Long time lurker, first time poster.
As a New Orleanian with family in Alabama in low population density areas, I am often relegated to long, boring drives of around 6-8 hours. This is, of course, the cursed dead zone for short-haul flying. The train is doggedly slow. Greyhound is slower than the train on the route to Alabama.
In 2015, flyGLO, operated by Corporate Flight Management, commenced flights from New Orleans to the Mid-South. Brilliant(I thought the name was cheesy, though). When they announced Huntsville in 2016, I could have died from happiness. A non-stop flight from my home in New Orleans to my family in Alabama was a dream come true. And on an old turbo-prop from the Northwest Airlink days?! Non-stop transportation on an old prop plane from the '80s? It was to be AvGeek heaven.
Alas, there is no heaven on Earth. flyGLO went bankrupt, surprising no one, as the economics were not it it's favor and load factors were low. I ran across a table of the load factors for all routes and airlines departing MSY. MSY-HSV was around 32%, the lowest of all routes departing MSY. I read on the MSY forum that a direct MSY-HSV route may not be seen again in our lifetime. I can certainly believe that.
I finally had a chance to book flyGLO for a friend's wedding back in Huntsville in October of 2016. There was a fare sale and I hopped on it. $99 each way, $198 round trip! Sold! Booking was simple and straight forward. Selecting seats was a little confusing - random seats were blocked, others already claimed, still others a mystery color. Fortunately I snagged 1C, the first row, right next to the wing. I wanted all of that turboprop sound I could get. 1C is on the two-seater side of the plane. I kept checking the seat map as my flight approached, and 1B was blocked, but not occupied - strange, but I would later discover why(ish).
flyGLO occupied some unused gates at the end of Concourse B gates during it's tenure at MSY. Concourse B is primarily (exclusively?) used by Southwest. This made it quite the trek from the credit card lot to the gate. By my google maps estimate, it was a half to three-quarter mile walk from the end of B to my car. Worth it, however, as I am loathe to pay cab prices for a short trip or deal with surly off-airport parking lot employees.
The morning of my flight, I checked in online but could not enter my PreCheck number. When I asked at the counter, I discovered that flyGLO had not yet been certified for PreCheck, but the agent was kind enough to add Premium to my boarding so I could go through that security check. He also provided a boarding pass on legitimate airline card stock, and the agent at the gate did not take my boarding card - so this is probably the only complete boarding pass with origin MSY and destination HSV that I will ever have.
I cleared premium security and grabbed my usual Abita Amber from a counter in Concourse B.
October 21, 2016
ETD: 1:00 pm
ETA: 2:45 pm
Although we were blocked for one hour and forty-five minutes, I had been tracking the flight time for a week or so and found it was landing around 2:15 pm. We were pretty much bang-on time as I recall.
And there she was: my first turboprop ride, my first direct flight from my adopted MSY to my hometown HSV. I was giddy.
Prop right next to my face in 1C.
Plenty of legroom in 1C
I suppose I discovered why 1B was blocked. It was to be used as a table during the safety demo? That seems like not great revenue management.
Takeoff from Runway 2 to the North. Takeoff video is linked. It was loud and buzzy, everything that I hoped for. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg061Td9B_o&t=3s
Service was from a snack basket. There were decent sized bags of chips and cookies, as well as a full can for beverage service. I did not get a pic of the service because there was no tray table. However, I found out on a later flight that that could be rectified with a proactive flight attendant.
Hattiesburg, MS. I know this route well. We followed Interstate 59 through Mississippi to the junction with Interstate 20. Look at all the schmucks in cars! I was happy to by buzzing (literally) at 20000 feet and 300 mph. This trip normally takes seven hours in a car with requisite food and fuel stops.
Meridian, MS and the interchange with I-20.
Tuscaloosa, AL. I tried to get a pic of Bryant-Denny for all of you college football people out there, but it slipped by underneath me.
We took a northerly turn from Tuscaloosa over West Alabama and crossed over Lewis Smith Lake.
Into the descent over the Tennessee River.
Disembarking at the "Commuter Gates"; translation: no jet bridge!
No jet bridge, no bother! That makes for great plane porn. A shame this little operation did not last.
A great flight all around. Nonstop, friendly agents, on-time flight, friendly flight attendant, generous baggage allowance even though I "carried on". The loud, old, Saab 340-B, a first of the type for me, was the cherry on top. I was elated to not drive, get from New Orleans to Huntsville in less than two hours and be door-to-door (the ultimate test of short haul flying) in around three and a half hours.
Thanks for reading!
As has been stated by first time posters before: I now fully appreciate the effort that goes in to writing a thorough report. Thanks for the many years of trip report reading pleasure!
Coming up: the return flight. I will post pics of the cabin as well as the service in that report.