Sponsor Message:
Aviation Trip Reports Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Keep Climbing & Don't Stop - 48hr DL Marathon  
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 20107 times:

Keep Climbing & Don’t Stop - 48hr marathon with DL

48 hours, 5 sectors, 1 airline!

This is how I spent Monday through Tuesday, 6 - 7th December 2010. Why? Because Delta.com said I could.

Well, there’s more to it than that….keep reading if you want to find out more.

Genesis and Planning

The idea for this trip was borne out of a tradition, which goes back over 13 years now. Me and my very good friend, who is also a sometimes A,net lurker, always undertake a US domestic trip involving flights whenever I come to visit him in Florida. We actually “met” through “Airliners” magazine, back in 1991, when I was living in Australia and he was living in New Jersey, so we’ve known each other now for nearly 20 years and I have come to regard him as the brother I never had…but that’s another story.

Needing a Florida fix after nearly 18 months since I was last there, I made arrangements to be in Florida in early December. Once travel dates were confirmed, we set out planning our domestic adventure. I’ve not flown on the 757-300 before and my mate has not yet sampled Delta’s 737-700, so we narrowed our choice to a Delta itinerary. I also wanted to go to PHX, having not seen the airport in the daytime, and I’ve seen some great pictures taken at Sky Harbor Airport.

After numerous emails, and for my mate, lengthy calls with Delta reservations, we opted for the following trip. This one would be different however, as it extended over 2 days yet involved no hotel accommodation stops, other than a row of seats in a departure lounge! Were we crazy? Probably.

Summary of flights

MCO-MEM 6 Dec 2010 320 DL2864 726a - 835a
MEM-PHX 6 Dec 2010 320 DL1675 922a - 1154a
PHX-ATL 7 Dec 2010 73G DL1646 1250a - 620a
ATL-DTW 7 Dec 2010 772 DL1005 815a - 1020a
DTW-MCO 7 Dec 2010 753 DL1805 535p - 815p

Here’s how it looks on the map.

This would give us a number of hours spotting in PHX, before taking the redeye back to ATL, to board a 772 (which I understand is not overly common on US domestic sectors these days) before spending a few hours in DTW, and then heading back on a B757-300 to MCO.

Part 1 - To Phoenix via Memphis with BBQ on the side

Flight Time: 2hrs
Seat: 19A

After an ungodly start to the day at 445am, we dragged ourselves into my mate’s comfy orange SUV (this is Florida after all) and headed north toward MCO. It was still very dark outside, and cold (by Florida standards), however the day was forecast to be clear and sunny. A 45 min drive ended in the MCO short term carpark and we grabbed our meagre possessions, and headed down to the terminal.

I needed to print out boarding passes, whilst he (a loyal DL supporter) had already checked in using his mobile phone. Boarding passes for the first two sectors in hand, we decided to head to the gate, having explored the landside of MCO many times over the years. I was bracing myself for the early morning security chaos that always seems to reign at most airports and MCO was certainly humming with activity at 615am in the morning. Surprisingly security was quick, and painless, although I seemed to spend ages putting myself back together again at the other end - I put it down to the early hour of the day.

A short monorail journey later, we were at the Delta gates, where both of us were in dire need of morning coffee. Seemed like everyone else felt the same way, and the Starbucks was doing a roaring trade in lattes, muffins and other assorted breakfast items. Grabbing our supplies, we headed for Gate 77, where DL2864 would be leaving from today.

Greeting us at the gate was N359NW, being prepared for the 2 hour hop to Memphis, along with quite a large number of passengers.

Flying to MEM was significant for both of us, as it was at MEM that we spied our first A320 in DL colours back in January 2009. Now we’d be flying on one there. Made sense really.

I decided to have a short wander around, and watch the amazing sunrise that was unfolding. A couple of Delta overnighters were the main subjects. To accompany, background music was in the form of Christmas specials - including a particularly interesting rendition of “I Saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus”!

Here’s a flying pencil, B757-300, looking particularly gorgeous on this Monday morning.

A smaller brother with winglets at the adjoining gate

Surrounding gates were boarding DL flights to La Guardia, Atlanta and Minneapolis.

Boarding commenced on time and passengers were greeted at the door by a flight attendant who looked very smart in DL’s current uniform.

Our flight looked to be quite busy and it turned out to be 100% full in Y once the front door was shut, around 10 mins before the scheduled departure time.

Not surprisingly, N359NW is an ex Northwest bird, however there was no trace of NW anywhere on the aircraft, other than the registration! Seats were all DL blue leather, and pitch was acceptable for this short flight. The seat was also quite comfortable and soft (unlike the 73G seats - more on that in the next chapter).

Side on seat view

The view from seat 19A with another ex-NW aircraft next door.

The safety demonstration was done manually - there are no screens or personalised IFE on these ex NW aircraft. Passengers on today’s flight seemed to be a real cross section of American society - young, old, casual travellers, families, business people.

48 hours of adventure begins as the sun rises over a couple of baggage containers

Trundling along to our departure runway, safety demo done, crew seated, passing a gaggle of Southwest 737s at their gate and we’re ready to go.

