A Comedy of Errors On USAirways
USAirways Express* 2803
Depart NEWARK: 7:30pm
Arrive PITTSBURGH: 9:09pm
ERJ-145/Op Mesa Airlines
I was not looking forward to this flight for a number of reasons. First being, it had been heavily delayed on the 3rd, and canceled on the 4th and 5th. The weather was sucky and I had made the dumb mistake of booking myself on a night flight. I am not a huge fan of night flights, and the weather really didnt help.
I printed out my boarding pass for 2803 and gave myself seat 01A- last on, first off. It would also be across from the flight attendant- who knows, perhaps they would have been willing to chat for a bit.
Got to Newark at about 6:00 for my 7:30 departure and proceeded to gate A39, where there was no information posted at the gate. Why USAirways has four gates at Newark, I will never understand, but the only gate that had activity was A37, where the 6:00pm to Pittsburgh was still sitting. They offered me a seat, but declined it as I had a gut feeling the ERJ would not be going out on schedule- and I love the excitement
The boarding time was 7:00pm and as 7:00 came and went, there was no information at the gate, nor was there an announcement. A jaunt over to the boards revealed:
USAIRWAYS 2803 PITTSBURGH A39 7:22pm DELAYED
USAIRWAYS 2803 PITTSBURGH A39 7:30pm ON
Hmmm.. This seemed a little suspicious, so I went over to the gate agent and asked what was going on, to which she told me the plane had not yet left Pittsburgh. 7:22? I think not. The board now finally had information posted and the new departure time was 8:50pm. I went back to the status boards mid-concourse to see what they had to say, and surprise surprise, the boards were screwy as usual!
USAIRWAYS 2803 PITTSBURGH A39 8:50pm DELAYED
USAIRWAYS 2803 PITTSBURGH A39 7:30pm ON
Riiiiiiight.... Well, it started to get late and 8:50 came and past, at which I requested to fly out Friday morning as I really could not arrive Pitt so late into the evening. The friendly agent rebooked me onto the 9:35am flight free of charge, and so my parents picked me up and home we went. The flight did finally depart at around 10pm.
Depart NEWARK: 9:35am
Arrive PITTSBURGH: 11:14am
Checked in and printed my boarding pass as soon as I got home the night before and secured seat 15F. The load was only going to be 56/114, and I was pleased to be able to get a row all to myself right behind the wing- does it get better?
Got to the airport and there was a plane sitting at the gate bound for Charlotte, continuing to Nashville. The 737-300 looked clean, and so I was hopeful as to the condition of my airplane. Oi veh esmere guvold!
The plane arrived from Pitt around 8:50am, and I saw that it was N591US, among the last of the 737 to be repainted. The paint job was immaculate, and the 737 was shining in the morning sun. Boarding was called- first First Class and Chairman Elites, which took about five minutes. Following, all rows for flight 502 were called at once- understandable since there was such a light load. I boarded the aircraft and was greeted by a friendly flight attendant chewing gum like a cow. With a heavy New York accent, she said "How ya doin'".
I proceeded back to row 15, stowed my bag in the overhead bin and scooched into the row. Im not a tall person, but the 737s are TIGHT!! The plane was pretty clean, so good on USAirways.
After all the passengers were onboard, doors were shut and we pushed back for an on-time departure. After the tug was disconnected, the sound of engines starting was heard, following the sound of engines shutting down. This repeated a few times and then came an awkward silence- I knew something wasn't totally proper.
Soon after, the captain came on and told us that the APU seemed to be inoperative, and that we would have to do a ground start. He continued on for a few minutes talking about how an airplane is not a car, and that the engines need air to start. Well, ten minutes later, we were still sitting there. Another announcement from up front revealed that the pipe USAirways needed to use to pump air wouldnt fit properly with the valve on the plane. So they brought in a pump from Continental, and about five minutes later we were ready to go.
Then, the air stopped flowing. We were holding near gate A35 and the plane started to get hot. "Uhh folks, looks like the air conditioning doesnt want to work right, so were going to taxi back to the gate and let maintenance take a quick look-see."
We taxi to gate A38 and the engines shut down. Maintenance comes on, fixes the problem, and we are ready to go... right? No sir! Continental's machinery is again called in to start the engines. We start up, get pushed back and FINALLY flaps are set and we taxi to Runway 04L. By this time, we had missed our slot and so we were #19 for departure.
