Although I am generally loyal to SkyTeam (DL and AF mostly), I had some BA Avios to burn from some OpenSkies flights I had taken back when EC served Washington. I therefore decided to route my flights via London-LHR to use my Avios for my next trip home to the Southwest of France for the 2012 Holidays.
Early morning departure from Washington Reagan National. DCA decorated for the Holidays.
I arrived from DC on this CRJ900. I like the fact that Delta has First Class on all larger RJs. I especially like the solo seats on the A side when travelling alone. I didn't do a FR on this flight, but I have some on this route in French that I will translate at some point.
It's a beautiful and sunny but cold winter day. I have a long layover and originally wanted to satisfy my AvGeek tendencies by going to a nearby park to do some plane-spotting but the 25F outside temperature quickly dissuaded me from doing that. Instead I'll just do some lounge-hopping! There are lots of opportunities to do some spotting from the Terminals at JFK anyway.
Since Delta Regional flights are mostly at the Old and nasty T2, my first stop will be the T2 Sky Club.
A warm welcome from the lounge dragon who prints my BP for my LHR flight because for some reason it wouldn't print out from the kiosk at DCA.
A rare sight…and empty Sky Club! I had a whole room to myself for about two hours!
My HQ for the next few hours.
Mornings are the only time of the day that Sky Clubs have real food on offer (bagels, mini muffins, and toast), the rest of the day it's pretty much just carrot and celery sticks and crackers/cookies.
View from the T2 Sky Club. The Sky Club has a view above the terminal and you can see the tarmac, but if you're a plane-spotter it's not ideal since no windows directly overlook the tarmac.
AF A330-200 arriving at T1 accross the way.
Slowly the Sky Club was starting to fill up so I decided to take a walk over to T1 to see if I could do some spotting there where the traffic is more interesting.
TK 77W in FC Barcelona special livery parked next to the AF 332.
Without going through security you can see some aircraft movements from the windows of the upstairs food court but it's mostly blocked by the roof.
Delta's Terminal 3 (Former Pan Am World Port) as seen from T1. Sadly less than a year later, T3 has been torn down. Yes, it was a run-down terminal, but I believe that it has as much historical value as the TWA terminal that was preserved.
A view of the aircraft from the AirTrain on the way to T5.
Arik Air A340-500, not a very common airline or aircraft.
Air India 77W and Carribean Airlines (Air Jamaica) 738
Brussels Airlines A333 on the Taxiway
I had planned on visiting the TWA Flight Center but found out that the public does not have access and that it is only open for special events. Oh well too bad. I did take a few pics of the outside.
The old and the new: TWA Flight Center with an SQ A380 in the background.
After my little visit of T5 I headed to T4 continue my lounge-hopping.
The Oasis Lounge. The exterior is a bit tacky but it's a pretty good lounge, at least compared to Sky Clubs.
Although at the time the new Delta T4 Concourse was not open yet, DL did have some flights departing from T4 and the Oasis lounge accepted DL pax travelling International Business Class. I've heard some say that SkyTeam Elite+ travelling in Y could get in as well but have never tried.
Another empty lounge! It's my lucky day!
My VIP section just for me :-)
Yay! Real food….you won't find that in the Sky Club :-P
One of the great things about this lounge IMO is the great view of the tarmac. For an aviation dork like me, sipping wine while watching the parade of aircraft roll by is a great way to spend the afternoon. If you're not a big fan of plane-spotting I invite you to scrooooooll :-)
An Emirates A380 landing, nice!
And here it comes!
A China Airlines B744 pushing back
Swiss International Airlines A333 pushing back
Pakistan International Airlines 77L
Virgin America A319
The corporate pic, a Flight-Report tradition. The headline FR at that moment was an EK flight in First by Leadership, one of the site's founders. So we have EK on the screen and EK in the background outside.
A Virgin Atlantic B744 arriving from London-LHR
Around 4PM a Chicken Tikka Massala and a soup are brought out.
It's rush hour at JFK as night begins to fall.
From the lounge you can also see the control tower and its colored lighting effects.
A quick shower before heading back to T3 for departure. The Oasis lounge only has one shower but there was no wait as there weren't many people in the lounge.
A short hop on the SkyTrain and I'm back at T3.
The flight is showing on time.
Security is quick as there are only a few pax ahead of me. Once airside I stop at my gate to check out my plane on the way to the Sky Club. It looks to be a 763ER in SkyTeam livery.
There's about half an hour before boarding and luckily the Sky Club is next to the gate so I stop in for a quick drink or two…or three :-)
My plane in SkyTeam livery seen from the lounge
The Sky Club is pretty full at this time because of all the TATL departures.
A DL 744 headed to TLV on the way back to the gate.