Good bye Orlando til tomorrow

We rotated past the Open Skies B757 that was in MCO having operated a charter flight a few days previously. You can just make it out to the left of the winglet.

Gaining height fast - it was going to be a lovely day for flying, at least over Central Florida.

Delta decided to treat us to an amazing view of downtown Orlando and surrounding area, including Orlando’s Executive Airport. Thankfully I was the best side of the aircraft for pics, and although the woman sitting next to me must have thought I was bonkers mad taking photos, the view was too good to miss.

Lots of lakes in Central Florida

Downtown Orlando glowing in the early morning sun

Closer view of downtown Orlando - The City Beautiful

Commencing a gradual left turn over Orlando Executive Airport, with downtown Orlando at the top of the picture

Still turning, and climbing

Looking back with a distant view of MCO

Our flight would take us west and north of Tampa

And then out over the Gulf of Mexico, before starting a north westerly track toward Memphis.

Back over land over the Florida panhandle, passing over Apalachee Bay, heading toward Tallahassee

The captain made a short announcement welcoming all onboard and gave us some flying information. Our cruise height would be 36,000ft and weather in Memphis was scheduled to be sunny and calm, similar to the conditions in Orlando.

Passing near Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH)

Closer view of TLH

Continuing our journey northwards to MEM.

Around this time, drinks service began. Delta’s napkins now carry the line “Keep Climbing” which inspired the name for this trip report. I opted for an orange juice and pretzels.

The flight passed smoothly, and I snoozed or looked out at the window. Hardly any clouds meant some nice views over Alabama. We tracked to the east of Montgomery and then close to Birmingham. Passing over the north-eastern tip of Mississippi, I soon felt the aircraft starting its descent into Memphis. This was confirmed by the 3 year old girl sitting in the aisle seat in my row, who repeatedly kept telling her mother (seated next to me)

“Mommy, we going down, mommy, we going down…are we?”

Hello Tennessee

Cabin was secured, and we commenced a very smooth descent into MEM

Almost there

Flaring for landing

We landed on 36R. Hello Memphis - now Delta territory

Delta Connection CRJ900 greets us as we taxi to our gate

MEM seems to be RJ heaven - apart from a couple of NW Airlink tails, everything else here is DL, DL and more DL. Our first flight was over. On time, friendly and great weather for flying - pretty good start to the Delta marathon.

We had next to no time in MEM as our connecting flight was departing less than an hour later, and as we got closer to the departing gate, we could see and hear that it had already started pre-boarding. Of course, that did not mean there was no time for what makes MEM famous (at least in our eyes) and there’s only one word (or perhaps 3?) to describe it - Bar-B-Que!

A quick stop for a snack, although at this time of the morning, I questioned my friend’s purchase of pork….but when in Memphis, some say it’s gotta be done? A few nibbles later (by him), and we were at our departing gate for the next instalment to Phoenix.

Memphis has really changed since I was here last time in January 2009. Back then, it was all NW and we managed a DC9-50 flight to DTW which for me, was my first DC9-50. What a great flight that was, particularly as I was seated right next to the engine. Now it’s all Delta…

Like this…

And this…

Flight Time: 3hrs40mins
Seat: 19A

N363NW at Gate B5, getting ready to fly us to Phoenix

Registration check…yep it’s N363NW

We were soon onboard and this was the view from 19A of MEM’s distinctive terminal architecture. Once again, this flight was going to be busy, and most of Y looked full. Good for Delta, bad for me - as no chance of spreading out on one of the longest sectors in this 48 hour marathon. My seatmate was a stereotype blonde lady in her 30s, who was actually quite pleasant.

The front door was closed and we were soon pushing back for the flight to PHX.

The safety demonstration was again done manually. The crew on this flight were also friendly, perhaps more friendly than the first sector up to MEM. All flight attendants on this flight were female and none below the age of about 45 yrs.

Passed this beauty on the way out

Cockpit crew welcomed us aboard and gave some flight information as we were taxiing to the runway. Waiting for a couple of DL CRJ200s to depart, it was soon our turn.

Farewell Memphis, thanks for the short stop and BBQ! (In all, we were in MEM for just over 30 mins!)

Departing on 36L, I was hoping to get a nice view of the downtown area of MEM (the airport is located to the south east of downtown).

My hopes were dashed, as we very quickly made a sharp left turn soon after departure so there were limited views of the downtown area. Bugger. It’s just at the top of the wing photo below.

Shortly after, we passed the mighty Mississippi River, although by now, I had the sun shining directly through my window, which made pictures very difficult without reflections. Bugger again.

We set course for Phoenix, heading now almost due west and it wasn’t long before we were flying north of Little Rock - the city centre able to be seen on this clear day.

The flight thereafter became very routine as we continued westward over Oklahoma. We’d unfortunately been hit by a fairly brutal headwind by now, which was hampering progress. Making our way above the Great Plains below and into Texas, the cabin crew commenced a drinks service, which consisted of the same choices we’d had on the run up to MEM. This time, instead of pretzels, I opted for the cookies and a coke, so voila, morning tea was served with a smile over the flat expanse of northern Texas at 34,000ft.

