OB1783P
Topic Author
Posts: 310
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 9:49 pm

4 CRJ Hops From MDT To The Deep South And Back

Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:55 pm

Reading about short and punctual flights will be mundane to most, but I thought that our overseas friends who fly First Class in A380s might find this report somewhat exotic.

I had a difficult Winter and Spring at work, and I was too rattled and too tired to organize a dream trip for this Summer. Therefore, Bangladesh, Suriname, or Colombian Amazonia would have to wait.

By now, time was up, however. It's use it or lose it, you know. So where would I find captivating history, overwhelming nature, and tragic racial diversity with a few weeks' notice? Way down South, of course, a region I only crossed quickly once, in the dead of Winter 25 years ago.

I am lucky that CO, where I have some miles, joined Star Alliance: For 25,000 miles and $10, I could reach a variety of Southern gateways on US Airways metal. I chose to fly down to Montgomery, because it seemed more interesting than Nashville, Memphis or Birmingham, and because I could fly late at night. Arriving in deep, steamy Dixie at midnight... how intriguing. I investigated an open jaw, but while the flights were fine, the price of the rental car would more than double, so MGM would be the start and the finish of my 9 day Southern odyssey. (The plane ticket would have cost somewhere around $350 retail.)

July 08
US Airways Express 2641 MDT 08:04PM to CLT 09:31PM (Mesa Airlines)
US Airways Express 2583 CLT 10:35PM to MGM 10:57PM (PSA Airlines)


My son drove me to Harrisburg so that he could enjoy the use of my car while I was away instead of having it stay in the parking lot. As always in sleepy MDT, the security check was a breeze. The C gates area at MDT is very quiet, and pretty soon, The CRJ900 arrived at gate C3.




Boarding was done in zones, but not seating zones, more like honor zones, with elite flyers and mothers first. Flyers who had checked in on line - like me - were designated as zone 3, one step up from the "general boarding." I had my bigger bag tagged with a yellow label as it is too big for CRJ overhead compartments.




The CRJ 900 was about 2/3 full. You could tell from the bulkhead and from the seat covers that this particular CRJ was an adopted child of US Air Express (notice the America West logo). The safety announcements were done "mime style" to a recorded announcement. There were two flight attendants.




I don't recall ever taking off toward the South (towards York) from MDT, but this time, we did. We taxied all the way to the Northern end of the runway, and took off smoothly, and on time.




There was a drink service (with the option of light snacks for a charge). I enjoyed the sight of beautiful cloud formations.



In about 70 minutes, we were in Charlotte, a city which - to my shame - I couldn't place very accurately on a map. To US Airways, however, Charlotte seems to be the very center of the universe.




It is always such a joy to deplane via steps, be it in CLT or in LIM. The noise, the smell, the sights...




CLT must be the most homogeneous airport. Does anyone else fly there? And who are all these people? Who flies to New Bern NC?  




Not the most glamorous boarding area, but soon it was time for the second flight, also right on time.





Same drill, but with only one flight attendant in this half-full CRJ 200. He was very jovial and helpful, especially to the lovely United Express ladies who were repositioning on this flight as passengers. This was another short and smooth flight over city lights and highways, and pretty soon we descended and landed at MGM.




MGM at 11:00PM is a very quiet airport, especially compared to bustling Charlotte. The following picture was taken the following morning, when I picked up my rental car. Not exactly busy in the daytime either, pretty much like MDT.



Now, since I've got you captive, here is a brief tour of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, the way I did it (I put 1,600 miles on that Corolla).














July 18
US Airways Express 2344 MGM 06:10AM to CLT 08:41AM (PSA Airlines)
US Airways Express 2217 CLT 09:50AM to MDT 11:31AM (Mesa Airlines)


Security at MGM at 5:00AM is also pretty quick. As dawn started breaking, we boarded the CRJ200.




This time, the flight was about 2/3 full. There was a coffee and drink pass when we reached cruising altitude.



After landing, the lone flight attendant asked us to lower the shades to keep the aircraft cool.





