Skywatch From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 923 posts, RR: 5 Posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 5515 times:
This is Part 2 of my AUS-ATL-GCM trip on DL. The route of flight on my return trip was GCM-ATL-AUS.
I wasn't ready to leave Grand Cayman. I had enjoyed a 10-day stay on the island, and I was very reluctant to leave. For once, I would have rather stayed there longer that flown that day!(It is a rarity for me!) We unloaded our bags from the car, and, said our goodbyes, and headed for the terminal. The wait at the DL ticket counter wasn't too bad, and soon we had our bags rummaged through and then checked. Then it was off to the departure area. Once again, I went clean through the metal detector. My passport had expired, so I used my birth certificate(acceptable in the Caymans) to get through the immigration checkpoint. Things went smoothly, and soon I was looking around the duty-free shops in the departure lounge. After buying my Tortuga Rum Cakes (THE Cayman Souvenir), I settled down and munched on one! Our flight, Delta 906, was scheduled to depart at at 1:17pm. The flight was late unloading, but boarding began soon after it was empty. I snapped some pics of a Cayman Airways 733 and our ride home, a DL738, while on the ramp (N385DN Ship number 3715).
I then proceeded to boarding the front airstairs, and then made my way to seat 12A.
I watched an AC A319 land and then a US 737.
The 738 I was on then taxiied to the end of the runway, turned around, and screamed down the runway. It eventually got off the ground, and was almost instantly over the water. I watched the island fade away....while taking pictures the whole time, of course!
The IFE was showing the flight stats, and I attentively watched that. Then at our cruising altitude of 36,000ft, the IFE switched to some stupid sitcom. I wish it would just stay with the flight stats and GPS! I chose water as my beverage and Cheese Sunchips as my snack. Great stuff! After I finished my Sunchips, I watched Cuba go by. I was, naturally, taking pics of it! How many times a year do you get to take arial photos of a Communist country?!
A pretty decent-sized thunderhead over Cuba:
An airfield in Matanzas, Cuba:
Some pretty good turns were intermittent throughout the flight, so that kept things interesting. Just south of the Keys, the thundestorm dodging began! I did take a pic of the AFB in Key West.
Very nice island there. There were some pretty decent thunderheads that we skimmed past, and some turbulence. I was on the left side of the plane, so I saw no more land until the Florida coast on the panhandle. One WN 737 did fly at an angle with us for a while, so I watched him. Nothing else happened until our descent into ATL. I watched the beautiful Georgian countryside go by. It is really gorgeous out there! I hadn't noticed before! The GPS came back on around 20,000ft or so, and I watched that. There was a DL MD-88 in front of our plane, on the left, flying on finals for ATL.
The 8's and 9's were in use at ATL this time. I evebtually lost sight of the MD-88 in front of the plane, but I noticed another slightly behind to the left. Gotta love the traffic in ATL! Touchdown was pretty decent, but we did bounce. I saw an AF A340 taxiing for takeoff. What a beauty! We vacated the actve, and made our way to the gate. The plane stopped next to our gate at Concourse E. The captain informed us that another plane was still occupying that gate, so we would have to wait for a while. I busied myself watching departing and arriving traffic on 8L and 8R. The DL 763 at our gate eventually backed away, and we quickly filled the vacant spot.
The 763 that was in the way:
I snapped some shots of a BA 773 a few gates over.
I stayed on the plane for quite some time, until the crowd thinned out. I then got my stuff out of the overhead bin, got my camera ready, and walked up front. I asked the captain if I could snap a picture of the flight deck. He said "Sure, step inside" so I stepped inside the cockpit. I snapped a pretty decent pic of it, thanked him for a great flight, then left.
We headed downstairs to go through customs. We got checked through, claimed our bags, re-checked them, went through the security line, then left. All in all, it went very smoothly. We stopped at Popeyes in E for some dinner.
BA backed out while we were eating:
After dinner (great food!), we hitched a ride on the train to Concourse B. We got to our gate, and still had more than an hour until our plane left for AUS. I sat in my chair watching heavy after heavy lift off and disappear.
Bad tail number shot of our plane:
I wish AUS had trraffic like that! The boarding call came for Delta 1861, an MD-88,(N974DL Ship Number 974) and our zone was eventually called. I got into yet another window seat, 17A. The flight left the gate around 8:02pm. Takeoff was great, and it also supplied me with a great view of the cargo ramp. The clouds were scattered, but bumpy. We actually got a few where the bottom dropped for a while! I loved it! Then that stopped, and he flight was smooth. Cruising for the fist half of the trip was 32,000ft. The view of the sunset was great from my side on the left, because I could see some great clors in the clouds, without getting the sun in my eyes.
