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User currently offlineFjnovak1 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 615 posts, RR: 2
Posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 6437 times:

Just got back from an amazing trip out west...weather was gorgeous, the beaches were great, and I had an awesome time partyin it up with my friends!! Here is the trip report from my transcontinental trek; the first time I have taken US Airways on such a long trip. Given a history of bad luck with US, expectations were low...

Thursday, June 23rd
US Airways 59
Hartford/Springfield (BDL) to Charlotte-Douglas (CLT)
Boeing 737-400
Scheduled departure time: 400PM
Actual departure time: 359pm (wheels up at 4:07pm)
Scheduled arrival time: 556pm
Actual arrival time: 540pm
Departure Gate: Gate 30 (BDL)
Arrival Gate: B15 (CLT)

Aircraft was changed from an A321 to a 737-400, so the first noteable thing was that there was hardly an open seat anywhere on the aircraft. As is customary it seems for a 4:00 departure from BDL, we got an early push (i seem to always leave BDL around 4 and it never seems to be too busy)...the f/a's did the safety demo manually- it looked as if the aircraft was once equipped with flip-down TV monitors (armrests had antiquated controls as well) but the monitors seem to have since been removed. Aircraft on the whole was pretty tired looking, with yellowing cabin walls, dirty overhead bins, and fading seat covers. Hopefully US rectifies this once their cash situation improves with the merger. We took off and made a slight turn toward the south over New York for our one hour and 27 minute cruise down to CLT. Not too much turbulence on the flight- we encountered some over Lynchburg, VA as we began our decent. Pretzels and beverages were served on this flight. Most people on board were continuing onto other US flights- tons of connecing gates were read over the PA on descent. We pulled in early and at that point the crew let everyone know that if they were continuing with the flight to SEA there would be an aircraft change (back to the A321). I however, was bound for a different 321 headed to LAX....

US Airways 519
Charlotte-Douglas (CLT) to Los Angeles Int'l (LAX)
Airbus A321-200
Scheduled departure time: 735pm
Actual departure time: 833pm (wheels up at 8:45 pm)
Scheduled arrival time: 934pm
Actual arrival time: 1015pm
Departure Gate: D13 (CLT)
Arrival Gate: Gate 12 (LAX)

flight crew was late getting in from TPA, where our flight came from although with a different aircraft (A319). The flight boarded relatively quickly, again, hardly an open seat on the flight, and we were underway. All of the other 7:00pm CLT bank flights were gone, so we were the lone aircraft on the runway and were first for takeoff. Seemed like the A321 is underpowered as it labored down the runway before lifting gracefully enough off towards the west on our 4 hour, 21 minute journey. Soon thereafter, Hitch was played on the screens followed by US Airways "overtures", their equivalent to the venerable "Delta Horizons." Food was offered for purchase, but i had my own food in my carry-on. However, at this same time the f/a's offered the first of what would be three (!) beverage services on the flight. Flight was pretty smooth with no turbulence really, but turbulence doesn't bother me really. The aircraft was in great, new condition, better by far compared to the A321 I was on in January on a BDL-PHL segment. Got in about 40 minutes late, noticed my beloved Detroit Pistons had lost game seven Sad and then went outside to meet my friends and go to the bar in santa Monica, which was awesome.

Sunday, June 26th
US Airways 192
Los Angeles Int'l (LAX) to Charlotte-Douglas (CLT)
Airbus A321-200
Scheduled departure time: 715am
Actual departure time: 720am(wheels up at 7:30 am)
Scheduled arrival time: 250pm
Actual arrival time: 247pm
Departure Gate: Gate 12 (LAX)
Arrival Gate: B11 (CLT)

Another great flight....was seated next to two nice guys that were going to CLT to learn to be ramp rats at LAX for US..they were pretty entertaining, typical laid back and nonchalant Southern Californians....We got two beverage services plus offering of coffee or water in addition to the food for sale. Again, movie (robots) and overtures were played...this 4 hour and 13 minute flight seemed to take forever, but that might have been because i had gotten no sleep sat night (partying too much)...There was periodic turbulence during the flight, and it was 100% full, no empty seats whatsoever. US seems to be doing well in that department. Like the trip to LAX, this A321 was also well kept up and clean. Flight 192 continued (w/ an A333) to Frankfurt, and our A321 was bound for PIT and SAN. After the weather out in LA, i was considering stowing away for SAN but alas, work was again beckoning.....

US Airways 232
Charlotte-Douglas (CLT) to Hartford/Springfield (BDL)
Boeing 757-200
Scheduled departure time: 355pm
Actual departure time: 408pm (wheels up at 4:31 pm)
Scheduled arrival time: 547pm
Actual arrival time: 601pm
Departure Gate: B15(CLT)
Arrival Gate: Gate 29 (BDL)

Aircraft came in from MCO...probably about 80-85% full (had a middle seat open- nice!!). This was likely the crustiest 757 I've ever been on. After the nice A321's I was on, this makes the US product very inconsistent. Service and comfort are so much better on the newer planes, which is something they need to work on. Other carriers I fly more often (DL and NW) are better at maintaining the consistency of their product. It seems with US, its either very good or pretty below average. The f/a's were nice on this flight and professional (albeit not as good as teh CLT-LAX-CLT sections), but there would be a noticeable difference to the customer. Seats were torn and faded, the walls had dried gum on them at my seat, and there were crumbs everywhere. With over an hour between flights, you would think they'd do a better job at cleaning out the aircraft. After a 1 hour, 32 minute flihgt that took us north of BDL and approaching from the north, we parked and I discovered that the return flight to CLT was oversold. US seems to do quite well to/from BDL.

