United Express/AWAC -- UA5869
Route: New York (LGA) to Washington DC (IAD)
Aircraft: Canadair RJ
Scheduled Departure Time: 2:28pm
Scheduled Arrival Time: 3:56pm
Sadly, it was time to leave New York City and all its verve behind, and head back to Washington. We were now hurtling farther and farther from Manhattan Island along the Brooklyn Queens Expwy in a yellow cab to the tune of Mariah Carey's latest hit We Belong Together.
After arriving at La Guardia Airport's main terminal we checked in for this afternoon's flight and made our way to the Lower Level Food Court. My reason? I was seriously craving some Famous Famiglia pizza which I had gotten addicted to during my time in Manhattan and wasn't about to miss out on my last possible fix. I opted for a slice of the pepperoni washed down with an orange juice and a window view of landing traffic.
Our flight today was leaving from Gate C7. At exactly fifteen minutes prior to boarding our gate agent announced that our flight would be delayed by one hour, by air traffic control, because there were "too many planes in the sky." No joke. This was very frustrating because our nice little Canadair regional jet was sitting patiently a dozen or so feet from us - going nowhere.
Photo © Blair Clayton
Photo © Charin deSilva - CYOW Airport Watch
A communal uproar ensued, understandably, among the many passengers with connecting flights to catch. However, a mere ten minutes later our pilot emerged from the airplane and asked the agent to proceed with the boarding. She had seemingly 'negotiated' with New York ATC (can't be easy!) and our flight would now be delayed by only a half hour.
I made my way to my seat in row 3, my first time on a regional jet. My initial impressions were good. I was impressed by the good headroom and good legroom on board, and the general airy, fresh atmosphere. We soon pushed back and made our way toward Runway 13. On one of the taxiways near the runway we came to a stop and the seatbelt signs were turned off. The pilot then announced that we would be stationery for around twenty minutes until the tower clears us and we were free to move around the plane or use the restroom.
Eventually we lined up and after the arrival of an Airbus on the intersecting runway were on our way. I couldn't believe how quiet the Canadair is on take-off and it was great fun making a great many sharp turns over Long Island and Manhattan. We quickly climbed to a cruising altitude of 20,000 feet and headed south over typically broken clouds on this early summer's afternoon.
Ninety miles north of Washington Dulles and descending through 12,000 feet, we bounced into the hot winds of the DC summer. I finished off my complimentary packet of nibbles and orange juice which was swiftly cleared away by the stewardess. On the ground it was 90 degrees Fahrenheit, pretty much the same temperature that we'd left behind us in New York. Approach control brought us on the downwind leg for Runway 1 Right at Dulles, and, following a few fairly brash right turns, we were established on our final approach. We touched down smoothly and taxied to Concourse C where a band of United Canadair jets was basking in the afternoon heat. Ours joined them.
Photo © TriplET
Photo © Dmitriy Shapiro
I welcome your responses. I greatly enjoyed my first experience on this particular aircraft type and was impressed by how United dealt with the ATC problems.