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wjcandee
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Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Fri Jan 19, 2001 4:22 pm

As ATA has recently cranked up their fares for purchase within 7 days of departure (almost doubling them), I notice that the cheapest last-minute way for me to get from LGA-DFW (which I do fairly often) would be on Vanguard through MCI. The flights are well-timed and reasonably-priced.

Query: What are their (old) 737-200s like? What about pilot training, competence, etc.? I'm not a big 737-200 fan (rudder hardovers make me uncomfortable), but if I felt that Vanguard was running a safety-oriented operation, I might be willing to give them a try. One flight can't hurt, right? And if it sucks, I can always pay twice as much to fly on ATA (which I like very much).

I'd appreciate anyone's (informed) thoughts.

--Bill
 
Guest

RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Fri Jan 19, 2001 7:28 pm

Vanguard is great when going non-stop or direct, but connections, not. From what I hear, either the plane is on time, or at least an hour late. Other than that, your typical airline service.
 
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flashmeister
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Fri Jan 19, 2001 10:22 pm

Isn't Vanguard supposed to be getting MD-80s soon?
 
goingboeing
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Fri Jan 19, 2001 11:04 pm

I've flown Vanguard a few times, as has my wife, daughter, brother, and sister. We're all still here and didn't have a problem witht the overblown "rudder hardover" issue.

My wife and daughter flew from MCI-DFW and the pilot announced that they were over Tucumcari NM (flying AROUND a line of thunderstorms). That was impressive in my book - it would have been far cheaper for them to "pick through" the cells. I had perhaps the best landing ever at DFW on a Vanguard 737 - you could not tell the aircraft touched down.

Downside - the lav on one flight was less than pleasant, but I didn't spend a heck of a lot of time back there.

Give them a try. You'll never know unless you do. They have made some improvements in their on time performance, their people were friendly, and I never felt unsafe on their aircraft.
 
wjcandee
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Sat Jan 20, 2001 1:43 am

Thanks for the updates. Vanguard will be getting some MD80s from a lessor. However, I don't believe that they are planning to replace their 737-200s. Rather, the 737-200s don't have the endurance to reach the West Coast from MCI without substantial weight (meaning passenger) penalties. Given that they are flying now to LAX, etc., it has to be a bummer for them that they can't sell all the seats on the aircraft. The MD80s can reach just fine, and thus are a better type for that service. Of course, with Vanguard's load factor hovering around 50%, they might not have the passengers to fill those planes anyway  Smile/happy/getting dizzy (In reality, of course, you want to be able to fill the plane if you can.) Most MD80s don't have any entertainment, and you'd like to have entertainment on a flight of that length; OTOH, most people don't expect much from a value carrier, following the Southwest model. (But, with JetBlue, you get new planes, DirecTV at every seat for free, etc. You just don't get Dallas from NYC. Darn!)

--Bill
 
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Spacepope
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Sun Jan 21, 2001 5:26 am

I'm based out of MCI, ans still being stuck in college for the 6th year in a row means I have no cash. That being said, I fly them often because many times, it's cheaper to fly them to midway than it is fo me to drive there in my car. Back in the day, when they still had 733's, they had a nasty habit of cancelling flights and leaving passengers stranded, but lately they have been fairly consistent, and I would fly them any day, or at least when I have to pay for my ticket myself.


T.J.
The last of the famous international playboys
 
sccutler
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Rudder Hardovers?

Sun Jan 21, 2001 5:53 am

No one, yet, has (despite repeated and exhaustive efforts) proven the existence of the "rudder hardover" as a legitimate failure mode for the 737's rudder actuator.

So I would not sweat that angle.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
Guest

RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Sun Jan 21, 2001 8:02 am

I flew from LAX to MCI on a 733 with Vangaurd on a red-eye flight and I had no problems whatsoever. I believe Vanguard is trying to move too fast as far as adding new cities, but if they are getting the business, especially since AA, UA, and DL are having so many cancellations, then more power to them. NJ has the only non-stop flight from MCI to MSY (New Orleans) and I would be pleased to fly with them, especially since the cost would be low too. Like it was said before, give them a try. From what I heard, NJ will be using the MD-80 from MCI to LAX, but I am not sure where else they will be using them. If NJ is impressed with the -80, hopefully they will get more of them and retire the 737-200. Of course, they would probably have to invest in MD-87's because of its size comparison to the 737. Too many big MD-80's would cause problems in the long run.
 
wjcandee
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Sun Jan 21, 2001 2:59 pm

