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Posts: 6913
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 4:47 am


Sun Jun 29, 2003 9:33 am

I went down to the Gulf Coast at the end of May for a conference, taking US Airways from Boston down to New Orleans, since I would be spending most of my time there. Unfortunately, there isn’t any decent air service between MSY and MOB, so I had to drive there for one day (with a stop in Gulfport/Biloxi), but that was it.

28 May 2003
US Airways 1615
Depart: Boston – Gen. Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport
Scheduled Departure: 1330 Local/1730 Zulu
Actual Departure: 1332 Local/1732 Zulu
Departure Gate: B4
Arrive: Philadelphia International Airport
Scheduled Arrival: 1452 Local/1852 Zulu
Actual Arrival: 1508 Local/1908 Zulu
Arrival Gate: C19
Equipment: Airbus A319-112
Registration: N760US
Seat: 19A

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Photo © William Jenkins

I arrived at the airport at roughly noon, since I had checked in the night before on What an experience, and I am definitely doing it again in the future. Since I had to go in to work that morning, I figured I would save myself some time by doing the check-in. I confirmed my seat, printed out a boarding pass, and that whole process was done from the comfort of my own home in no more than two minutes. After waiting in the lobby for my traveling companions (one of them showed up fashionably late), we cleared security. Once again, I was impressed. The nation was at Orange Alert, but there were absolutely no queues, and since I didn’t set anything off, I was through quite quickly and entered the US Airways concourse. By this time, I only had about 35 minutes prior to when boarding would commence, so I grabbed a bite at Sbarro before boarding N760US, which had arrived from Charlotte earlier that morning (it started its day out in Kansas City). There wasn’t a whole lot of action on the US Airways concourse at this time, so I can’t really tell you what I saw.

We boarded promptly at 1300, and I settled into 19A. I really enjoyed this seat. There seemed to be a lot of legroom, and since the flight was only about 60% full, everyone had either an aisle or a window, if not a whole block of seats. We quickly taxied out to Runway 9 via taxiways Alpha, Echo, and Sierra. We were first in line to depart, and we were off by 4000 feet. During the taxiway, I spotted a Delta Shuttle 737-832, a few US Airways Express Beech 1900 and ERJ-145, and some US Airways A319s. During climbout, I noticed the British Airways and Lufthansa 747s (the British Airways 744 was in the Chelsea Rose colours still; it was getting to the point where it seemed that every BA aircraft I saw was in the Chelsea Rose, on my previous spotting trip I saw a 777 at MCO and a 744 at BOS in this scheme), as well as the Swiss A330, American 777 and some other assorted domestic narrowbodies.

We quickly turned south after takeoff, reaching a cruise altitude of FL280. We flew out down to Martha’s Vineyard, then over Long Island, passing New Jersey at Ocean Township, NJ (the only reason I knew this was that one of my friends lives in Ocean, and I could see the Asbury Park Convention Centre down the seaboard). I had half a mind to call my friend to tell her that I was directly over her, but since they charge $10/call for Airfone, I opted not to. The inflight service consisted of a bag of pretzels and a Coke; I asked and received the whole can.

Our landing into PHL went quite smoothly. We landed at 1450 local time on Runway 9 Right, but that is where our troubles began. We got stuck in a terrible ground hold, which had us stopped at 9L/27R for a good 10 minutes, then they switched runways, which created further holding. However, I did get some spotting in. British Airways had their 747-400 in (in the Union Flag livery), and there were too many US Airways planes to count. There was also a Continental 737-300, a few AirTran 717s, a Delta 757, a few American narrowbodies (MD-80s and F-100s), and a few more assorted planes. We finally taxied into C19, with 20 minutes to catch my connecting flight (suspense).

