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US PHL-MAN-PHL report - in Envoy

US PHL-MAN-PHL report - in Envoy

Old Mar 14, 10, 4:29 pm
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US PHL-MAN-PHL report - in Envoy

Booked a reasonably priced LAS-MAN (via numerous intentional connection for a MR), for about 550$ on US a little while back, and upgraded using my certificates. Just came back today, awaiting my connection to LAS, and decided to write this short report about the Envoy product.

Outbound, PHL-MAN, Thu 3/11/2010. Lucked out and got Row 1 (cha-ching!) at no additional charge. Decided to hit the Envoy lounge for some vittles and some wine. Quite nice, they had a Bordeaux Mouton-Cadet as their red. Made it to the gate as they were boarding assist folks, and boarded 2 minutes after. Settled in 1C and noticed how roomy the seat was, and I was really looking forward to trying the lie-flat. I decided to get the express meal, and I pointed out to the FA that I want the high-speed no frills drive-thru type of meal so that I can maximize sleep. Within 30 mins of departure I had dinner in front of me, a glass of wine. The express meal is a strange double-salad affair that has a side salad (standard with all meals) and a grilled chicken (warm or cold, your choice) salad.

After chowing down, I put the lie-flat to the test (along with Rx help to get well needed sleep - after all I came in via LAS-PHX-PHL ). I woke up gently right around the time that they served breakfast, which consisted of yogurt, granola, a so-so apple danish (I think) and a very sad looking peach. I couldn't tell if the peach had been cooked or had just been sitting too long, I didn't even dare a bite.

Amenity bag contained: Toothpaste/toothbrush, socks, eye shade, ear plugs, hand lotion, lip balm (nice touch).

I was off the plane pretty quickly, and I was the first or second in line at MAN immigration. Having a Canadian passport is always a nice thing, I was asked 3-4 questions, and quickly made it out of there.

I headed to the "Envoy lounge" at the Radisson SAS next door, as per the invitation card that was passed to us on board. I checked in with the hotel clerk, who gave me a day-use room, which was great as I wanted to shower up, relax a few minutes, and hit the road to BHX to visit friends. On the invitation card, there was a mention of an actual lounge with food (breakfast?), but I wasn't told of it by the Radisson clerk. In any case, I didn't really have time to go to it.

The return was a bit different. I arrived at the wrong terminal - Manchester doesn't list the airlines' terminals as you arrive by car. I arrived at T3 (I think), and needed to be at T2. I waited for the bus in the cold for 10 minutes, noticed signs that said T2, 15 mins, that way. I followed them and found the T2 US check in desk.

What I found particularly funny is that there were a ton of signs that read "Terminal 2, follow "T2" (color coded)". Pretty darn funny that they say that but don't list the airlines!

I provided the usual information to the passport checkers, then made it to the desk and found out that the flight was delayed about 1 hour. The counter lady opened my reservation and noticed that it had already been "fixed", with a later-but-direct PHL-LAS (I lost one segment on that). Gave me a lounge pass (Servisair?) which I was going to use when I heard "All Philadelphia passengers, please proceed to gate 202". Thinking we lucked out, I headed to 202 instead of the lounge, only to find an empty gate. Ugh. Evidently the announcements are timed by the airport and do not reflect the actual departure time.

The gate agents were for the most part inactive, never giving us any updates () We eventually boarded and I found out I had row 2A, which is the bulkhead between row 1 lie-flat's and regular Envoy. This was a big problem to me, as I'm 6'4" and my knees can only tolerate so-long at the 90-100 degree position. I asked the FA to try to relocate me, and eventually a nice lady that was much shorter than me came forward and accepted to change with me. I thanked the lady, and thanked the FA.

Now this is where it gets a bit tougher. The regular Envoy seats are pretty darn narrow (I think 19.5" according to seatguru). I'm a sturdy fellow (6'4" and, ugh, well, not skinny), but not a POS - I never need a belt extension, and I was quite squished into that seat. So much so that the tray table would sit on my lap instead of on the hinge. Quite annoying. I also tried all kinds of settings on the seat (resting, sitting, etc.) and I could never find a comfortable position. The footrest was WAYYYY too short for my frame, so it spent its time resting under my achille's tendon. Gets old after a while.

Lunch was "Ok". They had a selection of 3 appetizers (roasted duck, sea scallops, and another one I forget). Fresh bread. Pretty tasty. For main course I picked the pork loin, which was quite tough. I skipped dessert, fell asleep somehow.

The arrival meal was a very questionable "sandwich" that had been cooked in the oven. Think of bread, roast beef, and cheese with some other stuff. It was pretty bad to be honest. The bread was hard as a plank, and the roast beef was tougher than shoe leather. The dessert for that one was fresh fruit, which was OK. 2 truffles were given, that was decent.

