Ok, this is my first trip report, so here we go...
Last Christmas my family traveled to Paris, France. This is our story.
December 23rd, 2000
We left my house in Key West, FL at about 9:30 am for the four-hour drive to Miami International Airport. (Flying into or out of Key West is quite expensive, especially for the route that we were flying). We
arrived at MIA at about 1:30 pm, and proceeded to the Delta check-in counters where we checked in for the 6:30 flight to Atlanta. Seeing that we arrived early though, they put us on standby for their 2:35 flight to Atlanta. The aircraft scheduled for that flight was an MD-88 in old old colors. The plane was in desperate need of a paint job.
That flight was booked full however, so we were rebooked for standby on the 4:20 flight to Atlanta. We made that. In the time before my plane arrived I watched as a Delta 767-200 as Flt. 1187 prepared for its 3:10 flight to Cincinnati continuing Salt Lake City. It was from this gate that my flight would also depart.
Delta Air Lines
First Delta 757 Flight
First Delta Flight On Aircraft In Newest Colors
At about 3:30 our aircraft pulled up to the gate at MIA. It was a 757 in Delta’s newest colors. This would be the first time I was on a Delta 757 in my memory, and would also be the first time on a Delta aircraft in the newest colors. This got my hopes up that the aircraft would have the newer interiors too.
Boarding commenced at about 4:00. My family of four was seated right in front of the first exit row in coach. The aircraft didn’t have the new interiors as I had hoped, but it was clean inside. The seat was comfortable, and legroom was adequate for the flight. The flight was about 80% full, which surprised me because it was the Holiday season and I would have expected it to be overbooked. We pushed back at 4:30, 10 minutes behind schedule. Our aircraft was right next to another Delta 767-200 that would also be making its way to Atlanta just minutes after us. We taxied out as the safety video played, and at 4:40 we turned onto MIA’s northernmost runway and blasted into the sky.
It was very overcast that day, and just before reaching Miami Beach we entered a thick cloud layer. We turned to the north in the blanket of clouds. Very soon the aircraft found itself skimming the top of this cloud layer. The only thing that could be seen was the white sea of cloud. The sky above us was laced with a higher layer of clouds, but not thick enough to block out the sun. As we climbed to 31,000 ft the flight attendants started he beverage service. It was not unusual. I got the usual: Delta snack mix (yum!) and a full can of ginger ale, which is my favorite drink when flying. Actually, there was something new about the service; we got bigger cups, which was a nice touch.
The thick cloud layer stayed with us even through Georgia, and ended just before arriving in the ATL area. It was about 5:45 when we arrived into the airspace around Hartsfield International Airport. It was also dusk at the time, making a very nice view of the lighted airport off in the distance. All of the planes descending to and ascending from ATL could also be seen by their lights. As we descended we flew parallel to one of the runways, which gave me a very good overview of the airport and the ground activity. Flying past it we then made a sharp 180 degree turn back to ATL and touched down at 6:00 pm.
Before going any further I have a question about ATL. Are the runways in a more east-west direction or are they more north-south? If they were east-west I think we flew to the north of ATL during the parallel run with the runway. And also, where is the check-in area related to the airport concourses (north, south, east, or west of the concourses)?
We arrived at our gate (D concourse, I think) about 5 minutes later, and were off by 6:15. The flight took only an hour and twenty minutes. It was now off to E concourse where we would catch our next flight. We had 3.5 hours to kill before our flight to Paris departed. We had dinner at one of the little restaurants in the terminal, then my parents went to the duty free shop and I went and wandered E concourse. I saw a DL757 to Cancun, DL763 to Dublin/Shannon, DL727 to Gudalajara, DL777 to London, DLMD11 to Sao Paulo, DL763 to Rio de Janeiro, DL763 to Santiago and a DL757 to San Jose, CA, among others. There was a Lufthansa A340 to Frankfurt that was delayed over four hour as well. My family met at our scheduled gate (E14 or E15, it was a corner gate kind of secluded from the others, near the Business Elite Lounge) at about 7:30. There was a British Airways 777 boarding and departing late. Our Air France 777 had still not arrived. British Airways pushed back at about 8:30pm, just as our Air France flight arrived. The BA flight departed two hours late, and the Air France flight arrived one hour late.
I stood at the window admiring the aircraft as she pulled up to the jetway. I mostly noticed it’s engines, which were massive. In just two hours I would be on her flying across the Atlantic.