28 May 2003
US Airways 1717
Depart: Philadelphia International Airport
Scheduled Departure: 1530 Local/1930 Zulu
Actual Departure: 1622 Local/2022 Zulu
Departure Gate: C19
Arrive: New Orleans – Louis Armstrong International Airport
Scheduled Arrival: 17 Local/1852 Zulu
Actual Arrival: 1508 Local/1908 Zulu
Arrival Gate: A5
Equipment: Airbus A319-112
Registration: N760US
Seat: 5A

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Photo © William Jenkins

Well, I had a very long strenuous walk to my connecting gate. Pretty much walk down the jetway, then walk back down it. The Philadelphia concourse was a zoo. It was nearly impossible to get around, since in the immediate vicinity of my gate were flights to Hartford and Kansas City, and all three flights were packed. Since we got in late, our outbound flight was to be late. We finally boarded, and I took my seat in 5A. While 19A had a good amount of legroom, 5A was pretty cramped. We had to wait to push back because of the DL / KBDL), USA - Connecticut">BDL flight, and then we were on our way to a take off line of about 20 planes. I saw some of the US Airways widebodies, which we never get in BOS. I also noticed my first Air Canada Jazz aircraft, since I never really see ACJazz in BOS (we have 3 daily flights to HZ), Canada - Nova Scotia">YHZ), and at MHT, we have Air Alliance Beechs instead of Jazz. Very sharp looking airliner. I also remarked the UPS Olympic Partners 767 over at their cargo area. We finally took off after an excruciating taxi, using about 2/3 of Runway 27 Right before getting airborne. Our flight would take us up to FL330, and took us over ROA, TYS, and MEI, amongst other locales. Our inflight service consisted of Coke (I asked for a full can and received it again), as well as two packages of pretzels. I know its only a 3 hour flight, but I still think US Airways could have shown an inflight movie. The A319 had the pop-down screens, and it would have been a nice treat to give us a movie. As we descended into MSY, I finally noticed the sun, which would have been a treat in rainy Boston (it rains pretty much every day here). We came over Lake Pontchartrain, and came in from the north before turning quickly onto Runway 10 for a smooth landing. I remarked the New Orleans Hornets Boeing 727-200 across from the terminal, as well as a Continental 737-900 (my first!), as well as a SkyWest CRJ (we don’t get those in the Northeast), as well as some visitors that I normally would see at either BOS or MHT (United A320, US Airways 737-400, Southwest 737-300/700, etc). Concourse A in New Orleans is a pretty nice concourse, you can tell it was recently redone. However, the baggage claim area could use a lot of work. The area seemed to be in pretty poor shape, and the baggage claim carousel was still advertising US5827 from SHV, not US1717 from PHL (we all figured out it was at that concourse).

The Trip:
A good trip overall. I had never been to New Orleans, and it is a fun city. I stopped in Gulfport/Biloxi on my way out to Mobile, a nice area to visit. I didn’t go to the casinos, but I did go wading in the Gulf of Mexico (luckily for me, it was under the approach for Runway 32 at GPT, so I saw an ASA CRJ land pretty close up. If only I had my camera with me…), as well as stopping at Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis house (I am a history junkie). Mobile is a nice city, it would have been nicer if I saw people there though while I was wandering around. On my way out of town, I stopped at a Krispy Kreme (we finally have one in Boston – no more Dunkin’ Donuts for me!), and there seemed to be more people there than in downtown Mobile.

The Return:
1 June 2003
US Airways 587
Depart: New Orleans – Louis Armstrong International Airport
Scheduled Departure: 0705 Local/1205 Zulu
Actual Departure: 0705 Local/1205 Zulu
Departure Gate: A6
Arrive: Washington, DC – Ronald Reagan National Airport
Scheduled Arrival: 1032 Local/1432 Zulu
Actual Arrival: 1022 Local/1422 Zulu
Arrival Gate: 39
Equipment: Boeing 737-4B7
Registration: N436US
Seat: 17F

