US Airways 1191
Depart: Boston – Gen. Edward L. Logan International Airport
Scheduled Departure: 0700 Local
Actual Departure: 0654 Local
Departure Gate: B6
Arrive: Charlotte – Douglas International Airport
Scheduled Arrival: 0910 Local
Actual Arrival: 0904 Local
Arrival Gate: B10
Equipment: Boeing 757-225
Photo © Rudy Chiarello
I decided I would use my e-upgrades for this flight, as I figured first class service would be much better than economy class for this sector. I was right. After having some technical difficulties the night before with online check-in, I had to go to the airport to check-in. I ate at home in the morning, dropped my car off at Park Shuttle and Fly, and took the shuttle bus to the US Airways gates. I went to the First Class counter, where there was no wait, and I had my ticket for BOS-CLT, and my connecting flight CLT-RDU. Security was a breeze, no more than 5 people in front of me. US Airways security lines are very quick at BOS, and it is very nice. It sure beats the massive queues over at Delta. After passing security, I grabbed a copy of the Boston Globe and USA Today, and settled in at the Gate B4 lounge, as CNN was on the monitor there. Johnny Cash and John Ritter had both died that night, so it was a pretty somber day. At 0630, First Class boarding commenced. I took my seat up in 3A and got situated. The purser came by and immediately started taking drink orders, I availed myself to an orange juice. The purser on this flight was amazing. He was very attentive to us, always making sure if we wanted another drink or anything else, and he did it with a smile. The other flight attendants on board were very good too. An excellent crew overall. First Class was about half-full, this included a couple of dead-heading pilots, so everyone spread out and relaxed. Economy class was completely full. We pushed back early, and taxied past some Delta Shuttle 737-300s and US Airways planes (737, 757, A319, A320, Beech 1900). We had to wait a while to take off, while many planes, including an American A300, United 757, and AirTran 717 overtook us. Oh well, it gave me some decent spotting opportunities. We finally were cleared onto Runway 9, and took off to the east. I don’t really know where we overflew, as it was only a 1000 foot ceiling that morning. The flight was very smooth, I don’t know what flight level or any other details though. Food service was the In-flight café program, but complimentary to those in First Class. I decided to forego it, since I am a particularly picky eater. We finally started our descent and landed on 18R at Charlotte, coming in over South Carolina.
While at Charlotte, my first stop was the Krispy Kreme store. I love Krispy Kremes, but I am unfortunately stuck with Dunkin’ Donuts, as I live in Massachusetts. So when I see one, I have to pull over and get a donut. I then took a nice walk around the airport, as I had a pretty long layover. There were a bunch of US Airways 737s and 757s hanging around…not that many Airbuses though. I was a little surprised by this, but oh well. The most interesting US Airways movement was seeing a Shuttle A320 (N110UW) down there, plus I got to see my first US Airways CRJ in a few years, as well as seeing a Dash 8-300 (we don’t get those in New England, only the –100s). Delta had a 737-200 on the ground (N375DL), United had 3 planes (one was hanging over from the previous day, when it went mechanical), and American had an ERJ on the ground. The rest was US Airways. Beautiful airport though, the best of any of US’ connecting airports.
US Airways 582
Depart: Charlotte – Douglas International Airport
Scheduled Departure: 1040 Local
Actual Departure: 1033 Local
Departure Gate: C19
Arrive: Raleigh/Durham International Airport
Scheduled Arrival: 1134 Local
Actual Arrival: 1126 Local
Arrival Gate: A24
Equipment: Boeing 737-3B7
Photo © Michael Licko
Now it was time to go on to RDU. This was going to be a short flight, so I didn’t bother using upgrades. Anyway, the flight was completely sold out…there were a few passengers on the plane when I got on, remaining from the prior DFW-CLT segment. We pushed back early, but since this was at the end of US Airways’ bank, we were about number 15 for takeoff. Anyway, that gave me some spotting opportunities for freighters. UPS had 2 DC-8-70s, and ATI had a DC-8-70 there. In addition, Roush Racing had 2 727-100s (one had no engines), Express.net had an A300, DHL had a 727, and Airborne Express had 2 DC-9s. Excellent freighter spotting though. We were finally cleared to take off on Runway 18R, and off we went. I don’t know the route, as we were above clouds the whole time, but we did get up to FL120, albeit briefly. The in-air time was about 25 minutes, and we were not served anything on board. I didn’t really mind though, since it was such a short jaunt. We quickly came down into RDU and landed early onto Runway 5R. On the ground at RDU was a Southwest 737-300, a couple of US Airways Express planes (Dash 8-100, and Beech 1900D), as well as a United Express/ACA CRJ. Later, a Northwest DC-9 landed. We got on the Avis bus and drove past Terminal 3, where Pace had an ex-Frontier 737-200 in the new colours, and American Eagle had a few ERJ-135s hanging around.
