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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:20 pm

Experiencing a Legend: B6 DTW-BOS-DTW

Thu Nov 25, 2021 5:49 pm

Every 11-12 weeks my medical school gives us students a 1 week break for remediation, consolidation, and rest. My first break under this schedule was spent in MKE visiting my dad's family. For my second break under this schedule, I decided to return home to BOS to see my parents and my mother's family. Originally, this trip would have been my first return home to BOS since March, when I returned to DTW to join my medical school's prosection program and then begin Segment (year) 2.

While my original plan for this break was to spend the entire time in BOS, as one of the leaders of my medical school's Wilderness Medical Interest Group, I needed to lead a white water rafting trip in West Virginia over the first weekend of my break. Because of this, I needed to book a mid-day flight on Monday to BOS. B6 had a 12:05 departure to BOS that would arrive at 14:58 (early enough to satisfy my mother's demand that I try to minimize her having to drive at rush hour in BOS). They also had a 15:15 return to DTW that would get me in early enough that I could do groceries and get settled in before starting classes the next day. Not only was this combination ~$200 less than a similar itinerary on DL, but it also would be the first time that I would fly on B6, and first time since YX was Midwest that I would fly on an E190.

B6 2036 DTW-BOS
Online Check In
Somewhere in rural Ohio while I was on my break from driving, I downloaded the B6 app and checked in for my flight. Because I was staying for almost a full week (and I needed to exchange some camping gear/try to use up some of the goods that my mother started hoarding during the pandemic), I also paid for a checked bag.

At the Airport
After driving all day on Sunday (and having to shuttle people around midtown to get gear/people to their correct apartments) I tossed my dirty laundry and a few other things into my suitcase before trying to get a good night's rest. On Monday, after finishing packing, the US Park shuttle dropped me off at DTW's North terminal at 10:26. There was no line for bag drop, although I was slightly delayed because I thought I needed to self tag my bag, which B6 does not do in DTW.

After dropping my bag off and dumping out my water bottle, I made my way over to security, where there was no line for ID check. Once I was done with the clearly ex-military TSA agent checking ID's that morning, I loaded my stuff into the X-ray and then got stuck in a long line waiting for the full body scanner. When I did get into the full body scanner, I had to be scanned twice because I turned my head right as the TSA agent started the scan.

Once through security I recombobulated my bag and then walked around and planespotted. There wasn't a ton going on during my walk.

Image DHL cargo plane

Image NK A321

While I walked around, I spotted one of the couples that was on my US Park shuttle-- unfortunately, they had gotten to the airport too late, missed their flight, and were being rebooked onto a later flight.

Image UA CRJ

By the time I returned to gate D18, N323JB, the 11.1 year old E190 that would operate my flight to BOS was already in the gate.

Image The B6 E190 that would be taking me to BOS

Image AC CR2. I'm going to miss seeing this livery

At 11:26, boarding began by group. As boarding started I went to the bathroom and returned in time for my group (group B) to be called.

Once onboard I made my way to seat 18A. The cabin was definitely showing its age-- it felt kind of dingy and the TV screens reminded me of my first flights with F9 after they and Midwest were bought out by present day YX.

Image B6 cabin.

While the leather seats were old, they were comfortable, and their was a great amount of leg room available. Once I reached my seat I settled in and began to planespot.

At 11:41 the captain made his announcement, saying that we would have a short taxi, and a 1.5 hour long, fairly smooth flight.

As boarding continued, it seemed like their were quite a few issues with 2 people being assigned to the same seat/people being in the wrong seat, although those were quickly resolved.

At 11:47, prepare for departure was called, and a minute later the doors were closed, meaning that we were able to depart 15 minutes early. At 11:49 we pushed back from the gate as the manual safety demonstration began, and the engines purred to life.

Image Neighboring NK aircraft

At 11:53 we began a very short taxi to the active runway. At 11:56, we started a smooth, low powered takeoff from DTW

Image Delta land

Unlike my last flight to BOS (which departed Northeast and flew over Detroit proper) we departed to the South and flew over some of the more rural/suburban communities of Southeast Michigan.

Image Suburban communities

At 12:01 we hit 10,000 feet, and the flight attendant came on the PA to announce the available snacks (unfortunately they did not have any Terra Blues chips, but they had 4 options available).