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Photo © Kevin E. Cook

I arrived at MSY at about 0545, figuring there would be plenty of time prior to my flight. I was right. On my way into the airport, I noticed a Delta MD-88 and MD-90 next to each other by Concourse D, one was still in the old colours. Inside the terminal, I used the US Airways kiosk, which was quick and easy again. I dropped my bag off at the machine next to the check in desk, and proceeded through security. Security at MSY was the same as BOS. No line, no hassle whatsoever. I proceeded into the concourse, and did some spotting. A Northwest DC-9-30 in the new colours was preparing to leave for MSP (N986US), and there was an NWA A320 and DC-9-30 in Concourse A, as well as three US Airways 737-400s. I also noticed a Southwest 737-2H4Adv over at Concourse B, which made me happy. I bought a bagel at the lone vendor in Concourse A (the one place where the concourse needs work), and promptly got on board. I took my window seat and settled in. Since I couldn’t spot from this seat, I just watched cars go by on US-90, which was about 200 feet away. We promptly pushed back, and taxied out to Runway 28 for departure. I noticed a Continental 737-800, a bunch of Southwest 737s, as well as a few AA, UA, and DL birds prior to take off. On this flight, we climbed up to FL330. We were to go over MGM, ATL, CLT, GSO, and RIC prior to landing at DCA. I had some great views of CLT and RIC during the flight (unfortunately, I missed ATL – my favourite airport). This was one of those pay for your meal flights. The menu was comprised of a breakfast ham sandwich and some other small things, all for the price of $7. I just took a full can of Coke. There was no movie during this flight, oh well; the Sunday Times-Picayne carried me through the flight. Due to a strong Northwesterly wind, we landed on Runway 33, which was really nice. We had a pretty quick landing, maybe because the runway is only 5200 feet (I wonder…)? Anyway, we had a quick taxi past the US Airways Express aircraft, including a new Midway Airlines CRJ (N591ML). I bought a copy of the New York Post in the concourse, and then did some plane spotting. I saw the America West Diamondbacks 757, as well as a bunch of US Airways, American, and Delta birds. Then, it was time for the flight back to BOS.

1 June 2003
US Airways Shuttle 2030
Depart: Washington, DC – Ronald Reagan National Airport
Scheduled Departure: 1130 Local/1530 Zulu
Actual Departure: 1130 Local/1530 Zulu
Departure Gate: 44
Arrive: Boston – Gen. Edward L. Logan International Airport
Scheduled Arrival: 1247 Local/1647 Zulu
Actual Arrival: 1244 Local/1644 Zulu
Arrival Gate: B19
Equipment: Airbus A319-112
Registration: N762US
Seat: 5F

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Photo © James Richard Covington, Jr

Boarding was quick and painless. This was a former mainline aircraft, it had been operating mainline flights as late as April of that year (according to photos in the database). However, Shuttle titles were added. The interior was one of first and economy class. My question is how is it decided who gets to sit in First Class on these flights? I assume it is US Airways Preferred members, but if anyone can clarify, I would appreciate it. We quickly and promptly pushed back, and down Taxiways Kilo and Charlie onto Runway 1. On the taxi down, I noted an ATA Boeing 737-800 in the new colours (very sharp), as well as Midwest Airlines 717 N904ME. I was very happy to see that plane. We quickly took-off, using about half the runway. We climbed up to FL370, to go to Boston via the JFK VOR. On departure, I could clearly see the Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, and the White House (I’ll avoid politics here…). We were quickly above the clouds, and that is where we stayed (literally) until landing. We were served pretzels and soda on this flight, and I just relaxed and read the Post. The flight was full. The weather in Boston was horrible, so we did a nice ILS landing onto Runway 33 Left, with a ceiling of no more than 1000 feet. It was a very nice landing, because you pretty much broke from the clouds, you were over water for about 30 seconds, and then you were on the ground. I noticed the usual BOS aircraft, but two airliners caught me by surprise. Saudi Arabian Airlines had their VIP L-1011 HZ-HM5 on the ground, I was really pleased by this. You don’t get to see an L-1011 every day now, and especially not a Saudi Arabian one. In addition, I saw an American 767-300 ER. Now, you might not think this special, but AA had not been using the 763 into BOS. I went home and later found out that they were resuming BOS-CDG that night. We parked at Gate B19, and I went down to the baggage claim area. They kept moving us around down there; we were supposed to use the US Airways Shuttle belt, but then we were moved to a US Airways mainline belt, then finally to the Delta Shuttle belt. Oh well. I went home, and just relaxed after this trip.

