This report will cover the domestic flight from Detroit to Houston-Intercontinental on Delta in their Comfort+ aboard a CRJ-900 operated by ExpressJet Airlines. There will be a bonus of Matsumoto (松本) at the end of the report for those interested in this city that is easily accessible from Nagoya. It's a little treat for those of you that took the time to wander into a boring US domestic flight.
After collecting my bags and clearing customs, I dropped my bags off and went through security. Up the escalators I go in order to re-enter the departures level.
Conveniently, the entrance to the main DL SkyClub is located at the top of the escalators. Entering, the friendly agents welcome me. They scan my boarding pass, which gets rejected again. I show my AZ card and am granted access. The agent explains the layout of the lounge and then sends me on my way.
I immediately request a shower. There are two shower rooms, both were empty when I asked. The agent asked me what amenities I needed, she gathered them, and then walked me to the shower room. The shower rooms are decent. A nice large shower, some nice Malin+Goetz products, and linens from Westin. What I find a little disgusting is that the trash is not emptied between showers. This time, it was just paper waste, but you never know what you may find in a trashcan in the US…
After my refreshing shower, I wandered through the crowded lounge until I found a quiet corner to take refuge. The view of the lounge from my seat.
Not fantastic food offerings, but there are some hot food items in addition to salads. I grabbed some macaroni and cheese as well as Thai chicken soup. The soup was really good.
A second offering of more soup and a pint of Layover IPA by Latitude 42 Brewing Company, which is a local brewery in Michigan. It’s nice to see them offer some local microbrews on draft in the lounge.
Since I had a 4-hour layover, I stayed for 2.5-hours before wandering down the terminal to get some exercise. Mogoy’s shop is here.
The entrance to the DL SkyClub near Gates 60-70. As before, a very friendly welcome. The agent entered my AZ info and then explained the layout of the lounge.
This lounge is small and is based along a long hall with small seating areas off the main hall. At the end of the hall was a dark room that was filled with people and contained the same food items that were present in the first lounge I visited.
I found a nook near the coffee that was shared with a lady headed to AMS (based on her obnoxiously loud phone conversation).
The bathrooms in the lounge are okay and also contain Malin+Goetz products.
At 15 minutes to boarding, I packed up and walked to the gate. Aerial views of Concourse A from the lounge entrance.
On-time, boarding started with DL elites and then SkyPriority and I head down the jetbridge where I am forced to gate check my bag since all the bins had been claimed by the F passengers. A disadvantage of small CRJs.
Entering the plane. I could see the pilots going over their route, but chose not to photograph them working.
My seat was the first row of Y+ behind the F cabin. This seat was picked since it has a soft bulkhead.
The soft bulkhead means it gets the best seat pitch on the plane, even better than F.
The seat pitch. Also note the trash on the ground in plain sight. Really sad to see on a plane at its hub.
Seatback contents are the same as the previous flight. The safety card for this CRJ-900.
As boarding completed, we started pushed back and the crew did the safety demonstration.
As we taxi out to the runway. DL B717.
More DL CRJs.
We takeoff a little bit behind schedule.
The cabin as service starts up.
I ask for a cup of coffee and the FA asks me what snacks I want. I ask for biscuits and she hands me two with a smile.
No IFE on this flight, but you can access DeltaStudio using the WiFi. The content looks the same as the previous flight. I just tracked the flight.
I passed out and slept until we got close to the final descent. I quick tried to use the restroom before the seatbelt sign turned on. I signaled to my seatmate I want out, he didn’t budge since he was furiously typing e-mails. I pointed to the aisle again. He looks at me and just tucks his toes in 2 inches and gestures for me to leave. Seriously? I’m supposed to try and crawl out in a little CRJ with no headroom? So annoying. The lavatory was tiny, but clean. Getting back to my seat, my seatmate refused to get up again. I was really tempted to “accidentally” knock his laptop off his lap as I crawled by, but took the moral high ground to get into my seat without hitting him, banging my head on the overhead bins in the process. Some people are just clueless.
Final descent over Lake Houston.
Downtown is barely visible. This is when something amusing happened. Someone in F pressed the call button. We were less than 5 minutes from touching down. The FA came on the PA and said “Hun, we are about to land, I can’t get up right now. Whatever you need is going to have to wait.” So sassy.
Crossing over US-59 / I-69.
The UA hangars as we touch down very early.
It was a short taxi as we arrive at our gate next to our twin.
Since my seatmate again blocked me in, I got flanked from the rear during deplaning. I just waited for everyone to deplane to take a cabin shot since I figured I was going to have to wait for bags anyways.
I made a joke with the FA about the call button incident. She just shakes her head and says “Some people just got no common sense” with a laugh. She wished me a good night as I exited. Entering the empty Terminal A.
There were some displays out since the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is currently going on.
The bags were starting to circulate by the time I met my dad in the baggage claim. I collected my bags and was quickly on my way to their house. And this concludes this series.
BONUS: I went to Matsumoto (松本) the day before I flew this series, so I’ll consider it a relevant bonus since Matsumoto is best accessed from Nagoya on the Shinano (しなの). It is a 2-hour train ride from Nagoya (the Shinano continues all the way to Nagano (長野) so it can be done as a daytrip along the way). Matsumoto is a pretty boring city other than its castle so not really worth more than a half day for tourists.
A couple of pictures from the train ride.
The Yohashira Shrine (四柱神社).
Old merchant shops along the riverfront.
The main sight in town is Matsumoto Castle (松本城). The castle opens at 8:30 and this is the best time to visit since the tour buses don’t arrive until closer to 9:30. Matsumoto Castle is one of the few castles in Japan that retains its original structure. It is a black castle like Kumamoto Castle (熊本城).
As you ascend the castle, there are a couple of exhibits, but it is mainly empty inside. You get nice views of the structure as you go up the narrow stairs.
Being one of the first in the castle allows you the chance to get the top floor all to yourself so you can take as many pictures from the windows as you want. The views of the city and surrounding mountains are beautiful.
As you descend down you get to pass through the moon-viewing room.
Also in Matsumoto is the famous Kaichi Primary School (旧開智学校), which is one of the first schools in Japan.
Some food from Matsumoto: ramen for lunch and curry for dinner at a real mom and pop type place where you can watch grandpa cooking while enjoying an Yebisu for Numero_2.
Finally, some nighttime shots of the city and castle.
Delta Air Lines Sky Club (Gate A38)
Detroit - DTW
Houston - IAH
The DL SkyClubs are nicer than the UA Clubs I remember. The soups I had were good and local beers on draft are a nice touch. The flight itself was fine, I slept for almost the entire time and had decent service with a good crew. Excellent on time performance, so DL did it's job.
Cabin comfort: The CRJ-900 is slightly more spacious than the smaller CRJs but still cramped. The seats are narrow and the lavatory is minuscule. Great legroom due to the soft bulkhead, so I would rate this an 8 for comfort, but deducting points for the trash on the floor.
Crew: A sassy and smiling DL crew. They were perhaps the best part of the flight for their comments.
Meal and catering: I like the large cup sizes and the choice of a snack. It's about all you can expect on a domestic flight. I was asleep so not sure if a second drink service was done or not, but my guess is no.
Entertainment: No newspapers or IFE on offer. You can access DeltaStudio from your device for free, but there is no power on these planes so it's a useless feature unless you have a fully charged battery. Standard seatback literature.
On-time performance: We left the gate a little bit late, but landed 40 minutes early.
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