The ground was nearly hidden in haze, just like my flight to ATL from AUS. Once again, I selected water as my beverage, and I was so full of Popeyes that I didn't grab a snack. It got darker as we flew over Lousiana. I noticed the same airfield I had seen on the way out, just a little ways from the Mississippi river. The route of flight was almost iddentical. There was a little bit of air traffic out the left window, but most of the time over LA and eastern TX Iwas watching lightning from a pretty powerful storm south of the plane. We banked right once to avoid a growing thundercloud, but then turned left to re-attain our course. I saw the lights of Houston as we made our way toward AUS. The initial descent began as the last bit of light was fading. As we got lower, I started to recognize cities and lakes in the area. We turned north for our approach into 17L in AUS. I saw our runway in the distance. It eventually was obscured by the window panel as we turned south. The final descent was smooth, and the landing gear were lowered. Touchdown was moderately smooth, and the plane taxiied to our gate. I git the camera ready as everyone was filing off the plane. The captain was turned away, so I asked the F/A if I could snap a pic of the flight deck. She told the captain, and he asked me if I wanted my picture taken inside the cockpit. I agreed, and he told me to have a seat. I settled into the captain's chair and he took the picture. ( I look pretty good with a blurred face, eh?)
I thanked him, left the plane, claimed our bags, then went home. It was a great trip! If y'all are still awake (pardon the length) then I send ya my greetins' from Austin, Texas!
Skywatch From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 923 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5219 times:
Quoting Drerx7 (Reply 2): one note is that BA doesn't have 773s--it was a 772.
Thanks. I knew something was going to be wrong with that. It just looked so big! (I am never around 777's in AUS) I have discovered there is a difference in-between being able to ID pictures and the real thing. Also, the angle that a plane is viewed at makes a big difference!
I agree. Absolutely gorgeous, they are. As well as the mango rum!
BTW, I had a couple of questions on the Caymans (I hope you don't mind). I went on a cruise with my girlfriend last year and Grand Cayman was our favourite out of all our stops. We'd be interested in going back for a vacation, but we have a couple of questions. First, did you find it expensive? Second, we heard that, sadly, the hurricane did quite a lot of damage to the islands. Have they recovered?
Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
Skywatch From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 923 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5116 times:
Quoting SNATH (Reply 4): BTW, I had a couple of questions on the Caymans (I hope you don't mind). I went on a cruise with my girlfriend last year and Grand Cayman was our favourite out of all our stops. We'd be interested in going back for a vacation, but we have a couple of questions. First, did you find it expensive? Second, we heard that, sadly, the hurricane did quite a lot of damage to the islands. Have they recovered?
Ask all the questons you want! Hurricane Ivan (Hit spetember 12th, 2004) did do considerable damage, but you will still find the water to be just fine! A lot of the island's foliage was destroyed, but it is recovering. Basically you will find the price tags read a little higher than U.S. ones, and the CI dollar is $1.25US. A gallon of milk costs around $5-6CI, and a gallon of gas costs over $3CI. So yes, it can be expensive. It is still a great island, and the tourist side of the island has recovered from Ivan quite well. I'll answer any more questions you have, with pleasure!
Don't worry about it, in PHX I usually faint when I see the BA 744 let alone the occasional 777 because the only other heavy is two boring 767 of DL and of Hawaiian. Good report and excellent pictures.
Thanks! I am ready to fly again already. I think I might just do a quick hop on AA or WN up to Dallas and back from AUS. It costs less than $100 to do it! (AA AUS-DFW DFW-AUS $98.40, WN AUS-DAL DAL-AUS $80 after taxes) Not too bad at all. I need to get some more flights under my belt. I have flown 21 times in the last 5 years, and I would like to do it more! It is a great feeling being up there!
TUNisia From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1846 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4417 times:
Quoting Skywatch (Reply 8): Thanks! I am ready to fly again already. I think I might just do a quick hop on AA or WN up to Dallas and back from AUS. It costs less than $100 to do it! (AA AUS-DFW DFW-AUS $98.40, WN AUS-DAL DAL-AUS $80 after taxes) Not too bad at all. I need to get some more flights under my belt. I have flown 21 times in the last 5 years, and I would like to do it more! It is a great feeling being up there!
I know exactly what you mean. I just got back from Egypt and I'm already planning my next trip. For some reason short flights don't seem as exciting anymore. I really do love long-haul flights. I wish I could be on a plane for 14+ hours. I know most people would say that's crazy, but I wouldn't mind at all. It feels really good to be off the earth for a while sometimes
Also, nice trip report
Someday the sun will shine down on me in some faraway place - Mahalia Jackson