Well, I get about 2 weeks vacation for the holidays so I went home to Michigan to see my family and friends and had 5 flights on the widget. Here goes my detailed report:
Saturday, December 20th
Delta Flt #2067
Scheduled departure time: 7:20 am
Actual departure time: 7:45 am
Departure gate: Gate 7
I never made it onto this flight. At around 7 am they were asking for volunteers (they needed seven!!) to give up their seat and I went up to the desk. I had no checked baggage and no plans in metro detroit until evening, so my plans were flexible a bit. They were offering $400 dollars in travel vouchers, and being an entry-level front offive employee of a single-a baseball team I couldn't join my friends in LA for the rose bowl because the flight was too expensive (unfortunately Michigan, my alma-mater, got torn up), I just thought I could put $400 in "Delta dollars" to good use so I went up to inquire about volunteering. The guy was very happy to take my ticket away as I had no checked luggage. He told me I'd be leaving Savannah at 10:40, so a delay of only 3 hours or so AND he promised me first class on both flight segments By the time the flight got out they had upped the ante to $600 in "Delta Dollars," so I got those along with an $7 breakfast voucher whice I didn't actually use until arrival into ATL. I grabbed a rocking chair at the end of the tiny 10-gate SAV airport (adjacent to the US gates) and let the sunbeam shine on me for 3 hours, watching another ATL bound 738 leave at 9 AM before mine at 10:40.
Bad day for overbooked flights at SAV it was! The poor girl (she couldn't have been more than 23) working the 7:45 AirWis United Express flight to Chicago needed one volunteer to give up their seat off the 50-seat CRJ and nobody volunteered until she had upped the ante to three round-trip domestic tickets and two breakfast vouchers, and a seat on a 12:30 pm flight. Part of the reason she was having trouble was that she needed someone who's final destination was Chicago, because all connecting flights were full that day apparently. This girl was on her knees (literally!!) pleading for a passenger to give up their seat. Delta had a slightly easier time with theirs but nevertheless the overbook delayed the 7:20 flight almost 30 minutes. Anyway....
Delta Flt #467
Scheduled departure time: 10:40 am
Actual departure time: 10:38 am
Scheduled arrival time: 11:45 am
Actual arrival time: 11:33 am
Departure gate: Gate 5
Arrival gate: Gate A34 (ATL)
Took my seat in the last row of FC in this seemingly brand-new 738!! Here is the odd part and you DL people might be able to shed some light on this: the seats were a mix lime-turquoise green color, the overhead row signs were different, coach seats were the same turquoise color; it looked like they are deciding to implement a hip SONG-ish interior on the entire domestic fleet??? I asked the FC f/a about it and she told me that the new seats aren't common right now but they stain much easier and they should have stuck with the old blue FC seats or at least that type of material. I thought the new seat was pretty comfy actually and i didn't mind the color, but it looked more like an interior AirTran might have rather than Delta. She said that she's been suggesting to fliers to write a letter into headquarters if they dislike it and maybe they will change their minds on it. But, no complaints here, I liked it just fine. Had a diet coke pre-departure before the safety video and wheels up. Relatively smooth flight. I decided to avail myself of an alcoholic beverage once we got airborne (for those of you who are calorie conscious like me, Finlandia vodka and Diet Sprite tastes very good, much like Vodka-tonic but w/ no calories from the mixer). Anyhow, being that it was around 11 or so and I had almost an empty stomach (ate breakfast at 5:45) I had a little buzz goin by the time we descended; it was kinda neat. The f/a in coach provided DL Fastbreak service. We touched down early in ATL and then i pull out my SKY magazine as I always do to figure out where the plane is pulling up to and where i have to go to get to my next flight. ATL isn't confusing but its very very big. I deplane and begin to walk through the terminal and per tradition, I call my one of my best friends up in the Detroit area and give him the report of all the hot girls I see while walking through Atlanta. Seriously I love flying on Delta because you always see lots of cute girls in ATL!! I get off but Flight #467 is due to continue to Dallas Ft. Worth and Portland, OR.