I don't know much about the operational economics of the MD87 (i.e. variable cost per seat-mile), but I imagine that the capital cost of those aircraft would be relatively low (although probably not comparable to 737-200s), given that they are kind of orphans here in the US. Only Spirit seems to want any of them; AA doesn't want the ex-Reno ones. (Spirit, it seems will take anything that looks like a DC9 as long as it can be had cheap and flies; they seem to have a pretty ragtag fleet of -80s and -87s in the sense that they all seem to have different heritages, and I think they have the largest fleet of China-built MD80s. On the one hand, this shouldn't be a problem. On the other hand, as ValuJet found out, different flavors of the same item have different idiosyncracies and it can be complicated to keep track of their different maintenance needs. That had nothing, of course, to do with their one fatal accident, but had a lot to do with the FAA lowering the nitpicking boom on them and almost destroying them.)

--Bill
 
roberson
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Mon Jan 22, 2001 4:09 pm

Vanguard has maintained a perfect safety record, so I can't see any safety issues with their operation. In the past, there were lots of flight cancelations and delays, but they seem to be getting better. Because they are not afraid to cancel or delay flights, it indicates to me that passenger safety is a priority. Having a hub at MCI should make their operations more efficient now. Does anyone know whether or not any 732s are going to be retired when the new MD-80s? I was thinking maybe they could keep the older 732s on hand (maybe purchase them from the lessor) for charter flights and for replacements when an aircraft is out of service. Just a thought.
 
mls515
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Tue Jan 23, 2001 12:55 am

Go with Vanguard. I flew with them last summer and It went fine the whole way. A good product for the fare paid.
 
vngd4me
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Tue Jan 23, 2001 2:41 am

To answer the MD80 question the first 2 will be scheduled in April, MCI to; DEN, LAS, LAX, & SFO as far as I've heard.

As for safety, one of the best records in the industry.

On-time status, a while back it wasn't the best but, completion rate & on-time rates are much improved and doing well. Of course flying out of LGA everyone is delayed, unfortunately that is almost a given.
 
roberson
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Tue Jan 23, 2001 11:31 am

Vngd4me-
Do you know what the plans are for the 737-200s? Also, are they planning to convert to an all MD-80 fleet eventually or will there be a mix of aircraft? On the DEN-MCI route, are the MD-80s going to be used on all flights or only select flights? Hope Vanguard makes it. With Vanguard, Frontier, and United serving DEN-MCI now, fares are excellent. Keep up the good work. Also, are there any destinations on the list for expansion at this time?
 
BH346
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Tue Jan 23, 2001 11:41 am

Speaking of destinations, is there a chance Wichita will get Vanguard back?

BH346
Northwest Airlines - Some People Just Know How to Fly
 
roberson
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Tue Jan 23, 2001 11:45 am

I bet Wichita could really use some competition, but I don't know if there are enough passengers to make service economical there.
 
mls515
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Tue Jan 23, 2001 8:25 pm

I wish they'd come back to Des Moines......
 
vngd4me
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Wed Jan 24, 2001 2:11 am

Roberson,

There has been no official word yet as to the fate of the 732's, I know it will be a mixed fleet for a while since only 6-8 MD80's are planned in 2001. As for the exact schedules, nothing official there either. I would bet on at least a couple of new destinations by year end and its rumored there's a new livery on the MD80's. As for Wichita & DesMoines any time soon, I doubt it but stranger things have happened. I think Vanguard is flying towards brighter skies. Hope that I answered a few of your questions.

GO VANGUARD!!

-Vngd4me
 
roberson
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Wed Jan 24, 2001 5:58 am

Thanks for the info.
 
AeroGlobeAir7
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 4:53 am

I've never flown Vanguard, although I'm in KC. They seem like a better airline now. Plus MCI is very convenient, it's easy to get around in, especially for being such a large airport. I'd recommend taking Vanguard, 732s aren't all that bad. I recently took a Southwest 732 to OKC from MCI, the flight was great and I don't recall any problems with control.
 
AeroGlobeAir7
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 4:59 am



I would hate to live in Wichita, there are no low fare carriers, the tickets are more expensive. My uncle said most people just drive up here to Kansas City and fly out of here, the driving time is probably worth it when you can fly to twice as many places.
 
AeroGlobeAir7
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 5:06 am



Vngd4me,

Hi! I was just wondering, is Vanguard planning any additional Colorado services? I live in KC, and Colorado Springs (COS) is a very interesting and great city. I was just curious as to whether or not Vanguard had any expansion in Colorado considered. Also, any services to FL in the future? I don't know what other Kansas Citians think, but I'm proud of my hometown airline! =) Thanks!
AeroGlobeAir7
 
vngd4me
Posts: 237
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 5:51 am

AeroGlobeAir7,

As for COS or Florida I really don't know, I do know that as Vanguard grows and expands many destinations are possible, I think it really depends on demands for a low-cost carrier and many other factors when looking at new markets. I would guess that Florida would be somewhere in the near future of Vanguard but thats only personal hope & speculation. Thanks for your support of Vanguard, I'm proud of my hometown airline too and was glad to see the route restructuring to the true hub system to focus on Kansas City.
 
