On My Way to Atlanta

I’m writing from seat 2F onboard my flight from New Haven to Philadelphia. This laptop’s battery isn’t what it once was, and that will limit my writing time.

The trip to the airport was quick… quick enough to be there an hour early. I was by no means the earliest. Most of the passengers look to be leisure, rather than business flyers.

Tweed-New Haven Airport has changed a little since my last trip through. Delta now flies there, with jet service to Cincinnati. The TSA has moved their gear in, limiting the space in the terminal area and the parking lots have been reconfigured.

Let’s talk parking first, because I went to park in the much smaller long term lot only to face cones and a sign saying “Full.” I’m going to have to pay about $3 more a day because I was forced into the hourly lot. The good parking news is I parked amazingly close. It was literally a 20 second walk from my car to the terminal building.

I’m trying to think about the real cost of passenger screening at an airport like Tweed. There are few flights, each with a limited number of seats. There is no economy of scale here. I’m not sure how the costs are allocated but it can’t really be figured on an actual cost per passenger basis.

The plane pulled up to the terminal right on time. This dark blue USAirways Express plane is a DeHavilland Dash 8. It’s four across seating with a flight attendant. This is a great improvement over the day when 18 seaters flew here. On the other hand, we used to have service using Dorniers to Pittsburgh, a much nice prop plane.

The interior of the plane looks tired. It’s the difference between someone’s home and a summer cabin. Maybe shabby is the right word. I’m hoping USAirways is saving the money it might spend on refurbishing the cabin and using it on… oh, maybe engine maintenance. That would be nice.

If you’ve never flown a smaller plane like this, you might be surprised by the legroom. There’s plenty of it! The seats are narrow, but you’re not bumping into the person ahead of you.

We’re in the clouds now and the flight is a little bumpy. Not terrible, but noticeable. Jets fly above this. It’s also noisy. On the inside, small prop planes are much noisier than jets.

Even with the noise… even with the bumps… even with the shabby surroundings, this flight is worthwhile because of the ease and convenience of Tweed-New Haven. I wish there was more service there.

More later from Atlanta.

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