Going to be a three-parter today with lots of firsts, which, of course, I’m always looking for. An early morning from Columbus out to Atlanta, then Salt Lake City, and finally, Kalispell, MT.
Left the house at about 4:50 a.m. on a pretty chilly morning for this summer here in Columbus. Got to CMH at about 5:15 and my dad parked to go in with me. The really crazy part of the story is that he is flying Northwest a little later in the morning with my brother, sisters and step mom, while I had my dad’s SkyMiles to use so I went on DL.
My dad went over to talk to the NW counter to negotiate seat assignments and I went to the DL counter to check in. Pretty easy. Like most of Port Columbus. No lines for the kiosks. Had three boarding passes printed out in less than a minute.
I was surprised to see the “NO FF CREDIT” line stamped on all of my boarding passes. I’ve never used an award ticket, and I thought you’d get credit. That’s crap.
I went back over to the NW counter and said “I’m gonna beat you” to my dad. See, his NW flight is due into FCA at 1:08 p.m., my DL flight at 1:01 p.m. So we were really racing. This was serious.
I retraced my steps back to the security checkpoint at concourse C, where the line had grown. It was full by CMH standards. It took about 10 minutes to get through. No problems. But now I only had 5 minutes before the door supposedly closes.
I wanted to spend some time in concourse C, where I haven't departed from since, gheesh, like the 90s. I arrived in there a couple years back when I took DL back from MCO. I had a few minutes to look around. Midwest has moved into concourse C. That's interesting. Out the windows, we had the Star Alliance US Airways Express ERJ-170 at the gate this morning.
There was one 737, two ERJ-170s, two ERJ-145s and an Air Canada Jazz Dash 8 for the three United gates. That's kinda crazy.
I walked straight down to gate C55 after making a quick stop at the restroom. There were people standing around the podium. The sign at the gate said the flight was oversold. It was 5:45. I got nervous and I stepped right up. I asked, "Are you boarding everybody?" The agent said, "Groups one through three, yeah." Those people standing around must have been in group four. Needless worry.
Walked straight on down the jetway and into 16D, next to an older businessman.
We pushed back early, taxied to good old runway 28R and were off. Just before crossing over the west outerbelt, we turned south towards The ATL.
We were offered peanuts. Unexpected on this flight. I looked out the window and shut my eyes for most of the flight.
Our final approach took us right past downtown Atlanta. The skyline zoomed right past my window.
We landed on 26R and headed to gate B18.
There were a lot of planes at the UA gates. There were more RJs that aren't pictured.
Everyone was off the plane by 7:20. I thought the screens at the gate areas in ATL with personalized connecting flight information were cool. These were new to me:
Time to explore. I walked down most of the B concourse, walked underground to the C concourse and then it was already time to go to concourse A for my SLC flight.
Delta Air Lines flight 1105
Depart: Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson, GA (ATL)
Arrive: Salt Lake City International, UT (SLC)
Departure time (actual): 8:30 a.m. EDT (8:55 a.m. EDT)
Arrival time (actual): 10:17 a.m. MDT (11:12 a.m. MDT)
Departure gate: A2
Arrival gate: D8
Equipment: Boeing 767-400, N833MH
Load factor: 100%
This was my first flight on a 767-400. This was exciting. This jet is just a monster. It's like an overweight, deadly crocodile. That's what comes to my mind, at least.
Anyway, the gate area was packed. The standby list was about 25 names long. I stood around until most people boarded. I didn't hear any calls for volunteers or that the flight was oversold.
This was the first time I've heard automated boarding announcements. How lame. People are too lazy to even speak now?
There was the usual frenzy of boarding a widebody. Nothing unusual. I made just a few steps back to 26G and of course, looked out the window.
It passed 8:30 and one of the FAs said they were "having trouble processing the paperwork." We didn't push back until almost 9.
We headed for 26L, past the DL hangars.
We sat on the runway for a while, then powered up and shot off.
We hit a little bit of chop about 15 minutes after takeoff but nothing bad. Here's a shot of the cabin:
The flight attendants came around with a drink and snack service about 45 minutes into the flight. A peppy, short-haired flight attendant came through first with a choice of cheese on wheat crackers, Biscoff cookies or peanuts. I took the cheese on wheat. I was surprised they offered free snacks. With US Airways charging for drinks, I don't know how Delta does this. It must be because it is a flight over three hours. If that still justifies anything.
The drink cart followed right behind the snack lady and I got a big fancy cup of water.
The movie being shown was "Definitely, Maybe." A lot of people around me were watching it, put I chose just to type this report, watch DVDs of "The Office," listen to my iPod and look out the window.
