Yesterday, I blogged about a weather delay in Philadelphia that would have made my connection in Newark very tight. Turns out, the fog dissipated and my 81-mile CO Connection (CommutAir) flight from PHL-EWR was moved up to depart at 10:05 and arrive at 10:45, more than enough time to make my 11:55 flight to Orange County. Flight time is generally is 20-minutes or less on these short flights, so I wasn’t worried.
10:05 came and went. 10:10, 10:20, 10:30. At 10:35 the gate agent announced the problem (without identifying what it was) had been fixed, and began boarding. Moments later, her phone rang. Hanging, up the phone, she angrily commented to a co-worker in front of me and five other “elite” passengers, “These idiots have no idea what they are doing! There’s a reason they fly regionals!”
I chuckled and the gate agent quickly stated that she should not have said that out loud. I told her not to worry about it and I know that the CommutAIr is not Continental. She lamented, accurately I think, that unfortunately most people don’t.
There was some sort of weight and balance issue that the CO mainline staff said was no issue at all but the pilot was throwing a hissy fit over. I peered out the window and the pilot appeared to be arguing with a baggage handler about something. This was a Dash-8, the same plane that went down near BUF last year.
A few minutes later we got the green light to board and by 10:45 everyone had boarded. The pilot announced there were too many bags onboard and began squeezing gate-checked baggage into overhead bins himself. Finally, at 10:50 we quickly taxied and took off for Newark.
I thought I’d still have no problem making my connection, but 20 minutes came and went and we had not even started our descent yet into Newark. The 20-minute flight ended up taking 40-minutes.
As we pulled into the gate at 11:45, I thought there was no way I was going to make my connection. I sprinted off the plane, up the escalator, and lo and behold, right out to my gate to Orange County. Good thing I was flying on CO Connection instead of CO Express (which would have required a terminal change).
The gate area was empty but the door was still open! I made it. Barely.