Hi all, this is my first trip report. Sorry there are no pics but I'll try to provide good detail. This trip was for a yearly Vegas trip with a few friends. I was planning to non-rev on UA but the flights looked too full to take a chance, so I bought a ticket on DL - they were offering the lowest fare ($240 r/t).
767-300, N133DN (del 1/24/91), old new colors
Act: on time
We arrived at the new Terminal A at about 06:45 and found it to be busy but not crowded. DL is only using about 55% of the counter space in A. We used a self-service kiosk and checked baggage uneventfully. The security line was about 5 minutes long. We then had a quick coffee and went to the gate. Boarding of the 767-300 began on time and we boarded with Zone 8. The automated boarding announcements that DL uses are kind of annoying but they seem to give the agents more time to focus on what matters, customer service.
I had chosen seat 27E. 27C or E are my favorite seats on the DL 767-300 domestic. Although there is not much more legroom, it seems to be a bit more private and quiet with the bulkhead in front of you. The movie screen is hard to view, but I didn't want to watch the Delta Horizons tv program anyhow.
The flight departed a few minutes early and we had a quick taxi to Runway 9. The Captain said we had an ATC flow delay but it was absorbed by our taxi time. The takeoff roll was short, and we used about half the runway for what seemed to be a full power, rolling takeoff. The flight was smooth all the way until approach into ATL.
Flight attendants served drinks (I had coffee) and the "Biscoff" biscuits. We each got about 5 since the flight was relatively empty (approx. 45% full). I don't like Biscoffs, and gave them to my friends. They were on a sugar high within minutes...
On approach into ATL, the seatbelt sign was switched on early by the Captain due to convective activity in the area which would mean a bumpy ride. The ride did not turn out to be all that bad and we were on the ground in ATL within no time.
767-300 (registration not known, could not see), new colors
Act: pushed at 12:20 due to late inbound equipment from MSY
Upon arriving at gate A26 in ATL, we saw the gate display which said our flight was delayed approximately 30 minutes. This was due to the inbound flight from MSY having an ATC delay. However, the aircraft was slated to arrive any minute. That meant there was time to get a bottle of water and walk around to stretch our legs.
Boarding began at 11:50 for the full flight to LAS. We were again in Zone 8, toward the end of the boarding process. The jetway had become backed up, so there was no hurry to get on board since the 767-300 has plenty of overhead space. Eventually I settled into seat 27E and noticed that this 767-300 appeared to be in need of a refurbishing (the interior was kind of shabby and the bulkhead wall covering was unraveling). I wish I had got the registration to see how old it was.
We sat at the gate for about 15 minutes after the door was closed, then pushed back. The First Officer said the hold was due to weather in the area causing departures to back up.
At that point I noticed that the people in the 5 or so rows behind us appeared to be drunk. They were very rowdy and loud. I knew it was going to be an interesting flight. They kept talking about how they wanted pre-departure cocktails. I felt like telling them to dream on, flying on their 99 dollar fares. (sarcasm). Plus, it was not like they needed any more booze!
This was one time I wished DL had the equivalent of UA's Channel 9. While we were taxiing, I saw at least 10 other airplanes, including two Comair CRJs, a UA A320, and others, lined up on taxiways not going anywhere. I was not sure if it was due to flow into other cities or the weather overhead (dark clouds were looming). Next thing you know, we were #2 for takeoff. I am not sure what runway we used but it was one of the parallels- I'm not familiar with ATL. We had a long takeoff roll, probably due to the flight being completely full and the fuel load for LAS.
Here's where the flight became nasty. About 500 feet off the ground, we encountered some moderate, perhaps more than moderate, turbulence. It was not "chop", it was continuous roller coaster-like turbulence. On the first bump, the drunk folks behind us screamed "yee-haw". At least there was something to laugh at. But then it became really bad and the 767 seemed to be struggling to stay airborne, with the wing dipping to the left, then the right. People were yelling. I was gripping the seat, and I don't usually get bothered by poor rides. Worst thing was my seat kept reclining because my leg was hitting the recline button (Delta, when you get new seats, please move that button higher up for those of us that are taller than 5'8"!). This was definitely the worst turbulence I had ever experienced, and it lasted all the way until we reached cruise altitude. My guess is there was windshear and/or microbursts due to the area thunderstorms. I lost my bottle of water (rolled down the aisle) in the process!
After leveling off, we were served drinks and there was food for sale. I purchased a chicken caesar salad for $8.00 US and got two of those mini Dasani bottles of water. The salad was okay, but I like the Bennigan's chef salad that UA sells better. The flight attendants were excellent on this flight and the onboard leader had a dry sense of humor that made us all laugh. She put the drunks behind us in their place a couple times. One of the drunk guys behind us told her to "shoo that girl back here to give us more drinks". She responded to him, "sir, we don't 'shoo' around here, but if you continue to drink, i'll 'shoo' you right off the plane". Another one of her more witty remarks was when the man said, "the woman [referring to his wife] would like another wine"... the flight attendant responded, "can the 'woman' speak?"... At any rate the flight attendants managed to control their drinking without the situation getting ugly. Kudos to them for that.
The movie shown was "Finding Neverland," which did not interest me, so I tried to sleep but was continually bumped from behind from the people in row 28. They kept switching seats to talk to each other. Even with my headphones on, I could still hear them. The adventures of a Vegas flight...
