Taking any flights soon?

Are you taking any flights soon, either this way or that way? Where are you going, what’s your route like, and how do you feel about it? If you’d like to share your travel experiences, or just check in with other folks preparing for the airways, this is the topic for it.

I can tell you about my next flight, even though it’s not very long-distance from my home in New York. Tomorrow morning I fly from Newark (EWR) to Bangor (BGR), the first leg of a weekend visit to see family in central Maine. I did this for the first time around six months ago, and made a promise to repeat it twice a year. So far, so good.

Bangor is a very humble city, with outsized importance to me. My family is all from Downeast Maine, and I spent many formative years, including my whole university education and my first few post-graduate jobs, in the vicinity of Bangor.

When I lived in Boston, it made the most sense to drive to Bangor, but now that I live in New York, flight has become a more attractive option, even though it’s just a hop—barely an hour in the air. Tomorrow it’ll be United flight 3479 for me. (Well… Republic flight 3479, on a code-share, technically speaking. The things you learn when building an air-travel website!)

I truly wish that I could just hop on a train, but Amtrak only goes as far north as Portland, near Maine’s southern border, requiring a transfer to bus for the last leg into the big state’s middle. And even then, one needs to stumble on foot between Boston’s South Station and North Station when passing northward through that city, dragging baggage all the while! The simpler logistics of a single flight on a zippy Embraer become hard to pass up.

I’ll do my best to update this topic with a little log of my flight experience, even though it’s a short one! The flight represents my practical deadline for setting up the new community features for BumpySkies—that is, its Patreon, and this forum—and I look forward to starting things out with my own flight experiences. I’d love to hear about your trips, as well!

I took some notes on the flight up. I find note-taking—even if only about the flight itself, and even my moment-to-moment feelings while I’m writing—to be a helpful activity, an intellectual exercise that gives my attention something to focus on rather that just casting about.

Because it was a short flight, I didn’t have any wi-fi or seat-back screen, so could only learn about our changing altitude by observation. The climb to cruising altitude took a stair-step pattern: I’d feel a little “floaty” as we leveled off, and then pressed gently into my seat as we started climbing again. A bit unusual in my experience but the flight was otherwise quite smooth—and for all I know, that was the pilots intentionally avoiding some uncomfortable chop!

I noted a funny moment where, down below the clouds, I could see water under us, and land out to starboard—how could that be, if we were heading north up the east coast? And then I remembered that Cape Cod is a thing.

Coming back home two days later, I believe I experienced something I haven’t in the air in a long time: a holding pattern. ATC held us on the ground in Bangor for a while due to congestion at EWR—and once we finally arrived at New Jersey, we definitely spent some time dilly-dallying at low speed and altitude over Newark prior to our final approach. When I looked up our actual path on FlightAware afterwards, I saw half of a tidy, tell-tale oval.