Hi all! This is the first part of my USA summer series. There were many domestic flights that happened. However, some of them might feel a bit boring… So, to compensate for that, I will add quite a few touristy pictures before or after the flight report. I will also explain why my family and I chose a certain combination of flights…
But before all of that, to outline the flights itself: Compass Airlines (Delta Connection) DL5736 SFO-SEA 02AUG15 dep: 0917 hours arr: 1129 hours (E175) (this report!)
You can find the video flight report to go along with this flight report here:
Again, a disclaimer: many pictures to go with this one! :D
Brief background to this trip: decided to go on a cruise from Seattle. With San Francisco being our base, we had a choice of airlines for a morning departure out of SFO, and the return. Chose Delta over Southwest (departure was from Oakland), Alaska Airlines (kept this for return), Virgin America (way too expensive and more importantly, and it was an Airbus A320..yawn!) and United (Airbus A320, again) because it was cheaper, gave me SkyMiles AND a new aircraft type - the Embraer E175! Having tried and failed with Air Costa's Embraer E175/E175 back in India, I call this: finally losing my Embraergenity! :P As I mentioned, on return we selected Alaska Airlines. We had to take a stopover at Portland, Oregon simply because it was cheaper than the direct flights. It came down to a B737-400 vs a Q400…I went for the former because it is getting quite rare these days! Woke up pretty early in the morning, I think it was 0630 hours. Some rejigging and repacking later, it was down to the hotel lobby to check out. The shuttle bus to the airport came on time. On to the freeway, I saw a couple of narrow body planes lined up for departure. I was quietly excited for my first domestic flight in the USA! Delta passengers were to get off first.
Having free trolley service everywhere I've been to, paying $5 for the trolley felt like a bit of a rip off… Check in in the USA is a bit different than what I have been used to. You're basically entering your data in to a kiosk, wherein you can make changes to the flight, seats, FFP number, etc. Three boarding pass..err..shopping mall receipts were printed out. The kiosk also collects another set of rip off fees (I feel), baggage fees.
Part 2 of check in included the dropping off of the bags. One bag was a bit over 50 lbs (23 kgs, I'm going to stick to that.) and mum did a great job rejigging the bags one last time, making sure everything was within limits. Our boarding passes had 'TSA PreChck' written on it. We had no clue what it was! Showed it to one of the TSA agents, and she guided us straight through, no screening or anything required, just the cabin luggage being screened. What just happened? No body scans? Hmm, that was strange….
San Francisco isn't one of Delta's (nine) hubs in the USA, but Seattle is. However, there were quite a few Delta planes around, including some lovely Boeing 757s, a rare sight in Asia
Delta Shuttle Boeing 717-200 from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back…I was booked on one of them!
I'm quite a fan of the B757-300's looks!
B737-800 or A320-200? :)
Looking forward to my B717 flight…but first things first! The E175 :)
Still a while to wait, the gate for our flight was a bit for away. Sat around close to the gate, and some coffee/tea drinks later, N623CZ the Embraer E175 came in from its base Seattle, as the DL5736, the same as my flight number.
A pre-boarding announcement was made for all passengers, so basically first class followed by important FFP people followed by zone wise boarding. Unfortunately, this didn't work out very well because there was a huge line that was created at the aerobridge itself. So much for an ‘organized’ boarding! Anyway, I stepped in to the plane and the flight attendant there was busy chatting with the pilots…yeah passengers getting onboard, big deal!
Walked through the 2-1 abreast First Class before entering the 2-2 abreast Economy class. I headed for my seat 13A, while my parents took 12A and 12B. The E175 felt like a CRJ to be honest..a very small cabin…except that the E175 is perhaps higher than a CRJ, of course. The plane filled up slowly…and soon every seat on board the aircraft was filled.
The windows feel a bit misaligned relative to the seats…
Two cabin crew members, one male and one female in their late 40s early 50s, both of them did their job to be honest…no real smiles, just one or two thrown in here and there. The Captain came over the PA system to brief us about the flight. He gave us plenty of details about the flight, for example the slight turbulence that might occur straight after take off, the the possible sights of various mountains around Seattle (including Mt. Rainier, Mt, Adams, Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, part of the Cascade Mountain range) on approach. While this happened, the cabin crew went about securing the cabin for departure.
Pushed back on time, both GE CF34 engines were brought to life simultaneously. Some pictures of the ongoing activity..
Well, this is a pleasant surprise!! Absolutely lovely to see a Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER! (albeit flying for Etihad Airways.)
A pretty quick taxi to the parallel runways, we lined up with 01R. A lovely American Airlines Boeing 757-200 in the older livery lined up alongside us…however it was us who blasted down the runway into the overcast skies of San Francisco.
A northernly course was set for the flight to Seattle. As soon as we reached the crushing altitude, the seatbelt signs were turned off.
