The trip back home. Something that I have been waiting for ever since I landed in to Grand Forks on August the 15th, 2015. Pretty straightforward choice - strict instructions were given for searching the cheapest fare back home from Chicago. It was down to four 777s on Turkish Airlines, or a multitude of airline/aircraft on the Air France website. I went for the latter. :)
I decided to fly out of Fargo because the (SL)AMTRAK train is known to slam people in the face with their unreliability. I had to get to Chicago. Surprise surprise, Delta Air Lines it is. Even here I found some exotic stuff! A CRJ700 on FAR-MSP, a MD90 on MSP-ORD, a B752 on ORD-MSP and a not so exotic A320 on MSP-FAR. However, the CRJ700 changed to a CRJ200, while the B752 changed to a B738 (NOOO!) and then to a B712 (I will take that!).
So with that, this is what the itinerary looked like: December 19th 2015 Delta Connection flight DL4695 Fargo to Minneapolis/St. Paul (1319 hours to 1427 hours), CRJ200 (this report!) Delta Air Lines flight DL1717 Minneapolis/St. Paul to Chicago O'Hare (1510 hours to 1637 hours), MD90
December 20th 2015 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight KL612 Chicago O'Hare to Amsterdam-Schiphol (1625 hours to 0710 hours +1), B74M
December 21st 2015 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight KL871 Amsterdam-Schiphol to New Delhi IGI (1245 hours to 0100 hours +1), B744
December 22nd 2015 Air India flight AI401 New Delhi IGI to Kolkata NSCBI (0700 hours to 0900 hours), B788
December 25th 2015 Mihin Lanka flight MJ332 Kolkata NSCBI to Colombo Bandaranaike (1040 hours to 1340 hours), A321
December 28th 2015 Mihin Lanka flight MJ331 Colombo Bandaranaike to Kolkata NSCBI (0635 hours to 0935 hours), A320
January 6th, 2016 Air India flight AI676 Kolkata NSCBI to Mumbai T2 (0945 hours to 1245 hours), A319
January 7th, 2016 Jet Airways flight 9W495 Mumbai T1B to Bengaluru Kempegowda (2140 hours to 2135 hours), B738
January 8th, 2016 Air France flight AF191 Bengaluru Kempegowda to Paris Charles De'Gaulle (0245 hours to 0845 hours), B77E Delta Air Lines flight DL123 Paris Charles De'Gaulle to Chicago O'Hare (1230 hours to 1518 hours), B76W
January 9th, 2016 Delta Air Lines DL1717 Chicago O'Hare to Minneapolis/St. Paul (1715 hours to 1854 hours), B712 Delta Air Lines DL1956 Minneapolis/St. Paul to Fargo Hector International (2028 hours to 2135 hours), A320
And the video flight report, it was a very snowy day!!
The drive to Fargo on a very cold Friday evening was good fun, where my friends and I indulged in some lovely Indian fare! At the AirBNB, a lovely dog greeted me, Tremon the labrador!
I set an alarm for a very late 10am, yet I was up at 0615, and sleep just went away! I thought - might as well just stay awake now! I checked FlightRadar24 to see the rotations of the planes, but spoiler! I found out that the plane taking me from Fargo to Minneapolis would be a 14.9 years old CRJ200, N426SW. It had the following rotation for the day: LaCrosse (Wisconsin) - Minneapolis/St. Paul (Minnesota) - Fargo (North Dakota) - Minneapolis/St. Paul (Minnesota) - Appleton (Wisconsin) - Columbus (Ohio). I also found out that the second flight of the day (DL1717 from MSP to ORD) would be operated by N912DN, this time a 19.7 year old veteran McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30. Her rotation for the day would be Omaha (Nebraska) - Minneapolis/St. Paul (Minnesota) - Denver (Colorado) - Minneapolis/St. Paul (Minnesota) - Chicago O'Hare (Illinois) - Minneapolis/St. Paul (Minnesota) - Grand Rapids (Michigan).
I also checked the KLM to see if anything interesting had been put up - yes there was! The aircraft had been assigned. The interactive also contains some pretty cool stuff, both for us avgeeks and the 'I don't care' bunch alike.
Tremon came in and secretly sniffed around in my room, what a cute dog! :D As the morning slowly went on, I got ready for my flight.
My friend had come in about twenty minutes early, and so I had to hurry up and speed up my packing! I thanked my AirBNB hosts as Tremon looked on with his head over the sofa. The ride from Moorhead (the Minnesota side of Fargo) to the airport took about fifteen minutes.
While I did expect Fargo Airport to be just a bit bigger than Grand Forks, oh man the emptiness was scary! Not a soul in sight, just many cars and quietness. The only sign of life was Endeavor Air DL4950 (a CRJ700 registered N724EV to Minneapolis) blasting off the runway.
