Since Punta Gorda is a tiny airport, there was no wait to drop off our checked bag, and we proceeded through the security checkpoint.
Once past security, there are a few gates and a store/cafe. The store has basic items like books, magazines, and snacks, while the cafe offers a few basic hot/prepared foods. We each had a bacon and egg croissant, which was pretty good.
Boarding started on time and since there are no jetways, all boarding takes places via stairs in the aft of the aircraft and a ramp in the front of the aircraft. This method drastically reduced the time needed to board, and within a few minutes, we were closed up and ready for departure.
The flight itself was smooth and uneventful. My wife tried to nap and I finished reading a book. The usual buy on board service came through, and we spent the $2.00 for a bottle of Dasani water.
As we touched down in Pittsburgh, I have to admit that out of the hundreds and hundreds of flights I have taken in my life, this was the smoothest landing ever. It didn’t even feel like we touched down it was that smooth. Congrats to the pilots for the skills!
Our flight departed 10 minutes early and arrived into Pittsburgh 16 minutes early, which saved us almost a half hour of time.
The bags made their way to the baggage carousel about 15 minutes after we left the aircraft.
Overall, this was another great flight on Allegiant Air.
This flight review took place on Sunday, May 12th, 2019, on Allegiant Air from Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) to Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) on board an Airbus A-320.
Airline: Allegiant Air (G4 #1695)
Date: Sunday, May 12th, 2019
Departure City: Pittsburgh Int’l Airport (PIT)
Departure Time: 9:17 AM
Arrival City: Punta Gorda Airport (PGD)
Arrival Time: 11:44 AM
Aircraft: Airbus A-320
My wife and I were planning a trip to Florida, and exploring our options to get to Siesta Key. We had traveled on Allegiant Air in the past on trips to Savannah, Georgia and Cancun, Mexico, and we had no hesitations about using them for the short hop down to Florida.
Booking on the Allegiant website is quick and easy. We secured two roundtrip tickets, with 1 checked bag, and pre-selecting our seats in both directions for a total of $462. Without a checked bag or seat selection, the total would have only been $326.
The morning of the flight, we arrived at Pittsburgh Int’l Airport (PIT) about 90 minutes before departure, and found the Allegiant Air check-in area completely empty! We walked up, dropped off our checked bag, and were on our way to security within 60 seconds.
Boarding commenced on-time and our aircraft pushed back at 9:17am. Our estimated flight time was 2 hours and 27 minutes.
The thing I enjoy about the Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines employees at Pittsburgh is that they all seem to enjoy their jobs and put the passengers into a good positive mindset as they are boarding. It’s a night and day difference between these folks and some of the “legacy airline” employees you meet at big hubs like O’Hare, Newark, JFK, etc. A big round of applause for the awesome gate agents of Allegiant and Spirit in Pittsburgh.
The Allegiant Air flight today (G4 #1695) is being flown by an Airbus A-320. The aircraft interior is simple and clean. The seats are basic with minimal padding and no reclining option. I love this, as I am usually stuck with someone directly in front of me who throws their seat into full recline the moment we take off.
Once we reached cruising altitude the snack purchasing service began. The offerings are basic, but reasonably priced. Only credit cards are accepted.
Nothing is free on Allegiant Air. A bottle of water will set you back $2, unless you are an Allegiant Air credit card holder. If you have an Allegiant Air card, you are comped (1) free drink of your choice for the flight.
The Airbus A-320 has no in-flight entertainment, so be prepared with your own (whether games on your phone, an iPad with movies, or a good book).
After 2+ hours in the air, we began our descent into Punta Gorda. The warm Florida landscape below us looked so inviting, and we were counting down the minutes until we would be relaxing on the warm sand of Siesta Key beach.
The flight made a hard landing at 11:35am and within 4 minutes we were parked at our stand in Punta Gorda Airport (PGD). Punta Gorda is a small airport with no jet bridges and all remote parking with ramps/stairs.
It was a big change going from the chilly weather of Pittsburgh to the 90F sunny temperature of South Florida! Upon disembarking the aircraft, we walked into the terminal and proceeded to the baggage claim area. The total time walking from the aircraft door to baggage claim was roughly 2 minutes.
The baggage claim is small with only 2 belts, and the bags took roughly 15 minutes to appear, and ours arriving about 20 minutes after we arrived at the baggage claim.
