The summers are always an interesting time. Months of pretty much nothing going on (if you are a high schooler), or months of a lot of new experiences to be learnt. The latter was the name of the game in 2016 when I went back home to India for an internship with IndiGo. Things were planned differently in 2017.
AN UNLUCKY SUMMER?
Uh oh, here we ago again! An unlucky me heading for another trip back to India? What could possibly go wrong?! Well, a lot apparently. Everything from significant, to somethings fairly small. Well, a recap of the bad luck that marred me. While returning back to the USA in early 2016, Jet Airways had significant network wide delays, which meant my BOM-BLR flight was changed. Fast forward to the summer, there was the infamous SG488 episode, in addition to delays at MUC and ORD, both of which were on the same day. And how can we forget my girlfriend’s eventful start to her trip to India in December 2016? The frozen plane in FAR, a horrible experience at ORD, finally reaching home 2.5 days late. But more on these over the course of this brand new series! Here’s what you can expect over the course of the next few months, WARNING! Contains spoilers :)
I will talk about the internationals later on, but for now, let us jump right in to the domestics, the Delta domestics!
With the internationals set, it was on to search for domestic flights. Get to New York, and then get back from Washington DC. I selected the cheapest itinerary from GFK to JFK (heh). This happened to be a CRJ-700 to MSP, followed by an A319 to Boston and New York JFK. The Boston part might’ve been excessive, but hey anything for a cheaper itinerary, an extra flight and new airport, right?! This was what the one way itinerary looked like: DL4453 GFK MSP 1305 1416 CRJ-700 13MAY17 DL1529 MSP BOS 1515 1859 A319 13MAY17 DL1683 BOS JFK 1925 2057 A319 13MAY17
UNLCUKY 1: THE UNNECESSARY PHONE CALL
I had figured that the MSP-BOS plane would then operate the BOS-JFK flight. FlightRadar24 confirmed this. A repeat registration was on the cards. Nooooo! However, lady luck smiled at me: the BOS-JFK flight had a time change which meant I was eligible to change my ticket for free. This meant a call to Delta was in order….
The nice lady was bent on putting me on a MSP-BOS-JFK itinerary, however I told her that since my final destination was in fact New York, why didn’t she put me on a MSP-JFK routing to begin with anyway? It was a bit of a long hold, but then I was confirmed on DL411 from MSP to JFK. The revised itinerary looked like this: DL4453 GFK MSP 1305 1416 CRJ-700 13MAY17 DL411 MSP JFK 1515 1908 MD88 13MAY17 As you can see, DL411 was onboard a McDonnell Douglas MD-88! For the record, DL411 was a MSP-JFK-PRG flight, with the second leg being operated by a B767-400ER.A new equipment type for me, and this worked out for me so well. I booked an AirBnB close to JFK, which meant more Delta SkyMiles!
UNLUCKY 2: THE CRJ-700 REMAINS ELUSIVE (a)
And since this was a summer filled with some unfortunate luck, the second change bummed me out a little. The CRJ-700 got swapped for a CRJ-200ER, a plane I have been on way too much. This was not the first time I had a CRJ-700 swapped for a CRJ-200, this happened back in December 2015 as well. The larger sibling would’ve been nice, but I knew I had the CRJ-700ER guaranteed on IAD-MSP, but more on this later.
Finals week complete, dorm room cleaned and everything packed up, I headed for some quick grocery shopping for when I got back. N675BR would operate DL4453 to GFK. Not again! I had to take what I got.
ONLINE CHECK IN
After moving in, I checked in everywhere I could: Delta, Etihad, whatever. I managed to snag SEQ1 on some of the flights, which is a bit of novelty :) N685BR reduced by ten, and N675BR was assigned to my flight to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I shall see myself out for that terrible pun.
Or not? Onwards with this trip report :) N675BR had this rotation for the day: DL4686 RAP MSP 0730 1010 DL4453 MSP GFK 1115 1231 DL4453 GFK MSP 1310 1424 DL4896 MSP DLH 1525 1617 DL4896 DLH MSP 1730 1830 DL3545 MSP RST 1955 2043
DEPARTURE DAY - CHECK IN AND SECURITY
Following a nice & heavy brunch at the Flying J Cafe, I was off to the airport. My lovely girlfriend unfortunately was not able to make it to India with me this time. she dropped me off at the airport at around 1130am, a good 1hr40min before the flight. In fact, I was so early for this flight, there was no one at the Delta check in. No one at Allegiant either, they had no flights that day. I took this emptiness opportunity to take some pictures of the Grand Forks Airport terminal. The Byron G. Dorgan terminal was opened back in 2011.