Some form of life did show up when I entered the terminal. The United Airlines and American Airlines counters were open with activity there, while Delta was just quiet! After a quick look at the baggage claim area, I went back to the Delta check in, and yay someone was at the counter!
Only one of the three airlines mentioned here flies into Fargo. Would you like to take a guess which one? :P
The lady then checked me in (I just did a kisok thing initially, and cancelled the boarding pass ugh. But the luggage tag and boarding pass were printed anyway). An ID check had to be done. Bag was overweight by 6lbs and knowing how stingy the USA airlines, I did not bother arguing and got it down to 50lbs. Went up to the cafe and ordered a shrimp basket, which had more batter than shrimp.
The most underwhelming meal, ever.
Security was nice! Contrary to everyone's bad experiences with the TSA, I was greeted with many smiles. Did have to get my passport out, they wouldn't accept my driving license for some reason.. An American Eagle ERJ145 was just about to depart. N693AE would fly to Chicago O'Hare as AA3195. As that one pushed back and started it taxi to the runway.
Just then, I saw a CRJ come in from the horizon - yep, N426SW was inbound from Minneapolis! Just as the American Airlines plane took off, the 14.9 year old CRJ came across and docked at Gate 2. Bells started ringing in the aerobridge as it get to the CRJ. Seriously, I find it quite strange that they use an aerobridge for CRJs even if thy have inbuilt doors. And they aerobridges don’t even reach, its attached by a plank that is only half the width of the width of the jet bridge itself.
A pre-boarding call was made at 1227. While I got distracted by the sound of a squealing puppy, a United Airlines CRJ N494CA from Denver operating flight UA6405 taxied by. Dang, Fargo was already so much more busier than Grand Forks, and so much variety already!
Boarding call was made at 1235 hours, and the usual Delta way, important passengers followed by zones (yes, zone 1 and 2 on a friggin’ CRJ!) Of course, I waited for as long as I could before I went on to board.
Capt. S Choi greeted everyone and even stirred up a conversation or two with passengers, while the flight attendant joined in to welcome passengers, too. Awesome stuff! The plane was full, unsurprisingly. I took my seat 9D. Final preparations followed as Capt. Choi once again came over the PA to give details of our flight: a quick thirty minute dash to Minneapolis at a cruising altitude of 23000 feet.
Chocks off at 1316 hours, pushback was at 1317 hours as both GE CF34 engines whirred into life.
The United Airlines CRJ from Denver
The sole flight attendant did her safety demo and also briefed the people at the emergency exit…well, not exactly brief because she just asked them to read the stuff on the safety cards, basically.
A very quick taxi to Runway 18 followed, and unsurprisingly so!
We then powered out of a very snowy Fargo and set course for Minneapolis.
The flight attendant came on the PA system to announce that she won’t be able to conduct a full service as the flight was too short for the same. She did mention of individual requests being attend to, if any. As it happened, that was only me. I wanted my cranberry juice because I paid Delta quite a lot of money for this flight…and extra for my luggage. :P I got that without a hitch, the nice flight attendant served this to me.
quick round of trash was collected, nose dipped at 1346 hours. We had commenced descent into Minneapolis. Capt. Choi came on the PA system to give us further details of arrival: we would be docking at Gate B15. I found out that my next flight would depart from Gate G19. A quick look at the Delta magazine showed that a long rushed walk lay ahead.
Land got closer as I saw quite a few signs of snow in the vicinity of the twin cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul). We began a rapid decent into the Twin Cities.
Soon, the runway was in sight, Capt. S Choi and his First Officer executed a very soft landing at 1410 hours, 17 minutes before time.
A short taxi to the gate, one engine was shut but the other took a while to be turned off.
We landed about 50 minutes before departure time of the next flight, but the time lost in the aerobridge being attached meant that I was down to my original 43 minutes of transit. I had a race against time. Capt. Choi was out of the cockpit, but not greeting passengers on their way out. I headed out of the concourse and made a mad dash towards the G concourse. Finding the concourse was not tricky, but under time constrains, its always added pressure. Off the train, towards the skywalk, I was getting closer and closer to my next flight, on the MD90 to Chicago….
Fargo - FAR
Minneapolis - MSP
This SKyWest Delta Connection flight was pretty much the same as the previous one. On time, got me from A to B. Not their fault that the sectors is too short to have a full fledged service. Of course, the strict baggage limits were not ideal, neither was the delay at Minneapolis.
Fargo Airport, while small, lacked quite a few services. The only restaurant (Cafe?) had limited choices because they had run out of half the things. And they were overpriced. And no where near tasting good. It was too short a transit to have a look and admire Minneapolis/ St. Paul Airport, but it was alright.
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