I'm here in DFW for the last of my CSA training, and I had this weekend off. Friday night I was on the phone with my girlfriend back in SFO, and the subject of aviation casually came up--as it kind of has a way of doing often--and she mentioned that she had never ridden on a 777. So I did a little searching in Deltamatic and we decided to take a little trip to MCO so she could experience it.
The flights were pretty much wide open, so we were pretty much sure to get BusinessElite both ways, which we did.
So she came out to ATL from SFO, and I flew out there from DFW. Our flight down to MCO was DL1975 on 6 Jan 00, on N865DA, Ship 7006, delivered new to DL 12/99. We were assigned seats 4A and 4B, class J. We departed on time from Gate E26. She was shocked that an airplane of such size accelerated so fast, and even more shocked at its initial rate of climb, which, I'll admit, takes me by surprise every time I ride the 777. We reached our cruising altitude of 37,000 feet 19 minutes after departure (!) and cruised at M.84, but after only 15 minutes at FL370 we descended to FL290 and slowed to M.82 at ATC's request. Inflight service was excellent, our flight attendants as nice as always. Granted, this flight is a short hop, but they were still very nice. I'm sure a hop over the pond would be very enjoyable with that crew. Our descent into MCO was uneventful and the pilot absolutely greased the landing.... one of the smoothest I've ever experienced. We arrived at Gate 82. Total flight time was 1hr6min. We went up to the flight deck after the flight and chatted with the FO, who ranted and raved for at least 15 minutes about what a sweet machine the 777 is and how fun it is to fly. I was like a kid in a candy store, sitting in the place where I will someday work.
We spent the night at the Airport Hyatt.
The next morning, we had been listed on DL1962, but that flight did not look good at all up front, and I did not want to waste S2 priority legs on a short hop like that. But the good news was that the flight that Ship 7006 was supposed to turn around and fly back to ATL had been cancelled the night before, so they added an extra section to ATL at 10A, which was literally wide open. We were at Gate 82, waiting to get seat assignments, when lo and behold, the flight crew that walked up to the gate was the same crew, pilots and FAs, that had flown us down. The Captain and FO said hi, and the Captain commented that this time he would give us a hell of a ride. He wasn't kidding.
We were assigned seats 2A and 2B, class J on DL9589 on 7 Jan 01. Pushback was right on time, at 10A. Just as we were taxiing out, another DL 777 came into Gate 71, which happens to be one of my favorite spotting places in MCO. Taxi out was uneventful. We went out, aligned, then I heard the unmistakeable sound of the RR Trents spooling up, followed by the buzzsaw sound. The pilots really dipped into the power on takeoff and climbout! It was the fastest takeoff I've ever experienced, and the rate of climb was unbelievable! We reached our cruising altitude of FL370 very quickly... I was so impressed with takeoff and climbout that I didn't keep track, and according to the announcement by the Captain, we cruised at M.86. No ATC holds this time, and our descent into ATL was surprisingly uneventful. Total flight time was 56 minutes. We arrived at Gate E11, after waiting 20 minutes on the ground for wingwalkers. We were so early they weren't expecting us. Afterwards the Captain told us that even though that was so impressive, Ship 7006 had barely stretched her legs. He said, "when we're going across the Atlantic, we pass by 767 after 767, and Airbus after Airbus... this thing is so efficient it's amazing."
My girlfirend's conclusion on the 777: "I'm not flying on anything other than a 777 ever again."
My response: "Then good luck getting back to San Francisco, honey."
That's about it... that was my first trip report, so let me know how it was. Anything I should add, or not mention, etc. I'd appreciate your comments.
It's a new day. Every moment matters. Now, more than ever.