Jakeflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 46 posts, RR: 0 Posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 9243 times:
We've been experiencing the coldest winter in over 10 years in the Northeastern US. Monday, the low temperature was -3 degrees Fahrenheit (-19 degrees Celsius). The local schools are closed because the school buses use a gas mixture that gels at 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and they won't start. I couldn't start my car and ended up having to buying a new battery. Fortunately I had a business trip on Tuesday scheduled to sunny and WARM Orlando, Florida!!!!
I booked my flight on US Airways. Since Southwest Airlines came to town, the fares to Orlando have dropped dramatically. In fact, my flight on US Airways was less expensive that Southwest... plus I have top status and was automatically upgraded to First Class.
To catch a 7:30 AM flight, I had to leave my home at 5:30. Even though my car was parked in the garage, my water bottle froze inside my car. As I drove to the airport, my car thermometer at one point registered -9 degrees F (-22 C). I made it to the airport in good time, but as usual, found myself in the slowest security line. The security line 7 has extra security. I had to go through the air-blast machine with my shoes on, then remove my shoes and go through the metal detector. I didn't have my liquids and gels in a one quart plastic bag, so I was given a lecture by the TSA. The x-ray screener was a trainee and scrutinized every bag that went through. By the time I made it through, I had just enough time to grab some yogurt and a chocolate croissant before they started boarding the plane
Boarding commenced precisely at 7:00 AM. I boarded the airplane and got settled into my seat, 3A. Boarding went smoothly and the door was closed two minutes early. Leaving on time!!!... It was too good to be true. The pilot came on the intercom and announced that while it had not snowed the night before, because of the extremely cold temperatures, there was some frost on the wings and so we would have to de-ice before taking off, so our departure would be delayed by 15 minute.
Views from my window...
We de-iced and immediately proceeded to the runway and were first in line for takeoff. Here are some pictures of the de-icing procedure in Pittsburgh...
Another plane being de-iced
A cold sunrise and the de-icing equipment
Close-up of the de-icer. Notice the can of "Red Bull"
Within a few minutes we were airborne. The sunrise over the city was beautiful.
Ice covered roads and ground... only two hours to the sun and green grass
The tall buildings in downtown Pittsburgh can be seen behind the haze
At this point I would love to show you the delicious breakfast that was served in First Class. The only problem is that since this flight was less than two hours (1 hour and 50 minutes) no breakfast was served. US Airways does not serve food on flights less that two hours. There have been some comments recently on US Airways First Class. They are pretty much correct. I ended up sleeping for an hour. When I woke up, I got my PocketPC out and watched a movie. (I use a software program I found that converts DVDs to a minimized MPEG format that can be played on Windows Media Player.)
Since I had slept for an hour, the trip seemed to go be fast. The ground had turned from white to green and we descended into Orlando to 63 degrees. We arrived at the gate only a few minutes late. When I deplaned, I overheard the gate agent complain about how cold it was outside. I had no sympathy!
Approach to Orlando. Disney is in the background
The business trip was successful, and the weather got nicer and nicer as the week progressed. I even got a sunburn! I wasn't looking forward to returning to the sub-zero temperatures of Pittsburgh. Here are some photos of my return trip.
Back in Pittsburgh. View of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University
Downtown Pittburgh. Notice the ice in the river.
This morning the temperature was 9 degrees. I'm heading south again next week, this time to South Carolina. I can't wait.
The service was nothing to write home about. No food, plastic cups, aging planes--plus they don't serve the shortbread cookies anymore! I remember when things were much different before US Airway's first bankruptcy. I haven't seen any improvements in service since emerging from their second bankruptcy. They closed their club in Orlando (after hurricane damage two years ago), there was only one gate agent at the gate 20 minutes before boarding. During the flight the passengers are solicited to sign up for a credit card and purchase merchandise from the Sky Mall.
Quoting CXA330300 (Reply 3): Good report! Glad to see US still has some service to/from PIT. Aaah, the glory days of PIT......
I agree. Pittsburgh is not what it used to be. I remember transferring in Pittsburgh on US Airways about ten years ago with my family. We were slightly late in getting in and were in jeopardy of missing our connection in the commuter terminal. We were met by an agent and were escorted to a waiting van where we were driven across the field directly to the airplane. Now the commuter terminal is closed and has been converted to a secondary security screening area. US Airways has less than half the flights and has cancelled service to several destinations.
COERJ145 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1421 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 8553 times:
Quoting Jakeflyer (Reply 4): During the flight the passengers are solicited to sign up for a credit card and purchase merchandise from the Sky Mall.
I noticed this as well when taking a trip on US back in dec. The skymall/credit card card announcements lasted a long time plus the volume was turned up which made them very annoying(amost annoying enough to warrant a complaint letter).
Cubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22302 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 8500 times:
I've never been to PIT in the winter, but I've noticed that they don't use trucks for deicing but rather the fixed booms that you picture. Does that system seem faster than using trucks? Just curious what the advantage is.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
Avianca From Venezuela, joined Jan 2005, 5900 posts, RR: 40
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 8432 times:
really nice report!
Quoting Jakeflyer (Thread starter): As I drove to the airport, my car thermometer at one point registered -9 degrees F (-22 C). I
wow, I really miss this cold winters here in Venezuela.... I am German expat.... and I could well remember a very cold winter 3 years ago in Germany, the coldest weather that I felt in the last 1,5 years was a cold night at LIM transferring on a flight arriving from CCS and leaving EZE bound, it was actually cold 17 Celsius
Quoting Jakeflyer (Thread starter): At this point I would love to show you the delicious breakfast that was served in First Class. The only problem is that since this flight was less than two hours (1 hour and 50 minutes) no breakfast was served. US Airways does not serve food on flights less that two hours.
really a shame, on a Avianca CCS-BOG flight which have the same flight time that your flight had, you will get a full hot breakfast (even in Eco) and a 4 course meal for lunch or dinner in Business or a very nice cold snack in Eco. shame over US for such a poor service!
Jakeflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 8299 times:
Quoting Travatl (Reply 6): Crews don't control the volume of P.A. announcements.....
I should have mentioned that the crews did an excellent job. I know that they are doing only what they are told and try to do the best with what they have. The service levels on a lot of US carriers has declined and it must be a demotivater to the flight attendants who really want to give good service.
Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 7): I've never been to PIT in the winter, but I've noticed that they don't use trucks for deicing but rather the fixed booms that you picture. Does that system seem faster than using trucks?
Look at the first photo and you will notice the wing is very clean. I applaud the flight crew for being cautious. I think the fixed equipment is better. You don't have to wait for the trucks to get into position; it is located fairly close to the runway so little time passes between when the deicing is complete and the plane is airborne. From the time we left the gate to the time we were in the air was about 15 minutes. Guessing, it took about 5 minutes to deice.
Silentbob From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1962 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 7109 times:
Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 7): I've never been to PIT in the winter, but I've noticed that they don't use trucks for deicing but rather the fixed booms that you picture. Does that system seem faster than using trucks? Just curious what the advantage is.
No need to refill or reposition the trucks. The booms have enough range of motion to cover their side of the aircraft.
Quoting COERJ145 (Reply 5): I noticed this as well when taking a trip on US back in dec. The skymall/credit card card announcements lasted a long time plus the volume was turned up which made them very annoying(amost annoying enough to warrant a complaint letter).
FAs get $50per approved card, some make more on card approvals than their "normal" job duties. I believe they also get a commission on skymall purchases, ergo the sales pitches.