Another snack and drink service came through after the movie was over. Again -- shocked. More free stuff?
This time I got the Biscoff cookies. This might be very old news, but I thought it was really, really neat how they print the Delta widget on the cookie. I almost wanted to save one to put it in my airline collection, but then I ate it.
As we came down for descent, I had the Great Salt Lake straight out my window. I was sitting on the right side of the plane and we were approaching from the north. We paralleled the lake for a good 15 minutes before coming in to SLC.
It was a pretty easy landing for the big boy on 16L. Just the normal bounce upon touchdown.
We taxied over to gate D8. People were anxious to make connections. We made one little stop before we got to the gate and people jumped up like there were hot coals on their feet. They started running forward with their bags. The FA came on and almost shouted: "We need everyone to return to their seats. The fasten seat belt sign has not been turned off. Take your bags out of the aisle. It's a safety issue." Forty-five seconds later we were at the gate.
It was actually pretty orderly getting off. It was 11:14 when I was stepping onto the jetway, the time my flight to FCA was departing.
I had to get the reg number. I turned left towards the end of the D concourse to look out the window. OK, now run! I was off to the E gates to see if my flight was still there. Round a corner to the right, down some stairs, another right, talk to an agent - it was 11:18.
Me: "Did Kalispell leave yet?"
Her: "Kalispell? Hmmm. Yes, it's gone. What's your last name?
Her: "You're on the next flight to Kalispell that leaves at 2:52 out of gate E65."
Me: "Thank you."
Delta Connection flight 3796
Depart: Salt Lake City International, UT (SLC)
Arrive: Kalispell/Glacier National Park, MT (FCA)
Departure time (actual): 2:52 p.m. MDT (2:52 p.m. MDT)
Arrival time (actual): 4:34 p.m. MDT (4:30 p.m. MDT)
Departure gate: E65/Door 37
Arrival gate: 2
Equipment: CRJ-200, N416SW
Load factor: 80%
Great. Now I had some time to explore SLC, which I had really wanted to do. I have never been here before and it's always so exciting to see a new airport. I walked the entire length of all the concourses. An AA flight to DFW was delayed, an NW Airbus to DTW was boarding, a US CRJ arrived. But there were not too many Delta mainline flights. It looks like they have really cut back at SLC, or it was just in between banks. Probably a combination.
This, however, was a picture I took when I first got there. Obviously during a bank:
I went back to the DL Connection gates and got a paper and charged my laptop. A lot of hustle and bustle down here in another RJ basement. It wasn't a bad facility though.
I got a boarding pass about an hour before my flight from the gate agent. She called me back about 10 minutes later to move me to 8A so a family could sit together. Boarding started about 25 minutes before take off time.
This was crazy. The lady tore off my boarding pass in the main terminal building at gate E65. She told me were boarding out of door 37. I walked past her and into a hallway that clusters about six gates together. From there, you turn right into the massive ground boarding extension. It's so big it splits off into two fingers, a la American's Chicago terminal. People going this way, people crossing over, people getting lost.
It's tough for inexperienced pax. Fun for me.
I walked out into the bright sun of Salt Lake City and up and onto my CRJ.
I took my exit row seat and was ready for the ride. Man, these CRJs are small. I just can't say it enough.
We pushed back on time and made a taxi out to 34R. They switched directions since I landed. We zoomed by the terminal and took off to the north, again with a view of the Great Salt Lake out my window.
We made a few turns to get a little further west to heads towards Kalispell. It was really an easy flight. Great views, too. I looked down over snow-covered mountaintops the whole way. I watched a little more of "The Office" too. More snacks on this flight. We had the same choice we had on the ATL-SLC flight. I got more cheese crackers with water.
It was a great approach into FCA. We came in parallel to the airport, on the east side. I could easily see the field out my window. It's a small one, so it's tough to see in this picture:
On the other side, mountains about 5 miles from our wingtip. We passed by the airport so we could turn around and land to the south. We made a big bank and a good landing on runway 20.
It was a quick left turn and we parked at gate 2.
We were here in the really cool little airport of Kalispell, MT. I got my bags and was off for a good weekend with family.
This is the best place to have a vacation. Clear skies, big mountains and snow in June. And congratulations to my cousin Andy and Kate. They got married.
I happened to be on the same flight as my aunt coming back to MSP. She lives in St. Paul, but was going on to BUF today to spend a week in Chautauqua, NY. That sounds like a good name for an airline.
