This was a vacation trip and retirement trip for my mother-in-law to the Grand Canyon using PHX as the nearest O/D.
14 June 2004
USX Flt 2558 ERJ 145 0935-1035 RDU-PIT
This was my first flight since June of 2001 and the first to fly on a regional and an Airbus. The flight depareted full and on time from RDU. I found the ERJ to be comfortable in the leather seats (I was in 3A) , although like most folks wouldn't want to fly cross country in one. The single flight attendent provided excelllent, friendly service (beverage) on the this segment. We arrived at PIT and used gate A9 (jetway equipped). RDU departure required using portable steps at both the jetway and airplane.
US Airways Flt 1002 A319-112 1205-1317
The flight arrived about 10 minutes late from Hartford thus holding up things a little for cleaning the plane prior to departure. We boarded and departed at about 12:15 sitting in row 13F. I found the 319 to have more than adequate leg room and the seats to be as comfortable as possible after a 4 hour flight. These were cloth seats in coach as first class had leather seats. Service on this flight by the 3 attendents was also excellent and friendly. We bought the $5 box lunch as our layover in PIT wasn't long enough to sit and eat something. I found these lunch boxes to be plenty enough for the price. The inflight movie was Miracle which had just been on TV not long ago here in NC. The one thing I found unusual was the amoung of groaning and grumbling by the hydraulic system as the plane braked during taxiing. Once airborne the plane was quiet. Once arriving in PHX the bags arrived surprisingly quickly as we were at gate 9, Terminal 2. Now to the rental vehicle and off to the Canyon.
18 June 2004
US Airways Flt 152 PHX-CLT A319-112 1015-1700
The receptionist at our hotel in Williams, AZ suggested that I allow 3.5 hours travel time back to the Phoenix area to allow for morning rush hour traffic if my goal was to be at the airport by 8AM so we left at about 415AM and arrived at the US desk at 7AM. Traffic was not bad and the car check in was quick. Because our flight didn't leave until 1015 there was NO ONE at the check in desk as all other US passengers were already in the security line. The counter agents told us to go eat something an by 9AM the security line would be gone. At 7AM the line was all the way aorund the corner and down in front of all the car rental counters although it was moving fast. While waiting I found a place to watch Continenal departures although I made a mistake of leaning against the wall by the door setting off an alarm. A security agent, very friendly and understanding, told me the walls and door were extremely sensitive to pressure. There wasn't any problem in watching.
At about 830 we got in line and passed through security easily and quickly and proceeded to gate 9 again. While waiting I took some pictures of planes and airlines that I don't get to see in RDU such as Am West, Ted, & local feeders. The flight in was a little late so our departure was delayed. This flight was also full so no upgrades were available. Upon taxiing, the noise appeared again so I assume it is particular to 319 aircraft. We had to wait in line on the apron in order to get in the taxi line. Once airborn we were off over ABQ, ELP, DFW, MEM, CHA, and finally CLT. There were some storms between CHA and CLT so some diverisons around them were being offered. We arrived on time and docked at gate B1.
18 June 2004 US Flt 693 B737-301 CLT-RDU
Our departure was from gate C5 so a quick walk was all that was necessary. Boarding began at 1735 and our departure was at 1803 (2 minutes early by my watch). The captain stated that our flight time would be 26 minutes which was quicker than I anticipated. We had an all male crew this flight and one attendent was 6ft+ and the monitors that are in the ceiling make life miserable for him. A man in front of me (seat 7C) would not hang up his cell phone so this big guy comes and tells him "we ain't leaving until you shut up". Phone conversation promptly ended. The man on the phone was griping about everything and the attendent made his speech in a very jovial and comical way. The flight was quick so no service was available and we were back in RDU at gate A23 at 1845 which was early according to schedule.
I enjoyed the flights as I don't get to fly often. I found the service to be friendly and more than adequate. The flight attendents on the PHX to CLT route were trying their best to get the soundtrack of the movie to work but couldn't so gave everyone their money back. The planes were clean, the flights were prompt, and I would call my flight series on US as very good.