Overall, our experience on this Allegiant Air flight was very good. When traveling on an Ultra Low Cost airline like Allegiant, Frontier, Spirit, etc, you need to set your expectations based on your price. They provide everything as expected. Safe, clean, non-stop, and reliable transportation from Point A to Point B for a very low price.
Despite all the former negative posts in the media about Allegiant, I have never had a bad experience with them in the 6 flights I have taken. While Allegiant used to have a large fleet of old MD-80 aircraft, they have since phased them all out and now only operate new/modern Airbus A-319 and A-320 aircraft.
Thank you to Allegiant Air for a safe and cheap way to travel to Florida!
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to fly on United Airlines from Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Washington Dulles (IAD). This was my first long haul experience with United, as well as my first trip on a Boeing 777.
As I approached the gate in Frankfurt, I realized I had roughly 30 minutes prior to departure and sat in the boarding area. It was slightly eerie, as there was nobody else sitting around me. I approached the gate agent to confirm that I was in the right area for my flight back home. She told me that the flight was very light, and I could actually board early if I would like. I took advantage of this opportunity to settle in early, and boarded the aircraft.
While I boarded the aircraft, I was expecting similar service like I had received on Lufthansa. By this I mean cheerful flight attendants that greet you and point out where your seat is located. Sadly, I did not encounter this type of service. I cheerfully smiled and said ”Hello” to each of the three flight attendants while I made my way to the seat. None of them cracked a smiled, and only responded with a forced sigh and “Hello” back to me.
My seat for this flight was located in the very last row of the aircraft. I looked around, and there was not a soul nearby, except for the young gentleman one row up and across the aisle. Not long after boarding, they closed the cabin doors, and our flight back to the United States was under way. The flight attendant made her welcome announcement, and was probably one of the most unenthusiastic and uninviting announcements that I have ever heard. At this point, I could only imagine what the inflight service would be like as well, because I now felt that I had been spoiled with the high level of service that I received from Lufthansa on my way over to Europe.
The in-flight entertainment was just as bad as the service that I would receive on this flight as well. There were (3) seats in my row, and two of them had broken headphone sets. I politely asked the flight attendant for a working set, and her only response was “I don’t know. I’ll see what I can do”. 45 minutes later, the flight attendant reappeared and said “here”, while throwing the headphones at me. I was shocked and appalled! Out of the 3 in flight entertainment units, only 1 was working. It also had a tendency to freeze up with errors and reboot every 15-20 minutes. This was going to be a LONG flight home…
I was pretty hungry and we were served a soft drink and snack. I had asked for Coffee and Water, and an extra bag of pretzels. The flight attendant rolled her eyes, and granted my request. I was getting pretty upset with their service and wanted to complain so bad! The meal we were served was pretty awful, but I ate it anyway. Not everyone can have the same quality of food as Lufthansa I guess.
Finally, after many many hours of flying, we landed in Washington Dulles Airport. I was so happy to get off my flight and be one step closer to home. Honestly, this experience on United Airlines was pathetic and terrible. I will never fly United Airlines on a long haul flight again. Take my advice, and spend the extra money to fly on a European airline, as they tend to value service and the customer more than US airlines.
Departure City: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PIT), United States of America
Departure Time: 7:49 PM
Arrival City: Washington, Dulles (IAD), United States of America
Arrival Time: 8:51 PM
Aircraft: Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ-700)
This flight was the first segment of our long journey to Europe. I was traveling with two of my good buddies, both named Matt. My flights during the next few days would route me from Pittsburgh (PIT) to Washington Dulles (IAD) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Zurich, Switzerland (ZRH) to Kos, Greece (KGS) to Athens, Greece (ATH) to Saint Petersburg, Russia (LED). Yes, it was quite the itinerary and not for the faint of heart.
I am a Premier Silver Member on United Airlines as well as a holder of their credit card. This entitles me to a free checked bag, along with Zone 2 boarding. I love boarding in Zone 2, as it gets you to your seat before pretty much everyone else.
As I got on board, I located my seat (9B), and was pleasantly surprised that I was located in “Economy Plus”. #Winning
While Economy Plus isn’t much on such a small plane, every little bit of legroom makes all the difference. This was a great start to our journey abroad!
The flight took off on time, and once airborne drinks and cookies were served. I passed the time on this flight by reading the in-flight magazine and thinking about the adventure ahead of us. Who knew what the next few days would hold?