My aunt Sue came from her hotel and picked me up at my hotel in Whitefish at about 6:30 a.m. It only takes 10-15 minutes to get to the airport and we were there with no problems.
I slid just in front of a school group of cross country runners to check-in at about 6:50.
Easy enough. I was on my way and waiting for my aunt to return her rental car and get checked in. We stopped and had some quick breakfast outside security as we still had plenty of time and the security line was not bad.
Security was a breeze except for Aunt Sue forgetting she can't bring coffee through. That at least made things interesting.
We walked up the stairs and over to gate 3. We had a little while longer to wait until the agents would get up there from the downstairs ticket counter. I took more pictures.
I just love the old Northwest signage:
As my aunt aptly pointed out, this is going to be a valuable antique real soon.
We got a boarding call of "all rows, all passengers" after the first class boarding. I sat around some more so I could not sit around so much inside the plane. Eventually, my aunt and I boarded.
I swapped seats with one of the girls from the cross country group and sat in 16A. There was no one in the other seats on my side so my aunt took 16C. It was pretty comfortable.
These guys are laser sharp. We pushed back exactly at 8:15. We made a left turn away from the gate and out to runway 20. Another normal takeoff on the A319.
What followed was great. A big left turn over some glaciers and overhead views of the peaks. It was a good way to say goodbye to the mountains.
Pretty uneventful ride the rest of the way over. Some turbulence about an hour in as there was some weather over North Dakota. I declined the drink service. I kept tying away at this fun report.
We had a pretty straight descent into MSP. Over the Mississippi and down gently on 30R.
We made a taxi on a crowded ramp that took us across to the other side of the airport. We passed a 744 on the way.
We parked at G14 and they let us off.
I then walked every single step of MSP. I love this airport. Great architecture and so many neat little areas to check out. From G14, I turned right, went down to the end of G, went back and across the skyway, through concourse C, downstairs and up and again to concourse B, a left into to concourse A, back through the entirety of C, up through the variety of concourse E, through the shops between E and F, through the international gates of G and finally to concourse F. You can really do a lot in one day.
Here are some of the pictures I took along the way:
It was almost time to board when I made it to gate F1.
Northwest Airlines flight 766
Depart: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP)
Arrive: Detroit Metro, MI (DTW)
Departure time (actual): 2:15 p.m. CDT (2:25 p.m. CDT)
Arrival time (actual): 5:11 p.m. EDT (5:21 p.m. EDT)
Departure gate: F1
Arrival gate: A8
Equipment: A320, N326US
Load factor: 95%
It was crowded in the gate area. People clustered in front of the podium as usual. I thought maybe they'd be oversold. Nope.
They boarded rather lazily, calling first class, then those who need assistance, then elites, then all rows. There wasn't much attention paid as to when each of these groups was done boarding, or, if there was anyone who was boarding at all when some of these groups were called. There was quite a backup in the jetway that extended all the way out to the terminal so I knew I wasn't going to go anywhere. I sat around, and around until that line died down. It eventually did and I was the last person to board.
More backup on the plane as people couldn't figure out overhead bins. Everywhere I looked, there were NW pilots and FAs riding the ferry. That was funny.
I made my way on back to 21F and slid in. For some reason it felt like there was less leg room on this A320 compared to the A319 I just flew. This guy was definitely older, for sure, than the 319.
The flight deck said there was a "minor mechanical" problem with the galley so we were delayed ever-so-slightly. The door was closed about 10 minutes late and we pushed back about 10 minutes after that. I like seeing what's different at the E gates:
We made a taxi back to 30R and didn't have much of a wait. We took off and made a turn to the right for some spectacular views. The Mississippi River, my aunt's house, St. Paul, and we circled around long enough to see Minneapolis and the Metrodome. It was great.
A drink service came through and I decided to get a cranberry juice. The man handed me a full can and a cup of ice. Not 10 minutes later, the FAs were asking for my cup back. I knew this flight was short, but I didn't think it was that short. It turned out we still had some time until we needed to put our tray tables up.
We flew through some pretty tall clouds on descent.
We landed on 4L and there was a huge storm cloud out the left side of the plane. You could easily see where the rain was.
Big bolts of lightning came down just beyond the field.
We headed away from the storm and towards the terminal on a pretty long taxi. We arrived at gate A8 and another of the many MSP-DTW flights was done.
