This was the beginning of a very interesting trip, one which some minor details still have not been resolved. But more about those minor details later......
We left March 30, 2006 for our flight which departed at 10:30'ish for PHL
. I only live 20 minutes from PHX
, so the ride was quick and easy. Recently, in the mail we unexpectedly received Silver Elite cards from US, so we were going to utilize these to their advantage this morning. The airport was mildly busy as we pulled up to T4
, which is the largest terminal housing US and WN
, who have the largest operations at PHX
. The check in line was very short for just normal e-ticket, and we went through the line within five minutes.
Things weren'g going to go as wonderfully as planned however. The machine said our iternerary was invalid and to go see a customer service agent. The line for this line however looked to be about half an hour long, so we went to the first class full service check in with our Elite cards which worked very well, if you don't mind waiting for 20 minutes. Our older service agent called us up and she pulled up our information. She checked us in for our PHX
but said she couldn't check us in for MAN
. We asked her what seats we had, and she informed us that we were together for PHX
, but would put us on the upgrade list, and that we were in the LAST row on PHL
. We asked if there were any more seats available, and she said they were all blocked out to her and could only be unlocked by the people in PHL
. She advised us to go see the gate agents there for new assignments. This worried us, but we brushed it off for the time being. This whole process however took her 20 minutes to resolve, and she was obsessed with having SILVER appear on our boarding passes, so she printed seven until it did. With our passes in hand, we went to Paradise Bakery and got some muffins for the flight. We went to security which had probably about a 15 minute line, but we just went through the Elite and First line which only took about 5 minutes. Through security to gate B7
where it was pandamonium for the flight.
There was a line of about 10 people at the gate yelling and hollering over the apparent overselling situation. Apparently every possible person had come to the airport today and more for this flight. We had no choice but to sit on the floor as all of the seats were taken up and we awaited boarding. The haggard looking US agents were on the PA begging for volunteers but no one would come forward when you would be confirmed for the next flight which was at 4 or something. This overselling situation however did not play out as I would have liked as F was already full so we received no upgrade, but at least we had a seat on the flight. Boarding was called in the usual pandamonium style of US airways where they call out their random group number system, and everyone seems to think they are groups one and two. Worried about overhead space, my mom and I just went through when they called for Elites and F, and boarded our "old US" Airbus 321. The haggard looking grey seats are not exactly what I would have chosen, and apparently the old US thought that grey was the next patriotic color, and they were wrong.
Attractive no? Who wouldn't think of making the inside of a plane completly gray!!!!
We were row 12 or something, not that it really matters, D and E. I helped my mom put her bags up in the overhead, and we awaited our F seat mate to arrive, praying they were obese. A small petite lady of Indian (as in India) origin appeared and took the F seat and we were very happy with our luck, as a very enormous man and wife were sitting in the row behind us and when the lady came who was sitting with them arrived, she literally dropped her purse. As we were awaiting the rest of the A/C to board, an elder lady in her mid 80's came down the aisle. Now this was wear I was very disappointed in the US staff, which from what I could see appeared to be the old US staff, as this was an A321 and I did not know of HP
staff flew these A/C, or just stuck with there old A/C. This woman clearly needed help, and the F/A's just kind of looked stupidly at her. I got out of my seat, which was 12 rows away, and took her bag, stowed it, and helped her to her seat while a bunch of "galant men" just watched as if nothing was going on. The poor lady was in the middle seat, but I helped her in and she said thanks and I went back to my seat glowering at the other passengers who were looking annoyed that she had help up aisle traffic. Boarding continued and more and more came, cramming their bags into the overheads that they know wouldn't fit. At least 5 people had bags that would have had a heavy sticker if checked before boarding. The F/A's were running around helping people, one caught a bag that would have landed on a mother and her small child because a stupid idiot didn't put his bag in all the way. The F/A's took those bags previously mentioned and insisted that they had to be checked. The owners obviously knew they weren't the right size because when they would try to put them up, they would wait until no F/A was looking...typical. When the old lady, who I will just call Esther, was "greeted" by her "seat comrades", this overweight lady who had the A seat just said, "I need to get in 'ya know". Without helping the lady, this woman just stood and watched as Esther tried and tried to move over towards the aisle centimeter by centimeter. As I was going to get up again while plenty of "knights" stood around and watched this "damsel in distress", which someone of good manners got up and helped her out. The whole time, Muriel (who I will name this heavy lady) just watched and tapped her foot. This made me so incredibly upset but I did not exactly want to start a fight and enjoy the questioning of TSA
agents because they thought I was trying to hijack the A/C. FInally boarding had concluded and everyone was situated. We taxied out of the gate on time, and made for an on time departure from the runway that faced West by T3
(anyone who knows what runway with this is feel free to let me know but I never pay attention). We rolled out and took off and made our way on the first leg of the long journey that awaited.
