Welcome to this new series of flight reports. As many of you may be aware, Delta Air Lines is starting a revenue-based mileage earning program in 2015. Although I wouldn't call myself a true mileage gamer or a cheap Elite as I do buy in premium classes quite often, I have found the constant devaluations of the Skymiles program to be very negative to frequent flyers like me who fly mostly on their own dime. MQDs (Medallion Qualifying Dollars) - treshholds for $ spend to qualify for Elite status - had just started in 2014 and are already being raised for 2015. Add to that the new revenue-based award mileage earnings and the Skymiles program was looking less and less attractive. At the time I booked this flight, I was still undecided as to whether I would stay with Delta as I'd been a loyal Gold then Platinum Medallion with DL for years. So the main goal of this annual trip back to my native region in the Southwest of France was to stretch out the mileage earning with the current 2014 program while I was still getting my 100% Platinum mileage bonus. Basically, earn as much as possible while you still can in 2014 and burn in 2015 and beyond.
I therefore concocted this routing, which is not particularly exotic but serves its purpose of stretching out the mileage earning. I had found a really good deal on Business class with Air France from Montreal and tacked on some DL segments from Washington, DC. In all I saved almost $1000 and got more miles out of the deal.
This option is not ideal if you don't have the time for extra legs or an overnight, but I'd been meaning to go to Montreal and visit some friends of ours, local members of Flight-Report.com. I had several routing options to get from DC to Montreal, but chose to backtrack via ATL for several reasons. The main reason is obviously for the extra miles and the second being that the aircraft all have an F cabin, which is not the case on WAS-LGA-YUL or WAS-MSP/DTW-YUL. The icing on the cake for me was that I would get to ride on DL's recently acquired 717, which is a major draw for the AvGeek factor :-)
Washington Dulles IAD - Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson ATL, Delta Air Lines, A320, First [NO REPORT] Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson ATL - Montréal Trudeau YUL, Delta Air Lines, B717, First [YOU ARE HERE] Montréal Trudeau YUL - Paris Roissy CDG, Air France, A343, Business [COMING SOON] Paris Roissy CDG - Montréal Trudeau YUL, Air France, B744, Business [COMING SOON] Montréal Trudeau YUL - Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson ATL, Delta Air Lines, CRJ900, First [NO REPORT] Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson ATL - Washington Dulles IAD, Delta Air Lines, B738, First [NO REPORT]
I didn't do a report on most of the short legs for lack of excitement and motivation, LOL. I did, however, take a few spotting pics at IAD before heading to the Air France lounge.
And the AF A380…yes, it would have been the logical choice, but I've done it so many times…boooring :-P
Upon arrival in ATL, the FIDS tell us that our flight to YUL is leaving from Concourse E. Since Concourse F is next door, we decide to head over there to enjoy the Sky Deck.
It's a beautiful day and it's definitely pleasant as an AvGeek to get to do some planespotting outdoors while sipping on a cocktail :-)
Vodka-Cranberry…of course :-P
Although a cool design, these triangles are not very good at shading the deck from the hot August sun.
B767-300ER in SkyTeam colors. I've taken this one in J on JFK-LHR before.
B777-200ER at Terminal E
Another B763, a B757, and a B772
As you can see in this picture, the SkyDeck is in full sun in the afternoon. It was getting pretty hot with typical ATL temperatures in the 90s F/30+ C. Luckily it wasn't particularly humid that day.
After some planespotting, it was nice to be able to freshen up with a shower before the next flight, There was no wait for the showers.
We got to our gate a few minutes before the start of boarding.
Here's our beautiful 717.
Hmmm…what's going on here? Oh nice!
Boarding begins right on time and there weren't a ton of gate lice :-)
Here is the F cabin of DL's 717. Not surprisingly, it looks much more fresh and modern than in the AirTran days.
Economy Comfort/Economy cabin
Our seats in 3A/B
Seats 3C/D across the aisle.
Bottle of water on the central armrest as usual.
Love the new bulkhead design
Proudly wearing my Flight-Report tag :-)
Champagne for PDB…in a plastic cup as always on non-longhaul flights
Safety Card. Yep, it's definitely a 717!
We push back early and the taxi time is long, as is usually the case in ATL this time of the evening.
Flying over Atlanta.
Fifteen to twenty minutes after takeoff, our FA comes around to take drink orders. I take a vodka-cran as usual and several minutes, she comes back with a snack basket.
Hmmm….I was surprised because this flight was over 2.5 hours so I thought for sure there was a meal. The FA apologized and told me that it was because the flight leaves after 8. Had it left a little earlier it would have gotten a meal. Oh right…I forgot about that. Lame…
Oh well, I'll entertain myself with drinks and look at the pretty city lights below :-)
The cabin in flight.
Our FA was great and came around many times to check on us and fill our drinks. My glass was never empty.
The vodka-cranberries helped me to forget my growling stomach, and before I knew it we were making our descent towards YUL.
Seems like the weather isn't as nice here as it was in DC or ATL.
We landed and got to the gate early.
One last shot of our B717.
Bienvenue au Québec!
Immigration was super fast. As you can see from this pic, there was noone in line so we were curbside in minutes.
Thanks for reading and see you soon for the next installment!
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines Sky Club (Concourse F)
Atlanta - ATL
Montreal - YUL
An overall good flight with Delta. DL has rarely disappointed me. They have a good product and great people working for them and they know it! That's probably why they know they can get away with the previously mentionned Skymiles devaluations.
I really liked the new 717 cabin, which seems to be the new standard for retrofits (B753, new 739s...) except for that random MD88 floating out there with an even newer seat design in F with a DL widget on the headrest. The only disappointing part of this flight was the lack of a meal, but I should've known that ahead of time. My fault for assuming.
Thanks for reading!
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