Our flight arrived on time and we taxied to our position at the gate. Welcome to our nations capital, Washington Dulles!
This flight was the fourth leg of a multi flight trip to Europe with my two friends named Matt. Today’s flight would take us from Zurich, Switzerland, to Kos, Greece. The purpose of this trip for my friends was to attend a wedding, but my trip had another purpose. I wanted to visit my lovely fiancee (Olga) in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I would later attend the wedding in Kos, but first, had to arrive in Greece, and then take another flight to Russia. You can read about that in the next article.
We arrived at Zurich International Airport very early in the morning to check in for our flight. I had spent a very frustrating 3 hours on the phone (international long distance) trying to sort out our flight arrangements for this day. What happened was, back in Pittsburgh, our initial flight to Newark was delayed. This in turn meant we would miss our connection to Zurich. Once the agent had re-booked our flights, she forgot to re-confirm the segment on Edelweiss to Kos. Therefore, it canceled out not only this segment, but the rest of the trip! Long story short, I was able to get us back on this flight. Whew!
My friends and I were very impressed with Edelweiss and the service they provided. The seats were nice and spacious, and the in-flight map was a much needed tool to keep track of our progress.
Upon boarding the aircraft, I located my seat (14C), which was another aisle seat next to my friends.
We pushed back and took off on time. Everything was going as planned!
Once airborne, the flight attendants served drinks, followed by a meal service. Our flight time today was about 2.5 hours. The meal was actually pretty delicious! We all enjoyed it.
To pass the time, we played cards and watched the plane move along down the Adriatic Coast, and then turn towards Kos.
Once we had landed in Kos, our flight parked at a remote stand at the airport. Kos is a tiny airport, but very busy with flights from around Europe. There are no jetways, and all passengers are bused to and from the terminal.
After deplaning onto a bus, and into the terminal, we had to figure out which of the three conveyor belts would contain our baggage. There were no visible signs, so it was anyone’s guess. Luckily, I needed to find a bathroom, which led me to a sign, far away, that said “Switzerland Flights” with an arrow. I found my bag, and then shared this with my friends.
As we walked outside of the airport, we met an awesome taxi driver named Tony. He would become our driver, and a sort of friend to me for the remainder of the trip.
Departure City: Frankfurt Main Airport (FRA), Germany
Departure Time: 1:05 PM
Arrival City: Zurich (ZRH), Switzerland
Arrival Time: 2:00 PM
Aircraft: Boeing 737-300
This very brief flight on Lufthansa would take us from Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Zurich, Switzerland (ZRH). Prior to this flight, my friends and I were traveling on United Airlines Flight 932 – Washington Dulles (IAD) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA). After landing, we rush through security as fast as we could, but the lines were terrible. We were fortunate to make it to the gate just in time for boarding to begin. We literally had to run from one end of Frankfurt to the exact opposite.
Once at the gate, my one buddy named Matt needed to pick up his boarding pass, as they were not able to generate it for us in Pittsburgh. The gate agent told us that they were not sure if he could take this flight. Our hearts fell. We had to make this connection.
Luckily, the gate agent was able to get Matt on, and away we went!
I found my seat in the aisle (22C) and quickly sat down. Push back was on time as well as our departure.
Due to the short duration of the flight, only water was served to passengers.
Upon arriving in Zurich, Switzerland, we could breathe a sigh of relief. We had arrived at our main stopping point. It was 2pm, and our flight the next day departed at 5:55am. We had roughly 16 hours to kill in Zurich. What to do?
Departure City: Washington, Dulles (IAD), United States of America
Departure Time: 10:05 PM
Arrival City: Frankfurt Main Int’l Airport (FRA), Germany
Arrival Time: 11:53 AM
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
I am a Premier Silver Member on United Airlines, and do a majority of my traveling on United or one of their Star Alliance partners (Lufthansa, Swiss, etc). This flight was part of my journey with some friends from (Pittsburgh – Washington Dulles – Frankfurt – Zurich – Kos).
Boarding in Washington Dulles (IAD) began promptly at 9:15pm. Since I am a United Cardholder, I was given preferred boarding in Zone 2, which is a nice little perk on long flights like this. Our total flight time for today was slated at just over 7 hours.
Upon boarding the aircraft, I located and sat down in my seat (aisle 44C). This seat was located at the very rear of the aircraft. I was traveling with two other friends who didn’t board for quite a while since they were in Zone 5. This is why I love having the United Credit Card. It’s the little things that matter.
