My first experience with PenAir wasn’t horrible, but it was far from perfect. It can be summed up by saying this – PenAir needs to get it’s act together in Boston, and service their planes.
A little background: PenAir bought out Colgan Air’s routes in Maine and now serves as the only regular air service to Presque Isle and Bar Harbor. They have cut back on the number of flights per day, but still provides at least two flights per day. I’ve heard complaints regarding their service, but had no experience until this week.
The Presque Isle airport went smoothly as usual. Things started to go down hill in Boston as they are unable to check you I’m to your connections. This requires you to head all the way over to the departing terminal and check in. I should qualify this by saying I was flying United so your mileage may vary with other airlines. I remember having to go through this process when Colgan/US Air had this flight. This might be a general comment on all airlines, but one would think you could get your boarding passes all at once regardless of airline.
Coming home was the same cluster plus one additional problem – the PenAir desk is well hidden in a small alcove with Us Airways Shuttle service. The desk staff seemed inexperienced and unorganized, but friendly none the less. I stood in line for about 15 minutes before anyone acknowledged my presence, but having six non-English speakers in line with me likely didn’t help. I could go on about the cluster that is Logan’s security checkpoints, but anyone who’s been to Logan knows how this works.
Our flight left about 10 minutes late due to some issue with luggage, but I wouldn’t blame this on PenAir as it was pretty common during my recent trip. Boarding the plane is always a bit interesting, as it’s a small Saab turbo-prop. I think these might be the same planes Colgan used which would explain the state of disrepair inside the cabin. Several seats around me would not lock in place regardless of what origami position you could fold it into. Several of the air vents needed adjustment as they were loose and required two hands to adjust them. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t the plane I flew out of Presque Isle on, but I do remember a few complaints regarding broken seats.
Our flight crew and steward were excellent, well mannered and helpful. The plane itself looked physically and mechanically sound despite the state of the plane’s interior.
My suggestions to PenAir are this: Get your planes cabin serviced. No one likes to be lectured about putting your seat and tray tables in the upright and locked position when it’s not mechanically possible. Not to mention it makes you look bad. As it stands right now, I may have you use your service to Boston but I wouldn’t recommend anyone get aboard your planes when they have other options.