Review: Silver Airways ATR42-600 Turboprop

Review: Silver Airways ATR42-600 Turboprop

FROM: TPA
TO: FLL
CABIN: Economy
DATE: February 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: Silver Airways is a quirky little airline with a modern fleet, friendly and reliable service, and a unique route network. However, expect the experience to be pretty no frills.
37

To kick off our trips to Turks & Caicos, I first had to get from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale. I was kind of excited about this, as it would allow me to finally fly Silver Airways, a US airline I hadn’t flown before.

What is Silver Airways?

Silver Airways is a regional airline based in Florida, with hubs in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa. The airline operates a fleet of roughly 21 turboprops, with seven more planes on order.

Silver Airways has been flying for around a decade. Unlike some other regional airlines in the United States, Silver Airways operates flights independently, though the airline does have codeshare agreements with American, JetBlue, and United.

I find Silver Airways’ route network to be fascinating. For example, from Fort Lauderdale the airline flies everywhere from Charleston, to Governor’s Harbour, to Key West, to Pensacola, to South Bimini. The airline has essentially managed to carve out some niche routes that largely aren’t operated by other airlines.

Silver Airways routes

In the past Silver Airways was also heavily focused on Essential Air Service (EAS) routes, whereby airlines get government subsidies for flying in underserved markets. However, I don’t think Silver Airways has many of those anymore.

How I booked my Silver Airways flights

I only booked my flight a couple of days before departure, and my one-way Silver Airways ticket from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale cost $119. Silver Airways has three fare types — Escape, Freedom, and Refundable — and I booked the Freedom fare. That included seat assignments in advance, but wasn’t refundable.

Silver Airways fare types

For what it’s worth, I booked the following flight:

02/05 3M59 Tampa to Fort Lauderdale departing 9:55AM arriving 11:10AM

Silver Airways check-in & boarding

My flight from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale was scheduled to depart at 9:55AM, so I got to the airport at around 8:30AM. At first I struggled to find the Silver Airways check-in desk, but that’s just because the airline uses a single small counter, and it can be easy to miss.

Silver Airways check-in counter Tampa Airport (TPA)

The person checking me in was friendly, and within a couple of minutes I had a boarding pass to Fort Lauderdale (for what it’s worth, I had checked in online the day before, but hadn’t printed a boarding pass).

Silver Airways boarding pass

While I don’t live in Tampa full time anymore, Tampa International Airport was my home airport for many years, and it really is such an easy to use airport, and the renovations over the years have been well executed as well. The airport has one central terminal, and then several separate concourses to spread out passengers, which makes the experience a bit more pleasant.

Tampa Airport (TPA) terminal

Silver Airways departs from Airside A, which is also where JetBlue, Spirit, and United depart from. There are gates where you scan your boarding pass, and then you get on a quick train ride to the airside.

Tampa Airport (TPA) Concourse A

While the regular security line was probably the longest I’ve seen at the airport in quite a while, there was no wait at TSA PreCheck. Unfortunately there’s no Priority Pass lounge in Airside A, though I quickly discovered that Silver Airways’ gate is almost like a lounge.

Tampa Airport (TPA) Concourse A

All Silver Airways flights depart from gate A1, which is down a level from the main concourse (since Silver Airways doesn’t use jet bridges).

Tampa Airport (TPA) Concourse A

Down at A1 was a huge gate area that even had some desks, and perhaps most exciting of all, what might be the lowest traffic bathroom in the entire terminal.

Silver Airways departure gate Tampa Airport (TPA)
A nice bathroom at Tampa Airport (TPA)

Anyway, the Silver Airways staff at the airport were friendly. At 9:25AM, 30 minutes before departure, boarding began for our flight to Fort Lauderdale. The boarding process was refreshingly simple — everyone was invited to board at once.

Silver Airways departure gate Tampa Airport (TPA)

Once my boarding pass was scanned I walked across the apron to the second ATR42-600 that was parked there. What a treat — the two ATR42-600s parked there were Silver Airways’ newest planes. The first plane joined Silver’s fleet on January 27, 2022 (just over a week before my flight), while the plane I was on joined Silver’s fleet on December 2, 2021.

