Flight-Report

Review of American Airlines flight Ithaca Philadelphia in Economy

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA3868
Class Economy
Seat 3A
Flight time 00:40
Take-off 04 Aug 16, 05:45
Arrival at 04 Aug 16, 06:25
AA   #77 out of 129 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 386 reviews
Menzenski
By 510
Published on 7th August 2016
Background:
Hello and welcome to a (somewhat) unintentional tour of the northeast on American Airlines. I had to take a trip to Washington DC on short notice, and ended up booking my tickets about 14 hours before departure. American was the best option price wise, but for some reason the earliest American flight from Philadelphia to Washington departs at 2:00 pm. So, to get there when I needed to I had to connect in Boston as well. My itinerary ended up being ITH-PHL-BOS-DCA, with a single connection in Philadelphia on the way back. The Boston connection looks just a bit out of the way when viewed on a map:



Ithaca, NY to Philadelphia, PA (ITH - PHL) | CRJ-200 [THIS REPORT]
Philadelphia, PA to Boston, MA (PHL - BOS) | A321 [NO REPORT]
Boston, MA to Washington, DC (BOS - DCA) | A319 [REPORT HERE]
Washington, DC to Philadelphia, PA (DCA - PHL) | A319 [REPORT HERE]
Philadelphia, PA to Ithaca, NY (PHL - ITH) | DASH-8 [REPORT HERE]

Story:
For most of the year, the American flights to Ithaca are operated by Piedmont with their Dash-8s. This August, however, three of the four daily American flights are being operated by Air Wisconsin on the the CRJ-200, with an additional 13 seats compared to the Dash-8. I suspect this is due to the closure of Ithaca's airport during the last two weeks of July as the runway was completely rebuilt. It could also be some upgauging for students moving back to Cornell and Ithaca College during August.

Scheduled departure time out of Ithaca this morning was 5:40, the earliest flight of the day. The alarm was set for 3:30 and I got dropped at Ithaca's terminal at about 4:30. I got my boarding passes from a kiosk then joined the short line for security. After a minute or two, I noticed that no one was going through the checkpoint. One of the TSA agents said that they were waiting for local law enforcement to arrive. However, about six or seven minutes later, the line started to move.

The Ithaca terminal:



Through security, looking at the United gate. The pre-security cafe sells cups to use with the pot of coffee on the desk at gate 6.

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Just before boarding I noticed that the security line was stretching all the way back into the ticketing area as passengers for the Delta and United flights were being cleared. I've never seen a line this long in Ithaca before, it looked pretty out of place.

At about 5:20, boarding was called in the following way: "Now boarding all groups all rows." That's it. No premium boarding zones or group 1, not even any specific announcement for people needing extra time or anything. I'm not sure why the agent called boarding like that, but I suppose it matters less on a CRJ-200 where there is no premium cabin and bin space is not an issue because of valet checking larger carry-on bags.

The single jetway at Ithaca has a nice faux-wood interior which I think is pretty appealing.

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Since I had valet checked my larger carry-on bag, I stowed my backpack in the overhead bin and took my seat in 3A. Our neighbor this morning, a Skywest CRJ-200 which will operate the 6:15 flight to Detroit. I believe it was towed over to the jetway gate after our flight had departed.

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Some early-morning sunshine peaking through the clouds.

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The captain welcomed us on board and announced our flight this morning would be a quick 40 minutes at a cruising altitude of just 7,000 feet. I guess being a jet doesn't necessarily mean you escape the low cruise altitudes Dash-8s usually get.

Jetway pulled back.

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As long is there is not a plane parked at gate 1, the plane at gate 2 (the jetway gate) can pull out forwards. and turn right. That was the case this morning.

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Turning onto runway 14.

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Rolling on runway 14. The new runway surface was extremely smooth, as it should be considering the airport was closed for two weeks to complete it.

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Climbing out of Ithaca.

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It was then I noticed that I hadn't captured the winglet yet. Considering that this could be my last flight on a US-liveried aircraft, I figured it would be a good idea to capture it.

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The clouds dissapeared and the sun began to poke its head out as we flew south.

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The single flight attendant began the service run shortly after takeoff. She did not bring the coffee with her and said she would bring back a tray of coffee cups after she returned to the galley. Unfortunately, I think she forgot what I had asked for since I was sitting pretty far forward, and I didn't get a coffee. This wasn't a huge deal however, because at that point we had already begun our approach to Philadelphia.

Some more pictures of the sunrise.



A bit annoying to take pictures through this window.

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Crossing just west of the airport on the downwind for runway 35.

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Base leg over New Jersey.

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Short final for runway 35 over the Delaware River.

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Landing on runway 35.

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Turning off of runway 35 right near Terminal F.

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N415AW on the left of the frame was my ride from BOS-SYR at the beginning of July (report here).

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Pulling into gate F29 next to N436AW. Interestingly, we were on N437AW.

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After waiting in the jetway for a few minutes to get my valet-tagged bagged, I then exited into the excellent Terminal F.

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Since I'm not going to report on my next flight, PHL - BOS, I will add some pictures from the shuttle to Terminal B/A-East.



While waiting for the Boston flight at gate B15, A Kalitta Charter Super 727 landed on 9R and taxied past.

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The view from seat 31E of the A321 to Boston before my seatmate boarded.

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Verdict

American Airlines

6.4/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi6.5
Meal/catering4.0

Ithaca - ITH

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Philadelphia - PHL

7.6/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

This was a pleasant early morning flight. All the staff I encountered were professional and friendly. It was a bit disappointing to not get a coffee especially on a flight that early in the morning, but it wasn't the end of world considering I could get one in the terminal between flights. The flight was right on time, which was good considering everyone on board was connecting.

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