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SimAirline.net - Message Boards • View topic - US delivers yet again

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 Post subject: US delivers yet again
PostPosted: 18 Jul 2010, 16:50 
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Six weeks went by in the blink of an eye (poetry...). I had gone to the Memphis Zoo, Mississippi State University, the Memphis Flight Center, Memphis Airport Tower, Beale Street, Graceland, Mud Island...I could go on and on. Before I knew it, July 17th arrived and it was time to head back home. After giving a presentation to the NWS in Memphis of my research and what I did during those six weeks, I headed back to the hotel to pack my bags.

At 4:15am CST the alarm went off. Time to wake up and head on over to the airport under cloudy skies. Our mentor came and picked us up at 5:30am and dropped us off (he stayed until we went through security). I had already checked in through the internet so all that was left was to pay for the bags and head off to C8.

US Airways 938
Airbus A319

N750UW
At around 7:30am we started boarding out A319. At around 8:00am we pushed back from the gate and headed for runway 36C where the pilot announced we were the first for takeoff. As we powered down the runway a DL A319 landed on 36R (first time I've witnessed this). We lifted off and turned right for Charlotte. A quick beverage service was given and the flight was relatively uneventful. We descended from FL320 and landed in Charlotte on runway 18R at around 10:38am (EST).

Charlotte layover
We were on a pretty tight schedule. We went from terminal C to terminal B where at 11:00am they would start boarding our flight to SJU. Since we had checked in, we were in Zone 3 as opposed to Zone 5 when we went to Memphis. We had not been able to grab breakfast and lunch did not seem like an option since the restaurants near the area were swamped with passengers. The other good restaurants were on other terminals and we did not want to risk losing our flight back. Luckily I had stocked up on Kellogg's strawberry bars and granola bars so I was prepared to endure the 3.5 hour long flight.

Something happened at the airport that made me consider whether to do it next time or not. Our flight back was oversold and they wanted two volunteers. They would be placed on the 5-ish flight along with a $525 voucher. I would've been sent to PHL and then gone south to PR. I was pretty hungry and I wanted to eat, but since I had already told my mom I'd be back by 3:30pm I decided against it. However, I spoke with them later and I said that I might consider doing it if the need arises in the future (need to stock up on my miles).

On another note, I had emailed Aaron about the possibility of meeting him while I was there. My roommate had gone to ATL on a weekend getaway and I made plans with Aaron to meet him then. Since I was running low on $$$ (thank you UPR strike... :rmad: ) I had to scrap those plans. Two more attempts were made to meet in Memphis but since I didn't had a car again, no luck. The final attempt was for us to meet in CLT but he had plans in MO that day so we never crossed paths. Add to that that my plans for the convention are also scrapped (once again, thank you strike :evil: ). The strike is "over" (still the possibility for it again) but the calendar has been changed and now I get to finish my semester in August as opposed to what should have happened (begin the new semester)...maybe in the future I may get the chance to fly and meet one of you guys... :|

US Airways 1568
Airbus A320

N112US
With that whole flight oversold thing behind, I took my seat at 15F. With this, I have stepped in the whole A32X fleet of US. The leg room on the A320 was more than the A319 but less than the A321. Even exit seats didn't have a wide leg room. Anyway, we departed ahead of schedule. We pushed back from gate B6 and headed to runway 18L. We were number one for takeoff but waited for a company A320 landing on runway 23. The thing about using runway 18 is that we were headed south so it was literally just climb and then continue heading to where center gives you. No sharp turns or anything (not that I would have mind). A company A320 was taking off from runway 18C and, if not for the terminal in the center, it would've been a very cool parallel takeoff.

Again, I was hungry and service started. An Italian sandwich was ordered by the passenger in 15D (my roommate was on 15E) and I was tempted enough to ask for one but:
1. I don't like cheese
2. I don't like salami
3. $7 for a less than 6 inch sandwich doesn't sound like a good deal to me. So I ate more bars along with my cup of OJ.

I really want US to either expand their Wi-Fi to all their A32X fleet or put some entertainment. The flight was VERY boring. The only good thing about it was the turbulence and cloud formations outside my window.

To my pleasure, the pilot announced that we might be VERY early. We were to land at 3:05, about 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. We descended and remained fairly stable parallel to the Puerto Rican coastline. In PR it had been raining since I left and I returned under the same conditions: rain. I took a picture of a very nasty thunderstorm striking the west side of the island where the Central American games were scheduled to begin. We landed at runway 10 and went to gate 38.

Baggage claim was a nightmare. It was pouring outside so I wouldn't blame the ground crew if they didn't bring us our bags because of the rain. However, there was no point in having arrived early if baggage would be claimed nearly one hour later. To make matters worse, an AirTran flight had arrived and bags from CLT and MCO flowed on the belt.