The flight to LAS was a little over 4 hours, and we landed at about 14:00 local time. Deplaining and baggage claim was neither quick nor slow, and we caught a taxi to our hotel.
757-200, N633DL (del 12/23/87), old new colors
Seat: 27C (exit row)
I checked in at about 05:45 using a kiosk. There was no wait for baggage check, and I was in the enormous D-gate security line by 05:55. Although it was very long, the line only took about 15 minutes to clear. I have heard nightmares about LAS security lines being long but this was not bad. They appear to have their act together in LAS when it comes to managing crowds. I did wonder why several flight crews kept cutting in front of us when there is a dedicated first class/crew security lane. I enjoyed the tram ride to the D gates, and saw a HA 767-300 landing in the sunrise.
I got a greasy Burger king Croissanwich and headed to Gate D42. The aircraft was already there and boarding began early at about 06:40. I know how hard full 757s are to board, so the agent probably purposely got a head start. I got in line and was in my seat a few minutes before departure. I had not been on a DL 757 in years, and I was interested to see the differences between UA's 757s and DL's. The mid galley and lavs are on opposite sides compared to United's. Also the exit row seats did not have as much legroom as UA's. The non-exit row seats looked extremely cramped (I remembered this from my last DL 757 trip). The plane was very clean.
We taxied to what I believe was Runway 1L. You have to love Delta's 757 pilots who must get an adrenaline rush from using full power all the time. We had a relativey short roll followed by a bank to the left. Due to the strong winds, we experienced some chop on climbout but it went away once we were above about 15,000 feet. Again my seat was reclining due to my right leg hitting the recline button.
The man in the window seat, 27A, reclined his seat and the guy behind him yelled at him - "I'm resting my head on your seat, couldn't you see that???" The guy in 27A just rolled his eyes. More classy folks flying out of LAS.
The most interesting part of this flight was the new snack service that Delta started I believe on April 3rd. There was no food for sale; instead, all passengers are given a snack pack that includes crackers, spreadable cheese, raisins, oreo cookies and a wetnap. I didn't eat this until halfway through the flight. I would much rather have a snack pack for free than having to buy food on board, so I am glad DL changed their service. However, it would be nice if DL altered the contents based on time of day (i.e, morning flights could get a granola bar, trail mix or something). I had Dasani water to drink. The movie was "Lemony Snicket's -A Series of Unfortunate Events". I did not watch it. I could not use my personal headphones with the DL jack because it kept falling out. As a result I slept for most of the trip.
The flight was smooth and uneventful other than the agitated man in the row behind me. We had a pretty good tailwind and landed in CVG at about 13:50, then taxied to the gate. Deplaning was slow because we did not have a jetbridge operator for about 5 minutes.
MD-88, N953DL (del 3/21/90), old new colors
Seat: 25D (exit row)
I had walked directly to the gate due to the short connecting time but noticed that passengers were still deplaning from the inbound flight, so I went to the food court and got a sandwich. I then went back to the gate and waited for boarding to begin. CVG had a lot of MD-88s and 737-200s. The last time I flew through there it was en route to SAN in 1997 and there were many more 767s and 757s. The automated boarding announcements began at our gate and the process went quick as the flight was not full. This was my first trip on a DL MD-88 and I was lucky because it had the new, all-leather seating. It's incredible how they can make an older plane look so new. I was very impressed with the small touches such as the overhead lighting (it was softer and more modern), and the "lavatory occupied" signs which glow in an aqua color. The exit row seat had plenty of room and I liked the fact that the tray table was in the seatback instead of the armrest.
We pushed back and taxied to the runway (not sure which one). This was the only flight of my trip where the pilots started the #2 engine during taxi. On almost all UA flights that I've taken in the past year, only 1 engine is started until mid-taxi.
I remembered how cool the engines sound on MD-80s when they spooled up. Funny how the Pratts sound so loud when you're outside the plane but they are relatively quiet from the inside, even towards the back half of the cabin. Takeoff was an average length and we climbed steeply out of CVG and turned northeast towards CLE.
The seatbelt sign came off very quick, and I went back to use the lav. There were 3 DL pilots sitting in the aft mini-cabin. It must be great to sit back there during takeoff and hear the engines at full power.
We had a drink and "goody" service, as the flight attendant called it. This service also must have been revised on April 3rd. There were several snack items to choose from (a la Jet Blue), including Sun Chips, granola bars, candy bars, and cheese & crackers. I was impressed with both the presentation and quality of the food. I got some Sun Chips and ate them with the sandwich I bought at CVG.
We hit some good bumps about halfway to BOS and the MD-88 seemed to handle turbulence very well. I was so tired, though, I pretty much passed out for the rest of the flight.
Arrival was on Runway 27 in BOS, with a quick taxi to gate A8. It took about 20 minutes to get baggage off of Carousel 4.
So there you have it. I would give all the flights a rating of 9 out of 10 with the exception of the ATL-LAS leg which was a 3 due to the turbulence and rowdy passengers (not DL's fault, but those factors affected my enjoyment). I like Delta, their equipment, and flight attendants. However, I feel more comfortable on UA, probably because I work for them, but I also think the Economy seating is better and I love listening to Channel 9. Hope you all enjoyed this trip report.