Boarding started on time. I had booked my ticket only a few weeks before and was lucky to get one of the last window solo-seats. I prefer the seats in odd-numbered rows because they are against the window and have the large armrest/table between the seat and the aisle so you are more isolated. I find that it's easier to sleep as you don't have anyone knocking into you walking in the aisle.
A warm welcome at the L1 door by two FAs. This was my first time in a retrofitted 763ER and I was very impressed by the big difference the new cabin made. Despite its age, the plane looks and smells new.
My seat 9A. Another good thing about this seat is that it is not aligned with the seats next to it and is actually further back which leads to an even greater feeling of privacy. Not to mention that, unlike on the 764s where the restrooms are in the back, the restrooms on the updated 763ERs are in the front so you don't have any foot traffic to deal with.
The cabin from my seat.
The Economy Comfort cabin
Upon arriving at my seat there is a comfort kit, a bottle of water, noise-cancelling headphones, a large pillow and blanket already at the seat.
The seat in full-flat position
IFE remote in the armrest. Note that the IFE is touchscreen as well but a bit far away.
A few minutes after settling in to my seat an FA comes to offer a pre-departure drink with a choice of champagne, orange juice, or water. Champagne for me :-)
During the boarding process the Chief purser comes to greet each J pax individually and hand out the menus. Here is tonight's menu
Despite a mostly full flight, boarding is completed about 15 minutes before scheduled departure time. Right before door close the purser returns to take the dinner orders. I like this method better than on some airlines where orders are not taken ahead of time.
The seats next to me stay empty.
Ladies and Gentlemen the main cabin door has now been closed. Please ensure that your seatbelts are securely fastened and that all seat backs are in the full upright position.
Early pushback while the safety video plays. The new safety video had come out but was not on all aircraft yet at that time.
Surprisingly the taxi time is not as long as I'm used to at JFK, only a little over half an hour. Some night views of Long Island on climb our of JFK
Hot towels are distributed shortly after take off and before dinner drink orders are taken.
More champagne :-) with some warm nuts. Nuts are just better warm.
Note that because it is a short TATL flight, the lights are turned out in J. In Y the lights remained on during the diner service. The light from the Y+ cabin could be a little bothersome to some but then again that's what the mask is for in the comfort kit.
First Course: Curried Crab Salad with almonds and canteloupe, cream of vegetable soup, and mixed green salad accompanied by a white Bordeaux The crab cake/salad is good but a bit dry. The soup is delicious–in my experience soups are always very good in BusinessElite.
Main Course: Beef Tenderloin with Béarnaise sauce, gremolata risotto, and broccolini with garlic accompanied by a Cabernet-Sauvignon The beef was tender and well cooked with some pink like I like it and the sauce and risotto were delicious.
Desert: Crème Brûlée Cheesecake accompanied by a desert wine and a Cognac for after the meal. The cheesecake was very good. I could have also chosen a cheese course, but I was stuffed from eating so much. There is also the option of an ice-cream sundae but I'm lactose-intolerant so I try not to eat too much dairy although I do eat some (like cheesecake ^^)
An overall excellent meal. Delta sure likes to feed you!
After dinner I put on some music on the IFE and quickly fell asleep….the champagne, wine, and cognac helped :-) The seat is comfortable in the flat position but some may find it a bit narrow.
When I woke up about 4 hours later I found a card to use the Fast-track lane at immigrations and an invitation to the Yotel which Delta uses as an arrivals lounge in London.
Breakfast is on the light side but after such a heavy dinner I was totally fine with that as I was not very hungry. Warm croissants are distributed from a basket.
The lights of London and its suburbs in the very early morning hours.
Early landing and arrival at our gate where we parked next to an Air Mauritius A340
Our plane in the early morning light. Bye bye N175DZ
Since I have a French passport I opted to take the European Passport holders queue instead of the Fast-Track lane as it was much shorter. I didn't have any checked bags so I was at the Yotel in just a few minutes where I was able to take a shower and a quick power nap before my next flight. I really like the choice of the Yotel as a arrivals lounge. I much prefer the privacy and the ability to take a nap and shower in a quiet place than hang out in a lounge with a bunch of groggy people at 6AM.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think–leave a comment :-)
Delta Air Lines
Independent The Oasis
New York - JFK
London - LHR
Flight on-time: early departure and arrival Comfort: Full-Flat with direct aisle access. The seat is a bit narrow in the shoulder area when in the lie-flat position, however. Catering: Delicious and generous portions IFE: Good choice of movies, music, etc, though screen is a bit small. Crew: Great, very professional and attentive. My glass was never empty which is always a good thing!
Lounges: The Oasis lounge is very good by US standards with real food. The Yotel cabin hotel at LHR is a really great idea. The 2 free hours are just enough time to take a quick power nap and recuperate from a short TATL flight. You also have the option of adding on 4 hours for just 32 pounds (so a total of 6 hours for 32GBP, not bad).
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