Conclusions and afterthoughts: US delivered once again. Great service, great timing. On my favorite list (flown), US ranks 3rd behind CO and DL. I certainly will consider flying with them, even if it means a longer layover. Already on my dividend miles I'm up to nearly 8K (don't ask. I still don't know how) and still waiting to be credited for the miles flown yesterday.

On the down side, I'm really bummed about returning. The six weeks went by too quickly and they were spent doing something I really liked. I just hope I can get this chance again. I might consider returning to Memphis if I can. It's the place...it's so different. It's an escape from the daily routine. This time I woke up and looked forward to what I was going to do. I have yet to do that in college. So, yeah.

Events after the flight:
-It turns out that the thunderstorm I had taken a picture of spawned a tornado/waterspout (no one knows which) and destroyed parts of where the opening ceremony would be held. The ceremony will be held today (July 18th) instead.
-In the US the legal drinking age is 21, so I'm just months from reaching that. Aside the 4th of July moment with a Smirnoff, I could not drink any alcohol. So my parents picked me up and took me to Outback Steakhouse. First order of business? A Wallaby Darned (great drink) and a steak with mashed potatoes. Finally I ate meat and not just chicken.
-Since the Outback is in an Embassy Suites Hotel, I decided to try my luck at the casino. I went in with $20 and struck a $400 jackpot :smokin: . A voucher was printed by the machine for $415.50. After cashing out, I decided to see if I could raise the jackpot a bit and played $15. No luck. Oh well...Regarding the jackpot, I had only played 3 credits. Had I played 5 credits, I might have gone out with over $1,000. Nevertheless, I was quite the lucky fellow and those $400 are desperately needed. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: US delivers yet again
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2010, 20:56 
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Joined: 18 Jul 2006, 18:39
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Location: Louisville, KY
Nice writeup.

I like how you mention being bored and enjoying the turbulence. I'm the same way. Turbulence is mildly fun and entertaining, especially when you see the people who look rather scared.

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 Post subject: Re: US delivers yet again
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2010, 21:51 
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I need to post pictures of the thunderstorm. I was in the lavatory and I was about to have a word with the flight attendants when all of the sudden the captain comes on the PA asking to remain the seats as there would be some turbulence. Not one minute had passed after I put on my seatbelt when the plane started shaking lightly. Out my window, clouds at FL350. It was pretty cool.

On a side note, I recorded the takeoff and landing at all airports...let's put it this way: image was perfect. Sound was as if Chubacca had been making a noise.

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 Post subject: Re: US delivers yet again
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2010, 15:05 
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Joined: 09 Jan 2005, 06:52
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Dennis wrote:
Already on my dividend miles I'm up to nearly 8K (don't ask. I still don't know how) and still waiting to be credited for the miles flown yesterday.


Great writeup. Sounds like US treated you pretty well on this trip (except for the baggage issues at the end).

Your question about miles sounds a bit like one of my British friends who lives in Switzerland. He worked out where he earned his BA miles recently, and almost 90% of them were bonus miles offered because of the strikes by BA personnel recently. :P

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 Post subject: Re: US delivers yet again
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2010, 16:24 
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The baggage issue was more an issue with the airport. The airlines here don't have a ground crew, save AA/AE. Rather, they pay services to GMD (Ground Motive Dependable airline services) who load the bags, pushback and tow the aircraft, and help with the ground operations.

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 Post subject: Re: US delivers yet again
PostPosted: 24 Jul 2010, 17:10 
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I'm glad you finally got the placement in the end. So many times there was risk of it not happening, but you finally got it in the end.

In the past couple of years I have only ever flown CO on internal US flights, and they were very good. I have to admit that their domestic service is better than their international service. Would you say the same about US Airways, or was it hard to tell the difference?

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 Post subject: Re: US delivers yet again
PostPosted: 24 Jul 2010, 23:51 
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sanins192 wrote:
I'm glad you finally got the placement in the end. So many times there was risk of it not happening, but you finally got it in the end.
Phew...that was one that almost got away, but I'm glad everything turned out fine in the end...the strike thing is what I'm still not happy about, especially when I have a fee imposed that's almost 100% of my credit costs. My year costs around $850/semester. With the new fee for January, I'll have a ~100% increase in my tuition...not cool! :x

Quote:
In the past couple of years I have only ever flown CO on internal US flights, and they were very good. I have to admit that their domestic service is better than their international service. Would you say the same about US Airways, or was it hard to tell the difference?

I haven't flown internationally with US since their SJU-CLT/PHL flights are considered domestic. I could have made some comparison had I flown in their A330s or 767s, but I flew in their A32Xs. Still, when comparing my CO flights with US flights, I have to say that CO is better. Their product is just somewhat better. More space in their economy seats, actual meals in coach (though that will be gone soon). What I did notice was that the crew in US was much nicer than any other airline. Always a smile and no attitude. So if you want to take a chance, try US. I wasn't disappointed at all and I'm looking at ways to fly with them every chance I get.

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