TRI-CLT-RIC-LGA and EWR-CLT-TRI April 23, 25, and 27

These were my first paid flights on US Airways since December 2007.

First segment!
US 4370 TRI-CLT, Dash 8-100, operated by Piedmont, scheduled 12:59 pm – 1:49 pm.

I arrived TRI and it was very bittersweet for me as all of the guys who worked for Piedmont, then US, and now US Express were working. It felt like the good old days. One of them gladly put me on standby for F on my flight to RIC.

We boarded about 15 minutes before departure and pushed back from the gate early around 12:52 pm. The aircraft was a little about half full. I was in 4D exit with no seatmate. However, as we were taxiing toward the runway, we were notified that we would be held due to an ATC delay into CLT. We ended up not taking off until about 20 minutes later, around 1:11 pm. We did have what the FA called an “Express” beverage service with limited offerings. I ordered a Diet Coke and also received mini pretzels. We landed at 2:00 pm.

The aircraft was clean, I thought. It looked like perhaps they had reupholstered the seats in newer leather (there were no pen marks and it looked cleaner/newer). And for the first time, I noticed that the seatbelt clasps have “Dash 8” engraved on them! Has this always been that way?

In CLT, I got a grilled chicken salad at Burger King and sat in the food court area using the free Wi-Fi. CLT was VERY busy! There were no seats at the rocking chairs and it was all hustling and bustling! I no longer have an RCC membership so I am hanging out with the regular folk!

Second segment!
US 1114 CLT-RIC, A319, scheduled 4:10-5:21 pm

I proceeded to the gate where I overheard a GA saying that F was still full! We boarded on time, specials, then F and zone 1 together. The flight was very full. I was in faux exit row seat 10D. God help everyone if the exits ever needed to be used! The legroom is VERY TIGHT at rows 9 and 10. However, the plane did look clean and the tray tables looked different to me–more curvy–and the seat cloth looked newer, too.

We left the gate 6 minutes early at 4:04 pm and took off at 4:20 pm. Another bittersweet moment–the pre-departure safety video was the pre-merger one. However, the video at 10k feet was a post-merger one.

There was an abbreviated bev service of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and water. I thought they were going to improve the plastic cups, but the one on this flight was more narrow, thinner, and more flimsy! When I opened the tray table, there was an ad for “gotvmail, the entrepreneur’s phone system.”

US also still has Travel Quest running as IFE. One of the topics today was Napa and French wines.

There was also the Bank of America US Airways VISA pitch right after the bev service.

Other than that, the flight was fine and uneventful, which is good. We landed RIC at 5:06 pm, 15 minutes early!

Third segment!
US 3022,
RIC-LGA, EMB 145 operated by Chautauqua, scheduled 3:45-5:18 pm
Seat 2A single seat side

I arrived RIC very early and was able to change my flight to this one. My flight departed the gate on time at 3:45 pm, but took an ATC delay until 4:02 pm. We had a bev and mini pretzel service in flight. We flew into LGA “the long way”– up the Hutch past the Whitestone Bridge, past Yonkers, turned back east just short of the Tappan Zee Bridge, flew past Stamford, CT, back down past Playland/Rye, then City Island, and finally into LGA. We landed at 5:00 pm, 18 minutes early.

Fourth Segment!
US 1689 EWR-CLT, 737-400, scheduled 11:00 am-12:51 pm
Seat 2C

An excellent flight–yay! We left the gate early and took off at 11:05 am! We arrived at 12:33 pm and made it to the gate by 12:45 pm!

The FA was great–worked the entire time, both in F and helping out in coach. Definitely a seasoned Eastie (I’d say 40-45 years old), because she let me mix my own Bloodies (two minis, one can, very little ice!)

The only “complaints” would be the very worn aircraft (737-400) and the fact that in CLT catering had stocked the coach galley, but not the F galley, and the FA had to get our minis from coach! She told us she was sorry, but of course it was not her fault!

The snack basket had two types of Sun Chips, Fiesta Snack Mix, Biscoffs, and granola bars.

There was no credit card hawking!

Fifth Segment and 50th PAID flight of the year!
(How to make a 35-minute flight last 65 minutes, courtesy of CLT ATC!)
US 4227 CLT-TRI, Dash 8-300, operated by Piedmont, scheduled 4:35-5:41 pm

Seat 11C exit

We boarded about 15-20 minutes before departure. We left the gate on time, but the taxi was slow-going. Finally the pilot came on and said he thought he should explain why it was taking so long and why we were driving all over. He proceeded to tell us we were scheduled for runway 1A left, then they changed it to right, then they changed it to left, then back to right! At any rate, we finally took off 30 minutes late at 5:05 pm. There was no service en route. We landed at 5:40 pm, 35 minutes later and ONE minute early!


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