Posts: 246
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2001 10:02 am

HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:09 am

I had to go to rural West Virginia for an installation of a T1 line at our summer business location mid week. Usually I fly to LWB but US Airways was about $900 RT without a Saturday night stay-over, while DH was $150 RT, although I did have to drive 2:45 from CRW, it was a no-brainer cost wise.

Seat 2A
6:29am - 7:41am
Safety Demo: Dennis Miller

Woke up at 4am after getting hardly any sleep. I HATE taking early flights. A quick 10-minute drive from home to HPN, parked the car and was the only person at the DH check-in counter. I had to check a bag since I was carrying a lot of computer equipment and didn't feel like lugging a heavy bag through 2 gate checks and during transfer at IAD. The surly agent checked me in and then sent me to the back of the LONG United? line for a TSA check. However, a friendly TSA agent realized I was in the wrong place and promptly swabbed my bag and handed it over to the DH agent. Not the greatest first impression of DH.

Everything seemed to be running on time at HPN and the ground crews were quickly and efficiently getting people onto planes, pushing them back, and tugging new planes into the limited gate space.

Take off was quick and powerful and we had a great clear view of downtown White Plains (I was even able to see my apartment building). We turned south just over Tarrytown and I had a great view of NYC.

Service consisted of personal drink orders and cereal bars. The attractive flight attendant was super nice but very repetitive. She asked each person the same thing with the exact same speech inflections "would you like a hot towel, would you like a hot towel, would you like a hot towel?" etc with no variation what so ever it was weird and robotic.

We landed about 10 minutes late due to ATC congestion and I made my way into the bright and cheery A gate area. The gate announcers were being very cheerful for early morning but it seemed to make things go very smoothly. I really was so tired at this point and did nothing but sit in the gate area waiting for the next flight.

Seat 2A then 10D
9:30am - 10:30am
Safety Demo: Dennis Miller

About 10 minutes before boarding, our older female FA bounded into the gate area and with a loud booming voice and a “yee-haw” announced she (Diana) was our FA to CRW and promised it was going to be a great time. What a character I thought but that was just the beginning....

Boarded on time and she greeted everyone warmly. Again I was seated in 2A. Everyone was boarded except for a wheel chair passenger. Diana looked over at me and said would I mind moving to the back (flight was only about half full) to accommodate the wheelchair passenger. I said of course not, and promptly moved back to 10d (10c was empty too). After the person was settled, Diana came back to me and thanked me again and offered me anything I wanted from the galley. I said it really wasn't necessary it was no big deal to move but she insisted I have some cookies.

So it comes time to push back and Diana starts telling us all this stuff. First of all, she prefers to be called "Mama" and that today's movie would be imaginary. Next, she tells us normally the CRW flights, of only about 35 minutes, are water only but today we'd be receiving an "imaginary" full drink and snack service, meaning don't tell anybody she did this. She was really funny, at each seat she'd look away from the snack basket and was like "how did you get a snack, there are no snacks on flights to CRW."

The wackiest thing she did was the trash collection. She brought out a hand puppet of a raccoon in a trash bin and proceeded to collect the trash with the puppet and the puppet "talked" to you. After that was done she, got on the PA and told us about other puppets she had, although only one came out per flight. There was as a pig that gives out water and some other animal I don't remember which she uses when there are rude passengers onboard.

There was a deadheading DH employee seated behind me and I overheard him talking to Mama. Apparently she is well known throughout the company and this was the first time they had met although he definitely had heard of her before.

Needless to say, she made for a very entertaining flight.

My bag was already on the carousel by the time I made it down to the car rental / baggage claim area. Gotta love small airports.

I picked up a Ford Escape SUV from Hertz since 4WD was much needed where I was going with all the mud and snow. Got the T1 line installed at the last minute and was off for another 3 hour drive back to CRW.

Seat 10A then 9C
7:00pm - 8:05pm
Safety Demo: Dennis Miller

I got to CRW almost 3 hours early because it had snowed a lot and I though the roads would be bad. Turns out where I was up in the mountains it had snowed but in the lower elevations towards CRW it hadn't. Let me tell you, CRW isn't exactly a busy airport on a Saturday evening. A DH ramper checked me in and I decided to go the "restaurant" for dinner. I ordered a real southern meal of chicken, biscuits, gravy, and string beans. While in Rome, you know? Even the string beans had meat in them... oh boy get me back to NYC.

My DH crew was eating over at the next table, also enjoying some southern cuisine.

We had a really friendly male FA this time though he didn’t break the rules and only gave us water. The male DH uniforms are a bit casual but come across well. Started in 10A but overheard the couple sitting in 9AB asking the FA about Las Vegas and what to do there. The FA was excited they were flying DH to Vegas since they just started ther service March 1st, however, he had never been there so I moved over to 9C to give them some advice as I was there 3 times last year.

This poor couple, first time going to Vegas, they left early in the AM in the snow and rolled their SUV into a ditch. Amazingly not a scratch on them. They missed their original UA flight out of CRW, of course, got booked onto the next one which wound up being oversold so they just bought walkup tickets on DH. Nothing was stopping them taking this trip!

This time at IAD, since I was wide-awake and had 1.5 hours to kill, I decided to tour IAD. Took the bus-thing over to terminal D then walked all the way back through the construction mess. I took a wrong turn and wound up in terminal B (I was looking for something like this). Wow, it was nice in there! Walked around the shops and checked out some late evening European departures.

Eventually made my way back to the A terminal and boarded my last flight of the trip back up to HPN.

