Trip Report Series Part 2 - Delta Aviation Tour Welcome to my first "Trip Report Series." During the spring, I was notified by a close professor friend of mine that I had been accepted to work at the University of Florida in Gainesville as a High School summer intern. Understandably, I was extremely excited about the ability to be working in a college laboratory during the summer. As such, I booked my flights from my home in New York to my job location in Gainesville, Florida, and from Gainesville to Tucson, where my professor runs a major laboratory and where I will be working for part of my summer. My itinerary is as follows: Flight 1: [DL 1539, LGA-ATL, Boeing 737-900ER, N846DN, Economy] - You Are Here Flight 2: [DL 5451, ATL-GNV, Bombardier CL600-2B19 (CRJ200ER operated by ExpressJet dba Delta Connection), N871AS, Economy] - no report, although it's worth mentioning that this flight was delayed for over two hours due to "paperwork done incorrectly" and having to clear the runway immediately after lining up due to an aircraft that was about to land in the opposite direction. Flight 3: [DL 3290, GNV-ATL, Bombardier CL600-2B19 (CRJ200LR operated by Endeavor Air dba Delta Connection), N8972E, Economy] - no report Flight 4: [DL 1172, ATL-LAX, Boeing 777-200LR, N703DN, Economy] - Click Here Flight 5: [DL 4836, LAX-TUS, Bombardier CL600-2C10 (CRJ701ER operated by SkyWest dba Delta Connection), N770SK, Economy] - Click Here Flight 6: [DL 1240, TUS-ATL, McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30, Economy] Flight 7: [DL 5319, ATL-GNV, Bombardier CL600-2D24 (CRJ900 operated by Expressjet dba Delta Connection), Economy] Flight 8: [DL 3684, GNV-ATL, Bombardier CL600-2B19 (CRJ200 operated by Endeavor Air dba Delta Connection), Economy] Flight 9: [DL 468, ATL-JFK, Boeing 757-200, Premium Economy]
This trip report will cover the flight from New York to Atlanta in an Economy seat.
Since this flight departs at around 10:00 AM, I arrived at Terminal D ("D" stands for Delta I guess) at NYC's aging LaGuardia Airport.
LaGuardia Airport is the least efficient out off all four airports in the New York City Area (LGA, JFK, EWR, SWF), but it is also the closest to Manhattan, where I live. As I had over a three hour layover in Atlanta, I wouldn't be affected by any delays. On this Saturday morning, the airport was surprisingly not crowded at all.
I printed my boarding passes using this check in machine (I did OLCI the night before, giving my father a nice surprise as I upgraded him into 21A, which is missing a seat in front).
A view of the bag drop counters at LGA.
Delta is not the only tenant of Terminal D.
I had TSA Precheck, so I was through security in 8 minutes, according to my watch. This is the view immediately after the security checkpoint.
A view of the gate area. The gate area is fairly small compared to the gate areas at Delta's primary hubs, but Delta also uses the neighboring Terminal C here at LGA. TC I believe is mostly used by Delta's regional partners, while most of DL's mainline flights take off from TD. TD has only 11 gates (D1-D11) I believe.
My flight as shown on the FIDS. We will depart out of gate D10 today, thankfully a very short walk from security (as all of the gates in TD are)
I decided to walk around the terminal for a while as I had an hour before DL1539 was scheduled to board its first passengers. This is N398CA, a Bombardier CL600-2C10 (CRJ-701ER) operated by ExpressJet airlines.
N930DN, a McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 operating DL1903 to ATL. I love seeing Delta's T-tails, no matter how old they are. It's sad they have already retired one MD-90 (N902DA) and will retire MD-88s this summer, due to P&W's decision to stop supporting maintenance for the JT8D-219 engine. Note the gate marker saying "767-300" on the ground; LGA is capable of handling aircraft as large as the 767-400ER, which was used for regular flights into LGA over 13 years ago. TWA also operated L-1011 Tristars out of LGA throughout the 1980s.
At this time, my 737-900ER (N846DN, c/n 31957, ship #3846) arrived from Atlanta. N846DN is one of the first 739s in Delta's fleet to be equipped with Split Scimitar winglets straight from the factory. Delta is currently leasing this aircraft from Avolon.
N846DN had just operated as DL886 from Atlanta and was turned around within 45 minutes of arrival.
Gate areas at LGA tend to be very crowded at the moment of boarding.
Walking down the advertisement-plastered jetbridge.
Fuselage shot, featuring the CFM56-7B27E engine.
Evidence that Delta is not as hated as other U.S. based airlines.
My seat (14A, the first row of Main Cabin). There are two power outlets for each row of three seats in Economy. Seat pitch was ok, not as good as jetBlue but still very comfortable for this flight. I am 5'9" and my knees were over two inches away from the seat in front of me.
Seatback, featuring the Panasonic 9" eXLite IFE system.
Seat pocket literature. My seat was missing a barf bag for some reason. Cost cutting I guess?
Personal air vents, always a nice touch on aircraft.
Cabin view from my seat. The mood lighting, a signature feature of the Boeing Sky Interior, was turned on as we began to taxi.
Window view, taken during our taxi to runway 31.
We had to wait in the takeoff queue for quite some time due to the traffic congestion problems at LaGuardia.
While we waited for takeoff clearance, I began to explore the excellent IFE, more than enough for a short 2 hour hop, and certainly enough for an international flight. The movie library had about 290 U.S. and international selections, as well as many new releases.
