With a relatively long layover, I used the time to get out of the airport to visit Atlanta for a bit. Photos from the layover are in my blog, for anyone wishing to read them.
Delta check-in area at ATL
With my luggage was already tagged all the way to Toronto, I arrived back at the terminal via the convenient MARTA train service. Perhaps due to the long layover time, I had to get my boarding pass in Atlanta and that meant getting it at the counter since there was some document check that needs to be done. Delta has a vast operation here in Atlanta considering it is their largest hub, and it certainly shows with the numbers of counters and self check-in machines. I tried to self check-in where the machine informed me of a full flight and asked if I wanted to volunteer to change flights. That's a drawback of using self check-in machines right there and the fact they do not tell you where to go to.
Atrium at Atlanta past security
After getting my boarding pass, I was unsure where I should head to so I had to walk around to find the priority security queue. The good thing was the security officers who gave prompt information on which side has shorter queues. During the mid-afternoon, the security queues here is probably average, not the longest I have seen but not empty either. I had to wait probably 10 minutes or so before I was through.
The most non-stops out of Atlanta
With some time before my flight and having been to some of the Sky Clubs in Atlanta, I walked around the main terminal first before taking the train to the E concourse area since my flight to Canada is considered an international flight. That also meant being able to spot some of the Delta wide-body airplanes, along with re-visiting the Sky Club near the E gates.
Reception at Delta Sky Club
DL1874 Atlanta Hartsfield–Jackson ATL - Toronto Pearson YYZ STD-STA: 1455-1717 Actual: 1523-1701 Boeing 717-200 Gate E36 Seat 2A
Since boarding was not called for in the lounge, I left the lounge at the boarding time printed on the pass. As I reached the gate, there seems to be some delay as the flight is not boarding yet. This meant waiting around the gate since I did not want to walk back to the lounge. The flight departure time was now showing 1515, a delay of 20 minutes which in all considerations is not a cause to worry.
Business Class seats onboard the 717
I waited for another 20 minutes or so before the boarding was called with Sky Priority passengers boarding next after passengers requiring assistance.
Nice fresh upholstery
We had a very comical CSM Washington who was very jovial in welcoming passengers and rushing them to not block the aisle by saying front loading door will be closed in minutes! It was just hilarious to watch from my seat.
Onboard a classic Boeing 717-200
There was no welcome drink for this flight though but bottled water was provided on every Business Class seat.
Dasani bottled water
Halfway through the boarding process, my seatmate arrived. She is apparently visiting a friend in Toronto.
Boarding the Boeing 717
One of the reason I picked this flight was that it is a Boeing 717, a relatively unique airplane based on the MD-80 design, and only getting the current designation after McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing. This was my first time onboard one of these airplanes so it was interesting to see the difference compared to other regional jets.
Safety instruction card
For starters, business class seating is a 2-2 while economy was in a 2-3 confifuration. As such I believe the economy class seating on these planes should be quite comfortable considering the Embraers that Air Canada uses have the same configuration but a 1-2 seating in business class.
Another Boeing 717
Delta is by far the largest operator of these reliable jets and they are quite common in Atlanta. I also liked what they did with the bright blue upholstery, which was also comfortable for this ride to Toronto. However I would not say the 717 has the most legroom or the widest seat since the seats feel quite small.
Legroom on the flight
Boarding was done very efficiently and the crew strived for a fast turnaround and there was also no queue for take off which certainly speed things up a bit. While it was a clear day, there was a lot of smog building up around the city which made the views slightly blurred as we got higher.
Skyline of Atlanta during take-off
The flight flew around the city of Atlanta as we turned our bearings to head north. This meant we flew past the DeKalb Peachtree airport and Lake Lanier. Fine pleasant weather meant it was a clear view of the ground throughout with minimal turbulence.
DeKalb Peachtree Airport
Lake Lanier in Georgia State
Shortly after passing Lake Lanier, cabin crew passed around the snack basket which had a choice of bananas, pretzel snacks, nuts and chips. She also took our drink orders at the same time.
Inflight snack service
Kettle cooked chips
After distributing the snacks, she came around with drink orders where I had a ginger ale.
Ginger ale onboard
I relaxed on the seat and read a book while munching on my chips throughout the flight. For a relatively older plane, it seems to be renovated since the lights, air vents and overhead compartments looks cleane to me.
Lights and air vent on the Boeing 717
During the middle of the flight, the Captain for the flight was very welcoming and even offered to point out Niagara Falls to us on the way to Toronto. I was quite thirsty and requested for another bottle of water. However I have to request for it twice before I was provided with one. That was the only slight during the flight and I believe it was also due to the crew being busy with their tasks which caused them to forget.
Flying past Lake Erie
Once we crossed Lake Erie, we are technically flying over Canada and the sunset views was nice during our descent. Flying on these regional jets also meant being closer to the ground and having better views as we circled to land into Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Toronto Pearson Airport in view
Toronto and its surroundings
The clear weather continued but smog around the vast metropolitan city also meant the view from some angles were not really nice due to obstruction by smog. But our circular descent meant I got to see the city from various angles and that was a nice flight just for the views.
Skyline of downtown Toronto
Air Canada's Boeing 787
The novelty of taking a Boeing 717 was nice for sure and I do not mind a day flight on these jets as long as I am on the window side. Once again, there was not much to fault Delta for this flight since we did eventually arrive early. Now I just need to go through immigration and collect my luggage. The immigration in Toronto took a while since there was a lot of passengers arriving as well though nothing as long as my wait in Atlanta.
Delta Connection CRJ
Some photos of Atlanta during my layover:
ATL in Woodruff Park
Downtown in the morning
Inside Cafe Lucia
Entrance to the CNN Center
Inside the CNN Building
Olympic Rings fountain
World of Coca-Cola
Elevator atrium at the Grand Hyatt
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines Sky Club (Gate E14)
Atlanta - ATL
Toronto - YYZ
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