Hello and welcome to the third and last review in this short series of flights.
This year for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, we decided on a trip to Iceland. There would be 6 of us meeting up in Iceland, with 3 flying from Washington, DC. There is no shortage of nonstop flights to Iceland from the DC area, with 2 daily back-to-back Icelandair flights from Washington-Dulles (IAD) and 2 daily WOW Air flights along with 4X weekly Icelandair service from Baltimore-Washington (BWI).
Being a oneworld loyalist, I don't often venture out-of-alliance, but as new American Airlines service from Dallas wasn't due to begin until June 2018, we decided to go with the most convenient option for the outbound flight, a nonstop with Icelandair from IAD. For the return from Iceland, however, we burned some Delta Skymiles which routed us through New York JFK.
This report will cover the second leg of the return with Delta Air Lines–a short hop from JFK to DCA in domestic First.
Having arrived from Iceland over 30 minutes early, and with time saved with Global Entry, we had plenty of time before our connecting flight home to DC. For those who don't have Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check, it is a good idea to allow a good amount of time between flights at JFK Terminal 4 as there is no special security checkpoint after immigration and customs. Passengers must exit the customs area and go upstairs to go through the security checkpoint on the departures level.
The problem with not having a dedicated security checkpoint after customs at T4, unlike some other terminals, is that liquids that were bought at duty-free have now been outside of the secured area and require additional security screening, which slows the process. Duty-free liquids are only accepted as long as they are in the original sealed bags from the duty-free shop.
After security, we turned right and headed towards the lounges located on the mezzanine level.
As the premium cabin on KEF-JFK has been re-branded from "Business" to "Premium Select" there was no access to the Sky Club–we therefore opted for the Wingtips lounge, which we accessed with Priority Pass.
The Wingtips lounge was previously known as the Oasis lounge, prior to undergoing renovations and being taken over by new management a few years ago. I'd previously reviewed the JFK Oasis lounge in these reports:
The Wingtips lounge decor has all been updated and modernized since the Oasis lounge days.
Once nice thing about this lounge is the wall of windows with great views of the tarmac.
The food selection is above average for a U.S. lounge, but not quite as good as I remembered. The only hot option was a soup, whereas there were several hot options available back in the Oasis days, including curry.
However, I appreciated that they had rosé on a warm late-spring day.
Tuna sandwich with a bad sparkling wine
Fifteen minutes before boarding was due to begin we left the lounge and started on the looooong walk to the gate.
The Delta concourse in Terminal 4 is very long–I would say close to a mile, if not longer. Our gate was on the very end of the concourse, so we walked the entire length to get there. There is a shuttle available from one end of the concourse to the other for those who prefer not to walk.
Boarding was delayed a few minutes due to the late arrival of the aircraft.
One thing Delta excels at is getting flights out on time–the second the last passenger from the inbound deplaned, boarding began.
The CRJ-900's cabin sported the attractive new Delta look.
The domestic First class cabin on the CRJ-900 is configured in a 1-2 layout. I had selected one of the solo seats on the left side in the event that we did the "River approach" on landing in DC, which offers great views of the monuments from the left side of the aircraft.
At the seat upon boarding were a small pillow and blanket as well as a bottle of water. There was no pre-departure beverage service, most likely due to the quick turn. Nevertheless, the lack of PDB had an AA-esque feel to it, which I did not expect from DL ^^
Legroom is ok for domestic First with a 37" seat pitch, a bit less than the average domestic F 38" pitch, but acceptable for a regional jet.
DL A330 pulling in a few gates down
Despite a delayed arrival, late start to boarding, and a full flight, we pushed back from the gate right on time.
Holding for passing heavies.
Starting with a KLM B787-9
Then an Etihad A380
The taxi time was typically long for JFK as we waited in a line at least 10-deep for departure.
Once we took off there were some nice views of the airport on a clear sunny day.
Terminal 2 and the Delta remote parking stands where Terminal 3 (the Pan Am Worldport) was previously located.
The loooong Delta concourse
Heading out over the Atlantic for a bit…
…and back over land over New Jersey a few minutes later.
Unlike most flights I've taken in domestic F between NYC and DC, the FAs weren't particularly rushed to begin the drink service on this very short flight. They did not attempt a water run in Y, as I've often seen in the past.
They managed one drink service and a pass of the snack basket and stayed in the galley for most of the flight. I know the flight is only 40 minutes long, but as evidenced in several past reports I've written on this route, on both DL and AA, I've usually had great attentive crews in F that have managed to do at least one refill.
As it took a while for the FAs to get back to the last row of F with drink orders, I didn't have much time to enjoy my drink before we began our descent.
Overflying Baltimore, Maryland
A nice neighbourhood in the northern DC suburb of Potomac, Maryland
I-495, aka the DC Beltway, aka my personal hell, with the typical afternoon traffic jams. Yes, I have the pleasure of spending at least 2 hours on 495 every weekday, woohoo! Anyone who lives in the DC area knows my pain.
Views of the National Cathedral as we line up for the River Approach.
The French Embassy compound and the Georgetown University Hospital.
The Georgetown waterfront on the left and infamous Watergate building on the right.
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Downtown DC and the National Mall with the Lincoln Memorial in the foreground and Washington Monument and Capitol Building in the background.
The Lincoln Memorial
The Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
Living in DC, I've done the River Approach tons of time, but it just never gets old! It's impressive every time. I feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful city.
Taxi time was short as usual and we parked next to this beauty.
Minutes after arriving at the gate we were out and on our way to catch the Metro home. Gotta love the convenience of DCA!
Thanks for reading!
Wingtips Lounge - 4
New York - JFK
Washington - DCA
The flight was fine overall. There's not much to say on a 40 minute flight--the seats were comfortable, and the cabin was fresh and new. I've had better service on this route in F on both DL and AA (mainline and Eagle), but it was by no means bad. I'm glad I selected seats on the left side as we got lucky with the River Approach.
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