At 12:07 the FA's began their beverage service-- starting from the front and rear of the cabin. As they started their beverage service, I tuned into an episode of the Closer that was being played live on TV (which just so happened to be the famous flight attendant/pilot murder episode). I also logged my phone onto the free Wi Fi and used it to send some messages that I had been procrastinating and to complete my course evaluations (which were assigned AFTER the break had started :mad: ). As I watched my episode I enjoyed the lunch that I had packed for myself (a veggie burger with the last garlic-coriander naan that I had in my freezer). When the FA reached me, I passed on a beverage, and selected the Cheezi-Its. While I was a little dissapointed about them being whole wheat, they still went well with my veggie burger.

Image Snack

Around 12:25, the captain announced that we would have a smooth flight and he deactivated the seatbelt sign. During the next commercial, I checked our cruising altitude and saw that we were flying at 36,000 feet.

Image Our route according to Planefinder

Around 12:40 the seatbelt sign was reactivated for turbulence.

At 12:55 we began our initial descent into BOS, and the flight crew announced 25 minutes to landing, and that we might have some bumps on approach. During our descent we spent a quite a lot of time in the clouds.

At 13:08, final descent began

Image First view of the Massachusetts bay.

Image I don't remember there being a mine this close to BOS?

At 13:19 we executed a smooth landing into BOS. After a brief hold to cross an active runway, we started a quick taxi to the gate.

Image The famous BOS control tower

At 13:25 we pulled into gate C36. Disembarkation was unremarkable, and after a quick pit stop I made my way down to the baggage claim, where I grabbed my suitcase and then headed out to the arrivals area to meet up with my mother. Of course, she ended up going to departures by accident, so after a brief delay I was on my way back to the Merrimack River Valley.

Overall Weighted Score
The BOS based flight attendants on this flight were energetic, and seemed like they enjoyed their jobs.
*I elected to give B6 a 4 for entertainment on this flight, because of the free Wi Fi. The dated PTV's on the flight would have earned a 2 without the Wi Fi.


Online Check In
Around 24 hours prior to my flight I checked in using the B6 app, paid for my checked bag, and generated my electronic boarding pass.

At Airport
Around 13:25, my mother dropped me off at BOS terminal C. There was a lot of construction going on in the departures area, limiting the area available for drop offs. Once inside the airport, I self tagged my bag, and proceeded to the bag drop. The line was very quick moving, and within like 7 minutes I had dropped my bag off.

After dropping my bag off, I dumped out my water bottle and then made my way towards security. The line was fairly long, but there were lots of people staffing it though. The BOS C terminal TSA checkpoint has to be one of the most confusing in BOS. Some of the ID check stations had the new equipment where you just need to scan your ID, while others needed boarding passes and ID. Additionally, some of the scanners were the automated ones that had self-returning bins, while others were the old fashioned bins. Of course, I ended up going to one of the automatic machines which ran out of bins, meaning that it took a good 20 minutes just to get through the security line. Adding to the challenge, when I went to remove my key carabiner from my belt to go through security, I realized I did not have it.

After getting through security I decided to go planespotting and I walked all the way over to Terminal E to see what flights were still operating. Sadly, there wasn't too much going on, although it did get busier later on in the afternoon as I was getting ready to depart for DTW.

Image B6 A321

Image DL A333

Image EK and BA B77W and B772 respectively

While over in Terminal E, I searched my backpack and confirmed that I did not have my keys. After making a few calls to try to locate them (finding out that they had been buried behind a whole bunch of rarely used keys on the main key rack at my parent's house) I returned to terminal C to finish waiting for my flight.

Image QR A359 passing by my bird for the flight to BOS.

Around 14:40 boarding began from gate C20. Sadly, due to how busy the terminal was, I could not get a good vantage to take a picture of the E190 that would be carrying me to DTW. A few minutes after boarding began, my group (Group B) was called.

Once onboard, I made my way to seat 18D. Like my previous flight, the cabin felt like it was definitely showing its age. The seat was comfortable and it provided an excellent amount of leg room.

Once settled in, I began to plane spot.

Image TP A21n and AF B789

Image TP A21N being towed to terminal C, with AF B789 in background

At 15:02, the captain made his predeparture announcement, and a minute later the door was closed. At 15:05 the safety demo began, and at 15:08 we began to push back from the gate (a full 8 minutes early). A couple minutes later we had a slightly smoky engine start. Once the engines were started we began to taxi towards runway 9.

Image The everchanging Boston skyline

At 15:17 the engines hummed to life and we executed a smooth takeoff from Boston. Almost immediately after taking off we entered the clouds, and experienced some light chop.

At 15:22 we reached 10,000 feet. Within 10 minutes the flight attendants began coming through the cabin with buy onboard headsets and snack boxes.

