As my name indicates, I travel frequently between Orlando and Atlanta, having just moved to Orlando from Atlanta. I admit that Delta is usually my airline of preference because they offer so many daily flights between the two cities and I can fly on a wide variety of aircraft (757, 777, L-1011, MD-80, and soon the MD-11.)
This afternoon I flew Airtran's new 717. I chose to fly on Airtran specifically so that I could experience a flight on this newest jetliner (I had only flown on Airtran once before, and that ticket was arranged by my current employer when the flew me down to Florida for an interview.)
The flight was fantastic. My flight left MCO at 3:20, and Airtran also has a 3:00 departure. Because that 3:00 flight was somewhat late and because of heavy air traffic around ATL, we literally flew in on parallel runways at the same time as the 3:00 flight.
First, for $25, you can upgrade to Business Class, which I did. The extra legroom and pitch was wonderful, as was the more personalized service.
I have read about the 717 (I refer to it as the seven-one-seven, but they call it the seven-seventeen) and the fact that it uses 100% fresh air circulating in the cabin. That was very noticeable. The cabin did not have the traditional airplane smell or feel to it. It really did make a big difference. The overhead bins are huge and that really helps as well.
ecause I was in Business Class, they served us drinks as the coach passengers were filing in. They came back several times to re-fill our drinks (I had Coke.)
The seats were very comfortable and very modern looking (as one would expect on a new plane!) They looked really neat and ergonomically modern. They were a blue, velvet-like material. They were very comfortable.
I fly often, and I will say that the personnel on this flight were arguably the friendliest I have ever encountered. The first officer came on before departure and introduced himself and the captain, and then said, "but the realy stars of our show are the flight attendants, who will ensure your safety on this flight, so please give them a few minutes of your time. After all, there may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but this flight own't be one of them."
The flight attendants were very personable and friendly. In all, it seemed as if everyone loved their jobs. That's something that seems to be hit and miss with most airlines. I fly Delta a lot and the employees are usually very nice, but not nearly as nice as I encountered on this flight.
Because of air traffic over ATL, we were put in a 25-minute holding pattern, and the FO came on several times to keep us updated. He would jokingly say, "It seems like we're doing some sort of aerial ballet, but we're just following orders and we'll get you down safely as son as are cleared for landing."
Once airborne, the lead flight attendant mentioned that we were flying on the latest plane in Airtran's fleet. She mentioned that it is the quietest plane in its class and that it is powered by two Rolls-Royce/BMW engines. She mentioned the 100% fresh air the large overhead bins. Their in-flight magazine makes several mentions of the new plane, and rightly so. It was a joy to fly. Very quiet. But as a rookie to Airtran flying, I was so impressed with their customer service and how the 3 flight attendants on FO and captain seemed to be proud of their airline and of this particular flight. I cannot even remember how many times they thanked us. The Captain even apologized a couple of times for the fact that we were in a holding pattern (we still made it on time.) Overall, great flight. Way to go Airtran!
Next Tuesday I fly back on this same plane. I hope that my experience is half as great as this one.