Trip Report: DCA-GLA, 22SEP2005 – 25SEP2005
This trip was a crime of opportunity, as I was able to take advantage of end-of-season fares two weeks before departure. I broached the idea to my father that he come along with me, and he liked the idea, so we both arranged our times off work, and I proceeded to purchase our tickets. I next attempted to use my miles to upgrade us to J on the trans-Atlantic legs, but because the fare was a deep-discount, it was not permissible to do so. However, I wasn’t too terribly upset about it as I was able to secure exit-row seats where we would not have to share our space with anyone else (12A and 12B) on both legs.
Aircraft: Boeing 737-300
Seats: 4E, 4F
Sched. Departure: 1730 hrs
Actual: 1820 hrs
We arrived very early for this flight so as to have some time to enjoy the US Airways Club. During the time up there, we saw a decent variety of aircraft (lots of US stuff obviously, but quite a few UA and AC types, including a new livery AC E70), and I had a laugh when a US E70 drove right past his gate and had to turn around. Around 1600, we left the Club to go to the gate to see if the E-Upgrades I had requested had been cleared. No dice.
Boarding was to commence at 1700, but this did not occur because we had no flight crew. They were apparently on a flight from TPA that was going to be late arriving in DCA late. So around 1745, they showed up at the gate, and boarding commenced about 5 minutes later. The flight had been originally scheduled for a -400, but had been switched for a -300, which meant that there were several people with duplicate seats. This combined with more people than normal carrying on everything including the kitchen sink made for nothing short of chaos. My dad and I were not directly affected by this, other than cutting into our lounge time in PHL. =P We finally departed the gate at 1815, and rotated at 1820. Thankfully, the captain pushed it, and we touched down in PHL at 1840.
Aircraft: Boeing 767-200
Seats: 4A, 4B
Sched. Departure: 2035 hrs
Actual: 2035 hrs
Upon arrival in PHL, we proceeded quickly to the int’l lounge in Terminal A. I decided that although I had been denied an upgrade so far, I would ask again to see if I could use up some miles. I was denied again, but we were told to proceed to the Envoy Class lounge, which by the way, is much nicer than any US Airways club I have ever been in. Alcohol was complimentary, the selection was fairly extensive, and there was real food offered. We decided that since we were going to be in coach for 6 hours, we ought to drink up, which we did. We each nailed down about 5 drinks, and we each had a sandwich. The flight was called, and we proceeded to A18. Boarding began soon after our arrival at the gate, and after we had gone about 6 paces down the jetway, the csr taking the boarding cards called us back and told us to the see the agent as there was a problem with our boarding passes. We did so, and it turned out that the problem was that we had been upgraded!!! The agent told us to keep it on the down low, we promised we would, and we very happily turned in our cards for 12A and 12B, and then got back in line to board with our new seats, 4A and 4B. =) My only guess as to how it happened was that the ladies working the desk at the Club called in a favor. I have not seen any miles deducted from my account for it. We settled in, and received our pre-departure Momosas.
We left the gate on time, and joined the standard PHL night-time queue, about 16th in line. =( The line seemed to move fairly quickly, and we were on our way. Envoy Class on the 767 was much better than I expected. There were PTV’s, multiple movies available, lots of legroom (equivalent to J on the UA 777), worn but very comfortable cloth seats, and a decent little amenity kit. For dinner, a four-course meal was offered, I'm not really sure what I ate for my appetizer, but it was decent, salad tasted pretty fresh, and for our entrees, I enjoyed a “Texas Cowboy Chili Filet Mignon”, and my dad had a Swordfish steak. Both tasted great. =) Since I cannot sleep on planes, even in J or F seats (including sleepers), I passed the time watching “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “The Longest Yard”, neither of which I had seen yet, and both of which were hilarious. The sunrise was quite beautiful, as it usually is in flight.
I had only had one issue throughout that flight that I thought was noteworthy to share with a.net. Around 3 hours into the flight, I wanted a beer, so I went up the galley to make that happen. The F/A was talking to another passenger, and the conversation seemingly could not be interrupted. I attempted to break in several times, and she even looked back at me and acknowledged my presence. After about 5 minutes, I gave up and proceeded to the back galley to get my beer from there. I explained my situation to the two f/a’s working back there, who both apologized profusely for their colleagues actions, which I appreciated. I took my Heineken and was on my way back to the front. Also, I found it odd that the flight was as bumpy as it was at FL370.
All in all, I was very satisfied with US Airways Envoy service, and I hope to try it on the A330 here in the near future.