Southern Airways Express experiences?

Old Jun 26, 19, 9:59 am
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Southern Airways Express experiences?

I just booked a series of flights from BWI to Bradford, PA (BWI-DUJ-PIT-BDF) next week. Super excited to be flying crop dusters, should be an interesting trip -- if it happens. I am reading some (admittedly, older) reviews of cancelled flights and unpredictability.

This isn't a crucial trip for me to take, just for fun and better than driving 7-8 hours. But would love to know what to expect from others who may have been there and done that with Southern Airways Express.

cheers!
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Old Jun 26, 19, 2:35 pm
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A couple of years ago, I flew Pittsburgh to Johnstown. I don't think they fly this route anymore. I was the only passenger on the flight. I'm sure some people enjoy this type of flight (small airplane) but not me. We landed, and the one airport worker, opened (unlocked) the door to let me walk in and thru the lobby to meet my ride. Didn't see another sole. I think this airport is a US government pork project?? Thats what the pilot eluded to. I was picking up a car in Johnstown and driving it to Chattanooga. I think the flight cost 49 dollars. It got me from point A to point B.
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Old Nov 19, 19, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by stan1162 View Post
A couple of years ago, I flew Pittsburgh to Johnstown. I don't think they fly this route anymore. I was the only passenger on the flight. I'm sure some people enjoy this type of flight (small airplane) but not me. We landed, and the one airport worker, opened (unlocked) the door to let me walk in and thru the lobby to meet my ride. Didn't see another sole. I think this airport is a US government pork project?? Thats what the pilot eluded to. I was picking up a car in Johnstown and driving it to Chattanooga. I think the flight cost 49 dollars. It got me from point A to point B.
They still fly to Johnstown, but I think it's out of Dulles. IAD-JST-AOO-JST-IAD
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Old Aug 14, 20, 10:46 pm
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Flew them today, PIT-AOO (Altoona/Martinsburg). I was the sole passenger.

Southern no longer serves JST, or IAD for that matter. JST replaced Southern with Boutique Air, which flies five flights a day, two to/fr BWI and three to/fr PIT. Boutique Air has put in a bid for service in and out of AOO . The authorities are considering whether to change from Southern to Boutique.

My experience could not have been any better. I stopped using AOO because it had gotten so expensive and DL had a direct ATL-SCE flight. That flight is gone. Now you have to connect through DTW and it is very expensive. Flying ATL-PIT is inexpensive and the PIT-AOO flight was $29, making this option hundreds of dollars less on a three day advance purchase.
  • PROs: The price. Because I was the only passenger, the flight was able to leave when I was ready, so we got into AOO an hour early. AOO is a very easy airport to fly in and out of and even has a good restaurant now. Parking is free. The check-in agent, GA, Pilot, FO and AOO ground crew were exceptionally helpful/pleasant.
  • CONs: It is a nine-seat Cessna plane, with no lav or FA. They only interline bags with AA, meaning if you fly into PIT on any other airline you have to collect any checked bags and recheck them. They use the farthest gate out at PIT which would make tight connections hard.
  • BTW, I had a second bag, triggering a $30 fee, so the bag fee was higher than the ticket price!
  • For those unfamiliar, AOO is about thirty minutes south of Altoona, so this airport is not a great option if you need to be in State College and do not want to drive over an hour, as opposed to SCE, which is south of State College, making it about a forty-minute drive to Altoona.
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Old Aug 14, 20, 11:04 pm
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I think of Altoona as being far from State College, so it wound never occur to me to fly to Altoona when I'm really heading for State College/University Park. In fact, I would prefer to fly into Harrisburg, which had some mainline service when I last did this, IIRC NW/DL through DTW.
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Old Aug 15, 20, 11:23 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I think of Altoona as being far from State College, so it wound never occur to me to fly to Altoona when I'm really heading for State College/University Park. In fact, I would prefer to fly into Harrisburg, which had some mainline service when I last did this, IIRC NW/DL through DTW.
Altoona is closer to State College than it used to be. No, neither city moved. With the advent of I-99 it is now a quick 40 minute drive, all highway except the last mile to SCE. Prior to the highway, the drive took over an hour. Now people in Altoona regularly drive to State College to go to Trader Joe's, Wegman's or to eat Thai food. People in State College go to Altoona for shopping. Many people commute from one to the other for daily work, including the friend I am visiting at the moment. If you think about it, a forty minute daily commute is considered average in Atlanta.

If you wanted to fly next week, r/t ATL-XXX-AOO, there WED, back FRI, it costs $150 r/t. ATL-XXX-SCE is $566. ATL-XXX-MDT is $501. The difference is staggering: $415 vs SCE, $351 vs MDT, using Skyscanner's lowest fares for each destination. It would be worth the slightly longer ride if you were going to State College, not to mention rental cars are less expensive in AOO because of the costs for the rental companies to operate in each airport and the airport rental car taxes. The irony is it had been so expensive to fly into AOO that I had stopped checking for those flights until earlier this week when someone told me to check flying into AOO.

I have flown into MDT before but the drive to Altoona or State College is mostly on twisting, hilly back roads. Either drive is two hours according to Mapquest and my memory of doing those drives often when I lived in Philly.

Last edited by CJKatl; Aug 15, 20 at 11:31 am
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