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Connecting In ATL, Right Before The Snowstorm  
User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2269 posts, RR: 7
Posted (4 years 5 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 11406 times:

On February 12th, at 5AM, I woke up after only 4 hours of sleep, to take the bus to MDW. After checking I had all the documents I needed, I left towards the bus stop on 55th Street. I caught the 6.30 bus #55, destination Midway Airport. After about 40 minutes, I got to the airport, not before seeing a huge line for security while on the bus, going underneath the walkway where the security line was. Anyway, having arrived at the airport, I needed to print my boarding pass, which I did at one of the self-service check-in desks DL has at MDW. I'm sure not many people (if any) connect in ATL to go to Kansas City, but how, oh how, could I refuse an MD-90, even if I had to wake up at five in the morning? I'm an enthusiast, and if I flew on the MD-90 before, I did so only once... I can't quite remember.

Anyway, the line before security was moving pretty fast, as there were about eight checkpoints you could choose from... But not before encountering an agent to check your ID... Who didn't know a Green Card was a legal form of ID for flying... At least his colleague did... And if not, I had a state-issued ID anyway, so who cares? Still, it's stupid not to know your own rules.

The guys/girls at the checkpoint seemed to care as much about security as a gazelle did about its feature as prey for lions in a prominent National Geographic documentary. At least it meant the checkpoint went quickly, even though it did not at all make me feel any safer.

Flight # 176:
DL2079 KMDW/KATL
MD-90, N913DN
Seat:33A
Gate C1
Departure from Gate: 0938
Take-Off: 0942
Landing: 1213
Arrival At Gate: 1220
Gate B7

Flight #177:
DL1834 KATL/KMCI
MD-88, N990DL
Seat:28E
Gate B22
Departure from Gate: 1350
Take-Off: 1503
Landing: 1544
Arrival at Gate: 1548
Gate 58

The main reason for this particular itinerary wa the MD-90. Also, I feared connecting through Minneapolis in February (although I did so coming back) thinking that weather wouldn't be an issue in Atlanta. It wouldn't snow exactly when I'd connect there, would it? Well, actually it could. In fact 70% of flights from/to ATL were cancelled that day... But I wouldn't find that out until later.

Anyway, because gate C1 at MDW does not offer suitable (or any) airport views, I chose gate B1 for my main spotting activity that morning. From this gate I could see RWY 22L, which was in use for Take-offs, with 31C used for landings. Of course I started taking pictures... Some better, some worse... If you find any text in Romanian, I beg your pardon, I had a less textual version of this trip report on a Romanian aviation enthusiast forum.

B737-300, ship 350, at B1:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03078.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03082.jpg

Tail of ship 350 with the tail of a CRJ-900 in the background:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03083.jpg

Ship 350, taxi out:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03085.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03086.jpg

B737-700 (blurred), takeoff on 22L:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03081.jpg

Canadair CRJ-900 al DL, N134EV:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03084.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03087.jpg

Embraer 175 al DL, N206JQ:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03088.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03089.jpg

Something new for me, a B737-300 w/ winglets, N647SW:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03090.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03091.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03092.jpg

At 8.38 the MD-90 N913DN landed at MDW. This is the aircraft that would take me to ATL. A very nice and quite rare aircraft type, one I really enjoyed flying on.
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03093.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03094.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03095.jpg

Engine detail:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03096.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03097.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03098.jpg

Walking around MDW, I took more pictures of activity (or lack thereof) around the airport:

Embraer 175 al DL/NW (Compass Airlines):
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03099.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03100.jpg

Overview of MDW, aka Southwest and... something else :P
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03101.jpg

Embraer 175 to LGA:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03102.jpg

Engine as seen from seat 33A:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03105.jpg

Runway warning, 4R-22L:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03107.jpg

Entering active, 22L:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03108.jpg

An MD-90 takeoff from Midway is an unforgettable event for any enthusiast. It was the most powerful takeoff I had the luck of experiencing first hand (that I remember, anyway). It was delightful; the performance of the MD-90 is superb.

I must commend the crew on this flight (ATL-based F/As and Cincinnati based pilots IIRC), one of the best domestic coach cabin crew I have seen. Witty, but not over the top, and helpful throughout the flight.

Anyway... I had no idea what the weather in ATL was like, so I was a bit surprised when the pilots announced that their trip to Midway was very bumpy in its first half, and they expected the same on this flight, due to a very strong storm system. Later on, they came back on and said: "we don't have any information on connections. We know many flights have been cancelled and we hope that none of you were scheduled to fly on these particular flights". I got a bit worried and thought... What is going on in Atlanta? Thunderstorms in February? Well, as I'd find out while walking through ATL, that wasn't it. They were expecting 5 inches of snow... Woooow! That was a shock... 5 inches in Atlanta?