Delta Flt# 1048
McDonnell Douglas MD-88
Scheduled departure time: 12:45 pm
Actual departure time: 12:40 pm
Scheduled arrival time: 2:37 pm
Actual arrival time: 3:02 pm
Departure gate: Gate B3
Arrival gate: Gate 10 (DTW)
The oddity of this flight is that while I don't think a single passenger on my SAV-ATL segment besides me made the connection to this DTW-bound flight, the same 3 f/a's did, even though Flight #467 was continuing on to Dallas and Portland!! On my way onto the airplane I said "didn't you two just come from Savannah?" The one f/a told me "well we wanted to see some snow!!!" They had a long walk, as I did, to their new gate B3 from A34... Anyhow, I started with water to drink pre-departure, but since the boarding seemed to take a while (there was not one empty seat on this flight, FC or Y class!), I got two pre-departure drinks so I had a Finlandia/Diet Sprite again, and got carded (I'm only 22 so this is normal but the other f/a didn't ask on the first flight). We pushed back and they did the safety demo, and after we takeoff at around 12:50 (on the sloped runway I love it!!!!) and we pass the 10,000 feet signal (bing bing bing bing) the captain greets us and tells us that while the weather is clear and the flight is supposed to be pretty smooth the whole ride, we're facing a monster 170 mph headwind that would push the flight-time (normally in the range of 1 hour, 30 mins) to just a shade over 2 hours!! That made the flight seem to last forever but the great DL service and nice f/a made it all worth it. I had a desecent conversation with the FC f/a; I was asking her why they didn't follow the aircraft onto the West Coast, and she told me that they are all ATL-based and like to stay closer to home (she had 2 kids at home) and since the B732, MD-88, and B738 all take 3 f/a's, many are cross qualified on all three and rotate around them accordingly. Apparently this group began their day on the 5:30 am flight out of Lexington, KY (not sure if that was with our B738 from earlier or not), went through ATL where they left on the B738 from earlier into SAV. They turn around in SAV, ditch the B738 back in ATL and ride the MD-88 into DTW where they end for that day. This crew is slated to then work the flirst ATL-bound MD-88 flight at 5:30 leaving DTW the next day. I know from having taken that flight that it continues to Mobile, AL. So they stay relatively close to home w/ the short flights. She asked me what I do for a living and when she found out I was from Michigan for all intents and purposes asked me for some restaurant reccomendations close-by to Metro airport which I helped her out with. All three of them were very friendly and made the overall journey seem more pleasant than most. Took the turn around the downtown area on our way over the I-94 approach into DTW where my girlfriend was on her way to pick me up. Long day, but happy trails on the widget.
Thursday, January 1st
Delta Connection/Comair Flt#5208
Bombardier CRJ-400 (40 seat config.)
Scheduled departure time: 7:00 pm
Actual departure time: 6:55 pm
Scheduled arrival time: 8:15 pm
Actual arrival time: 8:03 pm
Departure gate: Gate A7 **boarded on tarmac
Arrival gate: Gate C8 (CVG) **boarded via-ground-level covered walkway
Clearly with the 40-seat CRJ they just put closets and filler in the spaces where otherwise there would be seats (to get around scope clauses no doubt) but nevertheless the 40-seat version seems more comfortable. It has winged headrests as well as nicer leather seats than the Pinnacle/NW airlink CRJ I took home for Thanksgiving. Almost a full flight (35/40 maybe) but many of the passengers had no seat assignments because they had been in a situation over at NW where their Airlink/Pinnacle flight to BTV (Burlington, VT) had been cancelled because a f/a didn't show up for work apparently and they now had to take DL via CVG to get there because NW cancelled the flight. Anyhow this lady next to me was from some tiny tiny town in VT and she was really weird and wouldn't shut up the entire time with her stories but it is a short 44 minutes to CVG so it could've been worse. The f/a Julie served pretzels and biscoff cookies but no drinks. I honestly think a service could be completed to 40 people with a 45 minute flight. Flight wasn't too bumpy but there was some light chop the whole way. Weather was clouding in Cincinnatti upon our early arrival. Man, this is widget RJ heaven here!!!! Old, old colors, new colors, 1997 colors, the CRJ-700, everything is all right here although I didnt see any DoDo 328 jets which I was hoping to catch a glimpse of. Deplaned and took the shuttle bus over to the B concourse for my connecting flight.
