Do I trust US Airways?

Feb 18th, 2007, 11:14 AM
  #1  
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Do I trust US Airways?

Minneapolis is my home airport, so Northwest Airlines gets 90% of my business. I've been looking at flying into Albany NY in July, and the cheapest fares found on the sidestep web site are on US Airways flights. (Half the price of NWA.) I got a bit concerned, however when looking at the seating for their equipment. These are smaller planes than I am used to! (An Embraer 170 operated by Republic Airways and a Canadair Regional Jet operated by Air Wisconsin, both doing business as US Airways Express.) What do folks think about US Airways? Am I being overly concerned about the equipment, US Air's service, my comfort, on-time record, etc. (Connections are allowing just 38 minute and 55 minute change-of-plane in Philadelphia.)
dknudsen is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 11:21 AM
  #2  
GoTravel
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Firstly, your connection times don't sound legal especially the 38 minute one.

Why would you have a problem with US Airways? The upkeep of the airplanes is governed by the FAA not the airlines so all things would be equal between equipment.

I think you are being Nervous Nelly for no reason.
 
Feb 18th, 2007, 11:48 AM
  #3  
TheWeasel
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<Am I being overly concerned about the equipment, US Air's service, my comfort, on-time record, etc.>

Well, the only specific concern you mentioned in the rest of your post was the size of the plane, so what are your other concerns? Do you have 2 connections to make - where's the 38 minute one? What are the service/on-time concerns you have?

Biggest concern I'd have is summer storms that might cause you to miss a connection - the more connections you have the more of a concern I'd have. I wouldn't even worry about service as I don't think there's much of a difference there, and comfort on a small plane can actually be better than on a larger one. I don't know the seat configuration on your flights, but some of the small planes have a 1-2 configuration, so 2/3 of all the seats are aisle seats giving you room to stretch your legs.
 
Feb 18th, 2007, 12:05 PM
  #4  
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Yeah, I'm not so concerned about whether or not the particular planes are 'safe,' they just strike me as possibly less comfortable. My main concerns probably arise from not being very knowledgable about the company itself. Like I said, I've never paid much attention to carriers other than NWA and the occasional cheap fare on Sun Country. I just want to make sure I'm not stumbling into an incredibly poorly-run operation.

Their web site was originally another red flag: after sidestep directed me there to get the details on the fare I found, it had the date numbers right, but the wrong month. When I tried to fix it, they threw up an "Invalid date: Please select a date between 2/18/2007 and 1/14/2008!" message. Well, I gave up on using my mac's safari browser and fired up firefox to try the site again, and it worked.

Oh, and now the layovers in PHL are more like 3 hours each. That's not all that desirable either, but eliminates my connection concern. And the equipment changed to include an Airbus A319 and a Dehavilland Dash 8. Again, not that I believe they're unreliable, I just thought someone might have something to say one way or another about any of these 4 different aircraft.
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Feb 18th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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We fly out of Bangor, ME on US Airways and into Philly to pick up international flights. (Our incoming flight was early and we circled Philly for 45 minutes. Philly has a reputation for departure tardiness except for our outgoing flight which was *not* late and which we missed by moments with a 40 minute 'legal' layover according to US Air - 25 minutes or more is their standard. This was an international flight leaving from the opposite terminal (A to F or F to A?). US Airways did find alternate same day flights for us.) I would suggest that you find out which Terminals/gates are involved. I would think that with domestic flights/gates, your chances *should* be better. The commuter jets are small and carry-on luggage can be diverted at plane-side, adding more to departure time. I think that the US Air service was great - we didn't spend the night in the airport. I would be more concerned about what will happen in Philly.
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Feb 18th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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The Embraer 170 is 2x2, 18 rows
The Canadair Regional Jet is 2x2, 17 or 18 rows
The Airbus A319 is 3x3, 24 rows
The Dehavilland Dash 8 is 2x3, 9 rows

Just thought I'd post here for my own reference but if anyone has a comment that's good, too.
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Feb 18th, 2007, 01:11 PM
  #7  
TheWeasel
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I've flown US Airways out of Minneapolis several times, although I usually think of them as America West. The two companies merged awhile ago and took the USAirways name. I've not had any problems with them although my flights have all been west (PHX or LAS). I have heard of Philly being a pain, but with the longer layover now it should be OK. I've also used their website to book my flights and not had a problem (on a Mac using Safari) so maybe it was just an issue with the transfer from Sidestep?
 
Feb 18th, 2007, 01:37 PM
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The E170 isn't much smaller than NW's DC-9, just a lot newer!

The Dash 8 is a turboprop, if that matters to you.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 05:40 AM
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Thanks to all for the help and advice.

Now, I almost feel like I need to take a breath and start again. Some goofy mistakes on my part and some inattentiveness, too:

The 3 hour layovers in PHL were the result of mistakenly searching on a flight to Syracuse NY (That had been an option earlier, but the prices were slightly higher and location farther from our NYC/Cooperstown loop planned. I guess safari just decided to autofill that one for me...)