The Ohio:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03110.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03111.jpg

Sink in the MD-90:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03113.jpg

Wing in-flight view:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03112.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03114.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03119.jpg

A few more, rather unsuccessful wing shots:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03120.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03121.jpg

MD-11, UPS:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03122.jpg

Salting the runway--this is probably when I figured it's gonna be snowing soon:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03124.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03126.jpg

747-400 of Korean Air and 757-200 of Delta, slightly blurred:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03128.jpg

Canadairs:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03129.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03130.jpg

Airtran 73G, with a 717 in the background:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03131.jpg

717, AirTran:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03132.jpg

Delta 757 w/ a 738 on the right side of the frame:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03133.jpg

737-800, Delta:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03134.jpg

767-400, Delta:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03135.jpg

Interior of the MD-90, with its smaller overhead bins:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03136.jpg

A few more shots of N913DN:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03137.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03138.jpg

Two pictures showing the magnitude of severity of the ATL cancellations that day! 5 inches of snow? That must be what Atlanta gets in a year, not a day!!!
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03139.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03140.jpg

737-700, AirTran:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03142.jpg

Delta, 757:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03144.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03146.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03147.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03150.jpg

757s and N990DL, an MD-88, my next aircraft for the day:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03149.jpg

N990DL:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03152.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03153.jpg

Aircraft at the B concourse:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03154.jpg

Well, basically on-time, we pushed back from the gate, to depart to MCI. However, snow had already accumulated on the wing (although it started snowing just 45' earlier), so this meant de-icing was necessary. I was surprised at how well ATL handled this, having few days in which winter takes its toll. Of course, having 1/3 of scheduled flights taking off, it means that we saved about 30 minutes while de-icing alone. Overall, it didn't help, as the tower (or ground, more likely) made what our pilot called a "faux pas": they placed an AirTran aircraft for de-icing on a taxiway--in our way! Oh well, I guess they're not used to these conditions. Soon we took off (although it took about 75 minutes from gate to take-off...), and after 1h 41' we touched down in MCI.

Control Tower, during severe snow, and low visibility:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03159.jpg

MD-88 wing views:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03160.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03165.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03166.jpg

MD-83, American Airlines:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03168.jpg

Delta McDDs in MCI, probably due to ATL cancellations:
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03171.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03172.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03173.jpg

Canadairs, on in DL colors, another in NW old colors (wow, that goes way back, no doubt).
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03174.jpg
http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb266/dc9northwest/DSC03175.jpg

Conclusions:
DL has much better service, and the FAs seem much nicer now than say, five years back.
Concourse B at ATL is much improved, looks much nicer now than a while back, I guess ATL leased the gates to DL completely, rather than hold them as common use (that's why I was told they looked shabby before).
Anyway, way to go DL.

I might post the return later (this was via MSP, w/ a D95 and a CR9), with fewer pics and less interesting commentary. I think I have a takeoff and landing video as well, but that might have to wait a little bit, not up on Youtube yet.

Comments, concerns, questions... Are always welcome. Thanks for reading.

2 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAALuxuryLiner From United States of America, joined May 2008, 38 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 5 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 11078 times:

Great trip report! Thanks for posting. I'd like to add the MD90 to my log someday. Not many chances to catch a ride on that plane. Does it feel more powerful than the MD88 or MD82?

I'm also curious about that special livery WN plane "Triple Crown" -- Do you know what that refers too? I miss the old WN livery. Lots of memories flying the 737-200 into DAL from SAT and TUL and sometimes IAH.


User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2269 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10787 times:

Quoting AALuxuryLiner (Reply 1):
Great trip report! Thanks for posting. I'd like to add the MD90 to my log someday. Not many chances to catch a ride on that plane. Does it feel more powerful than the MD88 or MD82?

I'm also curious about that special livery WN plane "Triple Crown" -- Do you know what that refers too? I miss the old WN livery. Lots of memories flying the 737-200 into DAL from SAT and TUL and sometimes IAH.

Thanks!

Not many MD-90s in service nowadays, and I believe a few are even being stored... But DL still has 16 flying. The trick is to find them in their schedule.

Well, in this particular case it seemed much more powerful than the MD-80 series. Of course, I flew out of MDW, so that might have had something to do with it, due to the rather restrictive runway length. I can't really comment in general, but this flight surely gave me an impression of what the MD-90 can do, even if it doesn't in all cases. It is a different beast than the Super 80s!

I'm not sure, but the Triple Crown seems to have been an award SWA won five times in a row in the 90's, after which it was retired (according to the WN website).

Oh, you are lucky! I wish I'd gotten the chance to fly on a 732. I had a flight booked in December of '05 MCI-CVG, scheduled to be a 732... Alas, I didn't get to take that flight... And now I doubt I'll have the chance again.


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