As an interesting side note, the UK does not allow the use of real silverware on US-based planes (not sure of others), so we had the shiny chrome-colored plastic utensils. Kind'a tacky but if that's the law, I understand.

My verdict:

Row 1 gets serious thumbs up. I REALLY liked it.
Other rows are horrible if you're over 6' and prob. over 220 lbs. I considered Rows 2-5 to be LESS comfortable than US' A319-320-321 fleet. That's how uncomfortable I was.
Food is hit or miss, with more miss than hit.

Would I ever pay for this? Honestly, NO. May be just Row 1, but the upgrade to envoy + upgrade to row 1 would have a hefty tag.

HTSC

Last edited by HereAndThereSC; Mar 14, 10 at 4:37 pm
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Old Mar 15, 10, 7:20 am
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Nice report. Thanks.
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Old Mar 15, 10, 10:54 am
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Quite interesting, you don't see many US Envoy class TR's
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Old Mar 15, 10, 11:07 am
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Just a question.... I have been on the Envoy equiped 757/767 but only domestically. I found the seat width on these flights to be that of your return trip. Is the seat in row 1 larger? I hate the fact that the arm rest is not high enough for the tray table to sit flat without sitting on my legs.
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Old Mar 15, 10, 12:56 pm
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Yes the lie-flat seats are indeed wider - provided that your plane HAS the lie-flat's. Check seatguru for that, it's accurate. That's why I gave 'em praise. Rows 2-5 were darn tight for me.

HTSC

Originally Posted by Crazyhotelguy View Post
Just a question.... I have been on the Envoy equiped 757/767 but only domestically. I found the seat width on these flights to be that of your return trip. Is the seat in row 1 larger? I hate the fact that the arm rest is not high enough for the tray table to sit flat without sitting on my legs.
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Old Mar 15, 10, 4:36 pm
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Interesting TR - Thanks for posting.

Cheers Larry.
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Old Mar 15, 10, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by HereAndThereSC View Post
Yes the lie-flat seats are indeed wider - provided that your plane HAS the lie-flat's. Check seatguru for that, it's accurate. That's why I gave 'em praise. Rows 2-5 were darn tight for me.

HTSC
Yeah, I'll be on the next flight out PHX-PHL-ZRH in F/J class on Apr 11-20, 2010. I will try to flying in the Envoy Class on operated 767-200ER. I am never see brand newest J class with lies-flat before. I just lookup on usairways.com where I read about J class with lies-flat. Do they have own AVOD in the Envoy Class? Where I can follow down the flight tracking out of PHL-ZRH-PHL.
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Old Mar 17, 10, 10:07 am
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They do have personal AVOD in Envoy and Y. You can match the seat-map from seatguru to the seat-map on USAir's website and you will know if Row 1 lie-flats are available.

HTSC

Originally Posted by N830MH View Post
Yeah, I'll be on the next flight out PHX-PHL-ZRH in F/J class on Apr 11-20, 2010. I will try to flying in the Envoy Class on operated 767-200ER. I am never see brand newest J class with lies-flat before. I just lookup on usairways.com where I read about J class with lies-flat. Do they have own AVOD in the Envoy Class? Where I can follow down the flight tracking out of PHL-ZRH-PHL.
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Old Mar 17, 10, 10:07 am
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I do "off the cuff" TR's. That's me. Glad you liked it!

HTSC
Originally Posted by larrywilmot747 View Post
Interesting TR - Thanks for posting.

Cheers Larry.
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Old Mar 19, 10, 12:20 pm
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Row 1 used be First Class; so you are getting what 10 years ago, was a big money product. However, 10+ year ago, there was First Class service as well.
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Old Mar 20, 10, 11:04 am
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Great TR, thanks for sharing!
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Old Mar 20, 10, 5:58 pm
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As an interesting side note, the UK does not allow the use of real silverware on US-based planes (not sure of others), so we had the shiny chrome-colored plastic utensils. Kind'a tacky but if that's the law, I understand
That is totally false, I don't know who told you that!

Otherwise an excellent report, always interesting reading about long haul flights into the regions!
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Old Mar 22, 10, 12:37 pm
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Well in both the outbound and the inbound PHL-MAN-PHL, we had plastic hardware. This past week's PHL-MAD had real silverware.

The quotes was from a FA.

HTSC
Originally Posted by spanishflea View Post
That is totally false, I don't know who told you that!

Otherwise an excellent report, always interesting reading about long haul flights into the regions!
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Old Mar 22, 10, 10:56 pm
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Nice report. It looks like the regular Envoy product could really use some work
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