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Friday March 30th, 2018: I booked two roundtrip tickets from Charlotte North Carolina to Parkersburg and Beckley West Virginia.
The first roundtrip flight to Parkersburg was scheduled to depart Charlotte at 9:50 am and then arrive in PKB at 11:08. Afterwards, I would deplane, re-board then depart Parkersburg at 11:30 and fly back to CLT arriving 12:00 pm
I arrived at CLT one and a half hours early to check in at the counter, retrieve my boarding passes and head through security. The gate agent let me know that ViaAir does not partake in the TSA PreCheck®! Lucky enough, I had arrived with ample time. It was the Friday before Easter and the airport was busy, taking approximately 40 minutes. I walked down from Concourse C to A and headed to Gate A2. ( ViaAir has only 1 gate in CLT.)
ViaAir operates Embraer 120 Brasilia’s and Embraer 145 jets. They are one of the few remaining airlines to still operate the 30 seats -120 propjets, or jungle jets. Several minutes later, I had been informed that the first two flights to Parkersburg had an aircraft switch/upgrade to the larger 50 seat -145 jet. I was super excited when she told me that! Due to the aircraft coming in from Parkersburg about 30 minutes late boarding was delayed until approximately 10am.
I’ve been on a few Embraer-145’s before but never one this empty. It truly felt like flying one a private aircraft. Once the boarding doors closed, we made a quick taxi to Runway 18C and took off into the vast North Carolina skies. During our cruise a service of bottled water and gummy fruit snacks were offered. 43 minutes later, we touched down into a rainy and cold Parkersburg.
I exited the aircraft figuring I would check out the small terminal building and re-board and I did so, but no one informed me that I would have to go back through TSA! So after going through TSA once again and talking with the Security agents, 16 of us boarded the same aircraft (N824HK) back down to CLT. We departed on time and arrived back on time with a mirrored service like the first leg being offered.
Back in Charlotte, 5 passengers (myself included) boarded the smaller 120 Brasilia for our flight up to Beckley. The Beckley turn was scheduled to depart CLT at 1:30pm and arrive in Beckley at 2:24pm then depart Beckley at 2:50pm and arrive back in Charlotte at 3:44pm. Out of the 400+ flights I have taken, I have never been on a flight with only 4 others. It was incredible. To have the amenities of private flying in a passenger plane is highly unusual.
The service on board these 2 flights in my opinion were even better than the first 2. The 5 of us were offered a variety of drinks, peanuts, granola bars or gummy snacks The flight took just about an hour as we traveled at approximately 298 knots up to Beckley. The airport sits low in a valley so with rainy conditions some pretty rough turbulence occurred. Once we touched down in Beckley the other 4 passengers deplaned and I stayed on, so I would not have to go through security a third time.
After saying my goodbyes to the amazing flight crew and airport staff I left CLT knowing I can now say I’ve flown on an Embraer 120 Brasilia and a great little airline.
I look forward to flights later this year like one from Little Rock Arkansas to ViaAir’s newly outfitted Austin Texas base Thank you ViaAir for an amazing unforgettable experience.
WorldTravelReport- Thoughts that Fly....