Northwest Airlines flight 1447
Depart: Detroit Metro, MI (DTW)
Arrive: Port Columbus International, OH (CMH)
Departure time (actual): 7:16 p.m. EDT (8:02 p.m. EDT)
Arrival time (actual): 8:15 p.m. EDT (8:54 p.m. EDT)
Departure gate: A67
Arrival gate: B36
Equipment: DC9-50, N766NC
Load factor: 90%
So I was in the World Gateway for the first time. I have waited a long time for this. It was cool, but it was much of the same. Just a big long line of the same. I liked the newness of it all, though.
I rode the train from A8 down to the middle of the concourse.
I then walked underneath the taxiway to concourse B. This is freaky. They want this to be an aquarium really bad.
After checking out B, I walked down to my gate. These are the biggest TVs I have seen at an airport. Pretty nice, if you like cable news.
I was at my gate about an hour before my flight. About 30 minutes before the flight, the agent announced that we would be boarding late because the crew was late arriving. She told the pax to be back in the gate area by 7:30.
At 7:35, we began to board.
I actually didn't board last or next to last this time and I went down, was greeted by two FAs and got to 24A. The door closed just after eight.
We taxied to 3L and followed an NW 757 off the runway. We got up, turned right and were treated to a spectacular view of downtown Detroit.
The crew brought around little containers of orange juice and water. I have never seen water like this.
I don't know why they even serve these on the flight. Save the money.
We cruised for about 10 minutes and then descended on Columbus. We went out east of the airport and turned around to line up for 28L.
It was a great arrival back home and we made a right turn off to taxi. Two Southwest departures were still getting ready to head out near 9 p.m. We parked at the left spot of gate B36 as the CRJ from MEM would be using the other half of B36 to RON. You could see the abandoned Skybus area.
Nothing was left departing out of concourse B. I thought I might catch some delayed US Airways pax still sitting around. The flight to LGA was delayed, but on the taxiway and ready to takeoff.
I stayed around inside security and went back down to talk to the NW agent that was waiting for the rest of the RONs and asked her what time the MSP flight was expected. The rest of my family was on that flight this time. She said 9:40. It was about 9:15. A little bit too long to stay by the gate. Plus I had to get my bag and didn't want it to get stolen. So I got my bag, went to the parking garage and watched the MSP flight land.
DL and NW did a good job. It's great to have this service to Kalispell.
If only writing my college essays was like this.
It's funny when I tell people I love planes and they think I'm weird.
BAKJet From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 740 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 13739 times:
Quoting Bluejackets (Thread starter): With US Airways charging for drinks, I don't know how Delta does this. It must be because it is a flight over three hours. If that still justifies anything.
I've gotten served snacks on delta flights that were just about and hour long. (I believe CVG-ORF was the shortest). In my opinion DL has better service than CO (although I'm sure many will disagree with me).
StarAlliance38 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1445 posts, RR: 4 Reply 5, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 13528 times:
Great TR!! I try to get my award ticket soon with NWA. I need 2018 miles!!!
Quoting Bluejackets (Thread starter): This time I got the Biscoff cookies. This might be very old news, but I thought it was really, really neat how they print the Delta widget on the cookie. I almost wanted to save one to put it in my airline collection, but then I ate it.
Hah, I saved my US Airways cookies from my free FC upgrade. The FA told me to get some for my companions stucj in Economy, but they didn't want, so I kept one I also have a US Airways Club mint
Quoting Bluejackets (Thread starter): This was the first time I've heard automated boarding announcements. How lame. People are too lazy to even speak now?
Did yours sound like a human? In ORF, I flew DL for the first time in 2006 and the ABC (auto. boarding call) really freaked me out. It didn't really sound like a human lol
Quoting Bluejackets (Thread starter): After checking out B, I walked down to my gate. These are the biggest TVs I have seen at an airport. Pretty nice, if you like cable news.
O yeah, those giant Daktronics screens!! That's one of the things I love about DTW. If I can connect there again, I can get my award ticket
IndyWA From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 346 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 13341 times:
Quoting Bluejackets (Thread starter): The flight attendants came around with a drink and snack service about 45 minutes into the flight. A peppy, short-haired flight attendant came through first with a choice of cheese on wheat crackers, Biscoff cookies or peanuts. I took the cheese on wheat. I was surprised they offered free snacks. With US Airways charging for drinks, I don't know how Delta does this. It must be because it is a flight over three hours. If that still justifies anything.
Actually, service standards are based on mileage, not duration. So CMH/IND-ATL are peanuts only vs something like AUS-ATL would be the choice of peanuts/biscoff/crackers.
10 of them will be repainted and refurbished to fly for Shuttle America's UA side. As for the rest, well that's a question our management doesn't know yet (along with the former F9 170's of RWs). At least if they DO know, they aren't telling us yet.