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LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:53 am

Departure Airport: New York La Guardia, USA (KLGA/LGA)
Arrival Airport: Buffalo, New York USA (KBUF/BUF)
Airline: US Airways Express (Chautauqua Airlines)
Flight number: 3523
Aircraft type: Embraer ERJ-145LR
Registration: N280SK
Date: 5th January 2005
Class: Y (Economy)
Flight time: 1hr

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Photo © Art Brett

Following on from my trip report on United out to New York, here is the next part of my trip. About a week before departure to the US, we started looking at trips over to the Niagara Falls as it's somewhere I always wanted to visit. This time using Expedia simply to guage fares and not making the mistake of booking via them, I noticed that US Airways and American were offering reasonable fares to BUF. The thought of a drive to Niagara wasn't too appealing, especially when I could get another flight under my belt!

There wasn't a great deal to separate the fares between AA and US, though US were a negligible amount cheaper. However US were offering better times so we leaned towards them. The price on their website came to just $115.20 each return including tax, and at the current USD-GBP exchange rate, that made it a mere £61 return - the cheapest way I'll have ever got on an ERJ! I had to select the flights carefully as my mum has a thing about very small aircraft (especially props) and didn't want to end up on a little bugsmasher! I would have been happy with any of their fleet, but I quite fancied the ERJ145 (well I actually wanted the ERJ170 but they don't fly it on that route  Sad). Luckily the outbound time we wanted was an ERJ, but the return was on a Dash 8 or a Saab 340 and though I told my mum that the Dash 8 was not a bugsmasher, she insisted I found a flight on a jet aircraft. I tried the flight before and it was the ERJ again, so that was settled. I'd have liked to try one of the others (as they'd both be new types for me, but you can't have it all!)

I went to make the booking on usairways.com but every time I went to make the payment, it said that there was a problem. This carried on for a day or so until I emailed US Airways support for help. I got a reply within 10 minutes of emailing  Big thumbs up - very impressed. They tried a few things with me but couldn't work out the problem, so gave me a call centre number in the UK I could call to book.

I made the call which was answered very quickly (on Boxing Day) and I was through to a helpful man, who looked up the flights for me and confirmed the price would be £59 each (cheaper than paying in USD with my banks exchange rate!). I told him that one of the draws to booking online was that I could use the seat selector, and asked if he could assign seats for me. He said that he could and asked which ones I wanted (a far cry from my UA experience!). I commented that they were both ERJ flights and he asked if I was an aviation enthusiast and we then went into a chat about MAN (his local) and I told him that I did aviation photography. Nice to speak to someone at a reservations centre who doesn't think you are a total freak for specifying your seats for the purpose of what view you will get  Big thumbs up Anyway, he assigned us 2 blocks of 2 on the right hand side (seats are laid out as 1-2) and I got an email confirmation about a day later.

Our flights fell 4 days into our New York trip and the night before we were due to fly, I went down to the internet PC in the hotel and tried to check in online. Not only because I like to have my seat guaranteed (and possibly changed at the last minute), but also because my parents wanted to get to the airport as late as possible so we didn't have to get up at stupid o clock. I simply entered my name, departure city, flight date and confirmation code, and it brought up the details. It offered me to change seats or accept the preassigned seats that we'd been given by the reservation agent. As I fancied a few window shots, I opted to move us back to near the wing. This was done easily and I clicked to check in and it brought up our boarding passes on the screen and then they started to print off. I did the same for the return flight, but left the seats as they were as it was a dark flight.

We had asked a few NYC cabbies how long it took to get from central Manhattan to La Guardia and they had all said about 30 minutes if we left about 7:30am. We managed to get out the front of our hotel for about 7:40am and the traffic was stationary along 57th Street, so it was easy to get in a cab. I had visions of the film I watched on the way over where a man gets into the cab and says 100 bucks if you get me to the airport in XXX minutes, but realised it wasn't going to happen  Wink/being sarcastic The traffic moved pretty slow, but once we got out towards the bridge it sped up. Our flight departed at 8:40am and we pulled up outside the terminal at LGA at 8:20am! We checked the gate (which had changed) and went straight to security. There was a small queue but nothing too bad. Luckily I was the only one who didn't have to take my shoes off because they were just trainers, though I did have to remove my belt. We walked energetically to the gate which wasn't far away, and just as we arrived they called the flight for boarding. It was hammering down outside and we had to walk across the tarmac to the aircraft! There was a lady just outside asking if we needed something to shelter us with, which was a nice touch, but we just opted to run.