Silver Airways planes Tampa Airport (TPA)

As is standard for ATR turboprops, boarding took place through the rear.

Silver Airways plane Tampa Airport (TPA)
Silver Airways plane Tampa Airport (TPA)
Silver Airways plane Tampa Airport (TPA)

Silver Airways ATR42-600 cabin & seating

At the rear door I was greeted by the flight attendant, and turned left into the cabin. Silver Airways’ ATR42-600s feature 46 seats, spread across 12 rows in a 2-2 configuration. The aircraft still had the new plane smell, and this was the “freshest” looking turboprop cabin I’ve ever stepped foot in.

Silver Airways ATR42-600 cabin

I assigned myself a seat right behind the wing. Legroom was more than sufficient.

Silver Airways ATR42-600 seat
Silver Airways ATR42-600 seats

There was a literature pocket at the top of the seatback, and then there was a small tray table that folded out underneath that.

Silver Airways ATR42-600 seatback
Silver Airways ATR42-600 tray table

There were overhead consoles with individual reading lights and air nozzles.

Silver Airways ATR42-600 overhead console

One thing that impresses me about ATR turboprops is how big the overhead bins are. I had no issues fitting my full size carry-on into the overhead.

Silver Airways ATR42-600 huge overhead bins

There was one lavatory at the very back of the cabin, which was on the small side but otherwise clean.

Silver Airways ATR42-600 lavatory

Silver Airways flight & inflight service

Boarding was efficient, as there were only around 20 people on the plane, so everyone had an empty seat next to them (if they wanted it). Boarding finished by 9:40AM, and by 9:45AM the door closed, 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

View from my seat on Silver Airways

The flight attendant onboard, Dana, informed us that our flight time was 64 minutes, and that we’d cruise at 15,000 feet. She was a great vibe — she started her announcement by addressing everyone cheerfully with “good morning my beautiful people, welcome board our flight to Fort Lauderdale.”

She then quickly performed the safety demonstration, which used a pre-recorded audio track. At the end she had to remind people to remove their face masks in the event oxygen was needed (since it’s not part of the standard recording). She even injected some of her humor and positive spirit into that — “in the event of an emergency… but we don’t have emergencies on my plane… please remove your face covering before putting on the oxygen mask.”

By 9:50AM we were taxiing, and by 9:55AM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 1L. Hi, Grand Hyatt Tampa (the building below, on the left)!

Taking off from Tampa

While I always gaze out the window when flying, there’s something more fun about looking out the window on a turboprop. The views on departure were great, but once you go inland there’s not all that much to see, other than swampland.

View after takeoff from Tampa
View after takeoff from Tampa
View after takeoff from Tampa

About 10 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, and the inflight service started. This simply consisted of each passenger getting a bottle of water. There was no snack, beverage selection, or anything for sale.

Silver Airways inflight service
Silver Airways cabin enroute to Fort Lauderdale

Since the views were limited above the clouds, I pulled out my iPad and decided to get caught up on the latest 90 Day Fiancé.

View enroute to Fort Lauderdale

Does this guy really think that his Peruvian “girlfriend” exists? I mean, c’mon. I at least appreciated that he sprung for the Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat on his flight to Lima.

Silver Airways BYO seatback entertainment

About 30 minutes after takeoff we began our descent.

View approaching Fort Lauderdale

While I’ve driven across the state more often than I can count, it really gives you perspective to see how fast you go from the Everglades to developed communities.

View approaching Fort Lauderdale
View approaching Fort Lauderdale
View approaching Fort Lauderdale

We touched down in Fort Lauderdale at 10:45AM, just 50 minutes after departure (14 minutes under the scheduled flight time).

View landing in Fort Lauderdale

At this point we were there well ahead of our scheduled arrival time, but go figure our gate wasn’t ready. So we spent 25 minutes sitting on a taxiway waiting for that gate to open up. We ended up arriving at our gate at 11:10AM, exactly at our scheduled arrival time.

Again we deplaned through the rear.

Silver Airways plane Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL)

While walking to the terminal I got to pass one of Silver Airways’ aircraft in the original livery, which is very pink. I’m curious, do y’all prefer the new or old livery?

