Independence Airlines?

Aug 2nd, 2004, 05:36 AM
  #1  
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Independence Airlines?

Hello all!
I recently booked a flight on Independence Air from JFK to Dulles (one-way) and then from Dulles to Boston (one-way). Has anyone heard anything regarding the service on this new airline? How on time are they? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
laya0316 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 08:55 AM
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I have not flown them since they become "independent" from United, but you do know that right now all of their flights are on 50-seat regional jets (2-2 seating), right? Not bigger mainline jets.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 09:22 AM
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Hi there,

My fiance just began working with them. Their philosophy is to change the way airlines handle customers. They don't charge you to get on an earlier flight if there's a space available, they will arrange (not pay) for alternate transportation if there are significant delays, etc. And they have Dennis Miller doing the in-flight safety announcements!

Happy travels!
australianhm is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 10:10 AM
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australianhm

Same day stanbys are routinely done for free by just about every airline, if there is availibility.

Most airlines, will find and pay for alternative transportation if there are significant delays. Unless you are talking about weather delays, but then I think I could find it myself if they are not going to pay for it. (rental, bus, train, etc....).

So far you have not given us anything new and exciting, well, except for Dennis Miller. He is my favorite political satyrist and comedian. It could be fun for first few times, but jokes get old when repeated, so I hope they do few of these to keep the frequent flyers amused.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 10:23 AM
  #5  
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Ironically, a friend of mine just flew it this past weekend and had some major troubles with the airline. Read below:

Independence air was a mess! I was taking a 2:30 flight, but when I got to the airport, they had had trouble with the plane for the 12:30 so all those people were trying to get on the 1:30 which didn?t leave until 2:15. Then at 2:30, we still had no plane and they told us that our plane just left DC. Meaning our plane got to the gate at the same time that we were supposed to be getting in to DC. Then, they overfueled the plane, so we were sitting there for 20 minutes before they even told us something (although the first thing they told us was that the pilot was trying to get a friend of his onboard, but couldn?t and that was the hold up- which angered everyone b/c we were already so late) Then they asked for volunteers to leave the plane since it was overfueled and therefore off balance weight wise. But they weren?t offering anything (like free tickets) or they couldn?t guarantee that they would be on the next flight, so of course no one volunteered so they just pulled two people off (the two last to check in, but still). Of course during all this they weren?t telling us anything so people kept asking the flight attendant who eventually yelled at a woman ?I don?t know anything, stop asking me!? and then she started to cry. Now, I felt bad, b/c she was the only one, but she?s customer service AND she should have gone to either ask the pilot or to tell the pilot to make an announcement. So 45 minutes later, we finally took off. And we finally got into dulles at around 7, when we should have been there at 3:45. It was miserable. And also, the people at the terminal were rude and they were refusing to refund tickets (which I know is normal) but still, there was NO plane. You?re paying to get somewhere at a certain time, you expect to either be there or to be compensated in some way. It was just a terrible experience. I?d hate to take it again, but since it?s the cheapest going to dulles, I know I probably will do it again in the future.
laya0316 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 10:35 AM
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Laya - Tell your friend that AirTran flies to Dulles. Sorry he/she had a bad experience, but I've yet to be on an airline with delays that tells you anything.

gnr
gnrbernstein is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 08:06 AM
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With much fear and trepidation, I will be flying Indep. next week -- on Fri. the 13th evunnn! They were enormously helpful with a special problem on the phone, and they certainly have seats where most other airlines didn't on such short notice.

Will let you know.
soccr is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 08:39 AM
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Quote
originally posted by soccr,

and they certainly have seats where most other airlines didn't on such short notice

This can't be a good sign for the shareholders.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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AAFF - exactly. Independence Air is not releasing load data, but I read a WSJ article that some journalists are estimating about 30-40% load rate on many of their flights; while the majors are filling over 80%. The regional jets are relatively costly to operate per seat(compared to say 737s or A320s), so they'll need a very high load to make money.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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AAFF -- having lots of seats can't be a good sign for passengers, either. If the planes aren't full, eventually they'll be canceling flights and doubling up if they aren't already. I didn't have much choice, unfortunately. Let's call this a Great Adventure, and everyone please cross fingers for me.

Also, they have already ordered a bunch of Airbuses, due to arrive end of the year. I wonder how long they imagine they can operate seriously in the red, or what their deficit tolerance for the first year is. Have to wonder if they noticed what happened to Midway, even before 9/11.
soccr is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 09:14 AM
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soccr,

You'll be fine. I do think that they will be around for some time, but I couldn't resist that quote.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 10:04 AM
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I flew IAD-BUF round trip a couple of weekends ago, and it was perfectly acceptable. The flight going up was packed, I think the flight coming home had a few seats available, but not many. My inlaws flew PWM-IAD roundtrip last weekend, and they had a good experience as well. Their outbound flight was delayed due to weather, but the Independence Air staff at PWM were very accommodating they said -- distributed drinks and snacks, kept them updated on delays, etc.

Be aware, the overhead compartments are quite small (shallow opening top-to-bottom), so rollaboards may have to be gate-checked (not a big deal as far as I'm concerned).

I know I'll keep flying them as long as they're around. For husband and I to visit his parents, IAD - PWM beats the pants off of BWI to MHT on SW. And to not have the cattle call lines of SW, that's worth something in itself.
vamoodys is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 10:20 AM
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I'm probably going to fly IA to Nashville this fall. Normally I would fly SW from BWI, but Dulles is A LOT more convenient! (I live off 270) - Maybe this will be a push for the Intercounty Connector: BWI losing MD customers to Dulles due to easier access.