I hope you enjoyed this one, and I apoligize for no pictures. Since the nation was at orange alert, I decided not to bring suspicion to myself and not do photography, and at GPT, I left my camera in the car, not knowing that I was under the threshold to the active runway there.

Posts: 1826
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 10:56 am


Sun Jun 29, 2003 10:50 am

Great Report. In response to your Shuttle A319 First Class cabin question, its the same as the First Class Cabin on any A319, if you want to sit there you buy a First Class seat or upgrade yourself if applicable.
DC-10's Forever
"Traveling light is the only way to fly" - Eric Clapton
Posts: 1395
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2001 1:41 am


Sun Jun 29, 2003 10:59 am

I did not think Usairways offered First class on there shuttle flights, because when I flew to Boston a couple of years ago from DCA they did not offer first class.

May God bless you and everyone through Jesus Christ,

God bless through Jesus, Jeff
Posts: 7543
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:52 am


Sun Jun 29, 2003 11:46 am


Glad you had a nice time in MSY. You're right about the baggage claim, it's pretty old looking. I hope they spruce it up one of these days. And about's always dead pretty much.

I love the city of BOS, always a treat to visit that was basically my home away from home when I attended college in PVD...went there every weekend pretty much...I loved Castle Island next to Logan, got some great photos from there.

I always thought US would do very well if they had a nonstop BOS-MSY flight....about 360 pass per day between the two cities and no nonstops...pretty sad. US has a decent little operation down here, with soon-to-be 12 daily mainline flights, not bad for a non-Northeast/Florida city...they have consistently high load factors on all flights.

Hope to get back to beautiful New England soon.

Steve in N.O

Posts: 5902
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 1999 6:27 am


Sun Jun 29, 2003 12:45 pm

I agree. I think a non-stop BOS-MSY flight would have good load factors. Maybe the yields aren't high enough to warrant a flight.

DeltAirlines, also AA has been using the 763 on one of the LAX flights now. The arrival is at around 1600 and departs a little while later. But, with CDG back now, it is a bit more common. I love the AA 763. Very sharp plane.

Great report.

« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Topic Author
Posts: 6913
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 4:47 am


Mon Jun 30, 2003 3:33 am

I wouldn't be surprised to see Song maybe launch a BOS-MSY flight. If anything, I think Southwest would be able to fill a daily 733 from both PVD and MHT. Southwest creates markets, and with their new gates in Concourse B down there, they have the room to connect the dots here.

Posts: 5902
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 1999 6:27 am


Tue Jul 01, 2003 3:33 am

Yeah, that's definitely a market that WN could serve and probably make some money off of.

« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Tom in NO
Posts: 6725
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 1999 10:10 am


Tue Jul 01, 2003 4:38 am

Hey Jeff,

Couple of quick comments. Outside of vendor space, and small knick-knacky things, the only thing we've done on concourse A in recent is to tile the main walkway. We did that around 1990 or so. Before that, it was carpeted throughout.

There's a new food court coming in the lobby area between concourses A and B before the end of the year.

The baggage claim area was entirely rebuilt in the late 80's. And, yes, it does show some age, and is tough to keep up. The flimsy brick tile flooring and cieling panels are constantly in need of repair. Also, the ceilings there are kind of low, so that adds to the effect.

Next time you're in town, let me know. I'll run you around the airfield and do some real spotting!

Tom at MSY
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina

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