Well, I sure have been flying a lot this year. Welcome to my report on my 34th (commercial) flight of the year!
Background: About a month ago, Delta had a fare sale on west coast destinations from Baltimore, to OAK, SAN, SJC, SMF and ABQ connecting in SLC, for just over $200. I figured that fare was reason enough to take a quick trip out to the Bay Area, so I booked my tickets about a month prior to travel. When selecting seats during the booking process, it became clear why Delta was trying to fill seats to these destinations: the seat maps for all four of my flights were wide open.
The Flight: Wanting to make sure that I did not get trapped in Friday evening Beltway traffic, I left for BWI at 1:00pm expecting it to take just over an hour to get to the airport. Even though it was still early in the afternoon, I didn't park in the BWI Daily Garage until 2:45pm because of traffic.
The shuttle bus interior with Concourse A in the background.
These days I tend to check in on my phone 24 hours before my flight, then print out boarding passes once I arrive at the airport. On Delta, the airport kiosk simply asks if I'd like to reprint my boarding passes, then promptly does so. On American, the kiosk makes me go through the entire check in process again, taking several minutes.
I quickly grabbed my boarding passes from a Delta kiosk, then headed for the security check point for both the D and E Concourses. I believe the connector between D and E opened withing the last two weeks, including an observation deck overlooking the apron between the concourses…
…but on this afternoon, it was closed, or rather maybe not yet open.
Continuing construction on the D/E connector.
The new section of Concourse D.
Heading towards the Delta gates at the end of Concourse D.
Since I still had about an hour until boarding, I explored the ground-level section of Concourse D originally built in the late 80s for the USAir hub at BWI.
Looking up at gate D26, from where I'd be boarding N37700 a bit later.
The ground-level section currently only houses Southern Air Express, which operates a few EAS routes into Pennsylvania (Lancaster and Altoona, with Du Bois starting next month) and up to Hagerstown, Maryland. All the gates beyond Southern Air's single door are blocked off.
The central open area.
The escalators back up to the main concourse level.
N37700 arrived right on time from SLC as the inbound leg of DL1189. After a few announcements saying it would be a completely full flight, I joined the line for boarding with Zone 3 voluntarily gate checking my carry on bag.
I found my seat in row 30. A sunset-look at our neighboring CRJ-200, which was boarding for a short flight up to JFK.
A quick look at the seat area. Originally I expected this 737 to have been refurbished to the same interior as the 739 fleet. However, since this particular 737 was originally delivered with IFE, its refurbishment was limited to gaining 2Ku Gogo Wi-Fi (which I believe was inactive on this particular flight) and power being added to all seats on board – the 737-800s which previously lacked IFE will be getting the full refurbishment. On N37700, the older bins and low resolution screens remained, although the IFE had Delta's latest interface, matching that on the new A321 fleet.
Pushback was right on time at 4:41pm. Even though the gate agent had announced this as a full flight, the middle seat next to me remained vacant.
An external look at the currently blocked off section of Concourse D.
Passing a WN 73G as we begin our taxi to runway 28.
A company A320 holding short of 28. It was operating a flight to ATL.
Rolling on 28.
After a nice 7,000 foot run, we were off. Also, note the moon peeking out. That will appear in just a few pictures coming up.
Lots of traffic down there tonight.
Look at the line of headlights on I-95…
Tonight we'd be flying the TERPZ SIX departure via the OTTTO transition.
Absolutely beautiful sunset this evening.
Washington, DC visible in the distance, with Tysons Corner, Virginia visible below our wingtip.
I'm pretty sure Mars was also visible just to the left of the Moon, but my camera had a hard time capturing it, and I doubt it will show up on here very well.
Look at this view. I can't believe the guy in front of me had his window shade closed.
A look at the "My Flight" section of the IFE. I guess somewhere the time is set incorrectly.
A look at the cabin in flight. One thing to note is the seat belt signs are now EXTREMELY bright. When we encountered some turbulence later in the flight I thought the entire cabin lights had been turned up.
Getting dark over the mid west. The Moon and Mars are now pretty visible – but that wingtip light started to play games with my camera.
Passing St. Louis, Missouri…
…and about 30 minutes later, passing Kansas City.
After Kansas City, there wasn't much to see – due to a combination of a cloud layer and the dark sky.
Closing in on SLC – at least in the distance category. Strangely, here the IFE was showing no headwind component at all.
I'll mention the cabin service here. There were two full drink / BOB runs on this flight, which I thought was perfect for the 4.5 hour flight time. Each run, everyone got two snack items, and the crew was friendly and professional.
Reaching the Salt Lake City area.
This is where the wingtip light really gave me a hard time.
Passing the South Valley Regional Airport on approach for runway 34R at SLC.
Over the runway.
A bit of a rough touchdown. I think we had a bit of a bounce before settling and deploying the ground spoilers – nothing too major though.
Taxiing past a few parked DL planes on our way to Concourse C, including a 757-300.
On stand a few minutes early at gate C12. The 739 at C13 would be heading to LAX.
I won't covering either of my flights to/from Oakland, as they were very late/early, and I was tired for both of them. Here's a picture from on board Delta A320 N322US at gate B18 prior to departure to Oakland.
Delta Air Lines
Baltimore - BWI
Salt Lake City - SLC
Delta performed well on this flight. The cabin had power at every seat, plentiful IFE options (all of which are complimentary, a huge advantage over other carriers in the US), and fast Wi-Fi available.
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