Air France/Delta Codeshare
First Air France Flight
First B777 Flight
First Flight With PTVs
First Transatlantic Flight
First Codeshare Flight
Boarding Commenced at about 9:45, ten minutes before scheduled departure. The line to get on was long and somewhat disorganized. There were only pre-boards for those with children, and First and Business Classes did not get a special boarding. They were told to board whenever they felt like it with coach. We waited 15 minutes in the line before handing out tickets to the ticket-taker. On the way to the aircraft my parents picked up their duty free liquor (which was not consumed on the plane
I stepped on to the B777. It was immaculate inside. I took note of the interior curvy architecture, and I liked that the overhead bins kind of disappeared into the ceiling. We had entered through the second door of the aircraft, so the first cabin we walked through was the L’espace 120. It was in a 2x3x2 configuration, but he seats still looked comfortable, but they didn’t seem to have as much legroom as a Business Elite seat would have.
The Tempo section was configured 3x3x3. There were two Tempo sections. A smaller one of about ten or 12 rows right behind the Business Class section, and another longer one in the rear of the aircraft behind the first econ section. I was in about the 8th row of the first section of economy, and had the sixth seat across from the left. So I had an aisle seat on the second aisle. The rest of my family was in the 3 seats on the other side of the aisle. No one was sitting in the seat next to me, and I prayed that it stayed that way. It did. And for that flight I had an open seat next to me. The lady sitting in the other aisle seat and I came to an agreement that that middle seat would be where we threw our pillows and other things that we wanted to get out of our way.
The seat itself was comfortable and the legroom must have been about 34 inches. It had the adjustable headrest, and the PTV that would keep me up the whole flight. In all the aircraft was probably 80% full.
We pushed back at about 10:30 pm, 35 minutes behind schedule. It would be a 7 hour and 30 minute flight to CDG, which surprised me because it seemed like it should have been an hour longer based on the distance we were flying. We taxied out quickly, and were first in line for takeoff. Takeoff was powerful, and the ascent was very fast. Climbing on that aircraft is a real thrill ride because you practically feel the speed and power. I watched our route on the Airshow Map feature on the PTV. Very interesting. Within only half an hour we were already past Charlotte, NC, 227 miles from ATL.
At about that time Dinner was served. There was a choice of Beef and Noodles, Fish Salad/Appetizer, bread, something else, and Crème Puffs Drenched in Chocolate, OR Crab Cakes, salad/appetizer, bread, something else, and Brownie with Vanilla crème. All came with spring water and tea or coffee. I got a ginger ale, and took the Beef and Noodles Dinner. It was excellent, and the dessert was amazing. Crème Puffs doused in Chocolate, I was in heaven.
After dinner and the cleanup service was done, the cabin lights were turned off. The only light left in the cabin was the glows of the PTVs and the occasional reading light. I took out the amenity pack given to us. Inside were earplugs, an eyeshade, headphones (nice ones, not like Delta’s hollow tube ones), and moisty naps. If there was anything else I can’t remember. We flew over Washington DC, and from there turned out to the Atlantic. From this point on I played around with the PTVs and the games it had. There weren’t any Nintendo type games, but games like poker, slot machines, and Othello as well as others. I spent probably 6 out of 7.5 hours trying to beat Othello. I never did. I noticed the person sitting in front of me was also having trouble beating that game. I think Air France rigged it.
So I played Othello, only occasionally glancing up at the overhead TV screens which displayed the Airshow map, until the sun rose over the Atlantic. At one point we were traveling at 721 m.p.h. I didn’t actually see the sunrise, but the natural light inside the cabin gave me a good clue about what was happening outside. I then fell asleep for 45 minutes, waking up when breakfast was served. That was the only sleep I had gotten on that whole flight (Damn PTVs
). About an hour and a half out of Paris the crew came around and served breakfast. It was cereal and milk, bread and coffee, and it had something sweet although I forget what exactly it was.
France was mostly covered in a thick layer of clouds, but the skies around Paris had only scattered clouds. We descended over the city, and even from my seat I caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. We landed.
My first Transatlantic Flight was complete. Customs and the baggage claim were very fast. We proceeded from the airport to the Hotel Concord St. Lazaare, where we would meet my grandparents who had flown in from Buffalo, NY that night, and my uncle who flew in from Miami two weeks earlier.
I’ll try to get the return portion of the trip typed up within the next two weeks. It was an AF A343 CDG-ATL and a DL763 ATL-MIA.
If you are still with me, thanks for reading. What did you think?