Welcome to my second trip report. Just like with my first one, if there are any comments, please note them below.
With college app season finally coming to an end, college acceptance letters were starting to flow in. Seeing as I had nothing much to do now that my workload was very light, I asked my dad if we could do a college visit to Purdue University (about 1 hr. outside of Indianapolis). After a little bit of convincing, he finally agreed. So I immediately began searching for flights. The nice thing is, Purdue is located pretty much in between Chicago and Indianapolis, so I had quite a few options.
But, to be honest, for an overnight trip, it didn’t really make sense to penny-pinch to the max. After looking through some options on “Google Flights” we found a really cheap option through Spirit Airlines. Yea right! United also had a direct flight option out of Dulles, but travelling through Dulles is a nightmare. Why should we have to go through a security line that would equal the length of our flight? We finally decided on an American Airlines flight. There were multiple flight times, and it gave me a chance to travel on one of their Embraer 175’s.
As I had stated in my previous trip report, the Citi Prestige card allows a 60% bonus on all flights booked on American Airlines. The only catch being that you have to book flights on their website, which can be a pain. After looking through the combinations the website offered, we finally settled on an early morning flight to Indianapolis and then an afternoon flight coming back. Plus, with the platinum status my dad has with AA, we were able to request a first class upgrade.
Ronald Reagan National Airport:
While waking up at 4:45 was not the move, I was really excited to get this trip going. After munching down a small breakfast (obviously keeping room to splurge in the lounge) we headed towards DC. Morning traffic on I-495 and the George Washington Parkway were much better than I thought they would be.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I was pretty excited to see this Eastern Airlines 737 (I’m sorry the picture is so blurry) in the maintenance area. I thought it might have been a United heritage livery. I later found out that it’s a brand new airline operating out of Miami. To be fair though, it still doesn’t really explain what it was doing in DCA.
The parking setup required us to take a shuttle to the main terminal, I was originally a bit worried due to our limited time. Ultimately, the ride took about 10 minutes. As I travel pretty light, there was no need to check in my luggage.
In all honesty, the last time I flew out of DCA was back in 2006 when I flew US Airways to the UK, with a stop in Boston. Most of my flights were out of Dulles. While Dulles is a clean airport, it takes a very long time to get from the main terminal to the actual gate. For those who travel regularly out of DCA, you can imagine my surprise when we had entered the main terminal area.
Unfortunately, the lighting outside and in the terminal led to some pretty mediocre shots.
The AA Admirals Club:
Thanks to the beauty of TSA Pre, security took us less than 1 minute. Since we had some time to spare we decided to check out the Admirals Club. Unfortunately, due to some of the cost cutting measures that most airlines are employing, there wasn't too much food to eat. So much for my huge breakfast.
Some of the food on offer. My dad and I shared some coffee, hot chocolate, fruit, and a slice of cake.
The view towards the outside the lounge
The view facing the inside the lounge.
About 10 minutes before the scheduled boarding time we made our way down to the gate. Due to the position of the gate, it was really hard to get a good picture of the aircraft. Here is our aircraft at gate B10 in Indianapolis.
Another E175 at Gate 45.
The boarding process was quick and easy. Thanks to the priority status on my boarding pass, I was the first one to get on the aircraft.
Our airplane today is N103HQ a Republic Airways E175 flying for US Airways since 2007. The plane had just flown an early morning leg from Pittsburgh but for the most part, it was still pretty fresh. The seats were old but still quite clean. It was funny to see the US Airways branding still inside the aircraft with a small “New American” logo pasted onto the wall.
We had some pretty good legroom, I wasn’t expecting a blanket.
We had one flight attendant serving us throughout the flight. Although he was pretty nice, service was pretty lax. We never got a pre-departure drink, I was not at all mad though since I had just had some hot chocolate a few minutes before boarding.
I didn’t know if this was standard American Airlines policy but on my return flight as well, I noticed the lead flight attendant working economy class. For this flight today, the lead flight attendant was brand new so we heard some pretty odd announcements over the PA speakers. The flight attendant in first class and I were giving each other some stares.
All of the seatback contents.
Looking outside at the CRJ 700 that had just began pushing back to go to Albany.
We had an on time departure from the gate. Fortunately, the sun had risen some more and allowed for some great pictures to be taken as we made our way to the runway.
The captain informed us that we would be taking off from Runway 1- which would allow for some awesome pictures of Washington DC. There was a little bit of traffic in front of us, but they seemed to be taking off very quickly so we really didn't have to wait that long
An American A319 and a United ERJ in the "time out" corner.
As soon as the American 737-800 in front of us took off, the captain turned on to the runway, spooled up the engines and we took off. For those who haven’t seen a take-off from Runway 1, it’s quite a spectacle. Because you’re so close to all the White House (restricted airspace) the pilot yanks the plane up and then immediately swings it sharply to the left giving passengers quite a rollercoaster-like ride.
We were able to make it up to 36000 feet pretty quickly, so the service also started promptly. We were offered a choice of drinks and a selection of chips and such. Although I ended up taking some popcorn, none of the choices were particularly appealing due to the time they were served as well as the fact I just had breakfast. I did enjoy my orange juice though, and it was served in a glass cup.
I never actually had to use the bathroom, but just for the readers I decided to go in a take a few pictures. Although it was old and small, it was tidy.
Cruising at 36000 feet- the sky was gorgeous.
Around 9:10 or so, we began our descent into Indianapolis. We had overcast skies but once we got past that layer, it was pretty clear. The ride down was pretty bumpy. From my seat I could hear the alarms going off in the cockpit followed by immediate spools or cutbacks of the engine.
Descent through the thick layer of clouds.
The Lucas Oil Stadium towards the left of the image.
The Indy 500 racetrack.
An old abandoned parking garage.
Indianapolis airport itself is actually a very big airport for the little traffic it gets here.
And here we are at Gate B10. Thanks for joining me on this flight. Once again, if you have any comments, please leave them below.
American Airlines Admirals Club - B
Washington - DCA
Indianapolis - IND
Overall, the flight was pretty good. Although the airplane was old, it was cleaned up nicely. Food offerings in both the lounge and on the airplane were small. If you have a choice of flying out of IAD or DCA, I would easily choose DCA.
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