Trip Report Series Part 3 - Delta Aviation Tour Welcome to my first "Trip Report Series." During the spring, I was notified by a close professor friend of mine that I had been accepted to work at the University of Florida in Gainesville as a High School summer intern. Understandably, I was extremely excited about the ability to be working in a college laboratory during the summer. As such, I booked my flights from my home in New York to my job location in Gainesville, Florida, and from Gainesville to Tucson, where my professor runs a major laboratory and where I will be working for part of my summer. My itinerary is as follows: Flight 1: [DL 1539, LGA-ATL, Boeing 737-900ER, N846DN, Economy] - Click Here Flight 2: [DL 5451, ATL-GNV, Bombardier CL600-2B19 (CRJ200ER operated by ExpressJet dba Delta Connection), N871AS, Economy] - no report, although it's worth mentioning that this flight was delayed for over two hours due to "paperwork done incorrectly" and having to clear the runway immediately after lining up due to an aircraft that was about to land in the opposite direction. Flight 3: [DL 3290, GNV-ATL, Bombardier CL600-2B19 (CRJ200LR operated by Endeavor Air dba Delta Connection), N8972E, Economy] - no report Flight 4: [DL 1172, ATL-LAX, Boeing 777-200LR, N703DN, Economy] - YOU ARE HERE Flight 5: [DL 4836, LAX-TUS, Bombardier CL600-2C10 (CRJ701ER operated by SkyWest dba Delta Connection), N770SK, Economy] - Click Here Flight 6: [DL 1240, TUS-ATL, McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30, N906DA, Economy] - Click Here Flight 7: [DL 5319, ATL-GNV, Bombardier CL600-2D24 (CRJ900 operated by Expressjet dba Delta Connection), N132EV, Economy] - Click Here Flight 8: [DL 5347, GNV-ATL, Bombardier CL600-2D24 (CRJ900 operated by ExpressJet dba Delta Connection), N153PQ, Premium Economy] - Click Here Flight 9: [DL 202, ATL-JFK, Boeing 737-900ER, N872DN, Premium Economy] - Click Here
Abstract I had known for a long time that Delta operated two 777-200LR bases, ATL and LAX. I also knew that they operated a daily "repositioning" flight between Atlanta and Los Angeles, leaving sometime in the morning (Eastern Time) and arriving just before noon (Pacific Time). When my professor told me that I would have to fly to Tucson, AZ to record observations and perform scheduled maintenance on our 50-inch optical telescope, I did not hesitate to book a flight with a routing through LAX. Delta's ATL-LAX flights are usually operated with a mix of 737s, 757s, and A321s, but considering that Delta has more that 100+ of each of those fleet types, I knew that I would have the opportunity to fly them over and over again until I got bored of them. This is one of the few domestic flights within the United States that are operated by an internationally-configured aircraft, something that is much preferred over the cramped single aisle aircraft that usually operate the ATL-LAX route. This trip report will cover the flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles in the Boeing 777-200LR, an extremely rare member of the Boeing 777 family with just 59 units in service as of 2017. The 777-200LR offers three additional auxillary fuel tanks, extended raked wingtips, redesigned landing gear capable of supporting higher weight, an GE90-110B1L engines capable of producing up to 110,000 pounds of thrust. These improvements allow the 777-200LR to fly distances up to 15,844 kilometers (roughly 8,555 nautical miles), theoretically allowing it to connect any two points in the world (though this is subject to ETOPS restrictions unfortunately).
Report I had arrived from Gainesville on an Endeavor Air CL600-2B19 (CRJ-200LR, N8972E), so unfortunately I will not be able to review the check in and security processes for ATL. Nevertheless, the check in area for ATL is very vast (I took this photo on a previous trip through ATL), and security in the domestic concourse (T) usually doesn't take more than 15-20 minutes. Note that the atrium in the T concourse is very vast, and contains a lot of shops and restaurants, among other venues.
Just a few pictures from my flight into ATL because…well, early morning flights with a view of the sun are just BEAUTIFUL.
We parked at the D concourse (mostly used by Delta Connection's regional jets) and I took the Atlanta SkyTrain to the E concourse (mostly used by Delta's widebody jets). I arrived at gate E17, where N703DN (ship #7103), the Boeing 777-232LR that would take me to Los Angeles, waited at the gate while being serviced.
