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Posts: 7376
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2001 11:13 am


Sun Nov 02, 2003 9:47 am

(I apologize for the weird fomatting, I typed the trip report in notepad)

I know. Its a real exotic trip, but what the hell, I'm bored.

Unfortunately, I only got the invitation to my cousin's bachelor party

in New York City about ten days in advance. If it wasn't a bachelor

party...or something of that kind of importance I would've said screw

it. But, you cannot turn down free T&A and giving your cousin a hard

time about finally getting married. After looking through some

ridiculously expensive fares, I resigned myself to having to use my

Delta miles to book the trip. I would have preferred that all my

travelling be done on one carrier, Continental, however, the only way

that could happen would be to leave early Sunday morning....that was

certainly not happening. Then I found a couple free double-connection

flights to EWR on DL that wouldve been in my preferred time frame, but

unfortunately I kept being connected to the outsourced Delta

reservation center in India, and they had no idea what I wanted despite

my attempts to explain it to them. I decided to just take the CO

flights outbound, and DL back to DFW.

Continental Flt. 2002 (op. by ExpressJet)
Dallas/Ft. Worth-Cleveland
Scheduled/Actual Dep. Time: 2:30PM/2:25PM
Scheduled/Actual Arr. Time: 6:04PM/5:51PM
Flight Time: 2:26
Seat: 1A

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I was not looking forward to this flight, two hours and thirty minutes

in an ERJ didn't sound great. I'm used to the quick 50 minute jaunt

from DAL to IAH on Continental Express. When I got to the counter, I

requested an exit row window. I was pretty happy when the agent said

that it was still availible, however, I wasn't happy when I got 12C.

Even in the exit row, sitting on the side of the a/c with two seats

isn't very comfortable. The agent had a scowl on her face so I decided

not to press my luck and request seating on the single seat side of the


I walked through security with surprisingly little problem. Usually my

camera draws plenty of attention. I grabbed some lunch at my usual stop

in terminal B, the Hot Dog Construction Company (yum!) then walked down

to my gate. I was surprised and slightly worried to see that the

aircraft was not yet at the gate. My fears were alleviated when I saw

them tow the empty ERJ from the hard stand to our gate. I then asked

the gate agent if there was any exit row seating on the A side of the

aircraft. He replied, "Yeah, you can have 1A if you want it." I was

thrilled. 1A is the best seat on the ERJ by far. No one is sitting

across from you and you have plenty of legroom.

Within a few minutes, they had began boarding the plane in standard CO

procedure. OnePass Elites, and then from the back of the a/c forward.

Of course, being in 1A, I was in the last group called for boarding.

Before getting to the aircraft door, I grabbed a newspaper and my MIS

textbook out of my backpack and gate checked it because there is no

overhead bin above or next to row one (and its annoying having to go

back through the a/c to retrieve your bag when everyone is


I was greeted by the flight attendant at the door, made the quick right

turn and sat down in the comfortable, albeit narrow leather seat. We

pushed back a few minutes early and quickly taxied out to an empty rwy.

18L for takeoff. Despite there only being about 25 passengers on board,

it was the longest takeoff roll on an ERJ that I have experienced.

Once aloft the captain quickly turned off the seat belt sign and came

over the PA to announce that it looked to be a very smooth flight up to

Cleveland. The flight attendant got up and immediately began snack and

beverage service from the back of the aircraft forward. Within minutes

she was at my seat and I got my snack box with a full can of Coke. The

snack service was very nice for an Express flight although I guess its

to be expected for a 2 hour 30 minutes flight. The contents of the box

included four large crackers, a pepper-cheese spread, a pack of small

salami, a small apple, and a bag of Fritos. Despite the fact that I

could feel my cholesterol level climbing while eating the cheese and

salami crackers it was delicious!

After the meal service, the flight attendant came through picked up the

remnants of the meal, and asked the passengers if they wanted anything

else. I was content though to try to get my studying out of the way.

About half an hour later, I gave up, and being tired from the night

before I fell asleep. I woke up just as we were beginning our approach

to CLE. Final approach was absolutely gorgeous and I was very bitter

that I did not have my camera on hand. The sun was just beginning to go

down as we flew downwind past downtown Cleveland giving the buildings a

nice orange hue. As we made our turn onto final we were treated to a

second glimpse of the city basking in sunlight.

We touched down in CLE and taxied promptly to the gate with very little

waiting. I was surprised to see a CO 753 taxiing to the terminal, which

I later learned was used on a flight to BWI. We parked at Terminal D

and I quickly retrieved my gate checked bag. Terminal D is very nice,

largely a glass structure, with very open gate areas. Once I got off

the aircraft, I asked the woman working the gate for the next flight

which gate a Mr. Alpha1 was working. After recieving a quizzical, why

the hell would you want to see him look  Big grin (just kidding, Alpha), she

replied that he was over at C2 working the flight to CO / KMCO), USA - Florida">MCO.

