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DAY To PHX – Weekend With Frank Lloyd Wright  
User currently offlinejakeflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 46 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5638 times:

Background
It has been over three years since my last trip report but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been flying. In fact a few months ago I accepted a job in Ohio and for a few months I commuted every week from my home in Kansas City, Missouri to Dayton, Ohio—giving me more than enough flying to earn Platinum status on Delta Airlines for 2012. I’ve also been able to do some non-commuting travel over the last few months… including a recent trip to Phoenix to attend a conference.

I received a pamphlet on the conference last summer. The conference was to be held at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. I studied design in college and am a HUGE Frank Lloyd Wright fan and have toured many of his homes. I knew that he was one architects who designed the Biltmore Hotel back in the 1920’s so that was a bonus for making the trip… plus in the next city, Frank Lloyd Wright established a home, studio, and architecture school in the 1930’s and lived there in the winter until his death in 1959 (Taliesin West). This home/studio is also open to the public. SIGN ME UP!!!


Booking the Flight
People may think I am crazy, but I enjoy the process of booking flights. For me it is like the anticipation of Christmas or a birthday. I love exploring all the options and finding the best itinerary. I needed to travel over the weekend to arrive in time for the conference, so I wanted to make sure I maximized my flying experience—maximize miles, select an aircraft with the most amenities and best chance for a complimentary upgrade, and make sure there was a meal served. Here’s the itinerary I settled on:

10/29/2011
Dayton -> Detroit -> Phoenix
DEPART – DAYTON 1:32 PM Delta #4155 (Delta Connection – CRJ)
ARRIVE – DETROIT 2:44 PM
DEPART – DETROIT 3:55 PM Delta #2021 (Delta Mainline – 757-200)
ARRRIVE – PHOENIX 5:23 PM

11/02/2011
Phoenix -> Detroit -> Dayton
DEPART – PHOENIX 11:45 AM Delta #2122 (Delta Mainline – 737-800)
ARRIVE – DETROIT 6:32 PM
DEPART – DETROIT 7:51 PM Delta #2937 (Delta Connection – CRJ)
ARRIVE – DAYTON 8:57 PM

I selected the flights with the 757-200 and 737-800 because of the abundance of seats for upgrades, plus the flights offered personal entertainment on demand—and meals in First Class!


Outbound Flight
Saturday 10/29 was a perfect day to fly. The weather was warm and the forecast was clear across the United States. I arrived at the airport about an hour early because I have found that the security lines in Dayton can be hit or miss.

Dayton is the home of Orville and Wilbur Wright. The first airplane was invented here (and transported to North Carolina where the first flight took place) and Dayton celebrates this heritage as seen in these images at the airport

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0297-1.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0298.jpg


Dayton airport main building looks as if it was built in the 1960s and retrofitted in later years to accommodate jet bridges. There are two terminals located at opposite ends of the main building where the gates are located. The result is a long walk from security to the gates. Airlines servicing Dayton include the majors: Delta, United (and Continental), American, US Airways—plus others including Frontier and Air Tran. These airlines service their hubs, although Air Tran has some direct flights to Florida locations.

New tower:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0296.jpg

Old airport:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0301.jpg

Not the list of exotic destinations like other airports...
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0300.jpg

Although spread out, Dayton Airport is very manageable. One feature they have is the Business Lounge (which is closed on the weekend). It is like an airline club, but there is no membership required. They have complementary coffee and tea—and Wi-Fi. It is a nice option to just sitting at the gate.

The Dayton Airport Lounge:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0299.jpg

Boarding Gate:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0302.jpg

CRJ Waiting:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0303.jpg

The flight to Detroit was on a commuter flight and was booked to near capacity. There was only one vacant seat—unfortunately that seat was not next to me. It is a quick flight and the flight attendant usually announces that “because of the short duration of the flight, there wouldn’t be an in-flight beverage service.” No problem, I slept most of the way.

The obligatory knee picture:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0304.jpg

I arrived in Detroit on time and had sufficient time to make it from the commuter terminal to the main terminal where my connecting flight was about to board.

Connecting tunnel from the commuter terminal to the main terminal:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0305.jpg

View as I emerged from the connecting tunnel:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0308.jpg

Main terminal and picture of the commuter train that runs the length of the terminal:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0310.jpg

When I arrived I found there was a little confusion at the gate. Apparently there was an aircraft change—still a Boeing 757, but it was an older model with a different configuration. (The tail number was N533US and went into service on September 20, 1988). Because of the different configuration, some of the passengers were reassigned to new seats.

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0314.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0315.jpg

I was given a complementary upgrade for this flight and was able to board first. I found my seat and settled in. The seat had the usual bottle of water, blanket, and pillow waiting. I sat down and looked around and noticed there were no video screens. There was space where there should have been a screen, but it had all been removed. When I booked the flight I had noted that it had individual IFE screens and power at the seats…none of which were on this flight. I asked the flight attendant and she mentioned that the aircraft we were supposed to be on was struck by lightning and this was a replacement aircraft. There was no IFE on this flight at all!

