So I flew Independence Air to New Jersey last weekend. As I mentioned earlier, the discounted new-member tickets turned out far cheaper than the train ride, and I was eager to try out this new airline which had been so actively marketed in the DC metro area. (Indy Air is actually ACA, a “feeder” airline breaking away from prior commitments to United to become its own rebranded low-cost regional carrier.)

Check-in at Dulles is fast and easy, with ticketless check-in meaning that you just hand in your reservation printout and an ID at the counter and receive your boarding pass instantly. At Dulles, Indy Air is located at the far, low end of Terminal A. The planes are Canadair Regional CRJ200 jets, fairly small, with seating for 50, boarded at ground level on the tarmac. Seats are covered in comfortable blue leather, all coach, with decent quantities of space provided. (Note that emergency exit row seating on these small regional jets offers little extra leg room. You get about an extra inch, and that’s it. Worse, the window seat doesn’t have an armrest on the wall side, presumably to make it easier for you to open the hatch — a wall hatch, not a full length door — in an emergency. Also, the hatch is right in the wall beside you, and can be somewhat unnerving to lean against. Skip the exit row for these planes; reservations like that are better on the jumbos.)

After all baggage has been loaded onto the plane, one of the ground crew walks around the plane with a large blue sign saying “YOUR BAGS HAVE BEEN LOADED,” for all passengers to see. After one round, he flips it over to the words “SEE YOU ON THE FLIP SIDE.” Gimmicky, but funny.

Taxiing to takeoff, a recorded celebrity voiceover gives you the safety briefing; it was Mia Hamm for IAD-EWR, and Carville and Matalin for EWR-IAD. Inflight complimentaries: soda or juice, a bag of Sun Chips, and a hot towel — pretty good for a 35 minute flight. The lavatory at the back of the plane was rather cramped (as you can see in my Mirror Project submission), so taller folk might want to consider “going” at the airport before riding. It’s a short flight anyway.

All in all, a good start for this airline, so I’m sure I’ll be flying them again in the future for a trip to NJ or Chicago.

Writing is sparse because I’m busy. Tomorrow: rowing the red rivers.