Some more passengers showed up here and there, before the ground staff finally showed up at 1135 hours. In shorts! Being a warm day in Grand Forks, I couldn’t really blame them. :) There was just the one friendly agent at the time, no one else was around to handle the….rush :) ID checked, destination confirmed, boarding pass and baggage tags printed, it was off to security at 1140 hours….
….however, even the TSA weren’t ready! :D They opened gates at noon and the few of us were screened. This barely took 4 or 5 minutes. It was a nice & smooth start to this trip.
The passenger terminal filled up with the 48 passengers heading to Minneapolis on the CRJ. Two of them happened to be my coworkers! Small cities do this to you, a lot. With absolutely nothing on the tarmac, expect for maybe the ground vehicles and whatnot. Grand Forks Ground, empty as ever!
Right on cue, just about four or five minutes before its scheduled arrival time, N675BR landed in Grand Forks and taxied to Gate 2. The 15.3 year old birdie made in Montreal (Canada) was turned around within the next few minutes, and pre-boarding calls were made with half an hour to go for boarding.
A laid back turnaround
Zone wise boarding started at 1246, with 24 minutes to departure. The TSA shut shop - they didnt have anything going on till 4pm! I waited to be the last passenger to get onboard - I’d be spending plenty of time on planes anyway! ‘Am I the last to board?’‘Yeah, pretty much!’ said the ground staff. Boarding was completed in around 8 minutes.
I took my seat 12D with 13 minutes to departure. The Captain made his announcement - it would be a quick 45 minute hop to the twin cities. MSP was reporting variable winds at 4 knots, few clouds at 25000 feet, 10 miles visibility and temperature of 70F (21C in normal terms).
Our flight attendant for the flight - Tammy - was very nice and interactive. Very often does one find a hardly interested flight attendant on these flights, but Tammy from Fargo was legit happy to be around. She had done quite a few of these MSP-ND flights. The fact that she was from Fargo also made sure we were in Grand Forks, and not in Grand Rapids or Forks Grand or anything. :)
We pushed back nice and early at 1304 hours, 6 minutes before time. Anything to make up the minutes here and there, little by little, since the connection in MSP was all of 59 minutes. Fired up the engines and promptly taxied to Runway 17R for departure. 'Grand Forks Ground SkyWest Forty-Four Fifty-Tree is ready to taxi with information LIMA'
AVflight Grand Forks
UND Aerospace - Bravo Ramp
UNLCUKY 3: DELTA DELAYS TO NEW YORK!
And this is where things started to go a little downhill - a ten minute delay was announced as we waited for departure, thanks to UND’s many Skyhawks and Archers helping students learn how to fly. It was 1310 hours, departure time. This however was nothing compared to what I had just gotten in my email: DL411 to New York JFK was delayed by 2 hours. A departure of 1715 hours. A technical fault? Who knows.
Phone back in airplane mode, we lined up with Runway 17R and took off in to the windy skies at 1321 hours, 11 minutes late. A southwest course was set as we climbed to 23000 feet, before finally turning southeast.
Other than the bumps due to warm-ish winds, it was a pretty uneventful flight. This was my first time on any form of Delta plane in about 9 months, and I was curios to see what new offerings they had (if any). The magazine for sure stood out - two full pages about the MD88! 25 minutes in to the flight, 1345 hours - I was the last to receive a beverage and snack - cookies and ginger ale it was.
Seatback pocket contents -
Arrival preparations started just 30 minutes in to the flight, as the first officer came around on the PA system and briefed us on similar weather conditions as noted about an hour ago.
Lined up with Runway 12L as I saw a lone MD-88 parked in the distance: that would be the MD-88 that took me to JFK (or so I thought). Gate C5 was also empty, so I knew that was N916DE. Smooth landing at 1410 hours, a flying time of 49 minutes and 14 minutes before scheduled arrival time. Docked at B12 - the flight attendant requested us to keep window shades closed and air vents open on the very warm day.
A bit of a race to the gate (we got beat..)
I thanked the flight crew and headed out - I had some extra 2 hours to kill so it was off to Concourse G - the big planes! A Spirit yellow taxi passed by and N675BR was being prepared for its next hop to Duluth, Minnesota.
Off to Golf! :D
FlightRadar24 history -
Grand Forks - GFK
Minneapolis - MSP
Pretty standard from SkyWest - other than the small traffic delay at UND they did everything that they had to - which is always to getting passengers over safely. I quite liked the Sky magazine on this one, and the crew member on this one actually seemed enthusiastic abut serving this flight.
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