Our United Airlines flight pushed back on time, and once airborne, the flight attendants came around with the complimentary crackers and cheese, along with coffee / beer / alcohol. United Airlines recently changed their policy on alcohol and no longer charge for it on international flights. I rarely drink on a plane, so this isn’t a big deal to me. However, my friends rather enjoyed the complimentary alcohol.
Our flight was about 70% full this evening, so there were a number of seats open. The flight attendant who served us on this flight was absolutely amazing. She was kind, funny, and willing to help however she could. This is in contrast to the typical flight attendant that I experience on United, which is cranky, crabby, and just all around hates every passenger on the plane.
Meal service was provided, and I opted for the chicken. After dinner, we were served ice cream, and our flight attendant gave my friend Matt a small bottle of liquor to add to his ice cream. She was awesome.
We played a few games on the in-flight entertainment system, and then tried to get some sleep. It was hard to sleep knowing that in just a few hours, your friends were going to experience Europe for the first time ever. I am a veteran on traveling abroad (as I make about 2-3 trips to Europe each year), but this was their first.
Our flight touched down smoothly a little before 12pm local time. We taxied for quite a while, and parked in a remote position on the stand. Our Boeing 777 deplaned using the front and aft cabin loading stairs. I had never deplaned on stairs from an aircraft this large before, so it was quite the cool experience.
After this, we were bused to the main terminal, and then began an all out sprint to the opposite end of the airport to catch our next flight. Lufthansa Flight 1190 from Frankfurt (FRA) to Zurich (ZRH).
In conclusion, I would rate this experience on United Airlines Flight 932 (4 out of 5 stars).
Very friendly and courteous flight crew
On time departure / arrival
Meal service was enjoyable
In-flight entertainment was very good
Cramped coach seats (Not located in Economy Plus)
Lack of music options on IFE. The old system allowed you to choose songs.
Flight Review: Ukraine International Airlines Flight 232
I recently traveled from JFK-KBP-DME on Ukraine International Airlines. I am going to share my thoughts and experiences on the New York (JFK) to Kiev (KBP) segment in this trip report.
This was my first time flying out of New York – JFK, as my usual airport for flights to Europe is Newark – EWR.
This was also my first time flying on Ukraine International Airlines, and with limited reviews and experiences being shared on the internet, I really had no idea what to expect from this unique journey that I was about to embark upon.
Here are some basic facts:
Departure City: New York City (JFK)
Arrival City: Kiev, Ukraine (KBP)
Aircraft Type: Boeing 767-300ER
Seat Number: 13D (Coach)
Departure Date: December 2014
I arrived at JFK Airport (Terminal 7) around 9pm in preparation for my 1:30am departure. This was my first experience at JFK, and I really dislike the terminals all being separated so far apart. As I entered the building for Terminal 7, I walked around and could not find the check in desks for Ukraine International Airlines. After a few minutes, I kindly asked an employee, who pointed me to this area in the back far off corner of the building. It was here that I found the check in desks.
There was no wait to check in for the flight, and I walked right up to the counter. I considered asking for a seat change, but based on my assumption that 13D was an aisle seat, I decided to just leave it be and enjoy the leg room. Boy was I ever wrong!
After checking in for the flight, I now realized that I had many hours to kill, and all of the shops/food were closed (except for duty free and McDonalds). This waiting so late at night was painful. I still don’t understand why the flight needed to depart at so late in the evening!
Around 12:30am, I started to make my way to the gate hoping for early boarding so I could relax and get some sleep on the flight. I normally cannot sleep on planes, but since this flight time was so late in the evening, I was hoping it would be the first time for extended sleep.
Around 12:45am-1:00am, we began the boarding process. It was pure chaos. There was no call for first class passengers, or preferred frequent flyer members. Instead, it was one big general boarding announcement. Everyone ran to the roped off area to board the aircraft, where lots of pushing and shoving took place.
Upon boarding the aircraft, I was greeted by two blonde Ukrainian flight attendants both named Olga. As I walked through the First Class cabin, I thought it was odd that there was no one seated in this section, and proceeded to the next cabin (Premium Economy). The Premium Economy Class section appeared nice and I was impressed with the ample seating, leg room, and overall comfort.
