Just want to give a quick trip report on the inaugural flight from Washington DC Dulles to Ft Myers… Independence Air used its brand new A319 N807BR, which was certified on February 4, 2005. The flight was departed from gate B22 this morning. Since my connecting flight was a bit late from JFK, pre-boarding had already gone under way when I showed up at the gate. This flight was 100% full and I was glad that I got 10A, the exit row window. This flight was filled with families traveling with young children and senior couples, and mostly whites too. The flight was filled with kid’s screaming and indeed I could barely hear the P/A announcement. Due to some late connections, we pushed back eight minutes late. We headed towards R/W30, but we could to skip a long line of Indy Air’s RJ and A319s, and also a United Express’s EMB RJ. We took off at 9:34pm. Due to strong head wind, our flying time was two hours and eleven minutes. We were at 33,000 feet a bit, before climbing to 36,000feet. For those interested, there was a check pilot on board this morning.
Service on DH flight was familiar – order of beverage, delivery of beverage, snack delivered – no more Souffler’s assorted cookies, which were replaced by grandma’s vanilla cream cookies, but the rest was the same, and then another round of refill. Also Arizona green tea is offered as a choice of beverage now. Service was slower than B6 because only three F/As on A319, instead of four at Jetblue’s A320. No more raffles on this inaugural flight… soon we began our descent at 11:11am. We landed on R/W06 at 11:45am, and as a familiar traditional, we got a water salute on our way taxiing onto gate B10. Unlike other flights, the children were excited, and there was a line of press waiting in the ground filming our arrival and our a/c parking at the gate. As we deplaned, we were greeted by many DH employees, and cookies were handed out. Snap shots were taken, and many crazy stuff… Uncle Sam was handing out American flags, and the agent welcomed us to a feast of hot dogs, chips, water, and sodas. Of course, I had to catch a Jetblue flight back to JFK in an hour, and our flight was late for thirty minutes… There were band music playing in the background, and the return flight looked full too. Local media was doing interviews with DH crew about the new flights.
RSW was a very busy airport, as all the gates were filled with people. At the arrival area, there were several DH signs celebrating the new flight, as well as many people waiting for relatives. No wonder they need a new midfield terminal.
That’s my report, and I am glad to report that DH flights are doing better. My JFK-IAD flight was also 100% full (perhaps due to consolidations), and both flights feature hot towel and mints service. The F/As were enthusiastic. I look forward to my next set of flight with DH’s inaugural to San Diego, and San Francisco.