View of circular fields presumably before passing into New Mexico

Gradually the landscape below began to change from flat fields with sparse settlements, to more rocky with the ground looking a lot more earthy and red. I guess by now, we were well into New Mexico, and perhaps, even into Arizona. It would have been nice to have the map showing on this flight!

Midway through the flight, we had a couple of bumps - large enough to warrant the captain activating the seatbelt signs…..to which nobody seemed to take any notice of. Passengers in front of me continued to get up and head to the lavatories. The crew did nothing. I thought this was quite a contrast to flights I have been on in Europe or Australia. When the cockpit crew says “sit down”, that’s what it means and for good reason (to me anyway). When the seatbelt signs were activated again an hour or so later, this time one of the flight attendants announced “Everybody - seat belts on” and most people remained seated.

After just over 3 hours, we started our descent into PHX. We ended up approaching the city from the north east.

A few approach pictures of our arrival into Phoenix

Slowing down

Phoenix outskirts

Getting closer with PHX spotted under the wing

Thankfully I happened to sitting on the right side of the aircraft to be welcomed by amazing views of the huge valley within which the City of Phoenix sprawls. The jewel in the crown (at least for this a.netter) was the amazing downwind view of Sky Harbor Airport. It really stands out.

The view from seat 19A

Close up of PHX

About to commence several left turns

A series of high rise buildings were sighted, indicating the downtown area and just after, we commenced several left hand turns to bring us into alignment for a westerly arrival into PHX.

By now, I was rejoicing as the sun moved around and I had no reflection in my window to cause havoc with pics. Our approach into PHX was spectacular, as it was smooth.

Phoenix suburbs Part I

Phoenix suburbs Part II

Phoenix suburbs Part III

Here’s a sequence of arrival shots, which took us right over downtown Phoenix. This was about as close to any downtown area as I’ve ever been in an aircraft and the views were amazing.

More downtown

Passing the US Airways Center

Chase Field?

Chasing our shadow to the runway

Flaring for Runway 08


“Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Phoenix, the time is 1225pm.”

A short taxi later, and we were at our Gate in Terminal 3 and parked next to another DL sibling. That ended our second sector for today, and we’d now spend a few hours on top of one of the parking garages atop Terminal 4 catching some of the avia action.

I was not disappointed - the views were great and the traffic was constant although the last time I had passed through here (in the night), it was all America West Airlines - sadly no more. It’s US Airways everywhere, and when you’re done with US Airways, there’s always Southwest.

A final glimpse of N363NW having flown us safely from MEM.


Eastern - Number One To The Sun
27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 1, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 20233 times:

Phoenix Snapshot

We made our way up to the rooftop level of the carpark for some pics. It was very warm and sunny up there - some much needed rays for my sun deprived European skin! Here’s “my” DL 320 getting ready to go again - it was heading back to Memphis. Thanks for a nice flight.

US Airways action

Nice to see this 757 with winglets - the only one I saw for the rest of the time in PHX

Air Tran 737s - one in, one out!

Alaska 737-700

US Airways “Arizona” logo jet A319

America West (RIP) logo jet A319

Great Lakes B1900D

WestJet 737-700

US Airways Express CRJ900

Southwest 737-700...by day

Southwest 737-700.…by night

United 757 at dusk with some panning action

The day ends in Phoenix. Dedicated to my friend and Phoenix resident, CC, who passed away in 2010.

Part 2 - Dots in Detroit via Atlanta

Flight Time: 2hrs55min
Seat: 12A

By 9pm that evening, it dawned on me that it was going to be a looong night. DL1646 was not scheduled to depart until 1250a the next morning. My first red-eye experience in the US and I wondered whether the flight would be busy, or whether I might have a little space to spread out for this nearly 3 hour sector to Atlanta.

Deserted concourse in PHX

We found a row of seats each at the departure gate, and shutdown for a short nap-ette, with an alarm set just for 1130p in case we failed to wake up. I don’t recall much for the next hour or so and managed some shuteye. In the meantime the gate area slowly filled up. By the time I woke up and went to get a picture of our ride to ATL (sorry, this was the best I could do),

the gate area was almost full. Who and why were all these people going to ATL at 1250 on a Tuesday morning?

Boarding commenced 20mins after midnight in sections, and it wasn’t long before everyone was seated and ready to go. Most people by now, tiredness taking over, just wanted to sit and sleep, me included.

View from 12A, which was 3 rows from the start of Y.

My first impressions of this aircraft, delivered to Delta in January 2009 were positive. Seatback IFE, nice new leather seats….but after a few minutes, the seat felt incredibly hard. Much harder than on the A320 seats. I could feel my rear end was going to be numb by the time we touched down in ATL ! Seat pitch was OK however, although I had a seatmate in the middle and aisle seat - so much for spreading out on this red eye flight!

Delta, what an ungodly hour of the day to be awake!

We taxied to 25R for departure after watching Deltalina wag her finger at us, reminding us that smoking was NOT ALLOWED on any Delta aircraft. Not much happening at this time of the morning. The lights in the cabin were dimmed for departure which provided great views outside. Thankfully nobody decided to put their reading light on (and destroy the effect outside). Phoenix was saying goodbye in spectacular fashion. My photos hardly do it justice, and I blame not only the lack of sufficient light, but also I was so tired by this point, I could barely keep my eyes open!

