Hello again everyone! This is the second last flight report of my Summer 2015 USA trip. After a lot of holidaying and being tourists, it was time to put my head down and adjust to college. My parents came along to Grand Forks, North Dakota and it was Delta all the way.
I had made a promise to myself: that I'd never fly on a narrow body flight for anything over three hours. As it happened, this 3hr30min encounter on the B737-900ER turned out to be third longest flight (after EK225 (DXB-SFO) and EK573 (CCU-DXB) ) ever since I left Colombo for the United States. This was one final serious before I flew back home for Christmas.
So, my parents and I had just arrived in Los Angeles from San Francisco on a Delta Air Lines B717-200. I figured that a brand new B737-900ER (N842DN) fitted with Split Scimitar winglets would take us to Minneapolis. 3hr29min on this bird, this would be my longest narrow body flight.
The walk wasn’t a long one, luckily. We found seats right in front of the gate. This was supposed to be my first flight on the Boeing 737-900ER, but then Jet Airways took that title earlier in the year (2015). This one though, had split scimitar winglets, Boeing’s Sky Interior, IFE PTVs, etc. All of this on a cross-country red eye - had this been a day flight, it would’ve been fun. However, this was in fact, a red eye. One for which I wanted to sleep in. I pulled out my jacket, knowing that some time in the 3.5+ hours on board, I would start feeling cold.
The pretty strange boarding process began at the stroke of midnight. 15th of August 2015. Independence Day back home in India! Being seated towards the rear of the plane, we had to wait for boarding to resume. In the mean time, I checked planespotters for the plane’s details. 0.2 years old. 53 days in age, making this the second newest plane I’ve been on (the newest plane I have ever been on is VT-JTB!) ! She had come in from Guadalajara (Mexico), following a ATL-GDL-LAX-MSP rotation for the day.
People were falling asleep. While standing in the jet bridge, on their parents shoulders (just the kids, that is), which meant the lines took longer to move. Typical signs of a red eye flight!
Boarded the plane, crew were largely awake and welcoming us passengers onboard. The First Class seats looked wonderful and the cabin looked fresh with a light blue mood lighting. All seats had a bright red blanket on them for the comfort of all passengers on this red eye encounter. The cabin had a new plane smell, too. That is hard to describe.
One thing that was prominent, was the fact that the cabin was HOT HOT HOT. And add to that, no sound of the air conditioner. This made for a very uncomfortable feel onboard. Took my seat 25A, Mum and Dad beside me. Boarding took its own time, but it was looking more and more like another on time departure.
Scimitar on the B737-900ER, regular winglets on the B767-300ER!
0029 hours, pushback was on time. Richard Anderson came on the PTV screens before the safety demonstration. N842DN was pushed back, and then pulled to the end of the concourse which was when one of the two CFM56 engines was fired up. Had to wait for a DL B757 to depart in the meantime.
While taxiing took its time and crew did their final checks of the cabin, I had a look at the IFE. It was the same Android based system on board the Emirates A380, however, unlike the Emirates A380, the screen cannot be adjusted for angle, and neither was the content so vast. Most of the content was to be paid for, I stuck to the airshow and moving map. The best! Fired up the second CFM56 engine as we got closer to the runway. Took off from runway 25R, a typical powerful Boeing 737 take off. Leveled off rather slowly at our cruising altitude (a typical trait of the Boeing 737-900ER), the lights remained off….
I fell asleep. The cabin started to become bearable as the temperature started to fall (not as drastically as the outside, though!) Flying time was going to be a nice 3hr07min. We were about twenty or thirty minutes into the flight when I woke up from my first round of sleep to see a lovely sight of many lights formed in a rather satisfying way. The light looked wonderful and went along the split scimitar winglet navigational light that itself looked wonderful in the night. It was surely a big city, not a small township or anything of sort. I switched on my TV screen and lo behold! Las Vegas, NV! It was a stunning sight.
I fell asleep once again, the next time to be awaken by the flight attendants for the one and only service for this cross-country flight. One word on the flight crew - all of them were quite old. Surely no young guns or anything. But hey, they were composed, did their job, had a couple of smiles and were courteous. Didn’t see much of them, since I slept for most of the flight.
When I woke up next, the sun was starting to rise and we were quite low. Descent had well and truly begun. We were getting closer and closer to the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
A rather smooth touchdown was made at 0548 hours as the sun rose rapidly. This was my longest flight on a narrow body plane! Taxiing to Concourse F was a bit long, but hey we had just over 3 hours to kill. Take your time plane, that’s what I was thinking LOL The Minneapolis based crew thanked us for choosing Delta (well, more like the three of us had no choice…). Doors disarmed, we took our time to disembarked. Some more songs played, which were actually just adverts. The plane would be there for a few hours before another cross-country adventure, to Seattle WA.
There I was in Minneapolis. Just one more flight to end all of this madness. Just one more flight between my parents and I being separated. Just one more flight between me and independent living. Just this one CRJ200 flight remained.
Was quite a long walk to Concourse A. But what honestly surprised me the most was the sheer size of Minneapolis! Well, to begin with, I didn’t know what to expect of Minneapolis itself. But with 7 concourses, 2 of them dedicated for CRJs and E-jets, this was no small airport. No wonder Delta absolutely owned this place! Had it not been for the merger, most of my flights would’ve been on a certain Northwest Airlines….
Anyway, long walk to Concourse A was on a golf cart, followed by yet another surprise - a tram! Such is the size of MSP airport, a tram is required to get from one concourse to another. This mostly connects all concourses to the CRJ/E-jet concourses A and B. Reached by gate A8, where there were quite a few nosy CRJs peeping in to the concourse. I found a nice corner in the gate, and just lay flat. It was the best hour and a half of sleep I had, even if it was on the pretty dirty carpets of an airport…..
Delta Air Lines
Los Angeles - LAX
Minneapolis - MSP
There is not much to write about Delta to be honest.. New plane, decent IFE, nice crew..all on a red eye flight, so I could not enjoy it all. I fell asleep. Boarding was very slow and the cabin was very warm and uncomfortable...
LAX T5 felt decent, MSP wasn't too bad either..
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