I flew home from college yesterday (Nov. 23) on Delta Airlines...Birmingham [to Atlanta] to Columbia. My trip started at about 3:30 when I left my dorm in Tuscaloosa to take the "45 minute" trip to Birmingham...needless to say about 10 minutes before I left, there was a tornado warning and torrential rainfall which caused my 45 minute trip to last 2 hours. When I finally arrived in Birmingham, my flight had been delayed approximately 40 minutes, but other than that things appeared to be normal. Our flight was 1541, and an MD-88 aircraft painted in the newest color scheme. It appeared very clean and well-maintained from a "passenger" point of view. I sat in 36A on a completely full flight. Once we pushed back from the gate I heard the engine on my side start, but not the other side, so I simply assumed that the one near me was so loud I could not hear the other one. Much to my surprise, about 5 minutes into the taxi they started the other! I have never experienced that before, but it was very cool. We took off, and our flight was relatively smooth with only a few bumps along the way. I did not have a clear view of the ground because of all the clouds, but I did get to see the vapor trails come off the wings! (Especially once they lowered the flaps) and when we taxied, I could see "tornadoes" of rainfall being sucked into the engine. Anyways, we landed safely in Atlanta, and as soon as we pulled off the runway, the pilot turned off the engine on my side of the aircraft. I also saw other aircraft performing the same technique (taxi on one engine) [Does this save a lot of money? and How long have they adopted this technique?] We arrived at gate T8 at about 9:15. At this point in time, I was glad I had booked a long lay-over...supposedly my next flight would leave at 9:50......I looked at the departures screen.....11:10. Sigh... I made the best of my time by riding the train to concourse E and went to the food court. I came back to my gate at approximately 10:30, and was fortunate to hear/see the new automated aircraft boarding system.
My next flight was DL 830 to Columbia on a 737-200 aircraft. I intentionally booked this flight so I could fly on this aircraft, and was overall very pleased with my decision. At 11:10 we received a delay announcement from the captain that the baggage was still being loaded, and to allow them 5 more minutes. At 11:15, we were ready for pushback, and some lady became sick and requested to get off the plane. The crew had to bring the jetway back and find her baggage, which took another 10 minutes. We finally left the gate at abour 11:30. I sat in seat 19F, which had a great view of the wing and rear of the engine. We taxied to the runway and were number 3 for departure when we suddenly took a right turn and parked on the taxiway for 5-10 minutes. We were never informed of why that was. We finally got back in the departure line-up and took off at 11:55. This flight was far from smooth...we were tossed up, down, left, and right for nearly 85% of the flight, especially after leaving the ATL area. I was overall impressed with the aircraft's performance, but this particular plane was somehwat poorly maintained. The PA system from the cockpit did not function, and gave "feedback" every time it was "operated." We landed in ATL at 12:30, and I got to see the thrust reversers actuate, which I was very interested in. Anyways, I am now safely at home, and I look forward to a great Thanksgiving and my flights going back home.