Climbing out of PHX

Lots of lights still on down there

Once we got to our cruising height, the crew commenced a drinks service. By this point, I had just about passed out, which must have then happened, as I then woke up over Oklahoma.

Took this pic, having woke up (briefly). Nothing to see outside.

The cabin crew passed through with another drinks round shortly after this, with water. Again, the crew were very friendly - kudos for them at this ungodly time of the morning. My seatmates barely moved the entire flight and it was quiet in my section. Phew.

We had a tail wind for most of the flight, and with only a couple of bumps over Arkansas, the cabin gradually came to life. About 60 mins out of ATL, the cockpit crew gave us some arrival information and hoped that we’d enjoyed our flight with Delta. I had, but my backside hadn’t. Those seats proved to be very uncomfy for this length of flight - don’t know whether anyone else has felt the same on Delta’s 73Gs?

Once again, we were treated to nice views during our descent. We passed over downtown Atlanta on the way in which was brightly lit up

Followed by a smooth touchdown in Delta-land. Just on 3 hours, we rolled into our gate pretty much on time in the early am of Tuesday 7 December 2010.

The third DL sector had now been completed and after getting the feeling back in my rear end, I was in need of only one thing…. COFFEE! This trip confirmed to me what a coffee addict I have turned into. I suppose there are worse vices to have?

Coffee mission accomplished, we then set off for the E concourse to await our next departure, which was DL1005 to Detroit.

Flight Time: 1hr30min
Seat: 48J

A very empty E concourse at 645 in the morning

This was to be the sole wide body sector on this Delta marathon and today, the flight up to DTW was to be operated by N864DA. This aircraft, one of the older 772s in Delta’s fleet, was special in the Delta fleet - having been painted in the special “Soaring Spirit” colors for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and it also carried the Olympic flame from Athens to North America.

A pre-dawn shot of our aircraft

I managed to drag myself over to a couple of nearby gates to see some more DL action. Here’s a 737-800 getting ready to go to Baltimore.

This 737-700 (not our inbound aircraft) was heading for Quito

A different angle of N864DA with a DL 772LR next door.

The sun was rising by this point, and our 777 was bathed in a lovely orange background glow

Close up

The flight was practically empty in Y. In fact, as part of the pre-boarding announcements, the nice lady at Delta told us that there were 150 spare seats in Economy so there would be plenty of room to stretch out all the way to Detroit. We were also told that the 777 was the largest aircraft in Delta’s fleet - what? Really? Guess she did not see the 747-400 a bit further along….!

Without further ado, everyone was onboard in record time. I had an entire row, or practically an entire section to myself.

Seat pitch

View from 48J and our neighbour - a lovely looking 772LR. Our cargo door is still open.

A bit of action over at some of the Air Tran gates

Delta reminding us on the seatback IFE screen that bigger and better can work…..!

Delta’s first 737-700 N301DQ passes by just as we’re ready to push back for Detroit.

Awaiting clearance for departure

Another presentation by Deltalina and we were off on our 1hr 30m flight north to Detroit. The weather up there promised to be entirely different to that of Phoenix. Cold, cold and colder was the order of the day. The captain told us that it was however fine for our arrival - although we could expect a few bumps on the way down as it was windy.

Again, we were blessed with great weather for flying. Our departure from ATL was short sharp and steep!

Passing the Renaissance Hotel, and the area where the old Atlanta terminal used to stand (to the right of the Delta 763 on the ground).

Climbing rapidly with a distant view of downtown Atlanta through the early morning mist/smog

Banking to the right

Still climbing and the sun shining. Life is good !

Making a beeline for Detroit

For some reason, I managed to get over my initial tiredness and found some energy from somewhere to enjoy this flight. The usual drinks service and cookies were served. The flight attendants on this sector were all very relaxed and again, friendly. I had a nice conversation with one lovely lady as she provided me with a can of Coke. Consistently, on each sector, the onboard service was good (apart from the lax attitude toward the seatbelt sign on the MEM-PHX sector). How could this be from a part of the world where onboard service is certainly not what it used to be? Delta were certainly leaving a positive impression on me.


Safety card

We cruised at 41,000ft which was quite high for such a short sector - and the views from above of Kentucky and Ohio were mostly shrouded by clouds.

Our route started to deviate somewhat - we seemed to be avoiding the Columbus area?

Now out over Lake Erie, and not long before commencing our descent into Detroit.

Canada on the other side Part 1

Canada on the other side Part Two

Slowing down

Making some wide turns to align ourselves with the runway. By this stage, the captain was right - it must have been quite windy outside as the aircraft was bumping around the lower we got.

Getting closer to Runway 04L with flaps down

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Detroit, where the East Central time is 1030am” East Central time? What’s that?

Peering out the window at the snow on the ground suggested that it was cold in Detroit, certainly colder than Orlando, Memphis, Phoenix and Atlanta.

Pulling into our gate at the McNamara terminal - which of course, is also Delta-land. Some DL heavies getting ready for some longhaul flying. We parked next to a 744.

