After a nice 48H stay in Seattle where it only rained once (in fact, from the moment I arrived until I left) it's time to continue my trip up to Alaska!
I took the Marriott shuttle to the airport where I arrived 02H before my flight.
Some views from the terminal building:
And inside, Christmas is coming soon:
Funny baggage belt decoration:
Very speedy check-in by a friendly DL agent. I head towards TSA and there is plenty of people. There is a premium lane, but only to check boarding passes. Then the line flows into the regular line. Not very handy at all.
Once airside, I make my way to the windows for some spotting as lounge access is not possible with a First Class ticket if not combined with an intercontinental flight for Sky Team Elite members. It wasn't a big deal as with the crowd at security there's only 30 minutes left before boarding.
Hawaiian’s 332 to HNL:
CR7 taking off:
That's the way to the South Terminal: go down, down again, take the train, go up and go up again.
Seattle's layout is kind of awkward: you can't go directly from the South Terminal to the North Terminal. You need to take a first train to the main terminal, then take a second train along this terminal and eventually take a third train to the North Terminal…
Here I am, S5 and on time, that's great I have a connecting flight and on a separate ticket, so you'd better leave on time baby :)
Some terminal views and ANA's 787:
Seattle is homeland for Alaska and Delta tries to take market shares by growing and growing there.
I head back to my gate to see my 767-300 arriving. The evening before, DL substituted the initial 738 for a 763. It's always great to have a wide body plane on domestic flights.
Boarding begins right on time. Here is the domestic First Delta cabin. I was surprised to find the long haul duvets and pillows. Good thing.
There is an IFE which is also good. The seat pockets are very small:
Some more pictures:
The plane is pretty old and the luggage bins are showing their age:
The captain comes in front of the First Class cabin to introduce himself and explains the routing. He finishes by saying that he is very happy to do this flight as it is seldom that 767's go all the way to Alaska.
PDD are served, Bailey's please:
On time push back but once free from the truck, nothing happens for a while. After a good ten minutes the captain is on the mike to tell us that there is a problem on the left generator and that he needs to call ATL to check if we can fly like this to ANC. After a few more minutes, he comes back, the answer is no. We need to go back to the gate for a series of resets to troubleshoot. The captain is confident that this won't take more than 30 minutes.
We go back to the gate and mechanics come into the plane. Follows lots of system reset that ultimately take the half an hour announced.
Then comes another announcement: the generator is out of order and needs to be replaced. No worries, the spare part in on stock and this will only take another half an hour. But we need to disembark.
So we do ;)
Here are the mechanics trying to fix the damaged part:
In the meantime, here's an Embraer:
After half an hour, the engine is closed and ready for testing:
We know have an hour delay and I begin to question my connecting flight. I am going to Fairbanks and I wanted to give Ravn Alaska a try (I even asked KevinDC, the community manager to have them added to the data base). I gave my connecting flight a buffer of 03H30 between DL's STA (02:15P) and 7H's STD (05:45P) which should have been sufficient even with a two hours delay, keeping in mind that I needed to recheck bags.
For the time being, it still works but the spotting session in ANC will be short, if any :)
The captain takes the mike again (he stayed, together with his crew, in the boarding area, to keep us updated and to answer questions. That's a real big plus and he should be thanked for that). He says that even with a new generator, there is still a malfunction that can only be explained by an informatics card problem. To fix it, the card needs to be changed and there are none on stock.
We have to wait until another 767 lands to take its card to fix our problem. The next (and only as there are only 2 767 based in SEA) will arrive in 02H of time. We'll then have a total of 04H30 delay.
As people questioned why we could not take the arriving 767 instead of ours, the answer was there are not enough ground staff available to unload our plane with luggage and catering…
This time it is clear that I will not make my Ravn Alaska flight. I check on internet and my flight is rebookable but there are no more flights that evening. OK, need to find a plan B.
I go to see a DL agent at the counter as I know that there are seats available on the direct SEA - FAI Alaska Airlines flights. The agent says she can't rebook me on that one, I have a ticket to ANC, and I need to go to ANC. Even First class full fare and platinum member won't help. ANC it will be and nothing else. What a pity. She offers me AS to ANC at 06:00PM but stand by. I decline as I prefer to fly confirmed with DL at 03:00P. (Our new STD)
In the meantime I purchased a new one way ticket from ANC to FAI with AS at 07:50P (we were due to arrive now in ANC at 05:30P Alaska Time). That should work well.