Charlotte was packed on this Sunday morning. Long lines stretched in front of all breakfast vendors. But at least, compared to my recent experience in FRA, there were enough restrooms to satisfy the crowds.



Ah, the romance of flight...





Not much to declare about the fourth flight, aboard a CRJ 701. This one was almost full, and there are jetways at MDT, of course.

For what it offers, US Airways Express is beyond reproach. The CRJs are a little worn, but the leg room is generous. Besides, four flights in a row which all left on time and all arrived early: who else can claim this? It would have been more fun to take Etihad or Qatar to Dhaka, but you can't compare a sky bus service with long range luxury.

The South was a wonderful destination. My goal was to get a better understanding of the Civil Rights movement, and to hike near swamps. Mission accomplished. Thank you for reading.

I've flown thousands of miles and I can tell you it's a lot safer than crossing the street!
 
jlbmedia
Posts: 295
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2002 11:29 am

RE: 4 CRJ Hops From MDT To The Deep South And Back

Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:09 am

Nice TR. I enjoyed your take on the type of trips we are getting more and more used to here in the US of A., especially from the east coast.
JLB54061
 
staralliance38
Posts: 1112
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:09 pm

RE: 4 CRJ Hops From MDT To The Deep South And Back

Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:11 am

Thanks for the TR! I love reading these domestic TRs, especially with US! Your connection in CLT was the perfect way to start your trip to the South. Too bad you weren't able to walk around CLT much. It's my favorite airport to connect in  
Roar, lion, roar
 
Super80DFW
Posts: 856
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:03 pm

RE: 4 CRJ Hops From MDT To The Deep South And Back

Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:00 am

Did you happen to visit Houma House while you were in Louisiana?
"Things change, friends leave, life doesn't stop for anybody." -- EAT'EM UP EAT'EM UP KSU!!
 
767747
Posts: 2122
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

RE: 4 CRJ Hops From MDT To The Deep South And Back

Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:52 pm

Nice report! I like your photos from AL! Looks like you had a nice trip. I'm also amazed by the departure computer screen; I didn't realize there would be so many flights leaving after 10:00pm .. !

767747
I love to fly!
 
ca2ohHP
Posts: 657
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:14 am

RE: 4 CRJ Hops From MDT To The Deep South And Back

Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:30 pm

Nice TR! I really enjoyed the pictures from AL and LA.

Quoting OB1783P (Thread starter):
US Airways Express 2217 CLT 09:50AM to MDT 11:31AM (Mesa Airlines)

This flight was actually operated by PSA.
 
BatonOps
Posts: 619
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:00 am

RE: 4 CRJ Hops From MDT To The Deep South And Back

Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:53 am

Great to see my hometown airport (MDT) in a TR. Thanks for the post!!
 
OB1783P
Topic Author
Posts: 310
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 9:49 pm

RE: 4 CRJ Hops From MDT To The Deep South And Back

Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:43 pm

Quoting Super80DFW (Reply 3):
Did you happen to visit Houma House while you were in Louisiana?

No, I didn't. I visited Oak Alley and the Laura Creole Plantation.

Indeed CLT is a fine airport for transfers.

Thank you everyone for reading.
I've flown thousands of miles and I can tell you it's a lot safer than crossing the street!
 
pgh234
Posts: 732
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2001 12:48 pm

RE: 4 CRJ Hops From MDT To The Deep South And Back

Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:54 pm

Quoting 767747 (Reply 4):
I'm also amazed by the departure computer screen; I didn't realize there would be so many flights leaving after 10:00pm .. !

US has always, as far back as I can remember, run a 10-11pm flight bank from CLT and, in earlier times, PIT and LAS. DL also has a decent late night bank from ATL and MIA has the late south american flights. I am not aware of any other carriers with such a large late bank of flights.
 
wntex
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 10:54 pm

RE: 4 CRJ Hops From MDT To The Deep South And Back

Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:35 pm

Impressive TR. I enjoyed it very much. Glad you enjoyed your trip!

WNTex
"The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now." -Zig Ziglar

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