De-boarding was fast, given how few people were aboard, and I managed one last photo of N864DA at the gate through a “clean“ window…knowing what I was about to encounter through the windows at DTW…and that is… DOTS - thousands and thousands of annoying dots in the glass which are to provide anti glare protection from the summer sun but also to prevent decent pictures. What were they thinking? For me, one who likes to take pictures at airports, I cannot begin to describe to you how much I hate those dots! DTW is forever in my memory as the place with the annoying dots - a shame really because the McNamara terminal is very nice.

A couple of terminal shots whilst wandering through the main concourse, with of course the red train - interesting that it remains in “NW” red, and has not been repainted into “DL” blue.

Looking down the main concourse

Mostly at my insistence, we decided to brave the elements and head to a nearby parking garage to get a vista of the proceedings. Big mistake. Within 5 minutes of being outside, I was nearly frozen and could not feel my face! I did take a couple of pictures however, just to prove to myself that I had been able to escape the dots and get some dot free pictures at DTW.

A DC9-50 at the gate looking very smart

A DL 737-800 arriving

Nondescript runway picture? You can just see the start of the runway to the far right of the picture - actually this was the runway that NW255, an MD80 took off from and tragically crashed in August 1987 killing everyone onboard except for a 4 year old girl.

Having survived barely 15 minutes in total outside (I grew up in a subtropical part of Australia - give me a break!) we ventured back into the terminal area, and headed to the satellite concourse via the funky colourful walkway.

A short snack later and we found ourselves at an isolated window away from throngs of pre-Christmas travellers, where, despite feeling sleepy again, I wanted to catch some of the DTW action (dots notwithstanding)

Delta 744 off to Asia

Delta 757 with winglets

Delta A319 going somewhere…..

Bigger brother, A320

Again, great to see another DC9-50 in both Delta colours

…and still in NW colours. This was one of about 5 aircraft in total that we saw still in NW colours. Delta has pretty much repainted the entire NW fleet (including NW airlink!)

Delta Connection EM145 N575RP in the old wavy gravy colours

One of the hundreds of Delta Connection CRJ200s at DTW - this one was going to Scranton, PA.

And its larger sibling, a CRJ700 in the old wavy gravy colours

PART III - Dots to Disney

Flight Time: 2hrs10min
Seat: 17A

Despite having been mostly awake for the past day or so, and craving a bed, the time in DTW did not drag and passed very quickly and before long, we found ourselves heading across back to the main concourse to Gate A20 for our final leg back to Orlando, departing at 1730.

Once there, I noticed the opposite gates had 3 DC-9s in a row - going to Chicago, Charlotte and Minneapolis respectively. It was a great sight - pity I was unable to get any pictures.

Gate A20 about 35mins before boarding was called. It soon filled up.

Our “flying pencil” getting prepared for the flight to warmer climes (although people in Florida would hardly call it warm at the moment - still, it was warmer than DTW!) Sorry for the dots!

By now the light was fading fast as we were called for boarding. The flight did not appear to be completely full but not a bad load for a Tuesday evening flight. There seemed to be many DL employees on this flight heading to/back to Orlando. Fortunately 17A was toward the front of the long Y section, just behind the L2 door.

The fading light at DTW and view from 17A

Our neighbour - DL A330

Doors were closed and the safety demonstration was performed by none other than Deltalina again - OK, I know that I must not smoke on any Delta Airlines aircraft but feel free to wag your finger at me if you want. Sexy minx.

There were small fold out TV screens which popped out from above us - I did not realise that these ex NW aircraft were fitted out with these - and expected the safety demonstration to be done manually. The flight attendant covering our section of the cabin must have been 60 if a day, but he was OK - not overly friendly and out of all the flight attendants I had seen on this trip, he was pretty slack in his presentation and his uniform looked decidedly tatty. He looked how I felt - tired!

Just before pushing back - in B&W

We headed out for de-icing which unfortunately meant our scheduled departure time had now slipped. Hey ho, we had no connections at the other end so I wasn’t bothered. It looked mighty cold outside by this time, and the captain told us that the aircraft had been on the ground in Detroit for over a day and therefore surfaces needed to be de-iced. I guess the aircraft had had some maintenance in DTW explaining its extended time on the ground there. I was glad to be inside a nice warm cabin and watched outside as we were sprayed with the de-icing mixture.

A long taxi later, and we found ourselves lining up on runway 21R, as the traffic flow had now changed to the opposite direction/runways. By co-incidence, this was the very runway that NW255 took off from (in the other direction) on its ill-fated flight in 1987.

We lined up after two aircraft took off in front of us, and it was now pitch black outside - my view being lots of flashing lights with the humming sound of the P&W engine next to me. We were ready to roll and the engines began to fire up, but then there was what felt like a surge, with the engine next to me winding down slightly, before the crew re-fired the engines, and then we were off. After a smooth take off, we launched skyward into the dark and freezing skies of Michigan. Phew.

I don’t recall what the service was onboard this sector, but no doubt it would have been drinks with a sweet or savoury snack. I was in the land of zzzzz, until being woken up by the announcement that we were starting our descent into Orlando.

Getting close with the twinkling lights of Central Florida below.

We landed from a northerly direction on the far right runway at MCO, which my mate commented was unusual for Delta in Orlando. Weather was clear and temperatures were close to freezing at this time.

