The airline with the best average rating is Delta Air Lines with 7.3/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 50 minutes.More information
For those that do not know, I work in Luxembourg but live in Charlotte. This unusual arrangement allows me to fly to Europe every month or so. This time I will be headed back on a CLT-JFK-FRA-LUX routing on Delta and then Lufthansa. For this first leg to JFK, I will be welcomed on board by Delta Airlines (the best carrier of the big US 3). Fasten those seat belts and let’s rotate to JFK!
2. Check In
4. Getting to the Gate
Airline: Delta Airlines (DL)
Departure Gate: A1
Departure Runway: 36R
Scheduled Departure Time: 10:40
Actual Departure Time: 11:01
Scheduled Arrival Time: 12:35
Actual Arrival Time: 12:20
Landing Runway: 24L
Arrival Gate: C61
Scheduled Flight Time: 1hr 55 min
Actual Flight Time: 1 hr 19 min
Delta allows you to select certain seats free of charge. Since, this flight is only 1.5hr I decided to choose the closest free seat to the cockpit. Delta operates a 717 on this route and as such is in a 2-3 arrangement. I aimed for the “ 2” side and was able to secure a window seat that should provide some great views along the way. 16A would be my spot and according to the seat map this was the best I could get unless I wanted to upgrade for $29 or 2,700 miles to Economy comfort + or $84 or 7,900 miles to first. I was tempted but it’s a short flight and best to spend my money elsewhere. 15D was open, but unlike most planes where D is an aisle, it is the middle seat on the left side on the 717. I think I’ll keep my window seat.
At exactly 10:40 the day before, I checked in via the Delta app. On the first screen it tried to up-sell me to an Economy Comfort + seat for the same $29, or 2,700 miles. I again declined as the flight is short. I went through the other usual screens in no time and then at the end checked the seat map one final time. I could grab the first row of the main cabin but felt the $19 surcharge was steep. I was assigned Main Cabin 3 for my boarding zone and had TSA precheck added to my BP. FYI, Main Cabin 3 is the zone right before basic economy fare passengers and is composed of T, X, and Z fares.
I arrived at CLT at 8:44. The airport is still experiencing widespread construction so its best to arrive early. I entered through the "B" doors which just so happen to be right in front of the TSA-Precheck line and a Starbucks. the Precheck security line was almost empty and I was through in just under 3 minutes AND my laptop was screened for explosives.
After exiting security, you are lead to a big atrium that houses many restaurants and serves as the hub of CLT. My Delta flight today would be leaving from the A gates. The A gates are to the right of the atrium. A gates are now split into two sections. The first section (A1-13) is the much older part that is currently undergoing renovation. This is the pier that Delta uses. The other section is the brand new A section where United, Frontier, JetBlue and Southwest leave from. My departure gate is A1, which is only a short 4-5 minute walk from the atrium. This departure gate had older seats that did not house chargers; I found this particular gate to be the exception rather than the rule at the A gates. Plenty of seats were to be found and a small pop-up bar separated A1 and A2 while construction was ongoing.
Boarding was set to begin at 10:00am, however the inbound plane landed just about 15 minutes before that so boarding would be delayed. We eventually started boarding at 10:16, just 24 minutes before scheduled departure. I was starting to worry that we would be delayed but to my amazement the boarding process went very quick. My boarding zone was Main 3, which is the zone directly ahead of Basic Economy passengers. My zone was called at 10:28, 12 minutes after we started. Boarding was a bit chaotic as the signage at the gate did not reflect which zone was currently boarding, so you can image how that went. Even with this chaos boarding was complete at 10:39.
Delta's old AirTran via Southwest 717-200s are in 2-3 configuration in economy and 2-2 for business. the leg room was fine for such a short flight; anything longer than 2 hours or so and I'd suggest grabbing Economy comfort +. Luckily, most of the 717 routes stay under that mark unless you are coming in from Florida to JFK. In the seat pocket were the usual,Sky Magazine, safety card, drink menu, and IFE menu.
I need to start actually measuring the seat and pitch but I'm not sure i'm ready to do that yet. I get embarrassed easily and the thought of breaking out a small tape measure is still another review or two down the line….baby steps. Delta claims 31" pitch which is fine for short hauls. The seats do feature the always wonderful head-rests with adjustable wings (shame on airlines that don't have those in economy).
Delta has a wonderful wifi system. I did not access it on this flight as I wanted to relax and gaze out the window as much as I could. In my previous flights with Delta, I have always been satisfied with the wifi performance. As you could expect with this aircraft, no seatback screens but you could access media via your device. Universal charging ports were located in-between the seats in front of you. However, each row has only 1 outlet on the 2 side (not sure about the 3 seat side), so make sure to claim it before your neighbor does.
Beverage service started just over 20 minutes after take off. One FA started at the front of Economy Comfort + and one started at the first row of the Main Cabin. Luckily being on row 16 meant that I would be served early in the service. I was offered Cheez-its or Biscoff. I chose the cookie and ordered a glass of sparkling water on the side. This was the only in-flight Bev service offered and was sufficient. the FA were fine on this flight, neither good nor bad but solid.
Even though I boarded close to the end, I still found a spot for my overhead luggage. YAY! After a very rapid board, we pushed back only 7 minutes late at 10:47. After quick taxi to 36R we had wheels up at 11:01. The flight was smooth for the most part. Cabin Crew were ordered to take seats for landing a bit early as rough air was expected but it never progressed beyond just light bumps. We touched down at 12:20 landing on 24L. We did a short taxi to terminal 2. Terminal 2 is the C gates served only by Delta. It is a small terminal and old terminal but I guess it gets the job done. Delta also uses Terminal 4 (B gates) for its wide-bodies and select narrow-bodies. We arrived at Gate C61 at 12:29.
I hope you enjoyed this flight. My next report will pick up where this one left off.