Review of Delta Connection flight Washington Cincinnati in Economy

Airline Delta Connection
Flight DL6298
Class Economy
Seat 16D
Flight time 01:10
Take-off 01 Jun 17, 09:30
Arrival at 01 Jun 17, 10:40
DL   #126 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 123 reviews
Menzenski
By 672
Published on 25th June 2017
Hello and welcome to another trip report! This report will cover a recent trip of mine to the Kansas City area. Naturally, there are nonstop flights available from all three of the DC-area airports to Kansas City, but for a variety of reasons, including price, departure time and just general curiosity, I chose a Delta itinerary connecting in Cincinnati. A full report on the current state of CVG airport can be found in the second flight report, linked below.

Washington, DC to Cincinnati, OH (DCA - CVG) | CRJ-700 [THIS REPORT]
Cincinnati, OH to Kansas City, MO (CVG - MCI) | CRJ-200 [REPORT HERE]

Landside



All of my flights from DCA start the same way: arriving via the Metro Blue Line. This time, however, I turned to the right after exiting the train, towards the Terminal B entrance. This would be my first non-AA flight from DCA.

Just a minute after exiting the train, I was greeted by a DL A321 preparing for an ATL flight.

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The security checkpoint was not too busy that morning, and I was through in about 10 minutes. Having quite a bit of time before my flight, I took the opportunity to walk through the United gates located towards the Historic Terminal. These gates were quite cramped, especially the one boarding a 757-300 for a flight to SFO that morning. I then went and found a seat near my gate, gate 22.

Our aircraft that morning, an ex-Comair CRJ-700 registered N668CA, arrived on time from RDU. As it was arriving, next door at gate 23, a flight to Omaha was boarding. Delta has quite an interesting route portfolio from DCA. They fly to all their major hubs (except SEA), and also to OMA, LEX, MSN, RDU and CVG, as well as weekend flights to MCO and MIA. I believe the service to OMA, LEX and MSN is specifically Republic Airlines flying that they fly under the Delta brand – a left over from when Republic was flying for Frontier years ago.

Boarding began on time 25 minutes before STD. This was my first time experiencing Delta's new boarding procedure, which uses exactly the same zones, adding posts behind which passengers line up. It's exactly the same process as United's, just minus the barriers between zones. In my opinion, it had no effect at all on the boarding time – maybe it helps more with larger aircraft?

On Board



I quickly found my seat in 16D. Quite a nice Thursday morning in the DC area.

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The seat was pretty comfortable, and the legroom was adequate. Even though I'm quite tall, I think I've figured out a pretty nice routine for CRJ flights. While waiting for boarding, I get everything I'll need during the flight out of my backpack (usually headphones and external battery pack for my phone). Since my larger carry on gets valet tagged, I then stow my backpack in the overhead bin, leaving me with nothing under the seat in front of me.

Boarding was quickly completed, and the flight attendants closed the main boarding door. However, after a few minutes, the captain came on the PA, saying that they had an indication in the flight deck that the main cargo door was not properly shut. He also announced that it would be a few minutes to work out with maintenance a solution to the problem. I wasn't too worried, as I had a nearly four-hour connection in Cincinnati. Next, the main cabin door was opened, and the first officer made his was onto the tarmac to check out the door. After a few minutes he came back on board, and the door was closed again.

An MD-88 parked next to us during our cargo door situation.

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We pushed back about 15 minutes after STD, at the same time as an MD-90 bound for MSP.

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Taxiing past the original National Airport terminal.

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Rolling past an AA E190 in the penalty box, almost certainly bound for LGA. There was also a DL E175 parked in an obscure part of the airport, near the end of runway 04. There must have been some delays headed into New York that morning.

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Departure



By now, you've probably guessed as to what the next few pictures will be. North departure from DCA, right-side window seat… Nevertheless, enjoy the views of downtown Washington, DC.



The White House visible here.

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Looking north, towards Bethesda, Maryland.

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Our departure route took us directly over AML, the VORTAC located at Dulles.

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Our route also afforded a good view of the Northern Virgina suburbs of DC.

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Leesburg airport (KJYO) visible just below our wingtip.

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We soon reached 10,000 feet, where the Wi-Fi service was turned on. I wanted to see how Delta Studio would perform compared to United's regional jet offering (which I experienced on IAD-MSP, report on that flight here), but I decided to not bother after a long wait for the landing page to load, showing a message about a high volume of users.

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Cruising over West Virginia.

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Service was the traditional Delta regional offering: full drinks selection and a choice of snacks. The flight attendant tending to the main cabin on this flight, Morgan, completed the rounds with a genuine smile on her face. It is pretty incredible how much better you feel about a flight when the crew seems to be enjoying the flight as well. Morgan handed me my coffee, as well as two packs of Biscoff cookies. After completing the main cabin service, on her way back to the front of the cabin, she asked me if I wanted another pack of cookies. Who am I to say no to that?

Arrival



After a short cruise, we started our decent towards Cincinnati.

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Our approach to runway 18L took us right over downtown Cincinnati.

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After a steep 180-degree turn, we were on final for runway 18L.

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Spoilers out on final approach. Must've been a tight vector to final.

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Crossing the Ohio River.

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Short final for runway 18L.

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Terminal 3 (the only terminal at CVG these days) visible in the background, along with Concourse A, which houses all carriers except for Delta, to the left.

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Landing.

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In the last few months, CVG has become a the main base for Amazon Prime Air. I was surprised at just how many dedicated freighters were already in the Amazon Prime Air operation. Turning off of 18L gave a good view of the cargo operations at CVG.

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A (very) zoomed in view of a Prime Air 767.

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Our arrival gate that morning was gate B2. That meant a long taxi down the aisle between concourses A and B.

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A United CRJ-700 after pushing back from Concourse A.

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A closer look at Concourse A. The tower above is an old Delta ops tower from the hub days. Near the winglet, final preparations are being done to two gates for Southwest, due to start CVG service a few days after my flight.

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UA E175 taxiing in, most likely after landing on runway 18C.

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Where Terminals 1 and 2 stood until recently.

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Taxiing past the currently-being-demolished Concourse C, which used to house the entire several-hundred-flight-per-day Comair operation at the CVG hub.

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We arrived a gate B2 just a few minutes behind STA. Our CRJ-700 would turn around and head right back to DCA.

…And that's where I'll leave this part of my trip report. As a bit of a teaser for the second part of my trip report, I'll leave you with this picture of a nearly empty Concourse B.

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See more

Verdict

Delta Connection

7.9/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering8.0

Washington - DCA

8.1/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.0

Cincinnati - CVG

8.1/10
Efficiency9.0
Access6.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

Although average in every other way, this flight stood out because of the cabin crew. As soon as Morgan came through my row, I immediately felt more welcome on this flight than on others before. A smiling crew really, really makes a difference, especially on a relatively cramped-for-space regional jet flight.

DCA continues to be my first choice from the DC area. It really is a huge advantage to have direct Metro access. Once the second Silver Line extension opens to Dulles, maybe my flying habits will change.

CVG airport was pleasantly surprising. More on that in the second part of this trip report.

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