Thursday, June 23rd
US Airways 59
Hartford/Springfield (BDL) to Charlotte-Douglas (CLT)
Scheduled departure time: 400PM
Actual departure time: 359pm (wheels up at 4:07pm)
Scheduled arrival time: 556pm
Actual arrival time: 540pm
Departure Gate: Gate 30 (BDL)
Arrival Gate: B15 (CLT)
Aircraft was changed from an A321 to a 737-400, so the first noteable thing was that there was hardly an open seat anywhere on the aircraft. As is customary it seems for a 4:00 departure from BDL, we got an early push (i seem to always leave BDL around 4 and it never seems to be too busy)...the f/a's did the safety demo manually- it looked as if the aircraft was once equipped with flip-down TV monitors (armrests had antiquated controls as well) but the monitors seem to have since been removed. Aircraft on the whole was pretty tired looking, with yellowing cabin walls, dirty overhead bins, and fading seat covers. Hopefully US rectifies this once their cash situation improves with the merger. We took off and made a slight turn toward the south over New York for our one hour and 27 minute cruise down to CLT. Not too much turbulence on the flight- we encountered some over Lynchburg, VA as we began our decent. Pretzels and beverages were served on this flight. Most people on board were continuing onto other US flights- tons of connecing gates were read over the PA on descent. We pulled in early and at that point the crew let everyone know that if they were continuing with the flight to SEA there would be an aircraft change (back to the A321). I however, was bound for a different 321 headed to LAX....
US Airways 519
Charlotte-Douglas (CLT) to Los Angeles Int'l (LAX)
Scheduled departure time: 735pm
Actual departure time: 833pm (wheels up at 8:45 pm)
Scheduled arrival time: 934pm
Actual arrival time: 1015pm
Departure Gate: D13 (CLT)
Arrival Gate: Gate 12 (LAX)
flight crew was late getting in from TPA, where our flight came from although with a different aircraft (A319). The flight boarded relatively quickly, again, hardly an open seat on the flight, and we were underway. All of the other 7:00pm CLT bank flights were gone, so we were the lone aircraft on the runway and were first for takeoff. Seemed like the A321 is underpowered as it labored down the runway before lifting gracefully enough off towards the west on our 4 hour, 21 minute journey. Soon thereafter, Hitch was played on the screens followed by US Airways "overtures", their equivalent to the venerable "Delta Horizons." Food was offered for purchase, but i had my own food in my carry-on. However, at this same time the f/a's offered the first of what would be three (!) beverage services on the flight. Flight was pretty smooth with no turbulence really, but turbulence doesn't bother me really. The aircraft was in great, new condition, better by far compared to the A321 I was on in January on a BDL-PHL segment. Got in about 40 minutes late, noticed my beloved Detroit Pistons had lost game seven and then went outside to meet my friends and go to the bar in santa Monica, which was awesome.
Sunday, June 26th
US Airways 192
Los Angeles Int'l (LAX) to Charlotte-Douglas (CLT)
Scheduled departure time: 715am
Actual departure time: 720am(wheels up at 7:30 am)
Scheduled arrival time: 250pm
Actual arrival time: 247pm
Departure Gate: Gate 12 (LAX)
Arrival Gate: B11 (CLT)
Another great flight....was seated next to two nice guys that were going to CLT to learn to be ramp rats at LAX for US..they were pretty entertaining, typical laid back and nonchalant Southern Californians....We got two beverage services plus offering of coffee or water in addition to the food for sale. Again, movie (robots) and overtures were played...this 4 hour and 13 minute flight seemed to take forever, but that might have been because i had gotten no sleep sat night (partying too much)...There was periodic turbulence during the flight, and it was 100% full, no empty seats whatsoever. US seems to be doing well in that department. Like the trip to LAX, this A321 was also well kept up and clean. Flight 192 continued (w/ an A333) to Frankfurt, and our A321 was bound for PIT and SAN. After the weather out in LA, i was considering stowing away for SAN but alas, work was again beckoning.....
US Airways 232
Charlotte-Douglas (CLT) to Hartford/Springfield (BDL)
Scheduled departure time: 355pm
Actual departure time: 408pm (wheels up at 4:31 pm)
Scheduled arrival time: 547pm
Actual arrival time: 601pm
Departure Gate: B15(CLT)
Arrival Gate: Gate 29 (BDL)
Aircraft came in from MCO...probably about 80-85% full (had a middle seat open- nice!!). This was likely the crustiest 757 I've ever been on. After the nice A321's I was on, this makes the US product very inconsistent. Service and comfort are so much better on the newer planes, which is something they need to work on. Other carriers I fly more often (DL and NW) are better at maintaining the consistency of their product. It seems with US, its either very good or pretty below average. The f/a's were nice on this flight and professional (albeit not as good as teh CLT-LAX-CLT sections), but there would be a noticeable difference to the customer. Seats were torn and faded, the walls had dried gum on them at my seat, and there were crumbs everywhere. With over an hour between flights, you would think they'd do a better job at cleaning out the aircraft. After a 1 hour, 32 minute flihgt that took us north of BDL and approaching from the north, we parked and I discovered that the return flight to CLT was oversold. US seems to do quite well to/from BDL.
Overall, I was impressed with US Airways. They seem to be headed in a better direction, and clearly have an idea of what service is supposed to be like. Hopefully they can implement this consistency and product across the board and not just on longer flights. That said, even after how I've complained about US after my last expereiences, they were worth another shot. I'd certainly consider flying them again if they were the most cost effective on a route I needed to take.