So the 38 and 55 min layovers in PHL are back. But, the 38 minute stop on the eastbound is on a direct, one-stop. I won't be changing planes. DOH! Still, I am concerned enough with some comments here to be worried about the 55 min layover time with a change of planes. Seems like an ordinarily ideal amount of time, but is PHL really that bad for circling and delays? It's 12:35 - 1:30 pm on a weekday, if that makes any difference.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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IMO it willbe nearly impossible to predict with any accuracy what will happen on the day that YOU fly and on the flights that YOU pick.

I've changed planes in PHL within the past year several times and had to go from one concourse toanother and have never had a problem..no circling, no delays, no lost luggage, etc., etc.

Does that mean it won't happen to you? No it doesn't.

If this is your GREATEST concern the perhaps the difference in fare you spoke of originally should not have as much importance in your decision.

If you have already purchased, no amount of asking, obsessing, worrying, hoping, and praying is going to change much.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 06:30 AM
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I have flown in the smaller planes and I did not have any safety concerns. HOWEVER, due to weight issues and balancing the plane our luggage did not arrive until the next morning. We had to carry the previous flight's luggage and ours was delayed a day. Atleast that's what was told to us. Due to that experience I will not fly on a smaller plane for a vacation trip.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 06:41 AM
  #12  
Dan
 
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There's absolutely no reason to pick one U.S. carrier over the other these days, in my mind, with Continental being a possible exception. (They still seem to be a TAD better than the others!)

I fly USAirways often and have better luck with them than with some others. And the Embraer jets are GREAT! I'd fly them every time if I could. New planes, no middle seats, etc. As someone else mentioned, they are far superior to those ancient Northwest DC-9s.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 07:45 AM
  #13  
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No, I haven't booked the tix yet, and times and prices keep changing just slightly. (Maybe I need to get up in the middle of the night to get the good fares... I forget when that magic hour was...)

The eastbound is still one-stop direct, but $20 more today. The return suggested now only allows 36 minutes in PHL for changing planes, which doesn't sound legal, eh? So, I'm thinkng of leaving ALB on an earlier Dash flight that allows for an almost 3-hour layover. Thoughts on that?

And.. the equipment sounds fine. In fact, looking forward to the E170. My main thought now about smaller planes is on luggage. It's an 11 day trip. Will we encounter roadblocks if we go with our standard 27" checked bag and small duffle carry-on each for the two of us? (Or just a lot of eye rolls from guys with just their laptops and toothbrushes?)

<The Dash 8 is a turboprop, if that matters to you.> Is this just a matter of noise, or what?
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Feb 19th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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I have flown an Embraer airplane more in the last 5 years than any other plane--on Continental. USAIR is our major carrier--and now, what, second largest in the US. I have had pretty bad service on NW (our Rochester MN friends call it "Northworst"--and she's a travel agent). SO, what do I think. Take the cheap flight. I would also ask you what kind of plane do you think would fly into a small airport like Albany--a 747?
And I have had 38 minute connections on a number of airlines, including NW.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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And checked luggage is checked luggage. They will take your suitcase. There is a limit to cabin luggage, but if your carryon is too large, they gate check them. They are nifty little planes.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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I fly USAir often out of LGA and I love the small jets. They're fast & convenient, and relatively comfortable if you get a "A" seat (no one next to you).
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Feb 19th, 2007, 10:14 AM
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Thanks Gretchen. Your 747 humor was just what I needed to hit the 'purchase' button. One last thing on the purchase: should I do the "2 aisle seats in the same row across from each other" trick and hope nobody takes the window seats?

And, I'm way over any stressing out over my original small planes issue! I'm just a guy from flyover MN and have never been on a commuter jet. Looking forward to it, actually.

Now that the dates are locked in, I'll probably post elsewhere for tips to plan my 11 day rental car circle tour of Albany - Cooperstown - NYC - Hudson River Valley - Catskill Mountains.

Thanks to all!
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Feb 19th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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living in Albany, I have ALWAYS had a problem with flying out on US Airways - never any other airline - I always get stuck in Philly or Pittsburgh - and many overnights. I also hate the small planes. I try to avoid US Airways whenever it is possible and fly NW and SW instead.
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Feb 19th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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dknudsen - A turboprop flies slower and lower than a jet, so a bit more susceptible to turbulence. They have more vibration and the cabin is noticeably noisier. As long as you're okay with that, they're fine.

[The newer "Q" series Dash-8 turboprops from Bombardier are much improved in all the above deficiencies, and many people prefer them to the regional jets on shorter routes. but I don't think US Express are using those for your route.]
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Feb 19th, 2007, 07:38 PM
  #20  
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rkkwan - Not sure about the 'Q,' but FWIW, the equip. for my ALB-PHL leg is listed as a "Dehavilland Dash 8-300."

radio - Hopefully, getting into PHL at 10:30a and my next leg home scheduled for a 1:30p departure will mean I sleep in my own bed that night.
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