Seat 4D
9:20pm - 10:30pm
Safety Demo: James Carville and Mary Matalin

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Photo © Paul Robbins

The pilot came out and introduced himself to the passengers and told us about the flight. Since the last 3 flights had the Dennis Miller safety announcement I was pleased, if you could call it that, to hear James Carville and Mary Matalin just for something new. The FA was really nice with 2 drink services of Pepsi, Diet, Iced Tea and Water. This flight landed way early and my bag was already on the carousel by the time I reached it which was amazing considering I was the first person off the plane AND it's a really small airport. They must have unloaded the bags the second the plane touched down.

Anyway, overall a great experience on DH. All flights were on time, all crews friendly, planes clean. Hot towels and mints before landing. I just hope DH can hang on!
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 11:12 am

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Mon Mar 14, 2005 5:28 am

Thanks for the report. I flew Independence back in September just to try them out and was pleased.
Posts: 7849
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 1999 3:50 am

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:13 am

DH crews seem to be among the best. I know I was very pleased with my crews when I flew them back in August. Their hub at IAD sucks, though, as my plane was over 7 hours late departing.
This Website Censors Me
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Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:34 am

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:24 am

Thanks for the DH trip report. I keep hearing good things about them especially from people around my college that fly them home for breaks. I hear of friendly crews that know the airline desperately needs business, so they do their absolute best to make the flight as nice as possible.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 8:04 am

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:47 am

great report there. i love DH
Carpe the Diem...Seize The Carp
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Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 2:36 pm

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:05 am

Glad to hear you enjoyed the trip! Sorry about the surly agent at HPN though. Us ground crews do our best to be all smiles. DH crews are absolutely amazing. Little say at DTW we had a full flight with about 65 bags inbound, a broken belt loader, and we were short one agent for a total of 3 agents operating DTW. The captain assisted in de-planing and boarding, while the FO actually came out and worked side-by-side with me to unload all those hand. We also had a full flight outbound, and b/c of that crew we pushed 7 minutes early.
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 6:49 pm

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:41 am

Someone else has met MAMA. I had the pleasure of flying with Mama IAD-RDU and really loved her. I collect pigs so I was thrilled when she showed me the pig puppet! I have done a lot of flying in my day and have met many many FA's the good, the bad and the so-so, but Mama really left a lasting impression on me. I came home and told all my friends about her and even called DH customer relations to let them know what a special ambassador they had!!!

Glad to know another A.netter met Mama
Oh how I miss Midway Airlines. A class act right to then end.
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 3:51 pm

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:19 pm

Excellent report! Gotta love Mama . . . maybe we can get her together with AnnoyingF/A to give personality lessons  Smile

I hope Indy Air makes it also - I wish they were somewhere besides IAD - which I consider to be one of THE most un-user friendly airports in the world.
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:46 pm

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:57 am

Very good report. I hope Independence makes it as well. I've heard nothing but good things about their service. Always good to read HPN reports as well. I like using HPN - its convenient compared to NYC airports but you sure get nailed to park there. I keep hoping one day Avistar or someone else sets up shop there.

Eric M
Posts: 4722
Joined: Wed May 19, 1999 10:42 pm

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Sat Mar 19, 2005 3:58 am

Nice report. I aslo had Dennis Miller twice last month  Smile I did IAD-JFK-IAD with IDE and the first flight was delayed about 30 minutes because they were bringing CRJ from the hangar. IDE is not bad, they just need more TV commercials to get to a larger crowd.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 7):
IAD - which I consider to be one of THE most un-user friendly airports in the world.

ANCFlyer, could you please tell me what is UNfriendly about IAD???
You've got everything right there, public transportations, restaurants, shops, lots of parking space etc. I guess you haven't been to CDG yet.

BWIADCA - Nikon D100
Posts: 549
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 11:37 am

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Sun Mar 20, 2005 4:58 am

Excellent report  bigthumbsup 

Just for curiosities sake, how or what were the load factors for each of your flights, if you can recall? (80%, 60%, etc.)?

Would be interesting to know  hyper 
Flying a plane is no diff. from riding a bicycle. Its just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes. -'Airplane'
Posts: 246
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2001 10:02 am

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Sun Mar 20, 2005 9:34 am

I would say, unfortunately, about 80% on the first one and 50% on the other 3.
Posts: 2560
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 11:57 am

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Sat Mar 26, 2005 1:43 pm

saturday flights are usually low, so that sounds about right. I have to ask you, how was the landing in crw? theres usually bumpyness and hard braking, was it the same with you? And im not complaining, i love it.
Posts: 1847
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:23 am

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Thu Dec 29, 2005 5:04 am

Quoting Lindy (Reply 9):
public transportations

Yeah, a ripoff taxi or expensive bus to the rail station. Not really the city bus there. Give me DCA or BWI anytime. But, it did get me from IAD to BWI in only about 2.5 hours last Summer, using: Bus to rail, it to Union Sta, MARC to BWI Sta, bus to terminal. Was only about $18. So I guess it could be worse (DEN).

I flew DH IAD-CRW-IAD June 2004 and flights were about 20% full then, so it is no shock about the outcome of their operation. Too bad, as their service on my flights was good. Especially a FA named Madelin (sp).
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Posts: 3531
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:57 am

RE: HPN-IAD-CRW On Independence Air

Thu Dec 29, 2005 5:19 am

Oh Yeah, "Mama" is great (I believe another A.netter had the pleasure of flying with her). It makes me so sad that her career is uncertain at this point.
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