Topic Author
Posts: 1592
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 7:10 am


Fri Dec 27, 2002 11:42 am

December 25th
$97.50 r/t

10:35am Gate B29
United Airlines flt. 1271 Boeing 737-300

My uncle and I planned a day trip to Milwaukee to spend a few hours with family and to fly. We arrived at CMH around 8am for the 10:35am flight. Check-in was quick and easy, and the security line was short. We sat at the bar for a while and played some games in the arcade to pass the time. We started boarding around 10 and come to find out we had been put in Economy Plus, instead of economy. We had enough room to fully stretch our legs (uncle is 6'4"), a very pleasant experience. The captain had Ch. 9 turned on for most of the flight. Made a quick departure ahead of a WN 737 on runway 28R. Cruising altitude ended up as FL260, with smooth air all the way to ORD. The f/a's handed out a breakfast mix along with beverages. We landed about 20 minutes early on runway 27L and taxied to our gate.

12:00pm Gate F4
Air Wisconsin flt. 5616 BAE-146
Seat 14E ORD-MKE

We had a fairly long walk from UAL's satellite terminal all the way to the United Express F gates. But since we were early we decided to get some chips and salsa at the Chili's Too. Me and my uncle also checked out the Duty-Free shops. (Are the cigarettes sold here stale or fresh? Just curious.) We finally got the F4 and it was packed with several other UALex. flights (Appleton, Moline, etc.) We boarded a little after 11:30 and sat at the gate for quite a long time, departing a few minutes late, 12:14pm to be exact. Flight time ended up being 16 minutes, getting to Milwaukee at 12:30. I'm 99% sure we landed on runway 1L. I don't recall there being any beverage service at all. Got picked up by my Grandpa and spend the next few hours in Milwaukee visiting family.

Air Wisconsin flt. 5629
Scheduled : 7:15pm

Got to the airport a little before 6 and proceeded to get to the United Airlines check-in counter. When we got up there, we were told by the agent that something was wrong with the plane and we could not get on. They said the only option we had was to take a bus to Chicago. Bullshit. We weren't about to take a bus to Chicago, so we asked to try to arrange another alternative. She quickly got us booked on a USAirways flight with pretty much the exact same departure and connection times, and we were on our way.

*Schedule change*
6:55pm Boeing 737-300 USAirways
Gate D51 Seat 9A

After being rerouted, we proceeded to D51 to catch our 6:55pm departure to PIT. We had a fairly quick departure from 25L and were on our way to Pittsburgh. We got the usual pretzel and soda service on the flight, and had to listen to loud, boring USAirways infomercials most of the way. There was moderate snow on approach to PIT and we landed on a snow-covered runway with pretty heavy braking to get us stopped. Fairly uneventful and ok flight. Nothing special, but we had were worried about making our connection in PIT.

US Airways Express ERJ-145
Gate A22
Scheduled : 10:20pm
Actual : never

After scrambling to the gate, we were told out aircraft was here, but had a "slight technical problem," and were waiting for an update from the captain. Columbus, OH was never put on the A22 info screen, maybe we should've taken a hint. After over an hour of waiting an NO UPDATES WHATSOEVER, an ex-PIT Mesa Air mechanic trying to get to back to Columbus where he currently works, called the MTX in PIT to find out what was going on. They told him the aircraft had a cracked windshield. I asked him how long that could possibly take to repair, he told me at least 3 hours. We still werent't being updated, until it was after 11pm when they finally announced the flight was cancelled. Now USAir had 5 employees left in PIT and several cancelled flights with 100+ pissed off passengers. We scrambled to A19 to get rebooked for tomorrow morning. The lady ahead of us was told by a USAIR agent earlier that she could leave at 1pm the next day, but now the agent tells her she can't get on until 10pm the next evening. I felt bad for her, and she was pretty upset. Anyway, we debated over whether to just rent a damn car and drive home to Columbus, but USAIR decided to put us up in a hotel and give us food+taxi vouchers. We were rescheduled for the 905am flight back to CMH the next day. We got to the Country Inn & Suites around midnight. Kudos to USAIR for putting us in a nice hotel, but we still wanted to get home.

Shuttle America (USex.) Saab 340
9:05am Scheduled
9:35am actual

We left the hotel at 7 for our 9am departure. That was almost a huge mistake. We get to the terminal and there is a HUGE line for USAIR check-in. At least 3-4 hours long. There was no way we could make this flight if we didn't figure something out. We were tired of bullshit and went up to Transatlantic check-in, with virtually no one in line. They were extremely nice and checked us in with no problems, and we helped a fellow CMH-bound buddy who was also cancelled the night earlier get checked in. Security had a hugeass line also, but it moved fast, and both me and my uncle were double screened because of our "newly purchased" tickets. We actually made it to gate E9 with about 20 minutes until boarding, and we sat and chatted for a while. We were told the flight wouldn't leave until 9:15am and that we were overloaded and were asked if one of us would give up our seat in exchange for a free r/t ticket in the US & Canada. If it was 2 tickets we would've done it, but no dice. We left the gate on time, but we had to wait 10-15 minutes to de-ice. Flight into Columbus was loud and the seats were hard, but thankfully it was short. There was beverage service only and we made a slightly turbulent landing on runway 28L. We were finally home.

Just a question:

Is the USAIR check-in always that bad? It was AT LEAST a 3-4 hour line, and there are only about 10 check-in counters for a fairly large hub. Doesn't make sense.

Out UALex flight from MKE-ORD DID LEAVE and only arrived in ORD 6 minutes late. I will never find out why were shunned away from this flight. Our connection flight in ORD actually made it into CMH early.

United was good on the way to Milwaukee, in fact it was excellent, but I guess I don't understand why we weren't able to get on the ORD-bound flight when it did in-fact leave. And c'mon, a bus to Chicago? No.

And USAIR.... Nothing special. And then the MTX problem, It would have been nice to be updated more than once during 2+ hours. Overall, I think they handled it ok and even put us up in a nice hotel and a paid taxi. The Saab sucked, but it's got me home.

Luck didn't go our way, but we got our $97.50 worth of flying and adventure.

Posts: 1038
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2001 2:13 am


Fri Dec 27, 2002 6:35 pm

A good report. How big is CMH?
Topic Author
Posts: 1592
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 7:10 am


Fri Dec 27, 2002 11:39 pm

Not terribly large. 2 runways, about 650 daily movements, 39 gates. A minor hub for America West. Largest scheduled aircraft is a 757.
Posts: 753
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2001 12:48 pm


Sat Dec 28, 2002 3:41 pm

Living in PIT and flying US AIR 90% of the time, I have never had really any wait for US Air check in. I have flown out the day after Christmas in the morning just like you did (however...this was pre 9-11 with full staffing levels) and experienced no delays. Infact, the longest I have ever had to wait in PIT to check in was a 1/2 hour for a Northwest flight.

Topic Author
Posts: 1592
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 7:10 am


Sat Dec 28, 2002 10:25 pm

Wow, that's odd. I suppose there were TONS of cancellations the night of Christmas because of the huge snowstorm on the east coast, but the line was definately a few thousand people long.
Posts: 1219
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2001 9:31 am


Mon Dec 30, 2002 12:44 pm

Well, 12/25 much of the East Coast was whacked with a massive snow storm that no doubt cancelled many US flights out of PIT. Therefore, there were probably an inordinate amount of people who were rebooked on the first flight out of PIT.

I'd hesitate to be so critical since it was a holiday and was a big snow storm.

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