Delta flight 29
Date: June 12, 2002
Aircraft: 777-200 new new colors
Registration: N867DL (ship 7008)
Scheduled Departure: 12:10
Actual Departure: 12:30
Scheduled Arrival: 15:40
Actual Arrival: 15:35
Our group of 15 arrived at CDG about 3 hours early. We stood around by the Air France check-in counters until 9 something when they opened for our flight. We were flying Delta, but because Delta is in the Skyteam Alliance with Air France, they just use Air France check-in counters at CDG. We got into a medium sized line and waited. Near the front of the line was a semi security thing. A man asked if I had packed my own bags, if I had weapons, etc. A bunch of other boys in our group had bought replica knives in Spain, but as to avoid trouble, just lied about not having any weaponish things. They were really just dulled knives. As we got right to the front of the line, at another security thing, a man working at it asked if he could search one of the people’s bags that had a knife in it. Of course he couldn’t say no, so he gave it to the man and the man began unpacking it. I was so scared that he was going to get arrested that I couldn’t look, so I didn’t. I took a peek to see what was happening right as the man pulled the knife out but, to my great relief, he didn’t care because it was dull and he put it back into the bag and let our group member go. I had no knives in my bag. I made my way up to the check-in counter when my turn came and gave the woman my ticket, passport, and frequent flyer card. She asked how many bags a group member (he checked in with me) and I had and I told her that we had one each. We gave her the bags, she tagged them quickly, we received our boarding passes, and we were on our way. I waited in a restaurant and stared out a window until the whole group had finished checking in.
When everyone had finished, we said goodbye and thank you to our tour guide who had accompanied us the whole trip and made our way to security. There was a short line. When I got to the front, I passed through very easily. One strange thing though was that a group member had a metal bracelet on and he was behind me. The lady at security made him put it in my wallet, but she had no way of knowing that I knew him and was in a group with him. I could have just been some random person that she had asked some random boy to put his bracelet in my wallet. Well, we got to the gate and sat down. Our gate was C90.
I then got up and went walking in the terminal. There was one Delta 777 going to CVG. It was the Flying Spirit one. I don’t really like that color scheme very much for some reason, so I didn’t really care about seeing it. Besides, I’ve seen it before in ATL. In the terminal, I also saw lots of Air France 777s and a Delta 763. One 777 was going to MEX, another to LAX, and I can’t remember the others. The Delta 763 was going to BOM. When I got to the end of the terminal though, I almost freaked out. I saw the prized gem of aviation. It was something that I had always wanted to see. It was none other than a Concorde! It was actually over in another terminal, but was just 150 feet from the window! What an amazing site! The registration of the aircraft was F-BTSD and was, being in CDG and having a French registration, Air France. Here is a picture of the exact plane:
Photo © Philippe Noret
Some other planes I saw not in our terminal were a LOT Polish 737 taxiing, an AOM A340 parked, lots of Air France planes, a Lithuanian Airlines 737 taking off, and many other planes. After that I made my way back to our gate, came back to watch it taxi away, and went back to the gate. Very soon they called for boarding.
The plane wasn’t at the airbridge, so I figured we would board at a remote stand. There were these buses that raised up connected to the airbridge instead. Everyone walked down the airbridge and onto one of the buses. The doors closed, the bus I was on lowered to ground-level and it began driving to the plane. We didn’t drive by too many planes except an Air France 744, but that was cool. We then came to our plane. It was parked between an Air France 744 and 742! The bus raised up to the plane door and we walked on. Here is a picture of the exact plane:
Photo © Ryan Gaddis
As you can see, it was a Delta 777 with the new new colors and when I got on, I found that it was a reconfigured one with the 3-3-3 seating, which was nicer than 2-5-2. I found my seat, seat 52F in economy and sat down. It was an aisle on the right side of the middle three. I got very lucky. Another person in our group was sitting on the left side, so there was one seat between us. At that time, there still were not a lot of people on the plane. We were hoping that no one would sit there so that we could put our things there, but we knew that more people were going to come. By the time the plane was fully boarded, it was almost totally full, but no one had sat down there! We had one of the only empty seats on the plane next to us and it stayed that way! It was great. My seat was really comfortable. There was more legroom than on BA, the airline we flew to BCN, which is where our trip began. The headrest was nice and there were PTVs. The plane sat there for a while after backing up a few feet, and then finally began its taxi. The captain said that our flight time would be 8 hours and 48 minutes and we would arrive at 15:35 in ATL. The plane took off at 12:47 and flew up above the clouds. I don’t know how high we went or our path though because the captain never said and the Airshow was not working for the whole flight. That was a disappointment, but just a minor one. First thing, the flight attendants came around giving us landing cards for US customs. They ran out of English ones though by the time they reached us, so we got ones in French and had to find out what to do using Sky Magazine, Delta's inflight magazine. I thought that was pretty funny.