We boarded our ERJ145 and quickly took our seats. It did feel very narrow inside (like a pencil!) but the seats were comfortable and had a reasonable legroom. I like the seats on their own - would be great for travelling on business. The flight was about 1/2 full with one flight attendant working and 2 female pilots and everyone was boarded quickly. Soon the doors closed and we pushed back in the pouring rain with a recorded safety announcement playing (no visual display). We had to wait for a few taxying aircraft to pass and then headed out to runway 13. They were landing on 04, so we had to wait in a queue of 4 aircraft to cross the active landing runway. I had no idea just how busy LGA was - it took us over 5 minutes just to get across the runway. We then approached runway 13, and they were holding departing aircraft in 3 lines - we joined the back of the last one. There were about 4-5 aircraft in each one, plus a few where the 3 merge. There must have been in the region of 20 aircraft all holding for one runway that was intersected by the landing runway and could only allow a departure when the landing aircraft had vacated and there was no conflict. We arrived at the hold around 9am and after 15 minutes I was getting bored so I whipped out my camera and snapped a photo. Excuse the quality of these LGA pics not being my usual a.net standards but the wind was lashing rain on to my window and it was so dull  Wink/being sarcastic It shows a few of the aircraft around us and how bad the weather was - you can see 6 aircraft holding just in this photo.

The Captain spoke to us and apologised for the delay and said that we were currently number 8 for departure (who knows what we were when we arrived at the hold) .Finally at 9:24am (no I'm not being sad, I'm reading camera EXIF data  Wink/being sarcastic), after almost a 30 minute wait at the hold, we lined up on 13 and paused briefly before applying takeoff power. I was very impressed with the ERJ145 takeoff performance. It felt really powerful and pinned me back in my seat - it was also pretty good on noise levels. The terminal area flashed past and we rotated just after it outside a maintenance area and the US Airways terminal we had left behind. Saw a Song 757 taxying along and soon the airport disappeared and we were over water making a right bank passing the Shea Stadium.

We were soon in cloud and this continued for pretty much the rest of the flight - there was a stationary front over the northeast which was causing a lot of cloud, and snow for most places, but sadly not New York City itself. The pilots called over the PA that the flight attendant could start work, and she explained that she'd be offering complimentary drinks and snacks. We were soon served and I went for a Diet Pepsi and also got a pack of Pretzel snacks again, as well as everyone elses  Big grin

I took a couple of boring window shots and also one of the cabin from my seat (I'm not one for standing up and blatently taking a photo of the cabin during flight - moreso not on a US based airline)

The flight was smooth and was over pretty quickly - we started our descent after around 40 minutes and the captain came on to say that the weather in Buffalo was 29F and light snow  Big thumbs up This was backed up when we broke through most of the cloud and the snowy ground below could be seen!

We made a turn over some water and then established on our approach to 05 at BUF. There was a fair bit of snow laying on the ground (well to an English person there was - it was more like a dusting to locals!) which made for a nice scene. I found that you can really feel the power coming on and off in the ERJ145 - more like a car than an aircraft. In most larger aircraft you hear the engines running up and down on approach but don't feel it that much. The ERJ was quite pronounced when the power was applied and reduced.

We passed over lots of houses on short final and I grabbed another photo showing the snowy scene on the neighbourhood below

We touched down smoothly on 05 after 56 minutes in the air, and reversers and medium braking were applied before we vacated and made quite a short taxi over to the stand. There was quite a lot of snow on the taxiways - I bet it looked great when aircraft with low wing pods taxied along!