A nice surprise: Delta's movie library contained "Your Name (君の名は in Japanese)," one of the most popular movies in Japan right now.
The IFE also contained roughly 650 TV shows, a handful of games, and hundreds of songs (I was too lazy to count).
We took off on Runway 31 at 10:32 AM, 32 minutes late, and immediately made a left turn southeast. Passengers seated on the left side of the plane had an excellent view of Midtown Manhattan, as we flew directly over the South Bronx. We first flew to an altitude of 10,000 feet before being cleared to FL360. You can see both the Throgs Neck Bridge and the Whitestone bridge in the background; they connect the Bronx with Long Island.
It's always nice to know exactly which aircraft you're flying on, as indicated in Delta's "Flight Information" screen. Delta, United, and Emirates are the only airlines I know of that tell you the tail number/ship number of the aircraft you're flying in.
I logged on to the wifi once we reached 10,000 feet to check out the flight details. Delta does a good job at making the interface clean and straightforward.
I started watching "The Great Gatsby (2013)," based on one of my favorite books from all time.
I opted for an apple juice, my beverage of choice on flights, and Delta's famous Biscoff cookies during the refreshment service.
Some pictures of the Mid-Atlantic States as we cruised toward ATL at 36,000 feet.
I decided to check out one of the "SpaceLavs" in the rear of the aircraft at this time. It was surprisingly very large; I was able to move around comfortably in it. The sink was very small, but did its job and prevented water from splashing all over the floor.
At this time, I had a casual conversation with one of the Flight Attendants working the Y cabin. He noticed that I was wearing a Boston Red Sox shirt and he couldn't help but laugh due to the fact that this flight originated out of NYC and I was the only one wearing Boston Red Sox apparel. We proceeded to talk about baseball, and the conversation soon moved on to my training on the C172. Turns out he was also a student pilot training on the C172 as well, albeit at a different airport than mine. He was an exceptional crew member, taking the time to chat with passengers about things they both love, a far cry from what we expect today from Flight Attendants in the United States.
Extra points to anybody who can spot the typo in this portion of the safety card!
Roughly 100 miles from ATL, the Captain initiated out descent from cruising altitude. We made a few turns navigating some storm clouds that caused scattered thunderstorms that afternoon, then made a smooth touchdown on 26R and taxied to gate A34 in the A concourse. You can see Delta's "BCRF" Breast Cancer Awareness 767-400ER parked at the "Delta North/FBO" area. We parked next to N816DN, a company 737-900ER featuring the older style winglets. We landed at 12:26 PM, 17 minutes ahead of schedule.
Domestic First class cabin with the new seats.
I went to the cockpit to speak with the Captain, who amazingly had over 48 years of experience at Delta. He has flown aircraft including the 727 (while they were still around!), 757, 767, MD-88, and the F-15 back when he served in the air force. We chatted about the systems and operations of the 737NG family. He compared flying the 739 to driving a large SUV or family van, and flying the 737-700 to "driving a sports car." (The 737 was originally designed for short regional hops and the 737-900/900ER is notoriously difficult to handle, especially on final approach. I've had several bad experiences flying the 737-800 in X Plane 11, so I can't imagine what flying the 739 would be like.) We also chatted about my personal experiences as a student pilot training on the C172, as well as the changes Delta has undergone over the years. He encouraged me to visit the Delta Flight Museum, which is located on the other side of the airport at Delta's World Headquarters.
I thanked the Captain and the flight crew and proceeded to use the Airport train to take me to the Ground Transportation area at the T concourse, where I boarded a taxi to the Delta World Headquarters, a short three minute drive from Concourse T. After I finished taking pictures of all the magnificent museum artifacts and aircraft, I headed back to concourse T, where I grabbed a Chicken Teriyaki lunch at Teriyaki Experience and made my way to the D gates, where N871AS, a CL600-2B19 (CRJ-200ER) waited for me.
BONUS: Delta Flight Museum Visit The Delta Flight Museum contained many aircraft as well as artifacts that represent Delta's 93-year history. I was incredibly excited to see N661US in particular, which was the first ever 747-400 ever built. It was originally used as a prototype by Boeing and as an engine testbed by Pratt & Whitney. Three other Delta aircraft were on display, a 767-200 (N102DA) named "The Spirit of Delta," a former Northwest Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 (N675MC), and the sixty-fourth 757 built (N608DA).
Delta Air Lines
New York - LGA
Atlanta - ATL
Delta has a very solid economy product on the Boeing 737-900ER. I have heard reports of the seats having too little legroom, but at 5'9", I can attest that the legroom offered in the Main Cabin is enough for a transcontinental flight. I was impressed by the high standards set by the Flight Crew, putting Delta on pretty much the same page as jetBlue. The IFE system, in my opinion, was a lot better than the LiveTV service offered on jetBlue, and the Panasonic eXLite screens were much more responsive than jetBlue's Thales screens. In addition to detailed information offered about the flight, Delta Studio also contains an impressive selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games; I believe that this is one of the best IFE products offered in the sky. With so many selections, it is simply impossible to get bored on a long flight. I would definitely not hesitate to fly this product again in the future, and I am excited to continue my journey with Delta over the next several weeks. All in all, this was a very comfortable and enjoyable flight, and I would like to thank the Captain and the rest of the Flight Crew for making this flight a very enjoyable one.
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