Why is USAirways not entertaining me…. but has great service?

I spent a day flying with USAirways last weekend, from Las Vegas to Philadelphia, and then on to San Juan.

Las Vegas to Philadelphia

US is based in the old terminal at LAS – Terminal A. The First Class line was busy and it took probably 20 minutes to get through security, even when using the nudeoscope. Worryingly,  having seen a lot about the iPad thefts by TSA employees, the x-ray operator was adjusting the contents of bins as they came out of the machine without apparent reason – they were not rescanned. My complaint to the three-striper generated a complaint card.

a room with a few seats and a slot machine

US Terminal at Las Vegas

No lounge available in LAS.

a close-up of an airplane

Plane to PHL

The departure was on time, with First Class being boarded first. After Uniformed Military of course, but without the Global Services nonsense you get with United.

a view of a city from a window

Strip view from Terminal

The A320 felt roomy and the seats were comfortable. I had 2E and when it came time for food selection, there was still a choice left. Eggs or Cereal.

a white bag with tools in it

Leg Room

The Eggs were excellent and there were plenty of refills of juice and coffee. We were offered a snack mix before the meals arrived, which I thought a little odd.

a blue bag of savory snack mix


a plate of food on a table

US Breakfast

The other slightly strange this is that there was no entertainment. None! And no WiFi.

We arrived at PHL early and so I had time to visit the Envoy Lounge in the new terminal there before the flight on to SJU.

Envoy Lounge

The lounge is located about mid-way down the International (A) terminal at PHL, and either a short lift ride or up a huge escalator. When I arrived my UA United Club Lifetime Membership got me in without incident.

a group of people sitting in a lounge area

Envoy Lounge at PHL

several airplanes parked at an airport

View from Envoy Lounge

There are two halves to the lounge – one packed and the other empty – I suppose as most people turn right after Reception and not left. I found somewhere and inspected the food selection. Better than United’s there was however, the same awful cheese and biscuits. In addition there was soup, olives, cookies and a wide range of drinks all self-service.

I left the lounge in plenty of time to get to the gate and was there in plenty of time for boarding.

PHL to San Juan, PR.

This plane was a 757 and I was surprised, and impressed that it had cradle seats – only 3 rows plus one row of coach in the front cabin of a 757 where United packs in 6 rows of First Class. So LOTS of legroom.

a close-up of a person's feet


Seats to SJU

The food was pretty nice and there was a choice available by the time they got to me in Row 2. The picture shows the Cheese Ravioli. The seat had a massage function and extendable leg rest so it was very comfortable for the flight. However, again, no entertainment and no WiFi.

a plate of food and a bread

Dinner to SJU

a slice of cheesecake on a plate

Cheesecake to SJU

The crew were helpful and attentive with plenty of drinks available.

We arrived in SJU early and were quickly in to the terminal.


Good flights with good crews but no entertainment on two long flights seems odd!


  1. I flew six segments on US recently, including four of 5+ hours. The TATL segments had in-flight entertainment (I didn’t use it so cannot comment on how good it was) but the transcons did not.

    Personally, I felt that the lack of entertainment, whilst surprising, was a good thing. It seemed to generate a calmer cabin. At the time I couldn’t figure out why I enjoyed the flights despite being stuck in coach with no E+, but I concluded that it was the quiet of the plane that made the difference. Perhaps it’s passengers self-selecting, or perhaps it’s different behavior without tvs, but either way it was a refreshing change.

    Would I fly them again without E+? No, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

  2. How does US Air serve meals in First…front to back or some other way? Have a transcon in two weeks and wondering what the best seat is for meal choice.

  3. Regarding the lack of entertainment, I don’t know why this bothers anyone. With tablets & mobile devices, you can store all the videos, music, games, etc. you could want. Or you could read a book or magazine. I honestly don’t get why this matters to anyone. The only IFE I need is my iPod & a book, and I’m good for the whole flight.

  4. I think that United boards GS before military? I cant remember. I flew 7 segments on USair early in September and I had nothing but great experience. Granted their first class seats could use a bit more leg room like Delta . I really don’t care about the in flight entertainment. There are so many other options anyways.

  5. US’s stock symbol is LCC. 🙂 This explains the lack of IFE and WiFi (though they are planning on adding it to the fleet over the next couple of years).

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