Overall, I was impressed with US Airways. They seem to be headed in a better direction, and clearly have an idea of what service is supposed to be like. Hopefully they can implement this consistency and product across the board and not just on longer flights. That said, even after how I've complained about US after my last expereiences, they were worth another shot. I'd certainly consider flying them again if they were the most cost effective on a route I needed to take.

Go Blue!!
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 6390 times:

Fj... after reading this I could only help but shed a small grin... when thinking about your past experiences. Yeah as I said in my recent report Charlotte and Hartford are both big business cities... especially now with Bank of America buying Fleet out, BoA now has headquarters in both cities.. I really think US should put the A321s with their large F cabin on the BDL route to satisfy the upgrades... first always sells out with 12 F seats on the 737s and 757s... but that's me just playing armchair ceo Smile

User currently offlineFjnovak1 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 615 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 6349 times:

Yeah, I guess I was due for a nice experience with them....in the past most of my experiences with them have been negative...they dont keep their 757's or 737's as clean as CO or DL, but their A321's are very nice and suitable for a flight the length of CLT-LAX.

I'd agree with you that the 321 probably is the best aircraft for the BDL-CLT routes because of the large front cabin and (still) relatively large Y cabin. It seems as if many airlines have a stable of elites in Hartford--- NW considers it one of their large elite outstations and thats what keeps the 319's/320's here to both MSP and DTW as customers prefer those over the nine's. I'm sure DL regards BDL highly as well with the 738's, 757's, and occasional 767's we see. CO on the other hand, BDL is kind of an afterthought

Go Blue!!
User currently offlineEric777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 199 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 6304 times:

Quoting Fjnovak1 (Reply 2):
CO on the other hand, BDL is kind of an afterthought

I agree. The only mainline flights are a 737-500 to IAH and a seasonal 733 to CLE. Everything else is ERJ to CLE / EWR. I think even PVD gets a mainline from EWR. I've checked IAH flights and those flights consistently run full.

Nice to see continued good experiences on US. Still, there is no excuse for dirty aircraft.

User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 6209 times:

Looking at DL I agree with you... the summer schedules have 3 732s and 1 MD88 to CVG... but once fall rolls around they're immediately back to 2 757s and 2 738s... although that's when we lose our last 767.. 1 732 and 7 MD88s to ATL. CO seems to really be specific about where they put their mainline jets... the ERJs seem to fly everywhere... I know they do creative scheduling i.e. scheduling 135s on 1 day and 145s the next... and not flying some frequencies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

User currently offlineCltguy From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 604 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 6194 times:

fjnovak1...great trip report...

Just curious, what improvements to CLT airport would you recommend?

User currently offlineUswyjer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 11 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6160 times:

The 734s used to have overhead TV monitors down the center of the aisle for when they were used on transcons in the early 90s (pre-Airbus days).. the volume controls on the seats were for the audio.

User currently offlineEric777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 199 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 6058 times:

Quoting Uswyjer (Reply 4):
although that's when we lose our last 767..

Which means we will have no widebodies until the AA A300 returns in November. Its nice to hear DL Heavy on the BDL Approach on my scanner.

Quoting Uswyjer (Reply 4):
the ERJs seem to fly everywhere... I know they do creative scheduling i.e. scheduling 135s on 1 day and 145s the next... and not flying some frequencies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

They'll also cut flights on Saturdays as well, but most airlines do that anyway. For example, at least recently, HPN-CLE does not exist on saturday. I've always had to fly out on Fridy night. it would have been nice to get up early on Saturday, shoot down 684, and be in CLE mid morning.

User currently offlineEIN145 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 6017 times:

Nice report. I flew with US extensively on a few trips to the US as I have friends in CLT and I did some exploring of other cities from there. I always found US good in terms of service on board. The cabin crew were always professional and friendly.

User currently offlineFjnovak1 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 615 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (10 years 11 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5989 times:

cltguy, you asked about improvements to CLT....what I would say CLT could use most is moving escalators on the "B" and "C" concourses....but I dont think there is enough space for them. However, concourse "A" has some (where all the other airlines are), and newer concourses "D" and "E" do as well. It seems that "E" is outgrowing the USX operation already- they board multiple flights from the same gate it seems at the same time. One more improvement I'd like to see is better food offerings in the "D" terminal. Since Terminal "D" is where most of the long haul flying (both to Europe and the US west coast) departs from, people would be likely to want to pick up something to eat right before they get to their gate, rather than fight the long lines in the central part of the terminal and then haul it with them across the concourse.

That being said, CLT is a pretty descent airport. Nothing terribly flashy (it isn't DTW or CVG) but its better than PHL thats for sure...PHL is cramped and delay prone to boot!

Go Blue!!
User currently offlineCltguy From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 604 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 11 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5940 times:

Gavin, I would agree with you...the US crews have always been good.

Fjnovak..thanks for your recomendations.
I agree that B&C need some type of moving sidewalks...however there isn't any room except for that short part between those concourses and the Atrium in the middle. They really need to make B&C wider...when you are there changing planes it is packed full of people at the peak times.

Concourse E is in the process of being doubled in size to 50 gates...will probably be done in the next 1.5 - 2 years.

Concourse D does need some more concessions and they are in the process of adding more stores and food places on what they call the D/E Connector..which is the part where the moving sidewalks are. I think that the airport was really hesitant to put too much into Concourse D until USAirways got their finances worked out...now that it looks like thats the case, expect to see more improvements over there.

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