Service began, with one trolley. Of course, the usual American airline fare. Pretzels, Peanuts, Cookies. There also was a large variety of juices, aerated drinks (minute made and Coca Cola products), and about a million types of coffee. Starbucks Coffee, because Delta takes pride in serving Starbucks coffee, its mentioned pretty much every where. I think there were a few tapas that were on sale, too. I asked for a decaf coffee and two whiteners, and a sugar sachet. Pretzels and Delta's Biscoff cookies with that. The pretzels were nothing special, the cookies were alright, and the coffee was horrendous, I knew just about as soon as I took a sip of it. Took me quite some time to get that into my system. I realize I won't have coffee on a plane again…its just me!
Legroom was alright..
Nothing too dramatic happened in the flight. I took a look at the domestic route map of Delta Air Lines within the USA, I realized that San Francisco is not a very large hub for Delta Air Lines! Seattle and Los Angeles, however, are major hubs for Delta Air Lines. As always, it was quite exciting to see other planes fly by overhead, especially in the United States where there are quite a few of them! The First Officer came over the PA to give further arrival information into Seattle, reporting pleasant weather and no traffic. Awesome for us - we could get on the ship with no worries!
Picture courtesy - my father
A few banks later, N623CZ was slowly making way towards Earth, over the lovely Seattle Bay. I saw a couple of ships around, but none of them that looked anything like a cruise ship. It was quite a smooth descent on the E175, I’m not sure if this is an Embraer or E175 thing, but it was pretty smooth.
This was followed by a very smooth landing at 1058 hours and pretty hard braking, a quick exit out of the runway.
Crossed over the runway for departures (we landed on 34L and departures were on 34R). Plenty of Alaska Airlines Boeing 737s and Q400s, while quite a few Delta Air Lines regional jets were taxiing towards the runway for departure. We came to sudden halt on the taxiway. The Captain came over the PA saying that another plane was still due to be pushed back from our gate, and we had to wait thanks to our early arrival. This didn’t last too long, however.
We soon docked at the gate, still a few minutes before time. I noticed the number of Compass Airlines equipment around the aircraft - after all, this was a flight operated by Compass Airlines for Delta Air Lines, what might’ve been a Northwest Airlines flight!
All passengers got off and we were few of the last. Dad, however, forgot to get a bag in all the madness and we had to wait for it to be returned with a ground staff. N623CZ was being prepared for its flight to Sacramento. Dad apologized profusely for leaving the bag onboard, it was a pretty short walk to baggage claim.
Got ripped off again thanks to the trolleys…but they didn’t work. Add to the woes, the smart people at Delta did not specify where the luggage for DL5736 was coming in. It was belt 1, we were somewhere close to Belt 5/6 cluelessly searching for our bags.
I couldn’t help my self but look at this lovely Golden Retriever that was in the large luggage counter, waiting for the owner to arrive. It looked like the crate had just arrived. S/He was calm and collected about it, sat in the crate. I was reminded of how my dog in Sri Lanka, Dobby will be taken back home after my parents were done with their Colombo stint. Before I missed Dobby a bit too much, I found out that my parents found the luggage all the way a Belt 1. Wow, so much for the information!
We found representatives of the Norwegian Cruise Line who took in our luggage that would be taken to the ship directly. We waited for the bus. A nice holiday atmosphere was kicking in slowly but surely. The fun drive to the Pier included my first sighting of an Icelandair plane, a Boeing 757. The Blue Angels were putting up a spectacular show, as we sped towards the city of Seattle.
Through the elevated freeways of Seattle, I started to like this city a lot! And soon, there she was. The magnificent Norwegian Pearl, waiting to embark on its cruise! There she was, our home for the next week! This was the beginning of something epic. That then, was my first domestic flight in the United States of America. Nothing too auspicious, neither was it anything special. I loved seeing the Boeing 757s and the few Boeing 717s, and the airlines that were new to my eyes!
Folks, here on are some pictures from the cruise onboard the Norwegian Pearl. You'll also see a few pictures of my first (and second) chopper flights: from Juneau Airport to the Mendenhall Glacier and back on a Eurocopter owned by TEMSCO Helicopters..
I hope you enjoyed this!
San Francisco - SFO
Seattle - SEA
There is nothing special to write about my first flight onboard Delta Air Lines (albeit Delta Connection). It was alright. Being before time helps. The E175 was a fun aircraft to fly on, although I felt the windows were a bit misaligned which made photography and videography a bit tricky. The seats were comfortable to sit on for this short journey. The crew were alright.
San Francisco and Seattle were decent airports, however the fact that Delta did not mention where the luggage would be dropped off at was a bit strange.
And as a side note - my following writing's touristy aspects would be much less, and more aviation centric!
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