Having just arrived at DTW from Ithaca (details here), I had about 15 minutes to get from A53 down to gate A24 before boarding the 767-300 for SFO. You'll notice that I've set the aircraft for this flight as an A333, more on that later. 15 minutes was more than enough for a leisurely walk down the concourse. I arrived at the gate about five minutes before boarding began.
Our plane this morning, N130DL, arriving at MSP a few weeks earlier:
Boarding went quickly and easily, and I took my seat near the very rear of the N130DL, seat 44G.
We pushed back from the gate right on time at 8:32, taxiing to runway 21R and were wheels up at 8:47.
A Sierra Pacific 737-200, not sure what it was doing in DTW but definitely a rare catch.
Banking after departure.
About 5 minutes into the flight, things got interesting. All of the seat-back TVs cut off at the same time. I thought "dang, that will make this four and a half hour flight seem a lot longer." However, a few minutes later, I noticed we had stopped our climb. Then, we began a sharp left turn to the east. Just as I was expecting an announcement from the Captain, he came on the PA system. Apparently a generator had failed. Not flight-critical, but it required us to return to DTW. This was the first time a flight I was on has had to return to its origin. I will say that even though I knew we were in no danger, I still had a strange feeling knowing that something was wrong with our aircraft.
After finishing our 180 turn back towards the Northeast, Lake Erie on the right, Lake St. Clair on the left.
Overflying Windsor, ON along with YQG airport.
Full spoilers over the northern Detroit suburbs.
On final for runway 22L.
Our shadow on short final.
We touched down at 9:26, 39 minutes after having lifted off, and docked at gate A64.
This is when the time-consuming part began. After stopping at the gate, our captain told us to stay seated while they worked out a plan with maintenance. They were trying to determine if the plane was fixable in a reasonable amount of time or if a replacement needed to be found. He added that we should expect to deplane and find a new aircraft. Sure enough, about five minutes later, the captain told us we would be deplaning and finding a new aircraft. Now, this is when I began to get excited. The domestic 767 is one of the highest capacity planes in the Delta fleet and is very utilized during the summer months, so I mentally ruled out another 767 being found. That would only leave the A330-300 and the 747 as the only reasonable replacement aircraft. I had my fingers crossed.
After reentering the terminal, there was all sorts of confusion as people stood around the gate wondering what was going to happen. The agents came on saying that they were working with dispatch to find us a new plane, and that we should all find a seat within the gate area to be informed of any updates. I did just that. After about 20 minutes of waiting (its about 10:40 at this point), my phone buzzed with a notification from the Delta app: "Flight 745 is now departing at 2:45pm." Everyone else around me seemed to get the same notification, and I could hear the collective sign because of the 5 hours that now needed killing. Shortly after that, the gate agent came on and announced that we had a new plane, but had to wait for it to arrive from Paris. I immediately checked the status of flights from Paris to Detroit and discovered we'd be getting an A330-300 as a sub aircraft. Not quite a 747, but still a new type for me.
Continuing the announcement, instead of giving all 260 of us food vouchers, Delta would be buying all of us sandwiches. Cool.
However, I then noticed that with the equipment change, I had gotten moved to a middle seat. Not ideal that's for sure. I tried changing seats to the one open window seat through the app, but kept getting an error message. I tried asking the Delta twitter account, but they were unable to help me. I resorted to approaching the gate agent and asking for their help. They jotted down my name and "window" and I returned to my seat.
After about 90 minutes of enjoying the free internet at DTW, it was announced that our sandwiches had arrived. About two and a half hours after we had returned to the gate, but that was understandable considering that 260 sandwiches is quite an order after all. The food was from Chik Fil A (don't have these anywhere near where I live), which was a pleasant surprise. I had one sandwhich, then waited a few minutes and went for another.
Our aircraft then arrived from Paris. N804NW looked significantly bigger than our 767 did. While the aircraft was being cleaned of its international trash, the gate agents paged me with my new seat assignment. 39A, excellent. I returned to my seat to continue the wait.
2:15 rolled around and boarding had yet to begin. I stood up to stretch my legs before the longer flight, and someone in the gate area recognized my backpack. He was also travelling from Ithaca to SFO that day, but had left Ithaca on the 12:15 departure and got moved to Flight 745 because of the extra seats. I told him he was lucky to avoid the five hour delay.
Boarding began around 2:25 and I quickly found my seat. I was in the first row that was 2-3-2 instead of 2-4-2. I checked out the window and saw a special neighbor:
The seat was newer than those on the 767, and the personal entertainment was much, much newer. It was then announced that boarding had been completed, and the seat next to me remained vacant. Which made the flight that much nicer.
We pushed back from the gate at about 2:50 and taxied to runway 22L.
My first time cruising at 40,000. I assume we were fairly light on fuel for the flight to SFO.
Looking through the IFE, I found a movie titled "2016 NBA Champions: Golden State Warriors." However, this was still during the finals, after Cleveland won game 3 to get the series to 2-1 GSW. I thought it was a funny typo, and of course Cleveland went on to win the championship.
Cruising over the midwest. My white phone was really fighting my pictures, leaving a nice reflection on the outer window. Oh well.
I settled on watching The Big Lebowski again, a favorite of mine.
Passing over Denver, Colorado at FL400.
Clouds at FL400 over the Rockies.
Beautiful terrain below.
Over the Central Valley of California.
Descending towards the Bay Area.
San Jose (along with SJC) coming into view.
Moffett Field in the distance.
Over Foster City
Landing on 28R. Its a bit shaky, I'm not sure why but my phone does not like taking video of a moving background. I kept recording hoping that the Air France A380 holding short of 28L would roar past us, but it was still there as we taxied over to the Terminal 1.
Turkish 77W (TC-JJU) arriving from IST.
We parked at gate 46 of Terminal 1. I felt bad for all the passengers waiting in the area to board the return leg of flight 745 to Detroit. Their ETA was 1:45am. Ouch. I hope those with connections were able to rebook.
Since I wasn't in any sort of hurry, I walked through the T1-T2 connector to explore a bit.
A 737-800 (N3757D) loading up for ATL (I believe) at gate 41, with an A320 (N366NW) loading for SLC in the background at gate 43.
These will look great in the new Alaska livery, assuming they get painted.
I then left the secure area through the T2 exit and headed upstairs to the Air Train which would take me to the BART station. I took BART up into the East Bay, where a long day of travel finally came to an end.
Delta Air Lines
Detroit - DTW
San Francisco - SFO
Delta handled the mechanical delay about as perfectly as is possible. Information was provided in a timely manner, and lunch was provided. In addition to that, in checking my SkyMiles account after my trip, I noticed that Delta had given out 15,000 miles to compensate the delay. Considering I had spent 22,500 miles for the ticket (plus a few dollars), I was a happy camper. The A330 is a fantastic airplane. I could easily see myself doing SEA-HKG on one. The crew was pleasant, making the flight more enjoyable.
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