Trip Report Series Part 7 - 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] - Click 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] Flight 7: [DL 5319, ATL-GNV, Bombardier CL600-2D24 (CRJ900 operated by Expressjet dba Delta Connection), N132EV, Premium Economy] Flight 8: [DL 5347, GNV-ATL, Bombardier CL600-2D24 (CRJ900 operated by Expressjet dba Delta Connection), N153PQ, Premium Economy] - You are here Flight 9: [DL 202, ATL-JFK, Boeing 737-900ER, N872DN, Premium Economy] - Click Here
Abstract Welcome to the final two installments of this lengthy trip report series. I had just finished up all work in Gainesville, and was ready to return to New York before my school is scheduled to start. When I booked the flights back home using a gift certificate, I decided to throw in a little treat for myself…a 5-hour layover at the busiest airport in the world! The flight out of Gainesville was scheduled to be the first departure out of GNV, departing Florida at 6:15 AM and arriving in Atlanta around 7:10 AM. Furthermore, this flight was the only flight out of Gainesville operated by a CL600-2D24 (CRJ900-NextGen), all other departures were scheduled to be the old, boring, and cramped CRJ200s. I then decided to take a mainline Delta flight to JFK airport, which is farther from my house than LaGuardia but much cleaner and larger, departing Atlanta around noon and arriving in New York just after 2pm. During my layover in Atlanta, I decided to go planespotting at three locations: the roof of the South parking deck, the International Park-Ride deck, and the new post-security area of the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal.
Report The previous morning, I checked in for my flight online, and was pleased to find that my Comfort+ window seat was supposed to be accompanied by an empty aisle seat as well. Delta's online process check in was very straightforward, I paid the fee for one checked bag online and sent the mobile boarding passes to my phone in less than 5 minutes.
I woke up at 3:50 AM, and a family friend drove the 20 minutes from West Gainesville to GNV airport.
Exterior of the passenger terminal of GNV.
After exchanging goodbyes and farewells, I stepped inside the terminal. Quite a few people were inside, as an American airlines flight to Charlotte, NC was scheduled to depart just 20 minutes before my flight to Atlanta. GNV AA & DL Check in/Bag drop area:
I used the self-service kiosks to print my boarding passes. Delta has just 4 of them at GNV airport.
Delta and American each occupy two check in/bag drop counters here.
After getting my bag checked and dropped with an agent (which was very efficient and took just 1.5 minutes), I headed right over to security. Although I didn't have TSA Precheck this time around (bummer!), I was through security in just 4 minutes, despite the fact that only one security line exists at GNV. The sterile area of GNV is very small; this entire space serves as the seating area for all three gates. Delta is the sole tenant of Gate 3, while American occupies both gates 1 and 2. The only restaurant after security, Tailwinds Grill & Bar, was open for breakfast at this time.
My gate, with information about my flight already displayed.
Boarding was called right on time, and priorities were respected. I boarded via the Sky Priority lane, just after pre-boarding and First Class. Our aircraft: A 2010 Bombardier CL600-2D24 (CRJ900 NextGen) registered N153PQ. This aircraft operates for ExpressJet, though it will be transferred to Endeavor Air next year when the feeder contract between ExpressJet and Delta Connection ends. This was most likely my last ExpressJet dba Delta Connection flight. From now on, ExpressJet will be strengthening their relationships with American Eagle and United Express.
Some readers might notice that this aircraft, like the previous CRJ900 I flew on (N132EV), was involved in an accident in 2014. The aircraft was cruising at 34,000 feet from Atlanta to Tulsa, Oklahoma when one of the cockpit windows cracked. The aircraft immediately made an emergency landing in Birmingham, Alabama (BHM), and the aircraft was subsequently repaired. You can read more about the incident here. Boarding through the plain, windowless jetbridge.
This 7-year old CRJ900 had definitely seen better days.
Obligatory fuselage shot.
First Class, laid out in a 1-2 configuration.
Economy Comfort+ cabin.
I settled into 9D, the last row of Comfort+ and the window seat on the starboard side of the plane. View forward from my seat.
Seatback. Notice the red stripe distinguishing it from a normal Economy seat.
Legroom was very good for this 45-min hop. Note the presence of the power outlet between the two seats.