Ukraine International Airlines has a special deal where you can upgrade from a regular Economy Class seat to Premium for only $250 each way from JFK-KBP. I had considered this since it was such a long 8-9 hour flight, but decided that money was best spent on my trip with my soon to be fiancé.
There was a long line of passengers in the aisles while fellow passengers put bags in the overhead bins, stowed heavy winter coats, and got situated into their seats for this long journey.
Up to this point, I thought much of Ukraine International Airlines and the great value that I had received. Keep in mind, I booked my ticket less than one month before departure, and received total price of $499.70 round trip with taxes from JFK-KBP-DME and return. I can’t even get to the West Coast for that cheap, let alone half way around the world!
So, honestly, my expectations were fairly low… Upon entering the normal Economy Class section, reality began to set in as to why this ticket was so cheap.
The entire Economy Section was completely booked, with no chance of moving seats. The aircraft was setup in a very cramped 2-4-2 configuration, with my seat being in the middle, not the aisle as I had hoped for.
The aircraft also lacked personal in flight entertainment, with the only movie options being viewed on the main big screen, and a few small monitors every few rows.
As I got situated in my seat, I realized that the next 8-9 hours of my life would be the longest ever.
The aircraft had quite a few crying babies, and arguments over items not fitting into the already overflowing overhead bins.
The Boeing 767 is one of my favorite aircraft, but this trip reminded me as to why I usually opt for Lufthansa or United Airlines when flying overseas to Europe. Once I sat down, I was amazed at how cramped the seating was. I am a tall and skinny guy, but these seats were slim even for myself.
I made a comment to the older Russian man sitting next to me about the seat size, and he gave me this slight smile, raised his hands a bit, and in broken English said “Is Ukrainian Airlines, what do you expect”. I smiled and chuckled on the inside.
The one nice thing about Ukraine International Airlines was that each seat came with a pillow, blanket, socks, eye mask, earplugs, and a headset. Nice touch since most airlines have done away with these.
Our flight was scheduled to depart at 1:30am, but we did not push back and depart until 2:01am.
After takeoff, I waited in line to use the lavatory, and was shocked that there was no one seated in the First Class or Premium Economy cabins. Both cabins were completely dark, which meant that this entire flight was being operated with only regular Economy Class fares as their income.
I guess that is what happens when you have a state owned airline. Around 3am (one hour after takeoff) the drink service began, followed by our first meal.
The meal was pretty decent, however, I was very hungry so anything looked good at that point. We were served some vegetables, slices of turkey, rice, a roll, and dessert.
After meal service was completed, they started the showing of a movie, but I instantly fell asleep along with the rest of the dark cabin.
Hours later I awoke to us having just crossed into European airspace.
Drinks were served, and another meal service began. It was lasagna, a tiny salad, roll, and dessert.
Another move began and this one was Invictus staring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman.
Our flight was scheduled to arrive into Ukraine at 3:48pm local time, but due to the delay leaving JFK, we arrived into Kiev at 4:10pm local time.
Once the aircraft parked at the gate, we exited and were greeted by a line of armed military personnel on the jetway, along with a few dogs. Remember, Ukraine is in a state of war at the moment. Upon entering the airport, it was a pretty seamless transition to the transit area for my next flight to Moscow, Russia (Domodedovo – DME).
After walking through the bottom of the airport, it splits into two areas. Immigration for those terminating their trip in Kiev, and security for those who are transiting. There was no wait for the security line, and I breezed right through the 1 of 2 lanes that exist.
Kiev Borispol International Airport does not have much to offer passengers awaiting their next flight.
There are 3-4 smoking lounges, a few cafes, and duty free stores.
I visited the one store to buy a magnet for myself, and collectors spoon for my mother. However, I neglected to tell my credit card about stopping in the Ukraine, so my card was declined. Luckily, the girl working the store realized I was American, and asked “American Dollar?”. I said “Yes”, and she glady accepted that as payment, but the only change she had was a very very old $5 US bill. I smiled and took the change, even though it was far less than I was owed. Call it a cost of doing business I guess.
Overall, I had a positive experience with Ukraine International Airlines for the value. Remember, I did this whole trip for only $499.70 with taxes/fees. Yes, the seating is cramped. Yes, the in-flight entertainment is awful, but we arrived safely, were well fed and hydrated, and the price was 1/3 that of any other airline from New York City.
I would fly on Ukraine International Airlines again if I really needed to depending on my budget.