Soon after takeoff, the inflight service began which was the F/A's talking about their wonderful buy on board products, and then going through with a drink service. I asked for a coke and a water, I received the whole can but no eye contact or smile. And this is where I will know begin to gripe about the appearance of these F/A's and all of the ones that I would experience on this trip.
1. They wear zero makeup (maybe one does, but they put 3 lbs. of it one)
2. They don't come their hair
3. They wear the ugliest sweaters that just ball up and have the sleeves uneven
4. They don't look at you
5. They don't smile at you
6. They sit in the back of the plane talking very loudly or in the front of the plane(that was very important the next flight)
7. They cannot make a PA announcement without stopping and starting over (you will need to see the return portion)
8. They cannot make a PA announcement without cracking up and laughing the whole way through (see return portion)
9. They slouch (okay this may be picky, but no matter where I saw them, in PHL
, whatever, they all were slouching and looking as if they would rather be anywhere else but here
10. They treat the carts like kamikaze sakuras as the bulldoze through the ailses not caring in the world what lies in the aisle.
The preview was shown for the movie Deja Vu, which was pretty awful and I didn't really watch it, and just became absorbed in my book. About 3 hours into the 4 hr. and 20 min flight, another drink service came through, this time without the whole can as they did before. For the most part, this was just your run of the mill domestic flight. You barely see the F/A's, and most of us don't really expect to. One thing however that was not like most domestic flights, was how the seatbelt sign was on for the ENTIRE flight. We did hit turbulence outside of PHL
before descent, but for the rest of the 4 hours, there was not even a figit, except for a brief 15 minute episode of some pretty good shakes, that of course I experienced when I went to the bathroom. We had received our drink service for the 2nd time, and not once had I gone up to go to the bathroom and I needed to go. I am one of those people sadly who thinks it very inappropriate to get up when the seatbelt sign is one, but COME ON
, it had been on the whole flight with not one bump. So I just got up and ran for the lav, as soon as I was in, the big shakes came, and of course I couldn't exactly stop now. So I ran out of the bathroom with the reproachful looks of the F/A's holding on to the overheads for support, and fell back into my seat. I mean I don't get this, why was it necessary to keep the passengers penned up in their seats the whole time. Did the pilots forget, did the F/A's enjoy having a party in the back? I don't get it but it was silly because then when there is actually turbulence, people like me are going to be up because we haven't been able to go the whole flight. We landed at gate B9 I think at PHL
which was narrower than I remember, and quite ugly really and went to the international terminal which was pretty nice.
Overall this flight's rankings as follows
Check In - 8/10, she was helpful but didn't know how to use the computer
IFE - 7/10 - Run of the mill domestic flight
Seat Comfort 20/30 zero back cushion, and just hideous seats!
Timely Arrival - 10/10 - not much to say about this
Service - 30/40 - Were not even looked at or acknowledged as being on the plane at all
75% - C
Ugly Grey Seats of course with PTV's
Showing an A330 in Manchester.