Here is the place where the new card should go:
In the meantime Delta offers pizza and softs to everyone (needless to say that the pizza was everything but good):
It's now 04:00PM and our Captain speaks again. He and his crew are still with us. The card change did not do its purpose, the plane is now unserviceable. A 737-800 coming in from Juneau will be our plane. That one is due to arrive at 05:45 and our new STD is 06:30. Our Captain bids us farewell as he is only rated on the 767. The cabin crew will stay, however. I must say that because the Captain stayed the whole time with us, people kept quiet. Otherwise, I think it would have been a mess.
The ground staff informs us that a new cockpit crew is on its way to the airport and that we will definitively be leaving by 06:30PM.
OK, now my 07:50P flight to FAI does not work anymore. I check and rebook onto the latest flight of the day at 11:05. As my ticket was a full flexible ticket I can even request and get first class.
Quick calculation, STD 06:30P means arrival 08:30P Alaska Time. Even with an additional 90 minutes delay I'll still make it.
At 05:45P the plane lands from Juneau, people disembark and we are ready to board. But … if the cabin crew is here, the cockpit crew isn't. The ground staff explains that Delta made a mistake and asked the cockpit crew to be here at 06:30P instead of telling Those 06:30P is departure time… This time, complains begin to be quite loud.
At 06:10 we board without cockpit crew. The agents want us in the plane when they arrive, so they can just made their checks and off we go.
Here's the 738 cabin, no more comfy pillows and duvets:
Pitch and IFE:
At 06H40P the copilot arrives and makes the aircraft walk around plus and all checks. The pilot arrives at 07:00P, we push back at 07:15 and the captain announces a 03:00 flight. Now that I begin to feel relaxed and confident, he announces a … ATC Slot at 08:00PM. We can't be in the air before that. The new STA is 10:10PM.
Given that AS closes check in at 10:25PM this literally gives me 15 minutes to get my bag and have it rechecked. I begin to write a list on things I will have to do if (or when) I miss my flight to Fairbanks. (Contact hotels, cancel taxi, cancel and rebook tour for the morning, rebook hotel, rebook flight)
We eventually took off at 08:00PM and soon after dinner is being served. I was not hungry anymore. We had a choice between a beef salad and a chicken enchilada. Beef salad please:
The salad was absolutely disgusting, the beef was about OK. The cheeses were just so-so and the dessert good. The crew was still charming and smiling, but one could see how tired they were. I really felt sorry for them, being now on duty for more than 12H00.
I closed my eyes for a little nap but only reopened them at top of descent. The Captain was able to gain a bit of time and was now expecting us to be at the gate at 09:55.
We eventually landed at 09:50 and were at the gate at 09:55. I rushed out the plane to the luggage belt.
To be continued :) :) :)
Before ending, a little bonus of my visit to Boeing's assembly line of the 747/767/777/787, visit that was absolutely not to write a home about. Very little interest, few things to see, pictures are forbidden inside the hangars. The guide spoke well to loud and got ways too fast. Disappointing.
Then we could visit the museum that Boeing calls Museum of the future flights. Again, absolutely and almost no interest. There is nothing about future there. A flight simulator with an additional fee, a strange mock up, and a BBJ mock up. The only thing that is of interest is the preserved cockpit of a 727 were one can play to be a pilot.
Nano mock up BBJ:
Future mock up: (??!!?)
A plane, but no explanation about it:
727 Eastern and the cockpit where you can be a ground pilot ^^:
The best part is the terrace overlooking Boeing:
One can spot Dreamlifter when they are here, but not today:
I was fortunate enough to see this beautiful EK 773 with an absolutely impressive climbing rate during a go around:
And for landing, just before we went back to our bus:
I wanted to see the Museum of Flight after it, but it was raining so much (in fact Seattle and it's region were under a red weather alert) that most of the outside exhibits were closed. So I did not go.
To finish, the Marriott Seattle Airport hotel which has an amazing pool:
Delta Air Lines
Seattle - SEA
Anchorage - ANC
The way how DL dealt with the delay is unacceptable. While I understand technical problems may occur, taking off 08:30 after the initial departure time for a domestic flight in a so called base is an absolute no go.
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