Boarding groups were then called, one by one, and I boarded the aircraft within 45 minutes of departure.
I was among one of the first to board the aircraft (after pre-boarding) despite having a seat in economy due to my status with Delta. Delta One cabin (marketed as Delta Domestic First on this flight)
Delta Comfort Cabin.
Delta's 777-200LR aircraft have two Economy cabins. I was seated near the rear of the first economy cabin; here's the view looking forward. Delta configures its 777s in a 9-abreast configuration (and will continue to do so next year when the 777s are scheduled to be refitted with new Delta One suites). This allows each seat to be 18.6 inches wide and the aisles to be 20 inches wide, allowing for a very comfortable ride. On the 777s that are configured 10-abreast, the seats and the aisles are both 17.6 inches wide, the same width that you would find in an economy seat on a regular narrow-body jet (like a 737 or an A320). This seating configuration allows for very comfortable long-duration flights (such as the 15-hour hops this bird does between LAX-SYD and ATL-JNB). I did not feel any discomfort in the seat on this 4-hour long flight.
Wing view from 40J. The 777 has wings that are cantered upward at a slight angle, giving the illusion of flexing while on the ground; though the wing flexes even more in the air, as you will see later.
32" legroom, perfect for my 5'9" frame.
Seatpocket literature. This was the first Delta flight that I took this year that included a barf bag.
View forward from my seat.
Overhead panel controls with personal air vents; note that the panel is not parallel to the ground due to the 777's "clamshell" overhead bins and its extremely high ceilings.
Panasonic 9" eX2 entertainment screen displaying Delta's annoying pre-flight advertisements. We get that you want people to pay extra to move up to Economy Comfort right before a flight, but I doubt many people are going to upgrade after you've boarded. The eX2 screens are not as responsive as the eX3/eXLite Eco9i screens found on other Delta aircraft, but offered the same excellent content.
View of the economy seats on Delta's 777-200LR, featuring the 777's unique clamshell overhead bins that are now being introduced to many new wide-body as well as many existing narrow-body aircraft.
Another view of the wing, with two 777s and a 767-400ER in the background.
One thing that I really like about 777s is the amount of room between the window seat and the window. I had enough space to put the bag containing my gopro camera gear (as shown here) between the seat in front of me and the window. My bag is 4 inches wide, btw.
For some reason, my IFE crashed immediately after sitting down in my seat while displaying advertisements. The FA, however, reset my system immediately after I alerted her to the problem, and my IFE worked without any issues for the remainder of the flight.
One major flaw with these seats is that the tray table does not slide back! This meant that it was very hard for me to work on my laptop during the flight; furthermore, there was also the slight convenience of having to lean forward when eating. I eventually gave up on working and just played with the IFE due to this problem.
The safety video took the place of the advertisements on the IFE as we pushed back from the gate. As the fuel cutoff switches were switched on for the GE90-110B1L engines, a lot of vibrations could clearly be heard and felt throughout the cabin. It almost sounded like someone dumped a bucketful of sawdust in the engine, but the vibrations disappeared and were replaced with a gentle hum as the N1 speed reached the idle threshold. This is completely normal startup behavior for the GE90, the most powerful high-bypass turbofan engine in the world.
Taxiing down Ramp 5 toward taxiway Bravo. There is a company 737-800 (N3759) and a 757-200 (N694DL) in the background.
Flaps were pulled down to 15˚ while the Captain tested out the flight control surfaces.
Some images of our taxi down Bravo toward Runway 26L, as seen on FR24.
IFE confirming the fact that ship #7103 (N703DN) would be the aircraft operating DL1172 today.
Another image of our taxi down Bravo while waiting in the takeoff queue for 26L.
Cabin shot just before takeoff.
We turned onto runway 26L and performed a de-rated takeoff due to the excess performance of the GE90-110B1L engines. We turned slightly to a heading of roughly 270˚ and were cleared straight to our initial cruising altitude of 36,000 feet (this was later increased to 38,000 feet later in the flight to reduce fuel burn). Takeoff was at 10:12, 17 minutes late.
In these two photos you can clearly see the 777's wing flex while in flight.