Continental Flt. 624
Cleveland-Newark Liberty
Scheduled/Actual Dep. Time: 6:50PM/6:49PM
Scheduled/Actual Arr. Time: 8:35PM/8:09PM
Flight time: 1:20
757-200 (Int'l Config)
Seat: 16A

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Photo © Ryan Kaskel

I had about fourty minutes until my connecting flight to EWR was

departing from C5. So I headed over to his gate and introduced myself.

I "warned" him in advance that I might drop by. Luckily, well, not for

him, the flight he was working was delayed so we had a chance to chat

over a variety of topics. Very nice guy, although I'm sure I wouldn't

have had the same opinion if we got into a talk about politics  Big grin . I

checked my watch and there was only 10 minutes before my flight

departed, so I briskly walked to C5. The agent took a look at my

boarding pass, and sarcastically deadpanned with a huge smile, "Nice of

you to show up, Mr. Smith. We were getting ready to call you over the

PA." I laughed and made my way down the jet way.

I made my way to the exit row, where I was not pleased to see that the

agents had seemingly booked the entire exit row full despite the fact

that there were only roughly 60 passengers on board. Luckily, the my

two seatmates were deadheading pilots, so I knew they would both pass

out after takeoff. Once aloft, the captain informed us that we would be

"to Newark pretty quick, but chances are that we wouldn't have a gate

once we arrived." There was some sitcom on the overhead monitors that I

didn't bother watching even though I still had Continental headphones

in my backpack from a previous trip. The flight attendants came through

the cabin, and offered us peanuts with our choice of drinks. I decided

coffee might be a good decision considering that it would be long night

once I got into the city. By the time the flight attendants were

finished collecting the trash, we had began our decent into EWR. Its

pretty cool on decent to EWR at night because you can see a/c lining up

on approach for miles.

Once we were on the ground in Newark, the captain informed us that it

was okay to use our cell phones because we would be taxiing to a stand

before getting a gate. I called my voicemail and much to my worry, I

found out that our school's powerplant exploded which is only a block

from my dorm. I was frantically calling everyone I knew to make sure

that the dorm was okay, and all my stuff hadn't burned up.

Within minutes of parking at the stand, we were taxiing to our gate at

the Continental international terminal. Once we had disembarked, I

walked through the international terminal to baggage claim. Being my

first time through the international terminal, I was very impressed. I

was also surprised to learn that the flight to Tel Aviv departs at

10:50PM! Although, it makes sense considering that its a red-eye back

to EWR. I collected my roller at the baggage claim, which is quite

clausterphobic. Then got on the monorail to go to the AirTrain to Penn


As usual, Continental does a fantastic job in every regard. From the

comfortable aircraft to its great customer service.
The bachelor party was a blast. I think I might have gotten six or

seven hours of sleep the entire weekend.
I was originally leaving on an 8:00PM flight through CVG, which

would've gotten me into DFW at around 12:30AM. I decided that keeping

these flights as the were wouldn't have been a great idea considering I

had a mid-term at 8 the next morning. I arrived at EWR at 1 looking to

change my flights to get an earlier flight to DFW. Unfortunately, the

earliest availible flight was a 5:15 flight to Atlanta, that would

connect me to a flight that would get me into DFW by around 10:00 and

the only seat availible was a middle seat. I decided that anything is

better than arriving home at 1:30AM. Little did I know....

Surprisingly, and much to my happiness, I was not charged a change fee.

Delta flt. 1271
Newark Liberty-Atlanta
Scheduled/Actual Dep. Time: 5:15PM/6:40PM
Scheduled/Actual Arr. Time: 7:40PM/9:01PM
Flight Time: 2:21
MD-88 (new colors)
Seat: 13C

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Photo © Jay Piboontum

With four hours to kill until my departure, I took a few pictures from

the monorail and hung out in the landside area (which is quite nice) of

the terminal, as from my previous experiences the airside part of the

DL/NW/YX terminal is very disappointing. With a couple hours before

departure I decided to go wait at the gate. I talked with a couple

girls who were students at our rival high school from the days when I

lived in Atlanta and browsed through my MIS book. When I looked up, I

was disappointed to see that our departure had been pushed back to

6:00PM. Not again! I've flown through ATL three times earlier this year

and each time I have been delayed considerably--including a marathon

where I was delayed a night and an entire day without my luggage. My

main concern was my bag because I had a very important notebook inside,

one that I needed later that night to study. I went to the gate agent

and explained that I was very concerned about not making my connection

and my bag being held up in Atlanta. She assured me that "everything is

delayed out of ATL, so you'll make your ticketed connection." I did not

believe her from my previous experience, so I asked that she put me on

the standby list on the 10:00PM flight to DFW. ATL is just peaked so

badly that during a delay it becomes an absolute crapshoot. She was

very understanding and even asked me if I would prefer an aisle seat

for my flight to ATL, and handed me a 'Seat Request' boarding card for

the 10:00 ATL-DFW flight. I accepted the seat change and was quite

pleased about the way that the DL CSA had treated me so well... an

uncommon experience on DL.

