Hello, and welcome to another trans-Pacific flight-report from yours truly — this time, it will be an as-quick-as-possible jaunt with Delta from Toronto to Seoul, Korea, in a mix of business and premium economy. I’ll explain this somewhat-odd trip in a minute, but first, let’s do….
DL6285 - YYZ-DTW - 11/20/2017 - Bombardier CRJ-900 - F - You are here DL159 - DTW-ICN - 11/20/2017 - Airbus A350-900 - J - Coming soon DL158 - ICN-DTW - 11/22/2017 - Airbus A350-900 - PE - Coming soon DL6197 - DTW-YYZ - 11/22/2017 - Bombardier CRJ-900 - F - Quick review with above FR
When Delta announced its new A350 Delta One product, I knew I had to find the opportunity to try it. Fortunately, when DTW-ICN came on-sale as the second A350 route (after DTW-NRT), I managed to find a reasonably-priced itinerary — Business class to Seoul, overnight at Incheon, and then back on the same plane the next morning in Delta’s new Premium Select premium economy cabin.
I had to jump at it. Mostly for a chance to experience, and flight-report, both of these new cabin offerings. Fortunately, I got in before Delta decided to drop a “Suites tax” on business class tickets in the new Delta One Suite on the A350. Yay for me.
I’ve recently stopped doing flight-reports on the quick-and-boring short connector flights to and from YYZ, so as not to fill the database with YYZ-DTW and DTW-YYZ reports more than I already have. But I’m making an exception for this particular flight-report, because there’s something new that promises to make the YYZ Terminal 3 transborder zone a bit better, and Id like to get a review of it on the record.
So let’s not waste any more time, shall we? Let’s get right into it.
Arrival, check-in, security
I parked at Pearson a few minutes past 5:00 am, a bit more than an hour before this flight departed. Delta’s check-in is just beyond this point — but no need to stop, as I already had my boarding pass on my phone.
Security with my Nexus card was pretty quick — I was reminded on a recent pass through T1 just how snappy the experience, even on a busy Monday morning, is over at T3. About ten minutes after making it to the airport, I was through, and after a short walk through the duty free section — because of course, all roads must go through duty free — what’s this, now?
Could it really be?
It is! A real non-airline affiliated lounge in the mess that is T3 Transborder! Let’s go upstairs and take a look, shall we?
Plaza Premium Lounge - YYZ Terminal 3 Transborder
Upstairs, I found this. Just opened in the last few weeks, we poor Terminal 3 travelers finally have something — anything (aside from a pretty sad — based on what I’ve seen — Admiral’s Club) in terms of an escape.
Okay, I’m not expecting The Pier or The Private Room, but considering the world of sucktitude that is T3 Transborder, this can’t help but improve the experience!
At the door, my boarding pass is checked, as is my method of access. Well done, American Express Platinum…. you’ve earned yourself another year in my wallet.
The space is small, but at this hour sparsely populated. I don’t think it seats more than about 50 in one small room. But it’s nicely adorned in that Plaza Premium kind of way. My only other time in the lounge, last week on a Sunday late afternoon departure, it was packed to the gills. But not so much at this hour, which is quite welcome.
It’s not an extensive tour. Here’s most of the room.
Some reading materials.
Looking at the space from near the buffet.
Speaking of the buffet… it starts with a fridge with some desserts and drinks — I believe there were beers in here as well, but that was after 11:00, when Ontario’s puritanical alochol laws deem is acceptable for us to have a drink.
Toaster, cereals, breads, muffins and croissants.
The best part of the buffet is the “cook to order” station here. When I was here last, for dinner time, the options were a pasta with pomodoro sauce, hamburger sliders, and a grilled cheese. I had a slider, and it was perfectly acceptable.
I order myself a fried egg over easy, and peruse the rest of the hot buffet. Starting with French Toast, sausages, and baked beans.
Then that staple of lounges everywhere at breakfast time — oatmeal.
Finally, some salads and cream puffs, which seems an odd combination at breakfast, but I think this part of the buffet is the same all day long.
My egg is quickly fried, I accessorize it, and head back to my seat. The seating is brand new and comfortable. Breakfast is pretty decent, and I like having the “made to order” aspect in a lounge like this.
WiFi is just he generic Toronto Pearson WiFi, but it’s fast and free and pretty easy to connect.
After my breakfast, I notice it’s rapidly coming up on boarding time, and we’re leaving from gate A6, which is a bit of a zoo-like holding area before you take a short but cold walk across the tarmac to your plane. So it’s time for me to get out of here.
This Plaza Premium Lounge isn’t great, it isn’t even much — but compared to the rest of Terminal 3 Transborder, it is such a welcome oasis, and I’m quite happy to have it.
