“Delays, delays, delays”
Flight from Hartford to Cleveland
- Round Trip
- Number of Stops:
- 1 stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Date of Flight:
- July 2010
- Seat Class:
I recently flew US Airways roundtrip from Hartford to Cleveland with a layover in Philadelphia. My flight departed Hartford at 5:30am on time and arrived in Philly ahead of schedule. The Philadelphia airport is quite large, however, and upon arriving, you must walk out of the airport to the tarmac/ back lot to get a shuttle to take you to a different gate (seemingly on the other side of the airport) to catch your connection. If you are considering buying tickets from discount consolidators (orbitz, expedia, and the like), MAKE SURE you've selected a flight combo that gives you a long enough layover-- it took me a solid 20 minutes to get from the gate where we arrived to the gate from which my connection was departing.
The plane- an E175, Republic Airlines doing business as US Airways express- was rather cramped and noisy. There was no beverage service or snacks available for purchase.
The connection to Cleveland- a CRJ, Air Wisconsin doing business as US Airways express- went smoothly (we even got drinks), and we arrived early. Of course, this was the first flight to Cleveland of the day, so we had nothing to delay us.
If only I could say the same for my return flights.
I arrived at the Cleveland airport well ahead of schedule for my 6:10pm departure. I had checked the flight information online before leaving for the airport, but the website was unable to provide me with any information because the plane had not yet departed. "Flight status will be available once the flight departs," the website said.
After sitting at the gate waiting area for about an hour, I heard the women at the US Airways podium whispering to each other about a delay. Turns out, by 6pm, the flight from Cleveland to Philly (which, again, was supposed to depart at 6:10) had not yet departed Philly. The agents were busily calling all passengers with connections in Philly to the podium to put them on a different flight. Anyone who was eventually headed further East, to Boston or Hartford, was rerouted onto a plane going to... NORTH CAROLINA. One man, dismayed at how late he would now be arriving in Hartford, asked if there was any way he could be put on another airline's direct flight-- "Continental, maybe?" he asked hopefully. The agent told him, rather curtly, that "if US Airways has a flight operating tonight, we have to put you on our flight. That's contract of carriage." Thus we all found ourselves traveling hundreds of miles and a handful of hours out of our way, with no recourse.
By the way, that flight to North Carolina? They were only able to put us all on it because it, too, had been delayed. It had been scheduled to depart Cleveland over an hour prior. Lucky for the folks at US Air, it actually got to Cleveland just in time for the staff to bump all of us onto it. How were they able to make room for us, you ask? Because it was so late, the podium gals had already bumped many of its originally scheduled passengers onto ANOTHER flight. After the Great Migration, we finally boarded the plane. It was crammed to capacity.
The highlights of this unplanned detour: the Charlotte airport, which is more shopping mall (Chocolatiers! Clothing stores! The Body Shoppe! Mexican restaurants!) than airport; and the connecting flight from Charlotte to Hartford, an enormous, mostly-empty flight of big blue seats, made all the bigger by the fact that I had an entire row of three seats all to myself.
Do I recommend US Airways? Not if you've got somewhere to be on-time. If your schedule is wide open and you're not particularly concerned with how you arrive at your destination (nor with how long it takes you to get there), go for it-- they've got some of the lowest fares available.