About an hour and a half after takeoff, the first cycle of movies began playing. The movie choices were High Crimes, Crossroads, or A Beautiful Mind. I chose A Beautiful Mind. It was really good. About the time the movies started, the lunch service began. Because I was so far to the back, I was almost served last, but they still had both selections. They selections were chicken or pasta. Delta must have changed recently because they are usually chicken or beef. I chose the pasta and it was in a cheese sauce topped with red sauce and was very good. There was a roll, a salad, some cheese, water, and a slice of raspberry cake with it. It was a very good meal, especially considering that it was an airline meal and was in coach. After maybe a half hour, the flight attendants collected the trash from the meals.
After the movie was over, I read some. There was a little toddler up two rows from me that did something funny. I was just sitting there reading, and then I hear the flight attendant call button. And then I hear it again, and again, and again, and again, and so on. I suddenly realized that it was this toddler doing it. I laughed quietly to myself. The only male flight attendant, who was very nice and fun to talk to, came up and smiled at the toddler and took the handset that the button is on and just put it under his seat. The toddler didn’t seem to mind and went back to his normal activities. He never cried though during the flight, which was nice.
It wasn’t too long until the next movie cycle came on. The choices were The Time Machine, Monsters Inc., and something else that I can’t remember. I chose the Time Machine and began watching. I had missed the very beginning though because I hadn’t noticed that the cycle had started and when I did, I put Monsters Inc. on and then changed my mind and switched to The Time Machine, but I hadn’t missed anything important. After about an hour of it, I just decided that it was so bad that I’d stop watching and try to go to sleep because I was tired. I did just that. I couldn’t fall asleep after about 20 or 30 minutes of trying, so I just started reading. At that time, I heard the engines getting louder and the plane going up. It happened a little while later too, except for a little longer that time.
Not too long after the second movie cycle ended, a third began. I don’t know if this was planned though because there was only a cycle A and cycle B to choose from on the PTV. To watch the movies in this one, you had to go to cycle B, choose one of those movies (Monsters Inc, The Time Machine, and something else), but get one of the cycle C movies. I only know that there was I Am Sam, because that is what I watched and I couldn’t tell what the others were just by watching them for a second. I Am Sam was really good too, just not quite as good as A Beautiful Mind.
When the last of those movies ended, I started to read again. Landing was getting close by now. The flight attendants came around serving a large snack. It was a tray that had a sandwich, two small pieces of bread, a salad, a chocolate, and cookie, and a thing of water. The sandwich was really good and so was the cookie. About 15 or 20 minutes after the flight attendants took those up, a group member and I decided to get up to go to the bathroom one last time before landing so that we didn’t have to go while going through customs, because we wouldn’t have been able to. The male flight attendant was back there and we started talking to him. He was a very nice man and great to talk to. We talked mostly about travel. He said that back in 1989, he was in Rio De Janeiro with his mom and got mugged twice in five days! What bad luck! Nevertheless, he still loves the city. Now he takes Karate though, so maybe he’ll be a bit more prepared next time, but one person against a bunch is never a fight you can usually win. After 15 minutes of talking to him, we went to the bathroom, said goodbye to him, and went back to our seats for landing. The plane would land in about 15 minutes. The last five were a rollercoaster ride. It was the most turbulent final approach I have ever had. The plane would dive, then bounce around a lot, then dive again, then bounce around a lot again, and so on until landing. The group member sitting in front of me gets airsick and he suddenly asked where he could get an airsickness bag because there wasn’t one in his seat-back pocket. I collect airsickness bags (Weird, I know!), so had about 3 that I had taken in my carry, so I got him one and he held his face in it for a while just in case, but in the end he was fine and never threw up. The plane landed at 15:35 after 8 hours and 48 minutes, exactly as the captain had said would be the case in CDG! The exiting of the plane was slow, and customs had a ton of people in it because a lot of Delta flights from Europe arrive at 15:40 like ours was planned to. That was one of my best flights, if not the best, that I have ever had! Delta really amazed me this time!