At the gate
By the time I make my way down the escalator to A6, boarding is well underway for this flight to Detroit. As I checked in online, and didn’t have to bother with an agent at Pearson, I have to get my documents checked before boarding, so I join the line to the left to do so. By the time I’m through it, we’re boarding Zone 2, and I join the stream to head aboard.
That means a short walk outside, where it’s just about freezing this November morning. But it does mean a pretty cool shot of my ride, a Gojet-operated CRJ-900.
The Flight Report
Flight: DL6285 From: Toronto Pearson (YYZ) To: Detroit Wayne (DTW) Date: 11/20/2017 Aircraft: Bombardier CRJ-900 Registration: N187GJ Seat: 2A ATD (STD): 6:05 (06:15) ATA (STA): 7:42 (07:35)
As I joined boarding late, First Class was almost full by the time I boarded — only the seat across from me on the aisle of row 2 was empty when I boarded. Overheads were needless to say full in First, but the flight attendant greeting me aboard quickly found space in her closet ahead of row 1 for my rollaboard.
For this flight, I was in seat 2A, the sole seat on the port side of the CRJ-900 F cabin. Legroom is pretty adequate.
Settling in, I grab my noise-cancelling headphones, and put on a podcast to kill the time. Pre-departure beverage orders have already been taken for most passengers in the cabin, but mine is quickly taken, and my orange juice is brought to me very quickly.
Having joined the boarding process late, it’s not long after I’m aboard that we’re ready to go. We push back a few minutes early, and taxi out past the end of Terminal 3.
But that’s when we the typical early-morning departure YYZ ATC tricks catch up with us. You see, YYZ allows “regular” departures from 6:00 on — however, for the most part, noise abatement laws don’t actually allow departures before 6:30. As a result, you’ve got a bunch of flights scheduled for 6:00 to 6:30 — the US carriers trying to get to early-morning connections at nearby hubs, Air Transat and Sunwing departures because they can’t get attractive slot times, and some select AC and WS flights as well, kinda building up. Our pilot confirms to us that he’s just been given a wheels up time of 6:53, about 20 minutes from now. So we sit, and we wait. A bit annoying, but it is what it is. My podcasts keep me entertained — and most of my fellow passengers sleep it off.
A few minutes behind schedule, we line up, and away we go into the rapidly-brightening morning sky.
It’s looking like quite a nice day above the clouds.
WiFi is turned on after 10,000 feet, and I currently have a “Domestic” subscription that covers North American flights. So while I’ll be WiFi-free on the trip across the Pacific, I can surf all I want on this 38-minute epic. The corporate shot looks much the same on my iPad as it did on my computer from the lounge.
Out the window, it’s a beautiful sunrise behind us.
Drink orders are taken for those few of us who are awake. A coffee and Baileys for me is quickly delivered — although it’s in a paper cup, part of a very inconsistent but growing downgrade of service on sub-250-mile sectors with Delta. For the first time in my experience, no snacks — not even the usual “coach” cookies and pretzels — were offered on this flight. The coffee was fine, though, but this is a bit of a disappointment, and makes me all the more glad for the new lounge, since there’s a lot of these short early-morning departures in my future, and otherwise, there's no breakfast until I arrive at my connection.
By the time I get my drink, the captain is coming over the PA and announcing that we’ve begun our descent — such is the nature of 38-minute flights. And soon, we’re ducking our way back into the clouds, and out of the warm orange glow of sunrise.
Uniform cloud over Detroit, but not a bad November morning at all.
Garbage is collected, and before too long, we’re on final descent.
And touchdown, about ten minutes behind (Delta’s heavily padded) schedule. They apologize for any inconvenience on the delays, but it’s so minor that I doubt it’s going to be much of a problem for many passengers.
I’m not sure if it was because the field was so empty, or an attempt to “make up time” once we were on the ground, but this was clearly the fastest (in terms of velocity, not time) taxi I’ve ever been a part of. Clearly no speed traps set up on the apron this morning.
And thanks to that hot-rodding taxi, we were quickly pulling into Gate 51, part of the main portion of the McNamara Terminal at DTW, where we parked next to this 717.
When I went to leave, the flight attendant who closeted my rollaboard was waiting by the door with it. I thought that a nice touch.
Since I didn’t have to pink-tag my bag, I didn’t have to wait around, which is nice, because the jetway was unsurprisingly quite cold. One last look back at my ride to Detroit with the sun continuing to rise behind it, before we’re off to the grand adventure, a flight I’m very much looking forward to.
Thanks for joining me for this flight-report, and I hope you’ll join me for the next sector.
Delta (GoJet Airlines)
Plaza Premium Lounge - Terminal 3 Transborder
Toronto - YYZ
Detroit - DTW
It’s hard to either love or hate a short flight like this. I’m so glad to have a lounge now, however humble it may be. But the downgrading of the service on these ultra-short hops by Delta is somewhat disappointing, if not at all surprising.
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