Silver Airways plane Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL)
Silver Airways plane Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL)

Once in the terminal I headed over to Terminal 3, for my JetBlue flight to Turks & Caicos.

Bottom line

Having lived in Florida for so long, I’m happy I finally had the chance to try Silver Airways, which offers an extensive route network to, from, and within the state. My Silver Airways experience was great overall — the flight was on-time, the plane was brand new and had nice interiors, and the flight attendant was friendly. Just don’t expect anything beyond a bottle of water, which is fair enough for such a short flight.

If you’ve flown Silver Airways, what was your experience like?

Conversations (37)
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  1. Skip Wood Guest

    That was the best travel description that I have ever read. The photos & editing were outstanding. After 66 years of flying as a pilot I want to fly Silver Airlines. Thank you for the great article.

  2. LAA_FL Guest

    Excellent, detailed review.
    Very helpful to me as I will be flying Silver for the first time. Departing my home base Tampa, landing in Greenville, SC to visit family.
    Thank you very for this review with great photos!

  3. Steve Guest

    So what seat model are they

  4. Cuchi Guest

    Worst airline ever. Do not flight.

  5. Schar Member

    so good to read trip reports again! miss them. :)

  6. c brown Guest

    Just a note--Silver Airways is an United Partner. I fly every week and buy my tickets through UAL.com. Advantage is the that these Silver bookings fall under new United's Change Rules if you cancel or change your flights. You may also use your United Flight Credits on the bookings. Also you can get United Miles and have access to the United Clubs. The United Clubs in MCO and FLL are great.

  7. Bill Coalson Guest

    The turboprop used have a problem if all seats are full. They can't carry the luggage for this many people, so baggage being delayed is a common problem.

  8. Ana villa Guest

    It was horrible, the first flight the suitcases never arrived, the customer service sucks. All the counters at the airport are always closed unless there is a flight and from our airport there are not many on the same day. So they are no help. And on return flight my mom had a international connection with Copa and she was told she needed to pick up her suitcases at the carousel before going to copa...

    It was horrible, the first flight the suitcases never arrived, the customer service sucks. All the counters at the airport are always closed unless there is a flight and from our airport there are not many on the same day. So they are no help. And on return flight my mom had a international connection with Copa and she was told she needed to pick up her suitcases at the carousel before going to copa counter. Well she never saw them and went to the copa counter well it was closed. She missed her flight and suddenly one of the Copa airline worker talked to my mom and said they had her suitcase. So she wanted her time looking for her suitcase and kissed her connection. They never answer my emails. They suck. Never ever ever again will use this airline.

  9. glenn t Diamond

    Only done a turboprop twice. First time very disconcerted to be seated practically adjacent to the furiously whirring propeller! Irrational I know, but....
    Second time was a flight DUB-EDI operated by a contractor to AerLingus. Preselected a seat well in front of the prop~ can never be too careful, hey!

  10. Steve Jones Guest

    Back a couple a years ago we flew Silver Airlines to Dominica from Puerto Rico Good experience

    1. Gabriel Guest

      I am so glad you had a great experience. I get frustrated every time I fly Silver Airways. I fly to Tallahassee at least twice a month and the flight is delayed most of the time anywhere from 30 min to more than 1 hr on most occasions. I am hoping for great experience with Silver Airways that I can with everyone one day.

  11. Jason H Guest

    Love that show! And I cannot believe that guy flew to Peru.

  12. Aaron Guest

    Definitely prefer the new livery. Not a fan of "loud" graphics, and the new livery is much more subdued.

  13. Imperator Guest

    Brother Ben, don't leave us hanging! Did Big Front Seat Guy find true love in Lima??

    Forget Emirates first class, one of the greatest joys left in commercial aviation is flying on turboprops. One of my all time favorite flights was thirty+ years ago on an Embraer 110 from FLL to EYW. The turbulence was memorably exciting, at least for me. Though, nothing will beat my flight on a PBA DC-3 from BOS to PVC...

    Brother Ben, don't leave us hanging! Did Big Front Seat Guy find true love in Lima??