Scheduled departure time: 8:50 pm
Actual departure time: 8:47 pm
Scheduled arrival time: 10:19 pm
Actual arrival time: 10:13 pm
Departure gate: Gate B19
Arrival gate: Gate B30 (ATL)
This flight seems to exist partly for dead-heading employees; there had to have been at least a half dozen or more captains, FO's, and f/a's deadheading on this flight, most in uniform but some only partially. Very few (about 10 or 12) connections, most of which are on Comair and ASA, are available in ATL upon this late arrival (Savannah being one). This 737-200 surprised me because it was in the interior more like a 737-300 or 400; the same interior really as the DL 757. This plane, which I wish I had gotten the reg #, was very clean inside and looked like it might just have gotten pulled out of the desert and put back into service. I think DL has a few more good years in these 737's; they are comfortable and serve a good niche for them between the CRJ-700 of Comair and SkyWest and the 737-300 and MD-88 types. A handful of cities get mainline service and mainline jets from DL that wouldn't if the 732 wasn't around (GRR being only one of them). This jet had personality and grace, and the f/a's working it, while not old, seemed to have the grace to go along with it. The two in back were clearly great friends; while in their jumpseats they were chatting and giggling and i heard them say "i love this job." After they did the safety demo, cleanly and crisply, we taxied out to the runway where we were first in line for takeoff. A light rain had begun. We tookoff and then the chop started. The seat-belt light ended up being on for the first 30 minutes or so of this flight while we flew through a rainstorm. I could see the rain coming at us from the landing lights as I was in the second to last row of this plane. Wow it was loud! That would be about my only complaint. After these tiny plastic CRJs and these other newer jets out there this plane seems more heavy, more sturdy, and just as airworthy as anything out there (and yes, I happen to like Northwest's DC-9s!! I like them just fine!). Anyhow, eventually the captain said the f/a's could get up to do their service, which sadly was only a fastbreak service (again, they could certainly have gotten off a full beverage service on this flight). They got this fastbreak done in about 3 minutes and then collected trash and sat back down. Not too far after that the seat-belt sign went on again, this time for the rest of the flight. Nothing horribly bumpy but still mild-to moderate chop the whole way. Great apprach into ATL, swift but smooth turns, gradual descent, rather bumpy touching down, but all in all a great flight. I wonder if this was my last time in the 737-200 :-( I didn't like the US Air 732 but DL seems to have theirs in tip-top condition; I think theirs are some of the last off the line (circa early 1980s)
Delta Connection/Comair Flt#5613
Bombardier CRJ-100 (50 seats)
Scheduled departure time: 11:30 pm
Actual departure time: 11:30 pm
Scheduled arrival time: 12:23 am
Actual arrival time: 12:11 am
Departure gate: Gate C28 **boarded via covered walkway
Arrival gate: Gate 3 (SAV)
Seat: 8A - exit
Uneventful flight; very smooth with low cruising altitude (15,000 feet i believe). Seat next to me was open so I could stretch out a bit. We were served Dasani water by Mary-Joe, the f/a, as well as a pre-arrival mint. Baggage came out quickly in SAV which was nice as I was ready to head back to my apartment after a long night of flying.
Overall on 5 flights DL scores about a 9.5/10 in my book. As a loyal Northwest customer when I'm in Metro Detroit, I've found a new travel partner in Delta while i'm working down here in Savannah. Goodies (vouchers$$$) aside, as long as i'm down south, when I think air travel, I will most definately choose Delta. I will likely use half of those vouchers for a trip to Las Vegas on Memorial Day weekend, and my grandfather is gonna pay for my trip to see him in Palm Beach in February. I make the reservation, he pays. I will definately be flying on Delta. Good, friendly service, very clean planes, on-time, its all you can ask for.