I spent the weekend visiting friends in North Carolina and Virginia, and then returned home Sunday night for important meetings Monday.
US Airways Express 3046 (opb Piedmont Airlines)
Depart: Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Airport
Scheduled Departure: 1540 Local
Actual Departure: 1534 Local
Departure Gate: 5
Arrive: Pittsburgh International Airport
Scheduled Arrival: 1650 Local
Actual Arrival: 1646 Local
Arrival Gate: A6
Equipment: deHavilland Dash 8-100
Photo © Radomir Zaric
Got to CHO around 2 o’clock because I wouldn’t have enough time to keep wandering Charlottesville before my flight. Great city though…incredible restaurants! I dropped my car off at Avis, and noted that there was a Dash 8-100 to CLT already there, plus a Cargo Shorts 330 (N330AC). I went into the terminal and the very nice counter man checked me in to BOS. Security here was great. No line in front of us, and the TSA screeners here were the best I have seen. No glitches at all. I went to the observation desk and just waited for my flight there. At times, it did not feel like I was at an airport. A good amount of the time it was completely silent, and I could hear the crew of a UAX flight speaking in the plane. United Express/ACA had a Jetstream 41 on the ground, it was nice to see it because a.) we don’t get those at BOS or MHT, and b.) they will be gone by April. Not much else though, a bizjet came in, and there were two touch-and-goes. Finally, I saw N911HA come in over the trees from PHL. Turnaround was quick, and I was soon on the plane. I had to gate-check my rollaboard, but no problem there. This flight was mostly full, only one or two of the seats were empty. I was in 6A, which has a distorted view with the engines in the way. It was right next to the gear and flaps though, which made up for it. We departed early, just after a Dash 8 from CLT came in. I don’t know how high we got or the route, but we passed over some beautiful Appalachian scenery. All green as far as the eye could see. Service on this flight was a drink and pretzel service, nothing special. We started our descent into PIT early, and we landed onto Runway 32. We taxied into the terminal, but our gate was switched, so we had to wait 15 minutes until the ramp rats could get over to A6. In the meantime, we just sat. It took another 10 minutes to get our gate-checked bags, but I stood on the ramp watching US Airways narrowbodies taxi in. While at PIT, I went right to my connecting gate after grabbing a slice of pizza on the way.
US Airways 1216
Depart: Pittsburgh International Airport
Scheduled Departure: 1745 Local
Actual Departure: 1757 Local
Departure Gate: B39
Arrive: Boston – General Edward L. Logan International Airport
Scheduled Arrival: 1920 Local
Actual Arrival: 1928 Local
Arrival Gate: B8
Equipment: Boeing 737-301
Photo © Gregg Stansbery
I also upgraded on this flight. 1A and 1D were the options, but I thought 1A just sounded a lot better. The flight was late arriving in PIT, so boarding was delayed. However, I got right on and settled into 1A. General boarding then began, but I just ate my pizza while people walked by. This was a completely full flight, 12F/110Y. The flight attendant did make a drink service though after economy was boarded though…which was good, as I needed a drink to wash down my pizza. The safety announcement was then made, which was interesting. It was the standard stuff, but they went into this big anti-economy class spiel. They said that the forward lavatory was for first class passengers only, while there were two lavs in the back for coach. They also said that first class would get their choice of two snacks from a basket, with coach getting peanuts. They also reminded everyone that liquor would cost $5 in coach, but was complimentary in coach. Oh well, it didn’t bother me, since I was up front and was getting all the perks.
Anyway, we taxied out to Runway 28R for departure. We were number three, and it went quickly. Not much of interest on the ground, about 90% of the planes were in the blue and grey colours that are dominant at this airport. We quickly got up to FL290 and stayed there for the flight. There was no IFE on this flight, and service consisted of our choice of Milano cookies, pretzels, Cape Cod potato chips, cheese and crackers, and maybe another thing or two. The rest of the flight, I just settled in and read the paper. We landed late at BOS, onto Runway 27. Not much was going on at BOS, it was in between flight periods. FedEx has a DC-10, A300, and A310 on the ground, while US Airways had a couple of 733s on the ground. British Airways, Lufthansa, and Icelandair were all present also. I got off the plane though, and walked right into Legal Sea Foods, where the Pats game was on. A good amount of people gathered around to watch the last 4 minutes of the game, which the Patriots fortunately won (it was a must win for us, but then again, it was for Philly too. Sorry Eagles fans though). I went straight home, and then got ready for my busy day the next day.
Hope you enjoyed,