Finally, we were back in MCO - precisely next to the gate we had departed from some 48 hours earlier to Memphis. We were home (well, not quite for me) but at least there was a bed waiting! The Delta marathon was sadly over.

Post Flight(s) Reflections

- Flying Delta domestically over 48 hours was a pleasure. We also managed to stay awake for the most important bits but still found time to catnap when we could. I had visions of passing out sometime during our stopover in ATL.

- I managed to fly the 757-300 which is quite rare in Europe and I got to see Phoenix during the day time and spend some time on the parking garage - two of my key objectives for this trip. Done.

- Delta’s onboard service was broadly consistent and certainly exceeded my expectations. Cabin crew greeted passengers politely and farewelled them on all of the sectors. Service was generally provided with a smile. I was surprised at how lax they were when the seatbelt signs were activated on the MEM-PHX flight, but thankfully the “rough air” as Delta calls it, did not get any worse.

- Flights were largely on-time, we did not miss any of our connections and no aircraft substitutions were made. Phew.

- If I had to rank them, the ATL-DTW sector was my favourite - a half empty 777 (good for me, bad for Delta) with a very friendly crew. Great stuff.

- Finally we had no trouble with the authorities in any city with regard to my obsessive picture taking. It certainly made the trip more enjoyable not having any confrontation or being yelled at to stop taking pictures!

Thanks for reading if you got this far. Hope you enjoyed this marathon trip report. Please feel free to leave any comments.

A sample of my other trip reports -








Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineaflyingkiwi From New Zealand, joined Nov 2010, 519 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 19721 times:

Great Trip Report with many great pictures. It looks like you had a fun 48 hours with DL who seem to offer a pretty good service in the USA.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 1):
Delta has pretty much repainted the entire NW fleet (including NW airlink!)

I'm really impressed how quickly Delta have been able to repaint the 500 or so NW & NW airlink aircraft.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 1):
I managed to fly the 757-300 which is quite rare

The 753 is definately a very rare aircraft.


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2131 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 19560 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great trip report, Palmjet!

Really nice capture of Delta's service, and what a great way to spend 2 days. Nice to get a mileage run in when you can! Great photos too .. Each flight is very nicely documented.

How fun to get on a 777-200 to DTW, and from the E Concourse .. When we flew to Liberia, CR back in February, we flew out of this Concourse. Here's a link to my report : Costa Rica With Delta In J & F (Pics!) (by 767747 Mar 4 2010 in Trip Reports)
I like this concourse a lot! Seeing the 777 made me think of when NWA operated 747-400's on a few flights between MSP and DTW a few times back in 2007.

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew (767747)

I love to fly!
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 19022 times:

aflyingkiwi - hello, yes, it's amazing how fast they have done this, considering how long it seemed to take DL to repaint their own fleet through the various livery changes. There were only a handful of planes in NW colours although we did not pass through the other DL hub - MSP, so it might be slightly different there.

Matthew - thanks for your comments, and I enjoyed your TR to Costa Rica. I also like that terminal in DTW -it's very spacious and would be perfect if not for the dots! It was indeed a pleasure to be on a widebody for such a short domestic sector. Interestingly, IIRC, the 772LR parked next to us in ATL was also heading for DTW!

Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineSketty222 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2006, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 18707 times:

What a fantastic TR with some good quality pictures. A 48hr journey seems a bit crazy to most people but to us a.nutters, it just has to be done doesn't it 

There's flying and then there's flying
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 18320 times:

Sketty222 - totally agree with you. A few non aviation friends of mine thought I was totally crazy, but it was worth it from my perspective. All flights in total cost approx $350USD including tax. Thanks for your comments. P/jet

Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineAALuxuryLiner From United States of America, joined May 2008, 38 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 18236 times:

Palmjet, One of the best domestic TR's I've ever read. You got some great shots the entire trip but especially liked the photos of PHX. I tried to to get some good shots on my PHL to LIS trip this summer on US but many of them turned out blurry, especially when i didn't use the flash. What kind of camera did you use? Thanks again for the hard work it took to do this report.


User currently offlinebuck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 887 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 18200 times:

wow. some of these pictures are truly stunning... what camera / lens are you using? The non-flash night time photos and the sunset were my favorite. Thanks a lot for sharing this report. It was great...

User currently offlineKGRB From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 950 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 18185 times:

Fantastic report, Palmjet! I enjoyed your photos, especially the terminal shots. DTW is an amazing facility and PHX isn't bad, either (though Terminal 4 is much better than Terminal 3, which DL serves). And lucky you to get on a 753 -- I love those!

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
interesting that it remains in “NW” red, and has not been repainted into “DL” blue.

It is my understanding that this is intentional, since red is a much bigger part of the DL branding. Besides there's enough blue at US airports, as it is!  

User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 18148 times:

@AALuxuryLiner - thank you very much for your kinds words. Glad you enjoyed the report. I am using a Sony DSC T200 point and shoot for most of pictures taken from inside each aircraft and terminals (it's quite small and does not attract unwanted attention!) and a Canon 550D for some of the exterior shots, including the aircraft in PHX and DTW. Did you post a trip report of your trip in the summer?