We rushed over to the Intl. Terminal to our gate which was the last one down the long line of gates in the pleasant looking glass terminal. I guess the terminal must not be completly international as there were some domestic flights leaving from it, but I assumed US airways Intl. operations were based out of the terminal. We made our way down to the gate where we approached the counter. The only other seats that he had available together besides the back were the bulkhead which we took as much better than the lavs. After he gave us our boarding passes, I grabbed some magazines to supplement my reading. Soon enough the gate agents announced for boarding, and even though it was just a pre-boarding announcment, the whole pack swarmed the gate blocking any way for anyone to board. The agents came on and said "If you want to board this plane at all today, please go TAKE A SEAT UNLESS YOU HAVE CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF
NEED SPECIAL ASSISTANCE, GOT IT
?!". Ah good PHL
hospitatlity. No offense to you PHL
'ians out there, but 98% of the population of PHL
seemingly enjoys yelling and being rude, not that this agent was being rude, I refer more to the TSA
, shop keepers, city dwellers, etc. PHL
and I just don't mix so I couldn't wait to get out of there. We went to board when they called for elites so we could get situated before we were boxed in. We had D and E on the 2-4-2 A330-300 that we were flying which meant we were the two middle seats in row 8 I believe. We waited in anticipation for our seat mates for this 6.5 hour flight. A pointy looking 30 something lady took 8C
who I will name Chelsea and a lanky Scottish man take 8F who I will name Conor. Conor was fine, but Chelsea was very amusing. She had not one but two blackberries that she was constantly using up until the very last second that she could. She also had two of the exact same purses. Obsessive Compulsive? I think so. Chelsea pulled out her eye mask and her inflatable neck rest and put her legs up and passed out as soon as we were off the ground. But of course Chelsea did not ust any old blanket. This lady literally pulled out a small duvet and made like a down cocoon all why intruding my personal space and restricting me from getting out my tray table from the armrest on my right. Felling a little clastrophobic with the larva in a cocoon next to me, I knew I was in for an interesting flight to say the least.
After take off and with Chelsea molting or whatever she was doing, the F/A's began their service. The culinary delights today in steerage were BBQ Chicken or Pasta. I chose the chicken as pasta is usually awkwardly cooked on flights. The chicken was about the size of half a man's palm, with everything else made for faeries. Who could possibly fill even 25% of their stomach with the "generous" serving that US airways gave us. Oh well, this is a LCC long haul you could say, but still. After the drink service and the trash was collected, the IFE from hell (Sony Passport AVOD) was swtiched on. Initially nothing happened, just a grey screen for everyone that matched our seats. Who knew US airways was into matching as much as Christian Lacroix or Dior? We were informed they were going to restart the system, the first of 3 restarts, to fix the problem. After our second restart, which took 20 minutes, we received a grey screen, then a blue screen, then what looked like DOS script, followed by a loud screeching nose coming through the headphones. IFE take three. The system power up (now an hour since the initial turn on), with everything popping up as normal. I thought at last we had something to use, but as I flicked through the movies, after hitting play on a movie, it would never pop up. The F/A's came on and said "Note there is a short delay from when you press the button and the start of the actual film". Maybe they should mention the delay is about 10 minutes. So IFE restart take where the got the waiting down to a small and "realistic" five minutes. I watched a film, tried to sleep, but it is hard to sleep when you have Chelsea looking right back at you with eye shades on and with her duvet invading your "personal bubble". I needed to go to the bathroom, so I began to calculate how this exactly would work. I had three options. 1) Step on her 2) Climb over her 3) "limbo" under hear legs". 1) I didn't think was going to work because I didn't know what Chelsea would be like if she was disturbed from her hibernation. I tried door number two, but there was nothing to hold onto and I fell ontop of Chelsea who responded with a loud muttering of giberish and then turning over. Her turning over allowed me however to climb over her more easily then before. Imagine going from a spread eagle to only a jack knife if you will. After navigating the treacherous waters that were Chelseas legs, I went to the bathroom and came back only to find she had gone into another impossible position to climb over. So I went back to the bathrooms, crossed over to the other side of the A/C, and then climbed over the asleep Conor and my mother to get to my seat. I vowed not to consume any more water if I wanted to survive on this plane.
At this time, I decided I should probably get to sleep, but there was a problem. Our wonderful US Airways flight attendents decided that laughing and carrying on in the galley in front of me while banging every metallic object they could was fun entertainment for the whole crew. Well god, if the IFE doesn't work, why don't we just make our own entertainment for our guests. With my inability to sleep now making me mad, I browsed through the medium sized music collection, which took about 2 hours because everytime I would hit the "Next" button, I would have to wait 5 minutes for the poor Sony Passport system to realize that I actually wanted the "Next" button pressed. Clearly US needs an IFE alternative because this is just ridiculous and the same thing happened on my return trip. I managed to wrap one of the blankets into a turban like headress to cover my ears and eyes from the commotion in the galley, and managed to sleep for about the last two hours of the flight. After landing, I couldn't wait to get off and say goodbye to Chelsea and the rest of the US Airways crew that was so delightful.
Check In - 10/10 - Man did what he could at the desk.