Now with my fears semi-alleviated, I settled down and went back to

studying. An announcement was then made explaining that due to more

ground holds at ATL for weather, we would be delayed another 45


We finally began boarding the full MD-88 at around 6:15. I was very

thankful for my aisle seat on the full flight. My only complaint was

that the seat needed to be replaced. The seat frame was so warn out

that it was reclining even at an upright position. Within seconds of

the last passenger sitting down, the plane pushed back, and the captain

announced that he was just hoping that the plane wouldn't have to

circle ATL.

The entire flight was very bumpy, it was turbulent virtually the whole

way to ATL. Nothing too bad, however, the 'Fasten Seat Belt' sign

stayed on the duration of the trip. We recieved the meager DL snack mix

packs, which contain about 3 pretzels, 3 peanuts, and 3 crunchy sesame

things and our choice of drinks. Just before we began our intial decent

into ATL, the captain came on the PA and announced that we would not be

held and we could land immediately.

As soon as the plane touched down, I whipped out my cellphone and

called Delta and to check the status of my connection and the gate it

would be going out of. Luckily, the flight was delayed until 9:15 and

it was going out of the gate adjacent to ours.

Delta Flt. 743
Atlanta-Dallas/Ft. Worth
Scheduled/Actual Dep. Time: 8:45PM/9:59PM
Scheduled/Actual Arr. Time: 10:01PM/11:16PM
Flight time: 2:17
757-200 (Landor colors)
Seat: 31A

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Once I got off the Newark flight, I walked across the hallway to the

gate for the 8:45 DFW departure. I was surprised to see that no one had

boarded the aircraft, as it was to leave at 9:15PM. Just as I was about

to approach the agent to check on its status, she came on the PA and

announced that it would be delayed until 9:45. As much as I was glad I

didn't miss the flight, I was disappointed that I would be arriving in

DFW much later than I had hoped.

About half an hour later we began boarding the aircraft. Everyone just

wanted to leave ATL, and there was just a giant mass of people at the

boarding door. As I was standing on line, I saw a couple of

40-somethings groping each other, it was disgusting. The only word that

came to mind was: losers. Just my luck, I get to my seat, and guess who

is front of me.

Thankfully, I fell asleep right after takeoff and didn't have to

witness anymore of that. I woke up right as we were on final approach

to DFW. Once I disembarked, I went to baggage claim and was pretty

pleased when my bag appeared. By the time I retrieved my car and drove

home, it was 12:00.

As for Delta, it was nice to get decent service from their CSAs. However,

the inflight service is quite pathetic at best, and their flight attendants don't

really go out of their way to be friendly.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2003 7:18 am


Sun Nov 02, 2003 11:05 am

Excellent Report! I am glad that you had a good experence with Delta, because I sure hear bad things about them and I am glad you had a good trip.
Posts: 398
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2003 9:56 am


Sun Nov 02, 2003 12:15 pm

Thanks for such a detailed Trip Report! I may be "forty-something" also, but groping in the terminal and on the A/C really is gross! Glad DL treated you well, considering the WX!
Posts: 803
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 6:07 am


Mon Nov 03, 2003 9:57 am

Great Report! Yes CO is a great airline and has some AWESOME people working for them. Just out of curiosity were was the bachelor party? Did you guys go to any of the Bars in NYC or any of the night clubs?
Topic Author
Posts: 7376
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2001 11:13 am


Tue Nov 04, 2003 3:52 am

Lets see, Friday night we hung out at a good Irish bar (I've been there on previous occaisions) on 62nd and 1st, I forget the full name but it was ---- Street. On Saturday morning we went out to New Jersey and played a round of golf at a course with a decent view of EWR approaches  Smile . When we got back, we agonized over the Yankees defeat while eating dinner at Cite (52nd and 6th, maybe). Then we went to Flashdancers by Times Square, pretty nasty girls there. After that, we went to O'Flanagan's on 1st between 65th and 66th.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am


Tue Nov 04, 2003 8:18 am

I asked the woman working the gate for the next flight which gate a Mr. Alpha1 was working. After recieving a quizzical, why the hell would you want to see him look (just kidding, Alpha), she replied that he was over at C2

You may be kidding, but thats the standard response I get whenever I ask anyone at CLE where to find him! Big grin
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2003 7:55 am


Tue Nov 04, 2003 11:28 am

Great trip report! I am surprised to see that DL's inflight service was not as good, or even better than CO. I have flown both airlines plenty of times, and between the two, I find DL to have much better inflight service than CO, especially in the recent (say last 6) months.
The New American is arriving.

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