@buck3y3nut - hello and thanks for you comments. See above. The Sony seems very versatile in low light, but I was so lucky to be at the airport at just the right time for the sunrise(s). Also, I've found that I have to experiment a lot with the night pics - many don't turn out at all. Have been playing around with a range of different settings. I was mostly using a 24-105mm lens with the Canon 550D.

@KGRB - completely agree with you. I like the red much better in any case! We spent some time wandering around T4 at PHX and yes, it's much nicer than T3 for sure. Thanks for your comments. P/jet

Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 7100 posts, RR: 75
Reply 11, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 18021 times:

Hi Palmjet,

fantastic report with awesome pictures, great work!   

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
Delta’s napkins now carry the line “Keep Climbing” which inspired the name for this trip report.

I really like that slogan, smart choice.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
he sun was rising by this point, and our 777 was bathed in a lovely orange background glow

Lovely picture, magnificent aircraft. I flew on N705DN last year, was a pleasure.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):

Climbing rapidly with a distant view of downtown Atlanta through the early morning mist/smog

Wow, great pictures. I have always enjoyed climbing out of ATL.

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
This was one of about 5 aircraft in total that we saw still in NW colours.

Yes, the good old DC-9-40s won't get the new colors.


Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 17911 times:

PH - thank you for your post. I hope you are well.

Ah yes, I see that the NW coloured DC9 is in fact one of the -40s and not a -50. The weather in the south eastern part of the US was very settled and clear on the days that I was travelling - it certainly made it easy for me to spend most of the flights with my face glued to the window!!

Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 5243 posts, RR: 53
Reply 13, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 17680 times:

Hey, PJ,

let me say, a really good idea to spend a couple of hours to catch interesting airports and aircrafts,
also my way, you know.

Delta feels nice on you´re flights especially the 772 domestic, not bad.
And also the 753 is a rare sight here, well done and congrats to the scheduling department.


User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 17287 times:

Hi Markus, nice to hear from you. Yes, it was nice to fly on the 772 for such a short flight domestically in the US. Perhaps that's why the crew were in such a jolly mood - given that it was mostly empty. Clearly it was a positioning flight to DTW but I forgot to check where it was going ex DTW. I very much enjoyed the 753 - it's such a long aircraft! Cheers P/jet

Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8743 posts, RR: 53
Reply 15, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 17166 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Palmjet,

Very nice report and pictures, perfect reading over lunch on this cold snowy Friday.

I had 4 segments on DL back in September inc 2 on a DC-9-50, I found the crews to be friendly and the aircraft to be in good shape, all in all I thought they were pretty good.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 1):
We made our way up to the rooftop level of the carpark for some pics. It was very warm and sunny up there - some much needed rays

- PHX is a great airport, I love the car park roof tops for spotting and you never get any problems with the local Police, just a brillian place!

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
I managed one last photo of N864DA at the gate through a “clean“ window…knowing what I was about to encounter through the windows at DTW…and that is… DOTS - thousands and thousands of annoying dots in the glass which are to provide anti glare protection from the summer sun but also to prevent decent pictures. What were they thinking? For me, one who likes to take pictures at airports, I cannot begin to describe to you how much I hate those dots! DTW is forever in my memory as the place with the annoying dots - a shame really because the McNamara terminal is very nice.

- Indeed the dots! I was there back in September, the dot's are pretty annoying!!

Quoting Palmjet (Thread starter):
we had no trouble with the authorities in any city with regard to my obsessive picture taking. It certainly made the trip more enjoyable not having any confrontation or being yelled at to stop taking pictures!

- Sure makes a change, the states is not the spotter friendly place it once was, a great shame paranoia has overtaken common sense.



User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 16, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 16969 times:

Hi Mark - thanks for your comments, which I just happened to catch whilst looking at the snowstorm outside my window at work as well ! The trip to PHX and back now seems like a distant memory!

The DC9s look very smart in DL's latest livery - they still make a great loud sound on take off too, which is great as I've not seen or heard a DC9 take off for quite a while. I also enjoyed my first DC9-50 flight in 2009 and would relish the chance of another before they all go for good.

I had heard PHX had a good reputation for spotters, and they certain brand themselves as "America's Friendliest Airport". It was pretty true. Nobody even approached us to ask what we were doing on top of the carpark there.

Don't get me re-started on the dots in DTW! Horrible indeed!

Hope you don't get snowed in over the weekend. The forecast is looking terrrible! Cheers P/jet

Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineATLFlyer323 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 641 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 16817 times:

Great Report, with amazing pictures! Thanks so much for sharing!


Everyday, the fluffy temptation of wheat!
User currently offlinemke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2558 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 16756 times:

Thanks for the awesome trip report and pictures!

Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16579 times:

Hey guys - ATLFlyer323 and mke717spotter - thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed the report and pics. Cheers p/jet

Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineMD11Bob From Germany, joined Mar 2010, 115 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 16227 times:

Hello Palmjet,

great report you wrote here, with a bunch of superb pictures. Great program of flying with a good choice of a/c with the 777 and the 753. I just missed a Delta DC-9 (from inside)   Great photos also of the approach in PHX.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 1):
after watching Deltalina wag her finger at us, reminding us that smoking was NOT ALLOWED on any Delta aircraft.