Standard seatpocket literature - Delta's inflight magazine, entertainment guide, and a barf bag.
View outside my window. Row 9 is one of the few rows in Delta's CRJ900 configuration with an aligned window. You can see the lights of the General Aviation area in the distance.
How does a window even get this dirty?!
Note the different styles of overhead bins in PY and F. Don't let the size of the overhead bins in the Main Cabin fool you - my large backpack with my laptop and some other books in it barely fit into the overhead bin. The bins in F seem even smaller, so I don't see how you can fit anything larger than a purse in there. Anyways, the overhead bins in CRJs are too small to accommodate items like a large carry-on suitcase; I had to gate-check mine to my final destination before I boarded the aircraft. Does anyone know if the bins on the ERJ-17x/19x family are larger and are capable of handling an average carry-on suitcase?
One of my colleagues was also supposed to take this flight, but she slept in by accident and had to purchase another flight back home. Welp… Today was reverse ops day at GNV, so after the boarding door closed, we taxied to the business end of Runway 29 for departure. If we had used Runway 11 for departure, we would have had the opportunity to view the General Aviation terminal during our taxi, as well as a view of the passenger terminal and downtown Gainesville on our departure. However, that was not meant to be today, and this was the view during the entire taxi. You could barely see the lights of the control tower and the passenger terminal. *Again, I apologize for the potato shots; my phone does not perform very well in a dark environment. The intense LED lighting in the cabin did not help either.*
Dawn was just breaking.
Rolling down Runway 29.
General Aviation Area, and Runway 7/25.
Pictures on climbout and view of the outskirts of Gainesville City.
You can see Jupiter as the bright dot near the center of these photos. This was one of the reasons why I chose to take the first flight of the day.
Our initial cruising altitude was 31,000 feet.
While flying over southern Georgia, we encountered a large storm cloud to our east. You could see the distinct lightning flashes from time to time through the cloud. It gives you a sense of the behemoth character of mother nature. Truly awe-inspiring.
It was a pretty uneventful flight; I just charged my phone and took some pictures out of the window. My seatmate, however, slept before the boarding door closed, and woke up after the flight landed in Atlanta. Heh. I ordered apple juice and Biscoff cookies as my "wake-up" meal. No pictures this time, unfortunately. Furthermore, the wi-fi did not work onboard N153PQ; I was unable to connect to the GoGo in flight network for the duration of the flight. The sun gradually rose over the Eastern Seaboard.
Before I knew it, we were starting to descend from FL310.
You can see the city of Atlanta in the distance, since we approached in a westerly direction toward Runway 27L.
We performed a hard touchdown at 7:04 AM, 11 minutes ahead of schedule.
Taxiing toward the C gates.
The C concourse has a large Southwest presence.
Pulling into gate C-30.
The entire plane disembarked in just 10 short minutes, and I was thrust into a somewhat busy Concourse C. As you can see, both the C and A concourses are undergoing renovations.
It became necessary to take the ATL Plane Train to the ground transportation area.
Between Concourses B and C, there is a walkway depicting the history of the city of Atlanta.
A couple of minutes later, I made it to the ground transportation area of the South end of the Domestic Terminal. My next stop will be the roof of the South parking deck, located across the street from here.
Thanks for reading this flight report, and be sure to read the next one for a special bonus report about my mini planespotting trip in Atlanta!
Gainesville - GNV
Atlanta - ATL
Once again, this was another excellent flight onboard ExpressJet's CRJ900. Unfortunately, as of early next year, ExpressJet will no longer fly for Delta. Their CRJ200s (Delta Connection) will be retired, and the CRJ700/CRJ900s will be transferred to Endeavor Air, but will still operate under the Delta Connection brand. As such, this is likely my last ever flight with ExpressJet on Delta Connection, though I expect to fly with them under the American Eagle or United Express brands. The Economy Comfort seat was more than enough for the 45 minute flight, and the fact that I had access to a power outlet to charge my phone, among other amenities, made this flight even more comfortable than I expected it to be. As always, the crew met all of my expectations. Thanks to Delta and ExpressJet for making this a very enjoyable flight, and I will see you guys soon. Stay tuned for my next trip report!
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