As we walked down to get off the aircraft, the flight deck door was open and the lady Captain called out goodbye to me. I seized the opportunity to ask if she minded if I took a photo. She was very kind and invited me inside the flight deck and we had a little chat. She said she enjoyed flying the ERJ and I can see why. The flightdeck was very modern (glass cockpit) - it reminded me a bit of the Airbus flightdeck aside from the control column. She was telling me that they are off to Boston next and went through a bit of the programming of the FMC. Once everyone had deplaned, she offered to get out so I could take a photo  Big thumbs up Watch out for one like this airliners.net soon (I need to level and edit it first), but here's a little preview

I had to leave because the ground dispatcher was getting tetchy and the (also female) first officer had returned and wanted her place back on the flightdeck. I thanked the kind Captain and wished her a great day and rejoined my (unimpressed) family in the terminal  Wink/being sarcastic

We then hired a car and spent the day at the Niagara Falls, which was one of the best things I've ever done. The snow was an added bonus - shame it wasn't clear skies with snow laying though

Departure Airport: Buffalo, New York USA (KBUF/BUF)
Arrival Airport: New York La Guardia, USA (KLGA/LGA)
Airline: US Airways Express (Chautauqua Airlines)
Flight number: 3184
Aircraft type: Embraer ERJ-145LR
Registration: N291SK
Date: 5th January 2005
Class: Y (Economy)
Flight time: 45 mins

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Photo © Marty McGuire
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Photo © Daniel Wojdylo

After the day at the Niagara Falls, we drove back to BUF and dropped our hire car off. We were about an 1.5 hours before the flight (unlike the way out  Big grin) and made our way through security. The BUF terminal is quite nice and after buying some sweets, we headed to get a coffee before the flight.

We were soon up for boarding and with no wait we went straight through the gate and out to our aircraft. I had seat 4F near to the front. This time we had nearly a full flight though (I'd seen that when we checked in). The one flight attendant turned the safety briefing audio on but this time we actually got a demonstration to accompany it - I don't know if the F/A on the way out was lazy or the one on the way back was just enthusiastic.

Aircraft are parked on stand so they don't need pushback, so we just started our engines and made our way out to 05 again. Once again the takeoff performance of the ERJ impressed me and we were soon up and climbing into the night sky.

Once airbourne we were served with drinks and snacks (alcoholic drinks cost $5 but soft drinks were free). I once again opted for Diet Pepsi and Pretzel snacks. I felt that the F/A had a high workload for the short flight and it took practically the whole flight to serve 50 drinks and clear up the rubbish - as a result there were some people at the front who were still pouring their wine on finals! The captain (once again female) came over the PA and told us that the flight would only be 40-45 minutes and that the weather in La Guardia was 32F (freezing) with some sleet and light snow forecast  Big thumbs up

It wasn't long until we started our descent and were told that we would be able to see New York City out of the window. We made our approach to 04 at LGA and touched down smoothly. After taxying in, the crew pointed out that we had arrived so early, our stand was still occupied and we'd have to wait a few minutes.. Soon we were on stand and prompty deplaned.

Overall opinion:

I was impressed with my flights with US and would definitely use them again. Though that was a US Express route (Chautauqua operated), so I couldn't comment on regular US Airways. The crew were all very friendly, the aircraft was clean and comfortable and we were pretty much on time, save the LGA caused runway delay outbound. The price was also very appealing. Sadly I don't know if they will even be around when I'm next in the USA.

I'll finish off my trip with the JFK-LHR flight on UA soon. The fact that I flew on 2 Chapter 11 airlines was purely coincidental (well OK, I wanted my Star Alliance FF miles on my BD Diamond Club card!) and I must say that I never felt any attitude from any staff, even though working for airlines that are in deep financial trouble.
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Sun Jan 16, 2005 5:04 am

Thank you for sharing the report. Well written and the images are very clear, even though weather was bad!

Post on, soon!
Jet Visuals
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pies

Sun Jan 16, 2005 5:09 am

Another really interesting read, enjoyed it! Those 145's look real funky, I'll have to try one sometime.

