This is my first attempt at a trip report, so go easy on me guys and girls.
28th April, 2004 – 8B752, GND/BGI
28th April, 2004 – US1476, BGI/PHL
28th April, 2004 – US100, PHL/LGA
On April 28th 2004, at about 10:00am I checked in for my 11:00am Caribbean Star flight to Barbados. I was booked on flight 8B 752, which stops in the island of St Vincent for 15 minutes then continues on the Barbados. This flight was operated by a Dash 8-300. We left just about 11 and had a smooth, short and uneventful flight to St Vincent. But this is where the fun begins.
St Vincent has a very short runway, and Dash 8’s with heavy loads have to do a Short Field Take-off. So the aircraft slowly taxied down the runway, turned around and held the brakes. The engine was then powered to about half for a second or two then full. This is the point where you are surprised a Dash 8 can sound like this. The engines roar, the aircraft rattles and then the brake is released. The Dash 8 hurtled down the runway at with an incredible acceleration rate, then leaped off the ground and immediately banked left for its course to Barbados. Taking off in SVD is just amazing guys, you have to experience it.
I got to Barbados at about 12:30, just on schedule. I cleared immigration and customs, and then made my way up to the US Airways counter for check-in. I was traveling non revenue on US Airways flight 1476 to PHL. I checked in, got upgraded to F/C since there were seats available. I found out as this time that the inbound flight was running about 30 minutes behind schedule. This can be a big problem on the return flight as the connections in PHL can be quite tight. I went for lunch then went into the departure lounge to see what goodies the tarmac had for me today. In Barbados I saw BA 777, AC 767 and A320, VS 747 and a few Dash 8’s. Not the busiest of days for Barbados. The US Airways flight arrived as estimated and the BGI ground staff did a great job in getting the aircraft cleaned, catered and security checked in a timely fashion, and about 30 minutes later the aircraft was ready for boarding. We boarded, passengers quickly got seated so we can push back and get to PHL on time. At this point rain was pouring outside, and I had the joy of seeing the AC 767 take off on the wet runway. It is awesome to see the water spray all around the aircraft as the aircraft moves down the runway.
We pushed back, taxied and in about 5 minutes the A320 was screaming down runway, nose edging off the ground as it tries to fly. Soon we were in the air, gears up, flaps retracted and the aircraft gracefully banking as it prepare itself for the 4 hour and 15 minute flight to the city of Philadelphia.
The IFE was pretty decent on the flight, I listened to the music. They have a great channel; I think it is 6, that is entitled “Off the charts.” So indulged myself in that and read a Dan Brown novel that was very intriguing. They had a channel that played relaxing instrumental music and even had their theme song “Transformations.” I had a fish dinner that was very tasty, served with fresh garden salad, rolls and pasta. I had this with some white wine. For desert I had chocolate. I had a few bags of chips as I read my book through the flight. When I wasn’t reading I was sleeping, and there times I didn’t even realize I dosed off. The flight was pretty smooth and very relaxing until we got to the north east coast of the US and started our decent into the Philadelphia area. A cold front was just on its way out so it gave us our fair share of bumps as we descended.
At about 8:45 the A320’s main gear softly touched the PHL runway 27L (if I am not mistaken) only to be followed by a loud and powerful reverse thrust. We slowed down quickly and taxied off the runway. PHL was busy, and it is a joy to see US Airways jets in abundance at PHL in the night. You know you are in US Airways’ town. We got to our gate in about 10 minutes, and I cleared immigration and customs, and proceeded to gate B9 for my 10:15pm connecting flight US100 to LGA. Guess what aircraft it was? Another A320. I do love the A320 but there is some excitement when your connecting flight is another aircraft type.
Flight 100 was very light about 40 passengers so we boarded and pushed quite early, but stayed about 20 minutes in ‘traffic’ before we were number 1 to takeoff. As the nose wheel touched the runway, the engines started to rev. As were lining up with the centre line, the engines’ growl turned into the A320 scream, and then quickly followed by the A320’s roar and buzz. Since the flight was light, so we were off the ground quite quickly and banking for the NYC. We flew at a low altitude and we approached LGA by flying up the East Side of Manhattan. The view was absolutely breathtaking. This is the point that NYC energy is pulling you out of the aircraft. It is impossible not to grin. We made our approach to LGA, and our aircraft’s wheels made contact with NYC soil, reverse thrust engaged, aircraft slows and turns off the active runway. My favorite announcement was then made, “Ladies and Gentlemen, US Airways takes great joy in welcoming you to New York’s LaGuardia Airport.”
Great US Airways trip guys. I am a US fan, and I think they are a great airline. They are going through some tough time, but I sincerely hope they last through it. Their employees are ‘down to earth’ and genuinely helpful. It is evident that they are hoping for the best in the future, so they can continue to do what they are really good at. Let’s wish for the best.
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