After 10,000 feet, I connected to Delta's GoGo in flight wireless network to view some details about the flight.
As I mentioned in my previous flight report, Delta has an excellent IFE system, with over 300 on-demand movies. I decided to start off my flight with 君の名は (your name), one of the most popular animated movies in Japan right now.
At this moment we had also reached our initial cruising altitude of 36,000 feet over Alabama. Note that the weather was mostly overcast; the weather wouldn't gradually thin out until we were over Texas. During the summer in the southern United States, it's usually cloudy over the states near the East Coast, while the weather is mostly clear for the states near the west coast. This isn't always true, however, as I would be traveling to Tucson to perform maintenance on the telescope in the middle of monsoon season to prevent lightning maintenance. Enough of the weather talk, let's get back to topic.
I decided to visit the lavatory in the middle of the movie. It was very clean and fairly large compared to the small and cramped "SpaceLavs" onboard newer 737 and A320 aircraft.
Smoking is not allowed on flights, but there is always an ashtray present in the lavatories of aircraft. Why? In case a passenger decides to break the rule and light up a cigarette in the lavatory of a plane, then they would have a place to extinguish the cigarettes and not be a fire hazard to the aircraft.
The clouds began to thin out as we climbed to our new cruising altitude of 38,000 feet over Texas.
The fact that the tray table didn't slide toward me made it very hard for me to do anything on my laptop. As I mentioned before, I eventually gave up and decided to play games on the IFE.
At this time, the Flight Attendants came by with a beverage service and a cart with sandwiches on it. I ordered an apple juice with Biscoff cookies. I also purchased a Mesquite-Smoked Turkey Sandwich for $10. It was expensive, but not nearly as expensive as a meal of the same size at LAX. Furthermore, the meal was delicious and filling. My selection:
After the meal/drink service, the flight attendants came by with 3 (yes, 3!) coffee and tea services. I didn't partake in any of these services. A review of Delta's excellent In Flight Entertainment service. There were hundreds of movies and TV shows, thousands of tracks, and several games to choose from.
At this time, a second drink service was offered. I chose an apple juice and some Biscoff cookies again.
After the drink service ended, we began descending into the Los Angeles area. The view of the landscape while descending was breathtaking.
Final descent while we lined up with LAX runway 25L. You can sort of see the city of Los Angeles in the distance; though it is somewhat difficult due to the fact that it was a hazy day.
We landed on LAX's runway 25L at 10:49 AM local time, 36 minutes ahead of schedule.
Because we landed on the South side of LAX, we had to taxi through the ramp adjacent to the Tom Bradley International Terminal in order to get to Delta's Terminal 2. You could see several interesting international aircraft that were preparing to depart to Asian, Mexican and South American cities. N703DN in fact would head to Shanghai next as DL185. We waited on the ramp for 20 minutes due to N708DN, another 777-200LR operating as DL174 to Atlanta, taking up our gate (27).
Row 40 has two windows on the right side.
Delta Economy Comfort cabin.
Delta One seats.
I visited the cockpit immediately after we landed and talked with the first officer on the operating differences between the 777-200LR and 777-200ER. We had a blast sharing our experiences flying, me on the C172 and him on the B777.
After bidding farewell to the flight crew, I was released into the extremely crowded Terminal 2 at LAX, bringing an end to this amazing trip on the 777-200LR.
Delta Air Lines
Atlanta - ATL
Los Angeles - LAX
Delta has an extremely well-rounded international economy product on the Boeing 777-200LR. I was impressed by the high standards set by the Flight Crew. The IFE system, in my opinion, was excellent, but the Panasonic eX2 screens were much less responsive than the eX3/eXLite Eco9i monitors on Delta's newer aircraft. In addition to detailed information offered about the flight, Delta Studio also contains an impressive selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games; I believe that this is one of the best IFE products offered in the sky. With so many selections, it is simply impossible to get bored on a long flight. However, one complaint that I have is that the tray table does not slide toward you, making it slightly annoying to eat and work on your laptop during the flight. Regardless, I would definitely not hesitate to fly this aircraft, both domestically and internationally, and I am excited to continue my journey with Delta over the next several weeks. All in all, this was a very comfortable and enjoyable flight, and I would like to thank the Flight Crew for making this flight a very enjoyable one.
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