I waited for the flight to board and for the pre-flight beverage service… and waited… and waited. I was disappointed that there was no pre-flight service. We taxied and took off on time and I waited…and waited… and waited until finally a flight attendant approached me to ask if I wanted something to drink. From the time I had boarded to the first time a flight attendant approached me to offer me a beverage was on hour and fifteen minutes. Not what you would expect for first class. (Welcome to the new Delta!)

The flight attendant took my drink order and offered a choice of entrees for lunch: chicken salad or a Philly cheese steak. I took the cheese steak. The overall quality of the food was good. The cheese steak wasn’t what you would expect at Gino’s in South Philadelphia… but still was good.

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0320.jpg

Fortunately I had brought my iPad so after lunch I settled in and watched some TV shows I had downloaded. It would have been a long flight without it!

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0323.jpg

We arrived in Phoenix a few minutes early. I made my way to the car rental facility and found that I had been upgraded to a black Chevy Camero!


Arizona Biltmore Hotel
I arrived at the Arizona Biltmore hotel just as it was getting dark. You could still see some of the details that make this hotel an architectural landmark. The hotel was built in the late 1920s by the Wrigley family (of Wrigley gum) and was intended to be a desert playground for the rich and famous. At the time there was nothing surrounding the hotel but desert. Here are some shots I took over the next few days. Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence can clearly be seen in the design

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0357.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0350.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0351.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0359.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0361.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0349.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0363.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0365.jpg



Taliesin West
As mentioned, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and studio were a few miles away. I had some time and so decided to take a tour of the complex. Some interesting facts about Taliesin West: The land was purchased in the 1930s for about $3.50 an acre (today it is worth about $350,000 per acre.) I have toured many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings and homes and am always struck with his brilliance and creativity. I always walk away inspired. The trip to Taliesin West was no exception.

His Office:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0331.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0327.jpg

Studio and Home:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0332.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0333.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0329.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0338.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0334.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0335.jpg

Performing Studios:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0339.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0340.jpg

I was not able to take pictures inside his residence, but interior pictures can been at the following website: http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Taliesin_West.html


Return Flight
My return flight was scheduled to depart at 11:45 AM. One of the problems with flying from the West coast to the East coast is that with the time changes and connections you day is spent traveling. I thought about standing by for an earlier flight leaving around 6:00 AM. When my alarm clock went off at 4:00, I turned it off and went back to sleep. The 11:45 AM flight was fine with me—besides I was already upgraded!

I dropped off the rental car and rode the bus to terminal for my flight. The flight was scheduled to depart on time. There was a calm at the gate which was noticeably different from the outbound flight. The flight was about 80% full which I am sure also made a difference.

View of the US Airways terminal:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0366.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0367.jpg

Departing gate:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0369.jpg

Waiting 737:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0370.jpg

Boarding commenced and proceeded without any issues. Once again I found my seat and settled in. I sat back waited… and waited… and waited for the pre flight beverage service. There was none.

There were some preflight announcements: “The was no water in the first class lavatory”… What? Apparently the drain was not working and so wet wipes were substituted. At least they didn’t delay or cancel the flight because of this! One more announcement…”Because of strong tail winds, our flight was scheduled to be about three hours and five minutes”—versus the over four hours posted!

View of Phoenix:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0371.jpg

After we were air born the flight attendant finally began the beverage and lunch service. Today we had the choice of chicken salad and a hamburger. A hamburger?!!!! I didn’t think a hamburger could be done in flight… so I had to try it. Apparently this was a popular item because they ran out before everyone had a chance to select their entrée. After a hot towel service, The hamburger arrived and to my surprise actually tasted good. There was too much bread for my liking, but surprisingly tasted good.

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0373.jpg

There was no aircraft change on this flight and there was a personal IFE screen at my seat. After lunch, I sat back and watched some live TV shows and a movie.

No water in the lavatory:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/0_1.jpg

Pilot taking a break:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0379.jpg

Today's flight path:
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0380.jpg

The flight continued without incident. We flew at 31,000 feet because of turbulence and arrived in Detroit somewhat early. I had time to grab some dinner at a restaurant at the airport and make my way to my connecting gate in the commuter terminal where I found that my flight was going to depart about 45 minutes late.

Waiting for the connecting flight (with everyone else):
http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0381.jpg

http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n240/jakeflyer/DSCN0382.jpg

We finally boarded the flight and I settled in expecting another beverage-free commuter flight. To my surprise, the flight attendant came through the cabin as we were waiting to depart and took drink orders for when we were in flight. After taking the orders, she was busy in the galley as we were taxiing, getting cups ready for the beverage service during our short flight to Dayton. I was impressed!

As soon as we were in the air, the flight attendant was busy serving drinks and handing out peanuts. She worked very hard to make sure the passengers were happy. I contrasted this experience with my three other flights on this itinerary where the flight attendants seemed to have something else to do besides serving the customer… even in first class. When I received my Delta Platinum credentials, I was also given certificates to give to Delta employees who go the extra mile. I had one left and gladly gave it to this flight attendant who was working hard to make sure the passengers felt at home.