CactusA319
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RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 6:00 am


Hey, I'm a Vanguard fan too. I could see them expanding into more biz markets like SEA, BOS, BWI as well as leisure flights, maybre returning to MCO and maybe FLL. Doesn't DL Express fly to Florida out of MCI?

 
Guest

RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 6:50 am

Delta Express does indeed serve MCI from their MCO hub, but I see Vanguard with service to MIA, MCO, TPA, maybe even FLL.

Connecting in MCI, doesn't require leaving security and re-entering it, does it? I did that with US Air in BOS (from USEX to MetJet) and it was horrid.

Hope Vanguard does adopt a new livery for the Pegasus MD80s, something clean and fresh, maybe not unlike the new British Midland look. Now, thats cool.

Regards,
Russell
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 7:10 am

<< Connecting in MCI, doesn't require leaving security and re-entering it, does it? >>

Russell - as with most things...it depends. Vanguards gates are not all together, and the design of MCI doesn't allow for a single security checkin. So...in many cases, changing planes at MCI does require reclearing security.

As far as COS goes - they already serve Denver, and COS is about 90 miles from there. Doesn't make sense to do that, IMHO.

Florida - I wouldn't look for them to get into a fight over MCO. Delta Express and Southwest both have nonstops to MCO. Seems like you'd be fighting two really strong carriers for low yield flights.

BOS, BWI, SEA all have their share of potential problems. Midwest Express serves Boston and DC with non stops, and Southwest serves BWI and SEA with non stops.
 
vngd4me
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2000 7:25 am

RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 8:36 am

I agree with GoingBoeing on most of his points & he did answer the security question correctly.

Some connections, say from gate 36A to 36B or C, won't require going through security again but others will. Some pax don't like the security set-up at MCI but I personally like it. Security is aware of rules on the specific airline instead of one security check for the whole airport, like how many carryons and if the airline allows pets, etc... Also MCI is a very convenient not overly congested airport, that in itself makes it nice.

As for other markets for NJ to serve in the near future there are the potential problems mentioned above but they seem to be picking markets carefully lately. NJ has MCI's only nonstop service to MSY, AUS, MYR, & BUF. I think they will choose routes as the demand calls for a need for service or competition. COS, agreed, is probably too close to DEN to be profitable for NJ.
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 8:57 am

Vngd4me - As soon as I posted, I realized I left out the line "That's a problem with the airport - not Vanguard" concerning the security issues.

Also, I didn't mean to come accross as negative about the potential problems for some of those cities mentioned. I think Vanguard is very smart to start nonstop service to cities not currently served. IMHO, MSY was a very good move. I'm a big fan of Southwest and I couldn't understand why they didn't start some type of service long ago. AUS is also another good call. How about a seasonal route to RSW?

Also, I kind of hope the rumor of a new livery on the MD-80's is true. Nothing against Vanguard, but the current livery looks like something from the old communist eastern Europe.
 
vngd4me
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2000 7:25 am

RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 9:27 am

GoingBoeing,

No offense taken. Actually you didn't really come across as negative.

Agreed, it is an airport problem not a Vanguard problem. Security there is never too busy though. I suppose it is a costly security system to run since there is so much more equipment and labor involved than with one or just a few main "check-points" like most of the other airports offer.

I had never thought of the livery as looking "communist" but I don't dissagree. I don't hate the livery, it is not bad but pretty bland & they could do better. I'm looking forward to seeing what it may look like. I'd guess but I would probably be wrong.
 
vngd4me
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2000 7:25 am

RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Thu Jan 25, 2001 9:38 am

RSW, Had to look that one up. Ft. Myers, FL. Hmmm.... Thats a thought, and as far as I know pretty underserved from MCI. I guess we'll have to wait & see.
 
roberson
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2000 10:05 am

RE: Vanguard: Safe? Comfortable?

Fri Jan 26, 2001 3:55 pm

I'm suprised MCI didn't think up a better solution when the airport was built because they probably have tons of metal detectors. Last summer, I remember that only ticketed passengers were allowed to go through towards the gate area. Since the flight was delayed, I had to sit around outside the gate area with my party until they finally started boarding. Kind of annoying, but much easier to use than DEN.

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