~gnr~
gnrbernstein is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 10:48 AM
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OK, back from RDU-IAD-ROC-IAD-RDU trip on "flyi". Generally a positive experience, and I'll cross my fingers for this airline, although they have one or two things to work on.

First, now is the time to be flying these people, because the flights are rarely even 1/2 full and the fares are spectacularly good. I only had someone next to me (seating is 2 and 2) on the last leg and that's only because for some reason she didn't want to move to an open row. The seats are leather, very comfortable, and with reasonable legroom, esp. if you have the row to yourself. There's no armrest between seats, which is fine with me but may bother some people. These seem to be brand new planes, and you don't have the sense that you are in a flapping-wing puddlejumper as much as you do in smaller regional jets. The noise when the landing gear go up or down IS a little alarming though! ("KaCHUNNK!")

People: They all seem to have a very cheerful, positive, cordial attitude (although the cutesy safety-announcement recordings by Dennis Miller or Chuck Berry or Matalin-Carville were already old by my 3rd flight), although at the "spoke-end" destinations (RDU, ROC), they only have a couple of employees who do double- and triple-duty, and some are a little green. The gate agent at ROC said before she started training for them, she'd never been on a plane in her life. Maybe this is a good thing.

Food: beverages only -- juices and limited soft-drinks and some specialty "fresh-brewed" ice tea. They barely have time to serve on their short flights.

Storage and space: Overhead bins are shallow (too shallow for rollaboards, which must be checked) but spacious enough for packages, briefcases, coats, etc.; and there's plenty of under-seat space, too. Since it's a sort of "widebody" version of the regional jet, you have full floor space next to the window -- the wall doesn't curve around the way it does on the narrower 1+2 CRJs.

Efficiency: All but one of my flights took off early, and I tracked a few others on line and that seems to be the rule, probably because the planes are so empty. They do seem to be working hard to avoid delays but their set-up at Dulles kind of dooms them to problems. Although they have about 12 gates, each gate can serve 6-8 planes (sets of 3-4 doors on each side of the walkway out onto the apron), so sometimes you can have 3 flights arriving and 3 departing from the same gate, and it can be hectic and congested.

On Tuesday, it was a piece of cake. I arrived, walked around the A and B concourses at Dulles, and came back to board a plane sitting at the same gate I arrived at. Had I been late, the connection would have been easy.

On Friday, it was much more zoo-ey. We were delayed circling over IAD to land and then waiting for our gate to clear, even though we'd departed 10 min. early. We arrived 25 min. late, for which they apologized profusely and made sure that those with connections got off first. Once in the terminal, I walked to the neighboring gate where my connection to RDU would board and found 5 other flights, all due to leave at 12:30pm, listed for the same gate. They boarded us one flight at a time, but there were some anxious and confused looking people around until we got triaged and sent off. Again, we were all boarded, in our seats, and ready to go 15 min. early, but we had to wait for a pilot coming in on another flight to land, do his thing, and get to our flight. We took off 1/2 hr. late but made up the time (even through the remnants of Bonnie) by the time we landed.

Baggage: They seem quite short handed at Dulles, so you could see handlers literally running from cart/plane to cart/plane and some very breathless people off-loading and then re-loading the planes for quick turn-arounds. But I heard of no actual problems for passengers.

Overall: I wish them well and look forward to their cross-country routes' opening up in the winter-spring on the airbuses. I will probably fly them again to places I can't get to from RDU non-stop (which is a lot), and I suspect that barring missteps or bad luck, they will pick up some of the lost routes and passengers when/if USAir and UA cut back or crump. Just hope they learn to untangle some of the Dulles rat's nest confusion when they move into Terminal B.
soccr is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 10:51 AM
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Afterthought caveats: Only RDU had a jetway that reached the plane; at Dulles and ROC you had to go down the plane's stairs (wave at the paparazzi waiting for you, if you want) and walk through weather to the terminal. This may be a problem for limited-mobility people and -- definitely -- for everyone when the weather's bad. No canopies, just a bucket 'o umbrellas.

If you have a rollaboard, you can gate-check it along with everyone else, but you'll end up hovering and waiting for it in the weather at Dulles. I much preferred to check mine through, although that did mean a slight delay at ROC to collect it.
soccr is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 04:15 AM
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Cassandra
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Useful info, soccr. Do you know when they will begin to fly cross-country?
 
Aug 17th, 2004, 05:44 PM
  #17  
 
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They haven't announced their cross-country schedules yet. They are having major sales right now though, until Aug. 30, with travel through Dec. 19 (except Thanksgiving weekend, of course.)

~gnr~
gnrbernstein is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 06:23 PM
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They haven't received their Airbus 319/320 yet. According to the last press releases, they're going to get those "in the fall", and start flying to "Florida, Midwest and West Coast". That's the order in all the press releases.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 18th, 2004, 05:38 AM
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One of the gate agents (/ticket agents/customer service/baggage) told me they were expecting the Airbuses "in the winter" -- which is later, on my calendar, than the fall. Based on the "aim" of the arrows indicating "future destinations" in their timetable, it looks like SFO and MCO will be their Fla. and Cal. destinations.
soccr is offline  
Aug 20th, 2004, 06:47 AM
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I am flying Independence to Washington/Dulles for labor day from Nashville and am glad that most, if not all of the reviews are fairly positive. I like hearing that the flights are not full right now -- I am a nervous flyer and that makes me relax.

It looks like they do not serve alcoholic beverages on the flights - is that true? I sometimes enjoy a glass of wine while flying. Oh well. Can't have it all I guess.
seaside1 is offline  

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