When I began to use the inflight entertainment system, I found out that both the TV and moving map did not work. I ended up using the free onboard Wifi to catch up on the news and do some light prepwork for the upcoming trimester (mostly download and review the syllabi, and create a new folder for this trimester's class).

Image Where are we?

Image Planefinder's more detailed flight map

As I used my electronic devices, the FA came through the cabin with beverages, which I passed on. At 15:36 the captain announced that we had reached our cruising altitude of 36,000 feet, deactivated the seatbelt sign, and announced that we had 1:10 until our arrival in DTW.

At 15:51 snack choices were announced. I ended up selecting a Kettlecorn flavored popchips, which I ended up having later in the week with ice cream (which was a really good combination).

Image Snack

Throughout the flight we experienced some isolated light chop, although at 16:24 the seatbelts were activated.

Image Interesting clouds

At 16:36 we began our descent into DTW. A few minutes later, 65 miles to DTW was announced.

Image Islands near DTW

At 16:44 final descent was called, 4 minutes later the flaps began to descend into their approach position. At 16:55 the gear came down, and 2 minutes later we executed a soft, smooth landing into DTW.

When the Fort Lauderdale based purser went to announce the local time he announced that everyone should "check your phone, I don't know"

At 17:05 (25 minutes early) we pulled into gate D18. After a few minutes I was out the door and in the terminal

Image N187JB, the 15.9 year old E190 that carried me back to school

After the Flight
Bags started coming off the flight quickly, but it took a long time for the ground handlers to get all the bags off the flight. Once I had my bag, I made my towards Uber to put my "forgotten keys" recovery plan into action. I Ubered back to my apartment building, got into the lobby without using my forgotten key fob (which was not a good thing), called emergency maintenance to open up my apartment (which only took half an hour, which is far better than I expected), grabbed my spare key, and Ubered to the US Park facility, where I picked up my car and then went about doing the errands that I needed to get done.

Overall Weighted Score
*If B6 did not provide free WiFi they would have received a 1 for entertainment

B6 might just be my new favorite carrier for North American flights. While their product is more dated than the other big US carriers, it felt a lot more comfortable. The excellent hard product, combined with a good soft product (although the TV's can't be modernized fast enough), and free WiFi places them above DL in my opinion.

Logbook and Previous Trip Reports

This chart offers a comparison of all the short haul flights that I have taken.

A Long Weekend's Reprieve: DL DTW-BOS-DTW
A Return to the Skies DL DTW-MKE-DTW

Flying Into the Future Part 3: Delta ALB-DTW-ALB

Flying into the Future Part 2: Southwest ALB-BWI-ALB
Flying into the Future Part 1: Delta ALB-DTW, American DTW-PHL-ALB
Onwards and Upwards Part 2: Air Canada TLV-YUL-BOS
**No Flights** Onwards and Upwards Part 1.5: The Final Days before Leaving the Country
Onwards and Upwards Part 1: Swiss and El Al BOS-ZRH-TLV

The Milwaukee Way WN BOS-MKE-BOS
Porting it to and from Toronto
Southwest to Milwaukee and Back (with a surprise)
Air France, CSA Czech Air, and Alitalia to Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest

From my Archives: Summer '16 rescheduled and delayed with Iberia, Vueling, and British Airways

From my Archives Summer '15 Shuttle America: Do they actually meet Delta's Standards?

From my Archives: Summer '14 Returning from Israel One of the Only Ways Available El Al
From my Archives: Summer '14 Outward bound to Poland and Israel with LH
From my Archives: Winter '14 From Sunny Spain to Snowy Boston, KLM and Delta to Boston
Posts: 2466
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 12:06 am

Re: Experiencing a Legend: B6 DTW-BOS-DTW

Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:06 am

Thanks for the TR. i agree the original product on the E190 is looking dated - it was when I first flew it 5 years ago. But the upgrades have been happening for a couple of years now, and the fleet update is also happening. The Phase 2 product is a big improvement.
Posts: 804
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 2:44 pm

Re: Experiencing a Legend: B6 DTW-BOS-DTW

Sat Mar 12, 2022 7:28 am

Nice report. Soon enough you'll be on the A223 with better, nicer IFE.

BTW that's a BA 787-9 :)
Topic Author
Posts: 146
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: Experiencing a Legend: B6 DTW-BOS-DTW

Sat Mar 12, 2022 11:44 pm

Sancho99504 wrote:
Nice report. Soon enough you'll be on the A223 with better, nicer IFE.

BTW that's a BA 787-9 :)

Between 1.5 years with no flying and the standard medical school associated- drainage of non-medical facts my plane spotting has gotten a little rusty :(

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