Can't believe your mum didn't want to try a Dash 8, shocking  Big grin

Nice pics too!
One Life, Live it.
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Sun Jan 16, 2005 6:20 am

Great report and some very good pictures. I've had trouble with my credit card on usairways.com a couple of times and also with Continental's website, but the call centre agents have always managed to sort things out. Not sure why there should be these problems though.
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Sun Jan 16, 2005 6:29 am

I was pretty pleased with the pictures considering the weather - they were taken with my Christmas present (17-40L Big grin) - I had to get some mileage out of it!!

The 145s are pretty cool Alex - just selectively book a BD MAN-LHR flight at one of the times where they schedule the 145 on the route.
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:32 am

Nice report. I actually just spent today, the 15th, up in Buffalo although I took AA. I did not, alas, spend my time at the falls, I was just up there for the Double Miles promotion!
"Traveling light is the only way to fly" - Eric Clapton
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:03 pm

Good report - I want a 145 too, just a shame that BD don't use them very often on the MAN-LHR route. Or when the online booking claims they are, they upgrade to an A320  Sad
No trees were harmed by this message. However, several million electrons were terribly inconvenienced
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:15 pm

Another great report Mike!  Big thumbs up

Nice results from the 17-40L! One day I will get to own one!


Justin  Smile

PS: Looking forward to our internal flight in the US on WN to NV!  Wink/being sarcastic
jkw6210@btopenworld.com or +447751242989
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:47 am

Great Trip Report!! Great Pics!! I really liked the second to last one. The one where you are over all of the houses. Its also very odd, as the house colors are very different. There is green, yellow, light purple, light blue, dark blue, pink.
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:49 am

Nice report! You've joined the elite club of 17-40F4L owners! The best value L lens in the world!

I'm glad you enjoyed your flight on USAirways. In July of 2002 i flew upto Niagra for the day from NYC and i also flew USAirways. MY expeiriance was jsut a little bit different.

The departure was on a 737 and we went up, good service, quick flight, on time, LGA not too busy. Had an excellent day at Niagra, good weather, warm, enjoyed the maid of the mist, etc. Got back at the airport at 4pm to make our 5:30 flight home and this is where the trouble began......

Basically to cut a long story short, bad weather over NYC ment flights going in had been cancelled and delayed. Not US's fault, but when your delayed 11 hours and you cannot leave BUF airport you might think that they would offer you a meal voucher/cup of coffee or even a newspaper to read. Nope, nothing. It really does suck when your sitting there and the LCC at the gate next to you is handing out free drinks, blankets etc to the passengers, but your full fare airline does not. Anyway, when i think back it was good being able to sit in front of the big windows watching BUF's traffic, and the delay did mean that i got to ride the 145 on the way back. I slept most of the way as it was about 4am! But i can say those individual seats are very compfy!

I look forward to the JFK-LHR report!

Cheers, Chris
5D2/7D/1D2(soon to be a 1Dx) 17-40L/24-105L/70-200F2.8L/100-400L/24F1.4LII/50F1.2L/85F1.2LII
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:22 pm

Nice report...I just had my first ERJ-145 flight the other day (normally I fly on Delta, and that means CRJs, but I'm on a US itin this weekend), and will be flying on Chautauqua tomorrow morning to return to Greensboro, so it was nice to find out how service was on them.

I'll try and post a report sometime this week...my life right now is very busy, but I'll make an attempt over the next week.

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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:52 pm

Wonderful trip report. I would love to try ERJ. Never flown it but I just do not like the thought of flying them on long flights as AA has out of STL. Certainly a try i might do in the future. Nice pictures and detailed trip report.

Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Tue Jan 18, 2005 4:48 am

Great report, good to see US can still deliver despite current problems
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Tue Jan 18, 2005 8:45 am

Good report! Very cool.

