US Airways 1143
December 21 2006
Airbus A319 EOW
I woke up that morning to see the awful weather of the NE, but that didn’t bother me. I was going to sunny Cozumel, Mexico that day! This was my first time using a new service called airportparkingreservations.com, and it’s great. You can’t get $5/day airport parking at PHL any other way. So I arrived at Central Airpark with my family and friends, and got onto the shuttle.
After a quick ride, we were at the US Airways check-in counters in B/C. Since I already had my boarding passes printed out the night before, I skipped the counters to go spotting.
After all these years using PHL, this was my first time there knowing that all the terminals were connected past security. So after buying the Flying magazine from CNBC news, I went over to A-West with hopes to see some heavies. The terminal was somewhat empty. Saw a new color 762:
and a old color A330
Snapped these pics with my cell phone camera, so sorry for the quality. I came to the conclusion that the Terminal B/C at PHL was a thousand times better than Ae/D/E put together. A West is so new, that its hard to believe its in PHL. I haven’t been in Terminal F for 5 years, so no idea on what it’s like.
Anyways, I returned to my gate in B. US Air’s gates in B/C are surprisingly small and crowded, and is the only part of the terminal that was worse than Ae/D/E.
Boarding was called and I got on this full flight.
Carol of the Bells was the boarding music today, which I thought was a nice touch.
View from my seat:
I noticed that the no-smoking sign was replaced by a no-electronics sign.
The safety video was shown, but the volume was so low that no one could hear it.
It was the same as this video, but with a A319 instead of a 734. Also, I think the music was different.
We taxied for a while and lined up on the runway. I shot this video of takeoff with my digital camera:
In the air, the captain said that a generally smooth ride was expected with a few bumps from that infamous storm in Denver. However, the bumps were consistant, never stopping. The seatbelt sign was on for 95% of the flight. Crainum was played during the flight, each question was separated by a US Airways ad.
Beverage service was cancelled. My standards aren’t that high since I flew NW a lot recently so I wasn’t that appalled. I asked for a snack mix on my way back from the lav. US apparently puts advertisements on their tray tables now, which I hate. I don’t think NW even stoops that low (at least not the last time I flew them). So what other airlines do this now? I took a picture of my snack mix with the water bottle I bought at PHL. You can see the ugly points.com advertisement that I had to stare at while eating.
The flight continued with consistent turbulence.
We landed smoothly at MSY and I shot this video:
The weather at MSY was even worse than PHL.
Oh well, at least it wasn’t my final destination. I asked the F/O if I could have a tour of the flight deck, and he happily obliged. The captain turned on all the instrument lights and we had a pretty long, enjoyable chat with the captain about US, HP, A320’s, fly-by-wire, and aviation colleges. I snapped a few (bad quality) pictures when he was calling maintenance.
I then said goodbye to him and stepped into the tiny terminal at MSY. The A319 was returning to PHL, with an A320 to CLT and another A319 to DCA. There was also a NW DC-9-50 to MEM in that terminal.
Headed to the baggage claim at MSY, which was literally a belt not wider than a desk. MSY really seems like a small-town regional airport, rather than a major international one. Our ride to the M/S Fantasy at the Port of New Orleans, a stretch Excursion, was outside.
Overall, I really enjoyed the flight, even though the service that day was comparable to NW’s. However, it wasn’t US’s fault of the bad weather.
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 1): - Oh no, I hate that! I'll be flying US on some 7 odd flights in feb, though all will be operated by the old HP planes, be interesting to see if the adverts have made it west.
This idea originally came from the West side before the merger, so all US and all HP planes should have the ads on them (not sure about F, but definetely in Y).
Quoting N353SK (Reply 3): US uses the A concourse, which isn't very good. B and D are excellent, never been in C. The whole half of the airport that is used by NW and US is pretty shoddy.
The entire terminal is undergoing an $8 million refurbishment that includes lighting in all areas, restroom improvements, seating improvements, etc. The basic problem with A and B is that there wasn't a lot of natural lighting built into them. We've also had some leak issues that were exacerbated by Katrina, and last week we began a complete reroof project on A and B.
C and D were renovated within the last 15 years, however C especially incurred a lot of damage from Katrina. Construction and procurement procedures being as they are, we've had to perform numerous temporary repairs since the storm. Permanent repairs to C and D are currently out for construction bids. As Steve knows, the damage on C created a problem with mold, which is being remediated as we speak, and once the permanent repairs are made, will have to be tested again.
Tom at MSY
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
The weather the week you were flying was a terrible creator of turbulence. Over my four day trip that week, I did 7 flights, 3 of them did not get a service at all due to the turbulence (Captain kept us flight attendant's seated along with the passengers) and on two of them we did not allow the use of laptops or DVD players because they were not staying on tray-tables.
Oh well. What can you do! Glad to hear you enjoyed your experience on US - minus the adverts on the traytables. At least you still get a tray-table and they haven't reached Ryanair levels completely!!
Thanks for the comments everyone. I think that US is a pretty good airline, except for those tray table ads. There's a certain ambiance associated with flying, and those ads destroy a lot of it. I hope other airlines don't catch on. Also, I wish the terminals at MSY were interconnected after security so that Terminal A wouldn't have been my only impression of MSY.