    Forget Emirates first class, one of the greatest joys left in commercial aviation is flying on turboprops. One of my all time favorite flights was thirty+ years ago on an Embraer 110 from FLL to EYW. The turbulence was memorably exciting, at least for me. Though, nothing will beat my flight on a PBA DC-3 from BOS to PVC way back in the 1980s. It gave a wonderful taste of what air travel was like in the 30s.

  14. Jordan Guest

    That's hilarious! I was on your flight, you caught my buddy and I walking the ramp in TPA

    1. Steve N Guest

      I flew Silver a few times (never by choice) and one of them was the worst flights I've ever been booked on.
      The issue was the plane I was supposed to be on broke down and was the only one available.
      Because there was no other plane, once we were finally be told the flight was canceled, I could have rented a car and driven to my destination of Fort Lauderdale... and that's...

      I flew Silver a few times (never by choice) and one of them was the worst flights I've ever been booked on.
      The issue was the plane I was supposed to be on broke down and was the only one available.
      Because there was no other plane, once we were finally be told the flight was canceled, I could have rented a car and driven to my destination of Fort Lauderdale... and that's not an exaggeration! It took over 8 hours to be told.
      Plus being prop planes, the noise on board the planes was crazy loud. Even with earphones, I couldn't hear anything other than the planes noise.

  15. Dalton Guest

    Did they not arrest you for taking a picture HAHA. I remember that story

  16. Secundino canela Guest

    I usually fly from santiago to puerto rico and despide the fare is more expensive and i can siempre passenger, we get the worst airplane. I think we desee a better airplane for the cost we pay. Thanks

  17. James Guest

    The photo quality is amazing. What camera did you use?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ James -- That's kind, thanks! Just using my iPhone, which I use for all photos nowadays.
      https://onemileatatime.com/iphone-11-camera/

  18. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    Great Review! and I think the new livery is very sharp. Love Silver Airways route network and how well it connects so many smaller points in the Caribbean. Thanks Ben!

  19. Sam Guest

    I flew from Tampa to Charleston, and had a great experience! One tip, while the first row is an “exit row” with more leg room, the seat width is smaller and more restrictive due to rigid partitions, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you like to spread out more or for larger passengers.

  20. Deltan Guest

    How noisy was the flight on a turbo prop? I'm also based in Tampa and am thinking of taking that same flight with a one-year-old in a few weeks.

    1. S Member

      My understanding is if you are behind the engine, it is much quieter than if you are in the front of the plane. Better views too. I've only flown it once though.

    2. Greg N Guest

      I remember when we had a one year old we thought noisy planes were a good thing, in case our kid was noisy.

  21. Clem Diamond

    How refreshing to read a flight review :) ! I've only flown Silver once, from St Kitts to San Juan, and they're really one of the only serious players for inter island flights in the Caribbean. I flew on one of their Saab 340 and was honestly a little nervous: it was either an extremely ancient aircraft, or not maintained very well and all sorts of parts of the cabin were falling apart. I could...

    How refreshing to read a flight review :) ! I've only flown Silver once, from St Kitts to San Juan, and they're really one of the only serious players for inter island flights in the Caribbean. I flew on one of their Saab 340 and was honestly a little nervous: it was either an extremely ancient aircraft, or not maintained very well and all sorts of parts of the cabin were falling apart. I could see some bolts on the engine as well that didn't seem super tight and were flailing in the wind, so yeah... not my best memory.

  22. JB Guest

    Does Silver have any Saab 340's left in its fleet?

    1. Hh Guest

      They're being used in their intercaribbean network.

    2. Maps Guest

      Only Saab 340s are left in Puerto Rico and they are also being replaced by the new ATR 42 and the Larger 72

  23. Jill Guest

    I've flown them a few times out of TPA and it's generally been a pleasant experience. Happy to see some newer planes, though. As someone who has also made the drive from TPA-MIA more than I'd like to count, it's nice to have a bunch of options to S. FL. My husband's comment: "at least Silver is better than Continental Connection".....I had a very memorable Continental Connection flight returning from EYW during some weather once...

