UAL 7645 (opb Shuttle America)
Photo © Michael Durning
Photo © Mike Paschal
For starters, I had no influence on the itinerary for this trip- I did the outbound flight with my boss, and she prefers United and only likes flying out of IAD, and tries to avoid DCA and especially BWI at all costs. This didn't bother me at all as IAD is my airport of choice as well, and it allowed me to finally add an ERJ-170 to my list. I had checked in the day before at work, but I still wanted to check my bag, so I arrived at Dulles before 6am, parked the car in the Daily 2 garage, and immediately swore quite loudly- as anyone who's familiar with Dulles knows, I'd just given myself the longest possible walk to the United ticket counters! Fortunately, the terminal wasn't crowded and I had dropped off my bag by 615. This was my first trip through the new security check at Dulles, and while nice, the TSA still managed to foul it up. While there were two separate entrances to the security lines, one for elites, one for everyone else, they both led to the same line, with only one person checking IDs/boarding passes. Also, the elite entrance was right at the bottom of the escalator, while the other one was at the far end of the hall, so I had to backtrack, enter the line, and then walk all the way back to the bottom of the escalator, where they were checking IDs. Fortunately, the line moved quickly, and there was only a short wait to get through the metal detector. Once through security, I made the scenic trip on the people-eater to Terminal D and our gate, D16, was directly opposite from where the mobile lounges dock at the terminal. The gate was full, as there was a flight to LAX getting ready to board. Once that flight had begun boarding, I grabbed a seat by the window, and was met shortly thereafter by my boss. We chatted for 90 minutes or so until our flight began boarding shortly after 8am. We were in different rows, but didn't make any efforts to swap seats. I did manage to snag the last overhead bin space over my row for my laptop, so I didn't have to worry about kicking it if it were under my seat. We departed the gate on-time, and made a quick taxi over to RWY 19L for departure. I was amazed at how loud the plane was on departure, but once we got to altitude, it got much quieter. Service was just a drink pass, and I spent the flight reading. Comfort-wise, it was average- the flight was pretty full- 62 of 70 seats taken (including the one next to me), but for a 'regional jet' it was pretty good- much better than the CRJs or even the Avro RJ100s I've flown on. The flight got bumpier as we approached Dallas, so the last part was done with the seat belt sign on, and I couldn't see anything out the window until right before we touched down on RWY 31R at DFW. Taxi to the gate took a while, as we had to wait for a few departures crossing RWY 17C and RWY 17R, but we eventually made our way over to Gate B30. While taxiing in, the F/A in the back got on the intercom, and began welcoming us to Houston, and giving us all sorts of information about the Houston airport, going on and on about Houston, until the F/A up front yelled the length of the plane "We're in Dallas!" (pretty good lungs on that guy IMHO) to which the other F/A said "Oh. Welcome to Dallas." and promptly got off the intercom. Once off the plane, it was a pleasantly short walk to the baggage claim, and it was off to get the rental car and find the hotel in foggy, rainy Dallas.
UAL 7645 (opb Shuttle America)
Photo © Galen Burrows
Photo © Pat barry
My boss was continuing on to other meetings, so I'd be returing to DC alone. During the lunch break in our meetings on the 14th, I jumped on the United website and checked in for the return flight. When I confirmed my itinerary, it offered me an upgrade, and I figured why the hell not? So I shelled out the $200 and snagged the last seat in First- 1F. My boss had flown out the night before, so I didn't have to wait for her to go to the airport, which was nice, since I woke up at my usual time of 6am, DC-time, which is 5am in Dallas. Not having anything better to do, I said the hell with it, got up, had breakfast in the hotel, and went to the airport, gettting there at 730 for my 1130 flight. So I took my sweet time returning the rental car and getting to the terminal. Once at Terminal B, I checked in my bag, picked up my ticket, and went through security where I got to listen to the deep philosophical musings of the guy behind me in line wondering "Why do I get to Sacramento before I
On the whole, it was a solid trip by Shuttle America- the flight crews were all nice, the planes were clean, and they got me my first E-170 trip. Again, the E-170 was equally average, nothing special, but I wouldn't go out of my way to avoid/not avoid flying one. Thanks for getting this far, and comments are always welcome!