Haha, I had to laugh at that description, she sure stayed in my mind with that phrase aswell  
Quoting Palmjet (Reply 1):
The sun was rising by this point, and our 777 was bathed in a lovely orange background glow


Quoting Palmjet (Reply 1):
Still climbing and the sun shining. Life is good !

Agree, there are moments that make all the hassle of modern flying worth it.

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 1):
I cannot begin to describe to you how much I hate those dots! DTW is forever in my memory as the place with the annoying dots - a shame really because the McNamara terminal is very nice.

That is indeed annoying at that airport. In DTW, did you see those trees with the stones next to it where people use to write messages on? Saw several a.net references on that last time I was there.

Again, very nice trip report, thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us.


User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 16167 times:

MD11Bob - thanks very much for your post. We desperately tried to incorporate a DC9 flight amongst all the others, but the schedules and timing just did not work this time round. We did a DC9 sector on the last Delta marathon I did in 2009, which took us MCO-MEM-DTW-MDW-DTW-MCO (which was only a day trip)!

We did not see the trees at DTW - where in terminal complex was this?

Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinephatfarmlines From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1453 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 16143 times:

Thanks for the TR. For you night shots on an aircraft, do you typically use flash mode or just left infrared take over?

User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1241 posts, RR: 14
Reply 23, posted (5 years 5 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 15978 times:

Hi phatfarmlines - glad you enjoyed it. I typically just let infrared mode take over. I try to avoid using flash/flash mode wherever possible but find that it becomes incredibly difficult to focus on anything when autofocus is on, so often have to adjust to manual focus (although that does not always work either!) Merry Christmas!

Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineVSMike From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 318 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (5 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 15791 times:


This was a very good trip report. Nay, it was a great trip report. Stellar, actually. It was much better than I had expected it to be. Honestly, and lets be honest here, this was a fantastic trip report! Probably the best I've ever read with my eyes! Who am I kidding? This IS, hands down, the BEST trip report ever posted on a.net or jp.net or shufuni.com ... I love your work and I wish I could be you.

The one thing I am is an aircraft spotter. With eyes. And an interest in aviation. Airports & local authorities should welcome me and my kind - our kind - around the world. And they should issue us with identification cards for which local police would no longer view us as suspect as we fence-crawl and shoot our collective wads at passing Bahamasair 737-200s, for example.

I especially like your comments re: "Deltalina". As a loyal DL flyer myself, I have to say that seeing Deltalina welcome me on to each flight, I do get a rise. A very physical kind of rise - in my pantaloons. She grabs my attention and strokes my ego... all of which allows me to get off each flight feeling safe, warm, and relaxed. Its good for relieving headaches, too. I even picture her DSLs when I close my eyes to nap...

Speaking of napping, I find myself flying First/Business Class with DL regularilly. Its very interesting to me to see/hear of a Y-class prespective on DLs products. I usually forget the aircraft exists behind, say, row 6. I guess that's why it takes so long to board & pushback. Interesting. Good for me, bad for Delta.

Keep up the good work! Although this offbeat post will never be beat in the history of beating off-things for pure pleasure...


Skyteam. Caring More About Me.
25 Palmjet : VSMike, clearly this trip report was destined for those with eyes, a camera and a love of aviation. I am glad you qualified to be able to read it! I r
26 Post contains images The777Man : Great report with nice pictures! I do similiar trips but go farther ............... Glad everything worked out for you! The777Man
27 Palmjet : Hey The777Man, thanks for your post. Yep, you certainly go further for shorter periods! For about $30 more we could have done another rotation through
Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic Keep Climbing & Don't Stop - 48hr DL Marathon
No username? Sign up now!

Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Trip reports only! Other topics here
  • If criticizing an airline, express yourself in a dignified manner.
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Trans-Atlantic Part 1: BRU-ATL-SLC-BZN On DL posted Mon Nov 15 2010 14:56:22 by BZNPilot
DL 777-200LR BusinessElite, Singapore To Tokyo posted Thu Nov 11 2010 03:14:37 by ManekS
DTW-APN DL (XJ) 10-30/10-31 Saab 340 posted Mon Nov 1 2010 14:13:49 by falstaff
1st Trip Report MSP-AMS On DL In Y --Part 1 posted Thu Oct 14 2010 12:57:02 by cargord
Trip To Peru On DL And Taca (Lots Of Pics) posted Wed Sep 15 2010 06:01:54 by buck3y3nut
DL A330-200 Biz DTW-AMS, UA 777-200 Biz AMS-IAD posted Mon Sep 6 2010 15:37:46 by Transpac787
DL/KL/AF DTW-AMS-MAN-CDG-DTW 8-2/8-12 posted Sat Aug 14 2010 09:38:10 by falstaff
DL 154/155 J/Y JFK-MAN-JFK posted Wed Jul 28 2010 14:45:41 by b707forever
DL Shuttle LGA-BOS, Marine Air Terminal W/pics posted Sat Jul 24 2010 13:50:34 by sahsa
DUS-CDG-PHL With AF & DL posted Thu Jul 22 2010 06:31:22 by cgnnrw

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format