added a 6th roundtrip to PHL and upgraded to Dash 8-300s on 2 trips. Surprised they haven't made a big deal of it in the state, when Comair started it was all over the news; but this barely made a splash. Hey, it's awesome to talk to BDL lovers... welcome to my respected users list Smile I'm on the Yahoo BDL group, and I've posted occasionally, but to little response, seems very cliquish.
-Jeremy


User currently offlineEric777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 199 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2568 times:

Quoting Uswyjer (Reply 12):
I'm on the Yahoo BDL group, and I've posted occasionally, but to little response, seems very cliquish.

I am on there as well. I post once in a while there. Its like a high school in there at times with turf wars (BDL v. PVD) and everything.

Quoting Uswyjer (Reply 12):
welcome to my respected users list

Consider the favor returned.

Quoting Uswyjer (Reply 12):
HVN has more capacity, US added a 6th roundtrip to PHL and upgraded to Dash 8-300s on 2 trips. Surprised they haven't made a big deal of it in the state

I remember Channel 8 mentioned the extra US flight awhile back but like you said, it wasn't as big as Comair. I am surprised US doesn't bring an ERJ in once in a while. Tweed has been running TV commercials lately.
-Eric


User currently offlineCltguy From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2528 times:

Uswyjer... did you notice the new carpet in the baggage claim area at CLT? They finally replaced the old green and red crap from the 80s. They are going to be making some other improvements to the baggage claim area in the coming months to brighten it up.

User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2491 times:

Cltguy... I think in hindsight I noticed its looked brighter downstairs... but I didn't notice it off the bat; I'll definitely pay attention next time I head through there, next month when my parents are flying down to visit.
-Jer


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