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View Full Version : BWI-ISP on Southwest, then BWI-Penn on Amtrak Acela



PhilDernerJr
07-31-2007, 01:10 AM
Mel and I went down to BWI for the weekend, going down there on Southwest from ISP. It was a very smooth and comfortable flight. With me doing so much flying for work, I was worried that it had ruined the amazing comfort level I reach when I fly for pleasure. But it didn't. We sat on the left bulkhead, and I put my sneakers up on the wall and had two Heinekens....it was amazing.

On the way back, though, out 7:30pm flight on Sunday was delayed until 10:30pm due to weather, and Mel and I figured that the flight could easily end up being cancelled, so we booked a last minute Amtrak train...which ended up having a very decent fare on the Acela.

I must say I was disappointed with Acela. I was on a regular regional coach to BWI last week from Penn, and the Acela is only slightly faster, but MUCH bumpier. Last week on the regional I was able to write and relax, but on the Acela, you are constantly bumping and getting tossed on every turn.

Into Penn at 10:48pm, and to the N train for our short subway ride to Astoria.

Mel and I got home and got into bed by 12:56am. Before actually going to sleep, we looked on Flight Aware to see what had happened to our WN flight. It turns out it had JUST landed at 12:52am. Imagine that. Instead of laying in bed, we'd have been making our way to the baggage claim, hoping our bags would come fast and that the shuttle to the LIRR would come in time to make the last 1:46am train back to Penn from Ronkonkoma...or wait until after 4am.

From now on, I think all of my trips to DC, BWI or BOS will be on the train. More legroom, the ability to use our cell phones, and walking up toa bar. Lots of fun at a fair price.

BIG THANKS TO JOHN KLOS FOR THE RIDE FROM RONK TO ISP!!!

RDU-JFK
07-31-2007, 07:45 AM
What was the service/seats like on Acela? How different are the layout of cars from standard regional service

PhilDernerJr
07-31-2007, 09:28 AM
The seats were hardly different. Still 2x2, cloth, and that's it. The only difference we saw on the Acela was a bumpier ride and we got in 20 minutes earlier than we would have on the regional. The "service" is no different.

Mateo
07-31-2007, 07:14 PM
Door-to-door, Amtrak usually beats flying (especially if the flight involves something far out like Islip, Dulles, or Providence). With the NEC going all-reserved all-the-time, there's no more worrying about sitting on your bag in a vestibule somewhere, although the regional sells all sitting surfaces as seats (i.e., each table in the cafe car counts as 4 pax), while Acela sells only the number of chairs. Acela also has an AC outlet at every seat, which is a huge difference-maker compared to an airline.

PhilDernerJr
07-31-2007, 08:27 PM
Mel and I sat at a table. It wasn't bad. I arm wrestled everyone at the table and destroyed them.

lijk604
08-01-2007, 03:18 PM
Phil/Mel, no problem!

adam613
08-01-2007, 04:46 PM
I've been up and down the NEC many times on both Acela and Regional trains, and I have to say, the bumpiness is really luck-of-the-draw except for a couple of sections in CT where the track is a mess and it's bumpy no matter what train you take. I don't know enough about trains to know what the variables are, but I don't think it's an Acela-specific problem.

PHL Approach
08-01-2007, 05:17 PM
Phil, most likely you were in a set that the engineer pulled what I like to call a power stop which created some flat spots on the wheels. Try riding at SEPTA Silverliner IV on the R1 Airport Line doing 70. Those Acela sets were smooth at one time, the same thing will happen to NJT Comet VI Bilevels. I rode them the first day of service and they were as smooth as the Acela's when they went into service. I know the Acela sets did have problems with the struts, but I believe Alstom helped straighten that all out.

mirrodie
08-02-2007, 09:11 AM
PHl is probably dead on regarding the flat spots. Wheels sets need to be trued from time to time for that reason.

Regarding the seats, the last time we rode, I think it was Acela or the North East Regional up to Boston, I thought the seats were incredible compared to any airlines coach. THe room you get is comparable to most domestic US J seats.

I was pretty impressed with the roominess of the seats. But as you know, leather or cloth doesn;t do anything for me.

PhilDernerJr
08-02-2007, 10:13 AM
Yes, Mirrodie, I am falling for trains for the same reason. Though that ride was a little bumpy, I've been on trains a bit lately and LOVE the legroom I get. One thing I've always said was that flying would be easier if people just had a little more space....and the trains accomplish that.

Alex T
08-02-2007, 11:59 AM
Phil--

Glad the flights were good on WN. WN never cancels flights. We just delay, delay, delay. If we do cancel flights we only do it if we are sure our aircraft cannot operate the entire route for the day. If only one leg is screwed up, then we just delay the flight.

Considering your flight was one of the last flights of the day there was pretty much 100% guarantee your flight would not cancel, because that aircraft was needed in ISP the next morning.

That has been my most asked question working the gates "Your gonna cancel the flight I just know it..." When guess what we are boarding the flight later on, maybe delayed, most likely but we still do it....