I hope I can get some time sometime soon to do my trip report!
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Fri Jan 28, 2005 12:14 pm

When you see white and grey all winter its nice to have some houses that use the rest of the spectrum. Thus is the life of Buffalo Winters.


great pics... nice to see a trip report about my hometown every now and then. Hope we were hosipitible to you.



[Edited 2005-01-28 04:15:26]
The tower? Rapunzel!!!!!!
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:55 pm

Thank you for posting your trip report, the pictures are a great addition.
I have a couple of questions though:

1, Was your plane de-iced on departure from BUF?
2, Can anyone explain why the tail registration is different from the front nose wheel registration? (IE-First flight N280SK, but the panel says JRM)
3, Did you have to remain seated during the whole flight?
4, Why do they have swimming pools in BUF?  Smile

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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:51 am


BUF was very good indeed, as were all the people we encountered. I'd love Buffalo winters, but then again I like snow. Though I suppose if you get it all winter, the novelty wears off - we can go winters without seeing snow here and even if we do, it's usually a day or so at most


1) It was dark when we left BUF, and I didn't see out of the gate before boading, but I assume it was deiced - the temperature was about 27F so any water would have frozen, though there was no fresh snow falling in the afternoon.

2) JRM refers to a fleet ID code. Some airlines do this and have a series of separate codes to ID the fleet and they usually display it somewhere on the aircraft too. All of the fleet have a code like this - the registration was on a plaque in the flightdeck too.

AA do this as well with some of their fleet with codes on the nosewheel door like 5CX on the example below

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Photo © Kyle Donagher

3) No, the seatbelt sign was off after around 10 minutes

4) I guess the climate in the summer is a lot warmer (cold winters, hot summers?) and swimming pools are suitable!
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:32 am

We have more per-capita swimming pools than most major US cities.

Summer is 3 weeks.. we better enjoy it.

"The seasons in Buffalo: almost winter, winter, still winter and construction!  Big thumbs up"
The tower? Rapunzel!!!!!!
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:53 am

"Sadly I don't know if they will even be around when I'm next in the USA."

No, USAirways may not be, but Chatauqua will be for other carriers!! I've flown them three times and was very impressed. I had a tight connection on one flight, so the F/A made all the other pax sit and wait for me to deplane  Smile. Firendly staff, and I like the ERJ (though, I would prefer mainline anyday).

If you ever make it to STL, I'll bet you $100 that you come in on an ERJ

Hope you enjoyed your stay in the US, and great trip report (I always like reports with cabin pics)

[Edited 2005-02-03 03:55:09]
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:39 am

Great report Mike! Shame you stayed only a day - I could have taken you for some spotting/photograhing at YHM and/or YYZ while your parents did teh touristy stuff, haha!

btw: I was never really impressed by US Airways, but only tried the mainline so far. Generally, I have the feeling that the commuters on behalf of the big ones are better than the big ones themselves ...more friendly, more dedicated...

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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Wed Mar 02, 2005 11:38 pm

Nice report. Like KBUF737, I also enjoy seeing reports that include my hometown airport. Not sure why, but i actually prefer the ERJ over the CRJ?!? Maybe it's the solo seat on one side of the plane.

Hitting the Falls for a day trip in the winter is a good idea. I'm sure there was no problem with crowds or traffic....(unless you went over to the Canadian side). There are hardly any crowds on the NY side even in the best of weather, except to maybe get over the rainbow bridge.
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:05 am

Very nice report. I enjoyed my lunch reading it.  Smile

Thanks for sharing
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RE: LGA-BUF-LGA US Airways With Pics

Mon Mar 07, 2005 1:06 am

Are you sure the F/A didn't do a safety equip demo on the departure flight? That's a HUGE violation, (unless there's video - which there's not on an ERJ). You should've asked her about it, or mentioned it to the pilots when deplaning... surely there's not a F/A out there that is THAT lazy to risk both the high personal and company fines, not to mention employment.

(Don't get me wrong, I know there are LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of lazy F/As out there - I work with plenty of them, however the safety demo is just so deeply ingrained in us, that I can't imagine anybody just NOT doing it.)

All of that said, great trip report....


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