Final Words
I hope you enjoyed this report. I always try to look for things that are out of the ordinary that can make a trip extraordinary. On a ten point scale, I would rate this trip as follows:

- Aircraft Condition: 4/10 (no outbound IFE and no water in the first class restroom)
- Food: 8/10 (For presentation and acceptable taste)
- Preflight Service: 2/10 (It would have been “0” except for the DTW-DAY flight attendant which I would give an 12 out of 10)
- In Flight Entertainment (when it was working): 9/10
- In Flight Service: 7/10

Thanks!

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineShnoob940 From Australia, joined Sep 2008, 185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5549 times:

Quoting jakeflyer (Thread starter):
Booking the Flight
People may think I am crazy, but I enjoy the process of booking flights. For me it is like the anticipation of Christmas or a birthday. I love exploring all the options and finding the best itinerary. I needed to travel over the weekend to arrive in time for the conference, so I wanted to make sure I maximized my flying experience—maximize miles, select an aircraft with the most amenities and best chance for a complimentary upgrade, and make sure there was a meal served. Here’s the itinerary I settled on:

You're not crazy, because I have the same feeling!
Great report!

gibbo



A319 A320 A321 A332 A333 A343 A388 733 734 735 737 738 739 743 744 762 763 773 788 E170 E190 Q400
User currently offlinezrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3170 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5471 times:

I get that feeling also when booking flight!

I remember the days when Piedmont ruled Dayton. They had a nice small hub with a Presidential Suite (their VIP lounge).

TWA also had an Ambassadors Club in Dayton. Kind of an anomaly!


Hamburgers in flight have been common in recent years, and as you saw, they are quite tasty. But there is something "de-clase" about a hamburger in F!



14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
User currently offlinestasisLAX From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3283 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5470 times:

Nice trip report! Glad you enjoyed your trip to Talieson West. It's one of my favorite places to visit here in Phoenix - I take a trip up to North Scottsdale about once a year to tour the home. There are some tours done during the evening, and there are also tours that are guided by some of the students themselves of the entire "camp", as Mr. Wright once called it. The Biltmore is a beautiful place to stay, with gorgeous grounds and fine restaurants at the hotel and on the nearby "Biltmore Corridor". The Biltmore also offers tours of the hotel and grounds to non-guests of the hotel.

And a black Camaro as a rental? Whoa, you definitely got lucky there!!!



"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!" B.Franklin
User currently offlineTOMMY767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 5130 times:

Nice report! Is it just me or is the quality of the food on Delta going down, while the accents (table cloth, tray) is going up?


"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offlineEricR From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5085 times:

Quoting jakeflyer (Thread starter):
Not the list of exotic destinations like other airports...

Well.......parts of Philly can be described as exotic.


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4890 times:

Hi

Nice trip report, enjoyed the read!
I love the DAY pics! Seems like a nice regional airport

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinejakeflyer From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4854 times:

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 4):
Nice report! Is it just me or is the quality of the food on Delta going down, while the accents (table cloth, tray) is going up?

I thought the same thing. When the meal was served, I was impressed with the presentation...but the menu needs some work. My last trip report (three years ago) describes the meal service on a NWA regional jet. Not as nice of presention, but the menu was much better... First Class On A Regional Jet – NWA CRJ900 (by Jakeflyer Aug 5 2008 in Trip Reports)

Quoting zrs70 (Reply 2):
I remember the days when Piedmont ruled Dayton. They had a nice small hub with a Presidential Suite (their VIP lounge).

I also remember when United had a 757 servicing this market and most all other carriers had a 737 or similar. While there are a few flights with larger aircraft, it seems that most of the flights into Dayton are regional jets


User currently offlinecrjflyer35 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 668 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4400 times:

Glad you had a nice visit...when I saw the title I had to check it out since I used to work for a company that did IT Support for Taliesin West...I've spent so much time at that place it's ridiculous. Hopefully you visited the bookstore, the ladies down there are a blast!


Ok, wait for the RJ to pass, cleared to push tail south Mike, and you're cleared to spin #2 in the push.
User currently offlineEASTERN747 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 544 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 4333 times:

I really have to say the food service was appalling. The serving tray is Very tacky and Burger King could teach them a lesson.
And WHY WHY WHY does everybody expect bottled water? Where does this come from? Do we all need bottled water all day long....discusting! Those empty bottles don't go away!


User currently offlinezrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3170 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4199 times:

Back in the day, both DL and TW flew L10's into DAY!


14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
User currently offlineDeltaRules From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3770 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 4092 times:

Nice TR! Good to see one with DAY involved!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 6):
I love the DAY pics! Seems like a nice regional airport

I've flown into/out of DAY a few times myself and can vouch for this. Their marketing tagline (Easy To and Through) definitely applies, as you can be from security to the farthest gates on B/C in a few minutes.

Quoting jakeflyer (Reply 7):
While there are a few flights with larger aircraft, it seems that most of the flights into Dayton are regional jets

Most are RJs, but DL, AA, F9 & FL (the latter two for obvious reasons) still run mainline into DAY. UA seems to run an A320 or two during the summer.



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