    I've flown them a few times out of TPA and it's generally been a pleasant experience. Happy to see some newer planes, though. As someone who has also made the drive from TPA-MIA more than I'd like to count, it's nice to have a bunch of options to S. FL. My husband's comment: "at least Silver is better than Continental Connection".....I had a very memorable Continental Connection flight returning from EYW during some weather once where there were literally alarms going off on the flight.....

  24. SMR Guest

    Silver has been around a LONG time. They used to be called Gulfstream.

  25. Lars Guest

    Great write-up, Ben. I fly Silver occasionally between Tallahassee and FLL and it’s always been a pleasant experience. Compared against AA’s regional jet service between TLH and MIA, the difference in flight time isn’t noticeable and Silver employees and contractors are noticeably friendlier. They tend to be a good deal cheaper, too. I think most people would be surprised how quiet the cabin is on these new ATR’s. It’s a world of difference from Gulfstream...

    Great write-up, Ben. I fly Silver occasionally between Tallahassee and FLL and it’s always been a pleasant experience. Compared against AA’s regional jet service between TLH and MIA, the difference in flight time isn’t noticeable and Silver employees and contractors are noticeably friendlier. They tend to be a good deal cheaper, too. I think most people would be surprised how quiet the cabin is on these new ATR’s. It’s a world of difference from Gulfstream Air’s (Silver’s predecessor) old Beech 1900’s, which were much slower, much louder, and much smaller with 19 seats, no lav, and no flight attendant.

    I think Silver still has a few Saab 340’s in the fleet, which are not as nice as the ATR’s, but I think they are mostly being relegated to island hopping out of SJU these days.

  26. Tom Guest

    This post just unlocked some memories for me: I adore TPA gate A1.

    My second flight ever was in and out of that gate, going to Nassau via Ft Lauderdale on a prop plane. This was in October 2002, and I went with my father to a work conference. He was in meetings all day, while I got to enjoy the beach (and read Kate Chopin's The Awakening for school). When coming back, we were...

    This post just unlocked some memories for me: I adore TPA gate A1.

    My second flight ever was in and out of that gate, going to Nassau via Ft Lauderdale on a prop plane. This was in October 2002, and I went with my father to a work conference. He was in meetings all day, while I got to enjoy the beach (and read Kate Chopin's The Awakening for school). When coming back, we were just a bit delayed going out of Nassau, so on the ground at FLL they held our next flight a few minutes and we were walked from the first flight to the next one on the tarmac.

    At that point, I was very grateful to see that exact bathroom that you noted, since I didn't have an opportunity to hit a bathroom at FLL, and these prop planes were small enough that they didn't have a lavatory onboard.

    More directly related to Silver: I've had an excellent experience every time I've flown with them, which was far more frequent when I lived in Tallahassee.

  27. Mike C Member

    Thanks for this review, Ben. I find it curious how infrequently there is any discussion of turbo-prop air services in the US. Rex, Qantas and Virgin have a lot of services on Saab-340s, Dash-8s and ATR-72s (IIRC) respectively in Australia, some on capital city routes. It's just part of the aviation ecosystem that seems not to be common in the US. Perhaps it's just that in the US these services, such as Silver are not in the big 3 world.

    1. skimegheath Gold

      On one soon to LORD HOWE Island but have flown them several times in Australia.

  28. Jeff Guest

    I flew Silver from Orlando to Pensacola a few years back. Overall it was a very pleasant experience. The all pink is very different, but I am kind of liking the new livery. Glad they kept the pink tail.

  29. Jeff Guest

    I flew Silver from Orlando to Pensacola a few years back. Overall it was a very pleasant experience. The all pink is very different, but I am kind of liking the new livery.

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Schar Member

so good to read trip reports again! miss them. :)

1
c brown Guest

Just a note--Silver Airways is an United Partner. I fly every week and buy my tickets through UAL.com. Advantage is the that these Silver bookings fall under new United's Change Rules if you cancel or change your flights. You may also use your United Flight Credits on the bookings. Also you can get United Miles and have access to the United Clubs. The United Clubs in MCO and FLL are great.

1
Jordan Guest

That's hilarious! I was on your flight, you caught my buddy and I walking the ramp in TPA

1
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