I was working that night in STL and our flight 263 STL-TUL was delayed until 4:20am because of the weather in BWI and that was where the aircraft was coming from, very long night. You got lucky with that delay haha ours were much longer..

Alex

hiss srq
08-02-2007, 12:16 PM
Phil--

Glad the flights were good on WN. WN never cancels flights. We just delay, delay, delay. If we do cancel flights we only do it if we are sure our aircraft cannot operate the entire route for the day. If only one leg is screwed up, then we just delay the flight.

Considering your flight was one of the last flights of the day there was pretty much 100% guarantee your flight would not cancel, because that aircraft was needed in ISP the next morning.

That has been my most asked question working the gates "Your gonna cancel the flight I just know it..." When guess what we are boarding the flight later on, maybe delayed, most likely but we still do it....

I was working that night in STL and our flight 263 STL-TUL was delayed until 4:20am because of the weather in BWI and that was where the aircraft was coming from, very long night. You got lucky with that delay haha ours were much longer..

Alex

That to me presentrs a safety and operational issue. Without going into detail I disagree with that if it is indeed the way WN does it.

Alex T
08-02-2007, 12:21 PM
How Ryan?


We have been doing it for a long time, would not the FAA have flagged us if they thought it was a safety and operational issue? What is so unsafe about delaying a flight?

Alex

hiss srq
08-02-2007, 02:05 PM
How Ryan?


We have been doing it for a long time, would not the FAA have flagged us if they thought it was a safety and operational issue? What is so unsafe about delaying a flight?

Alex

It is not soo much a safety issue but an operational issue I would think. Overflight seems like it would be a better deal. To keep delaying and delaying and elaying puts crews and planes out of place. Sometimes you just have to say lets cancel is the bottom line. The way you made WN out to sound is the big balls airlines commercial.

Alex T
08-02-2007, 11:58 PM
Ryan-

You have to realize we are a point to point airline, we cancel one leg, we have to cancel 3 or 4 other flights on top of THAT.


If they had cancelled the RDU-BWI flight, which is what made it delayed in the first place, it would have cancelled RDU-BWI, BWI-BUF, BUF-BWI, BWI-STL and STL-TUL.....

Delaying did not put our planes out of place, it simply delayed it. CANCELLING would have really screwed up our system for the next day.

Why cancel when we know we can get the plane to the destination, later yes but it gets there.

Don't want to take this off topic, sorry folks.

Alex

PhilDernerJr
08-03-2007, 03:45 AM
Topic is pretty much discussed already, Alex, so run with it. :)

Alex T
08-24-2007, 12:12 PM
It is not soo much a safety issue but an operational issue I would think. Overflight seems like it would be a better deal. To keep delaying and delaying and elaying puts crews and planes out of place. Sometimes you just have to say lets cancel is the bottom line. The way you made WN out to sound is the big balls airlines commercial.

Ryan--

As per phil he said to keep going, I took the time to speak to some folks about why we do not cancel and brought up some points you mentioned which were very much Valid.

It seems delaying a flight cost significantly less then canceling as we do not have to pay for hotels and food accomodations if we cancel due to operational issues when there really isn't any (as you know cancells due to weather is different)

That night, all of our planes were sold out for the next day so if we cancelled there was a possibility they would not get home for another day or two. We did not want to put our passengers through that either.

We had to many passengers on each of our legs to simply over fly the city, because we would then have to deal with THOSE passengers at those intermiediate cities.

SWA is VERY VERY remarkeable about making sure planes and crews are back into place by the next day, whether we delay or cancel.

As for crews going illegal, if it happens, we call up one of our reserves from our bigger stations and fly them out to meet the plane on arrival or something. To ensure we have fresh crews all the time.

As last night at ORD/MDW I am sure you saw all the horrible weather issues. A friend of mine sent this message about SWA yesterday..

"Last nights arrivals were still coming in as late as 5:35am this morning! This aircraft happened to be the 19:55 departure to ALB, so it left 10.5 hours late at 6:33 this morning. At 8:00pm departure to OMA left at 4:12am. An 8:20pm departure to PIT left at 5:42 this morning. "

Yes it is incredibly late, but no crews were illegal, and the passengers still got home within 24 hrs of their destination or less. From what I was told WN cancelled the least amount of flights, 35 flights were cancelled. I don't have any other flight information though. amd as you know, weather is always out of our control.

Hope this clears up some confusion or something.

Alex

PhilDernerJr
08-24-2007, 05:06 PM
NOTE: "Going illegal" refers to crews that exceed "duty time". They are limited to how many hours they can fly in regards to their rest needs. If a flight is delayed x amount of hours and it exceeds duty time, the flight must be cancelled or delayed until a new crew can take over. (correct me if I'm wrong on any part here).

NYCMedic
08-24-2007, 09:09 PM
You are correct Phil, but the crew can also call fatigue at any time wile on the ground even if the duty day has not been or will not be exceeded. For example a crew with an 18hr duty day is in a delay for an APU change before their 6hr flight. even after the 2 hr delay the crew would still be legal they might call fatigue just because they were sitting there for a few hrs.