IFE - 2/10 - Who wants to wait 10 minutes for each thing to be pressed
Seat Comfort - 25/30, would have been worse had it not been the bulk head
On Time Arrival - 10/10
Service - 20/40. Atrocious to say the least, never came out after the food was tossed at us.
67% - D - This score accurately reflects this flight
The glories of MAN
, or should I say MAN
After our quick trip through customs, my mother and I made the "fun" walk from the Intl. terminal T2
I think, to the farthest away terminal which I think was T1 or perhaps T3
. After everyone who worked at the airport told us that they had never heard of FlyBE and how they had no idea how to get out of the terminal, one could say the Manchester population was not rubbing off we me so well, and things would only get better.
After getting to whatever terminal it was along some skywalk thing, we went through the maze of the BMI
check in lines with the "BMI
Baby Flight ... with service to Ma-la-ga (pronounced in such away that made me laugh everytime)final call please, final call for boarding" announcement ringing over head, we got the relatively calm and short line for FlyBE to check in for our flight to GLA
. I needed to check my backpack in accordance with the restrictions for UK travel, and we made our way to security. The security was interesting. First they would take a picture of us after our boarding passes were checked, then the normal security screening, and then you were into the terminal. With a lack of seating, we had no choice but to enjoy the smoking section. For some retarded reason, you aren't allowed to go to your gate until it has been called on the screens. So we just sat by a Costa looking at the tarmac for 45 minutes until the screen said for FlyBe 7274 with service to GLA
. We went to another security check where they scanned a bar code that was given to us before we went through security which caused the picture that they had taken of us previous ly to pop up on the page. After we made it through, we went downstairs to our gate. Our A/C was a BA
ERJ-145 which was operated by what I think was a BA
crew or perhaps FlyBE impersonators who had mugged BA
flight attendents. Our departure was for I think 3:30 or 11:30 or something it is all a blur to me right now. So we waited, and boarding time came and went, with no announcement. Finally when departure time came, a man said that there were some paperwork problems, but we should board in a couple of minutes. Sure enough, in a couple of minutes we boarded all at once and climbed the stairs to our itsy bitsy ERJ. We were the bulkhead pair again and settled into probably the most hard backed seat possibly made. It might have was just have been iron.
We sat on the tarmac for and hour with the pilots explaining to us that something wasn't right with the passenger manifest. It took this long to solve this and by the time we finally took off, I was very annoyed. The flight was a half an hour and pretty uneventful, but I hadn't heard the end of this flight.
Check in - 10/10 - Very helpful agent
IFE - Not Applicable for such a short flight
Seat Comfort 15/30 - Awful
Timely Manner - 0/10 ridiculous, we just sat and sat because they couldn't count
Service 35/40 - Typical, for a regional flight
60/90 66% D-
We landed in GLA
, and I got of the plane as fast as I could. We made our way to baggage claim, and my backpack that we had checked in MAN
was the first bag off. However this would be the last bag off as well for us and about 10 of the other passengers on board. Everyone who had transfer luggage at MAN
did not receive their bags on this flight, which was utterly ridiculous. We went to the Servisair or whatever they called it counter to inquire, and they just gave us a form and said, we will call you soon bye!
I was in Scotland from March 31 to April 6. With spending the 5th and 6th in Edinburgh. We would call daily from Glasgow to the aiport, only to hear, "Nope, still in MAN
, but it should come on the next flight bye". We received no bags the whole time we were in Glasgow. They day before we went to Edinburgh, we were told that they had gotten a courier to bring them up to GLA
, but we said we were leaving, and they responded that they couldn't send them to Edinburgh. This was ridiculous. A nice agent who finally gave us an explanation told us that all of the flights from MAN
were too full and the pilots wouldn't let the bags onboard. This was different from the "lost" explanation that we had been told before. WE
were told it was MAN
's fault, and that BE
was doing everything they could. If they knew the flights were full, they should have gotten a courier right away. For our whole trip in Scotland, we had NO BAGS. We just called this morning from AZ
and they are going to have to ship them to us, because of this stupidity. We are also sending them our receipts because we had to raid H&M for a pair of jeans and three tshirts to let us survive in Scotland. Utterly poor customer service from BE
and never again will I fly through MAN
or with FlyBE. I hope you have enjoyed reading this wonderfully enjoyable travel story, and I will keep you informed as to the status of our bags.