We line up and it is at this point I discover the 737-300 windows are surprisingly low. I'm not tall, but I had to duck my head a little to look out at the wings. Engines spooled up and I was amazed at how quiet the airplane was- especially for a 1988 bird!
Rotation was quick and the pressure was...interesting. Take off was by no means steep, but sure was windy, and after about three minutes we leveled off and started making a few turns. Gradually, we would climb in increments of 1000-1500 feet. The flaps had been set to third position, and so they started retracting not long after rotation. They retracted two positions and then stopped. The flaps on the 737 are noisy, and so I could hear the sound however the flaps were not moving. Finally, after several minutes of this noise, the flaps extended again and were then retracted, but no luck. They would not fully retract. After one more effort, the finally retracted.
Climb was slow still, and in total, it took 31 minutes to reach 26,000 feet. Beverage and snack service had already commenced at somewhere near 15,000 feet. A "We have now crossed 10,000 feet" video was shown, and it just WOULD NOT SHUT UP
. It went on forever about random crap- I dont see why flight attendants cant just say this over the PA (which kept cutting out on this particular airplane)
Beverage cart came around and I had a Coke, no ice and was given the full can with a bag of Snyder's "Snaps".
The flight passed quickly and soon enough we were starting decent. The cabin crew, which was very efficient and friendly, came around and collected trash. Shortly thereafter we began our final approach and made a very smooth landing in Pittsburgh.
I deplaned, said thanks to the crew, threw N591 a dirty look and continued about my way, ready to spend a weekend with my sister at the University of Pittsburgh.
USAirways 1404 (or is it?)
Depart PITTSBURGH: 1:15pm
Arrive LAGUARDIA: 2:33pm
My weekend had gone by too fast and I had a most excellent time at the college with all my sisters friends and whatnot. Today was a day I was looking forward to- I am finally flying the A321!
I arrived at the airport at about 11am, what with the busses being what they are, and proceeded to go through security with my dorm-printed boarding pass for seat 24F. No problem there, and continued on to gate B35 where I asked to take the 11:55 to LGA
I was told I could pay to take the earlier flight at which I was so shocked to hear I just walked away. What idiot at USAirways decided it would be cool to make people pay to take an EARLIER flight?! One would think they want you out of the system as quickly as possible. Are they really losing money by shifting an empty seat from one plane to the next?
I proceeded to gate B39 and waited for the arrival of our A321, inbound from Orlando. N166US arrived bang on time and soon after, the masses of children piled out from the Airbus. Boarding for our flight began and the load seemed to be somewhere around 150, so not bad at all. There really wasnt enough seating nor space for 150 people at this gate- shame on USAirways for assigning a nearly full A321 to a gate barely suited for an ERJ!
I boarded and was greeted at door 1L by a friendly flight attendant and proceeded to make my way back to seat 24F. The middle seat would remain empty, with a very pleasant man in 24D, his wife and friends in ABC.
We taxied out for departure and the captain came on and announced flight time to LGA
as 46 mintues, with a nice tailwind speeding us along. Took off and made some correctional turns- the entire thing was relatively smooth. I was again taken by surprise how quiet the A321 was. Drink service was started, and I was treated to a cup of Coke with more Snaps.
The flight passed by very quickly, and soon we began our approach- and this was the first time I had ever descended into LGA
quite like this. We came in around 8,000 feet over Howard Beach and was soon treated to a birds eye view of JFK
, to which I could clearly identify several aircraft as belonging to jetBlue. Then made a sharp left turn and flew over Prospect Park, followed by a steady descent and over the LIE and then some buildings (sadly, not as low as, say,over Northern Blvd- but close) and then came in low low low over the water and made a sharp left turn at about 300 feet ASL, and immediately landed. Touchdown was smooth, followed by a brief activation of the spoilers and Trs.
Said thanks and deplaned- and that was that!
- N591US really needs some repairs!
- 733 windows are low.. Or is it me?
- The A321 kicks total ass
- The A321 kicks total ass
- The A321 kicks total ass
USAirways is almost there... the crews were great, aircraft clean and comfortable (moreso on the Airbus) and snacks were sufficient for the route. The flight deck crews were informative and friendly as well.
Price paid: $198.00- a bargain for NYC-PIT
Would I fly US again? Stick me on one of their Airbusses and I'm all for it.
Thanks for reading, leave a comment!