US Airways Express #3202 (operated by Republic Airlines)
This was my 3rd time on an EMB-170, and I must say, the experience gets better each time. The plane is just flat out a joy to fly on. Comfortable seats, tall cabin, and huge windows. I could do transcon on one of those easily. Anyway, the load this morning was 70/70 including a few non revs. I had seat 2F on this one. On time push and a quick taxi where we were #1 for takeoff. Flight duration was 1h25m. The Republic flight crew was very friendly and professional. They always had smiles on their faces. Just a simple beverage service on this flight. OJ for me. Gorgeous approach into PHL
under a clear sky.
I met a friend of mine in PHL
and he was kind enough to give me a tour of the US ops tower which gives you a great view of the field. I had been in the F9
ops tower before over Concourse A in DEN
but that one pails in comparison to this one. Also, we did a quick walk though of an E190...first time I have ever been on one...nice airplane that's all I can say about that.
Before I knew it, my hour layover had passed, and I made my way down to gate A25 where my A330-300 (looking very nice indeed in thew new paint scheme) was waiting.
US Airways #1071
Airbus A330-300 (operating PHL
Load: 45% (F), 90% (Y)
I was the second to last person to board, so I quickly made my way to seat 3H
in the Envoy cabin, which is marketed as First Class for this domestic flight to SJU
. The Envoy cabin was a little less than half full...lots of room to stretch out and get comfy. Coach seemed to be about 90% full on the flight today. Before pushback I was offered a beverage. Another OJ. I love the stuff, what can I say? Then as we were taxiing for takeoff the F/A's came around taking our second drink and lunch orders. Choices were a cold Chicken salad or a hot Chicken pasta. Pasta for me. I am Italian and all. Takeoff was very powerful and the climbout was very, very smooth. This was only my 2nd A330 flight (first one on the wings of Sabana in 1999) and I must say, I like it a lot more than the A340! Lunch was served about :45 after takeoff. You'll see pictures of it below....it wasn't bad at all...and it was a good portion. Coffee and tea followed the meal, and then the rest of the service was basically on demand...if you wanted something, all you had to do was ask, and one of the F/A's would get it for you. The crew on this flight was really top notch, befitting of such a premier aircraft. Aboout halfway through the flight I tried out the AVOD system and it worked well...they had about 12 movies, a bunch of music choices, TV
shows, and a few other selections. The screen was a nice size, also. It may not be the most high tech system out there, but it would keep anyone occupied on a transoceanic flight to say the least. I watched some of "Blades of Glory" and then I listened to one of my favorite songs of all time: Lovely Day, by the great Bill Withers. The seat itself was extremely comfortable...well padded, with 60 inch pitch, and an excellent recline. And of course, you could hear a pin drop in the cabin...very quiet.So before I knew it (it was only about 3h20 min in the air) we started our approach into sunny SJU
. On finals the crew seemed to misjudge the approach heigth a bit, because as soon as we put the gear down, the engines went to max thrust and the plane made a decisive sharp turn to the left with a nose up altitude...this happened for about ten seconds. It felt like a go around but it wasn't. It was fun, whatever it was. Landing was smooth...typical of most Airbus planes...and a few minutes later we parked next to a Delta 757, concluding one of the best flights I have ever experienced on one of the best wide bodies flying today. And I feel obliged to say that the PHL
operation was anything but the nightmare some make it out to be, and all the employees I mset seemed to generally enjoy their jobs and take pride in what they do. Nice job, US Airways.
I had about two hours to kill in SJU
before I made my way back to the mainland on Spirit. What did I do? Well I got a phone call from a friend of mine who I have been in love with for about two years and she told me that she is engaged to this guy who she met in New York. I really pretended to be happy for her, but i'm not, because the guy is a loser with a captal L, and she missed the boat on not taking a chance with me. Oh well. Such is life. I found a bar and had a few beers before stolling around the airport. Those two hours passed in a flash.
Spirit Airlines #710
Airbus A321 (operating SJU
I really didn't know what to expect in regards to Spirit. Honestly, I wasn't expecting much. But I was pleasantly surprised when I walked on the plane to find a very modern looking, clean cabin. I made my way back to my seat...30A...and I was impressed by the comfort of the seat. It beats FL
's coach seats by far in terms of comfort. NK
's sats are all leather and feature adjustable head rests. The pitch really wasn't horrible...I guess it was the typical 31 or 32...but it was bearable. Comparing NK
's cabin to the other three LCC's I have flown on...AirTran, Southwest, and Virgin Express (I am not counting F9
as they are a cut above the rest for me)....I think NK
has the overall advantage in comfort becaude the seats are high back with those headrests...they make a huge difference for me. The plane quickly filled up, and push was about three minutes late. We waited on the taxi way for about ten minutes until the Captain received his weight/balance paperwork, and then we were off. Very steep and smooth climb out as we made a big left turn over the coast to align ourselves with Florida. In flight service started about thirty minutes after takeoff. They were offering free water poured from a bottle (that ends next month, sodas and juice for $1 (goes to $2 next month), and an assortment of snacks ranging from $2 to $4. When they got my row, a kid next me...seemed to be about 16 or so who didn't speak a word of English...pointed out that we wanted a cookie and a can of Pringles...and he handed the F/A a $5 bill. Well, it's credit cards only on Spirit...no cash...but this kid obviously did not undertand that, so the F/A comped him the snacks, and he did the same for our row. I was handing him my credit card and he told me to put it away. I think that's pretty good customer service right there. He could have let the kid starve. So far I had a very favorable impression of Spirit. And this flight concluded with a very scenic approach out towards the Everglades before turning back and landing to the East. We parked at one of the H gates, and I was off the plane by 7:10pm.
Note to the FLL
airport: build a terminal connector between H and F so that connecting passengers don't have to leave security, walk outside, make the walk to terminal F (not far at all, just an annoyance), and then re-enter security. I had thirty minutes before boarding started for my next flight so I was doing my best to get there in a hurry. Thankfully it was only a five minute wait at the checkpoint for the F gates, so I arrived at gate F2
by 7:25pm. I went over to the Corky's BBQ and got myself a BBQ pork sandwhich to hold me over on my flight back to ATL
Spirit Airlines #626
: 8:10pm (airborne at 9:05pm after wating about :45 forweight/balance paperwork due to a computer crash at NK
's ops center in Mirimar)
By the time I took my seat on this VERY new Airbus A319 (so new that it had that new plane smell to it...spotless cabin also), I was tired. Luckily I had the prized seat 11F which doesn't have a seat in front of it. On both the FLL
segments there was not a full beverage service offered, but the F/A's (and I must commend the crew on this flight...they were cheerful and fun and were talking to the pax...just top notch) came around with cups of water for people on the MCO
flight and cups of water and coffee on the MCO
flight. I was awake for the short hop up to MCO
, but on to ATL
, I slept for most of the flight.
Overall, I thought NK
did a nice job. They are obviously promoting themselves now as an ULCC, so as long as you expect to pay for checked bags and drinks/snacks, they should at least meet your expectations. I do like the fact that they still offer advanced seat assignments, and their planes are actually very nice on the inside. I'd fly them again.
Picture time....I will post the videos later on in the day as I get them uploaded.
Set one: US3302 ATL
Set two: US1071 ATL
Set two: NK710 SJU
Set three: NK626 FLL
(just three of them since it was at night and I was sleeping)