Delta, TPA-CVG-FNT ----------- Trip Report
Spent the night near Tampa Airport about 10 minutes away…Was pretty cool outside and windy on the night of March 28th. Had to catch the 7:45AM departure on Delta 892 (TPA-CVG) in the morning, so I made sure I set the alarm clock in my hotel room and also scheduled “wake-up service” on the phone. Funny thing was, when I was scheduling it on the phone (its done via a computer…no actual human schedules it, a computer on the other end of the phone schedules it based on what information you give it)…I told it 5am for wakeup time, it asked “ Would you like schedule this once, or have this wakeup call repeated forever until you cancel? “ (something to that effect). Well, I figured, hehehe
So I went to sleep…woke up at 5am, left at about 5:50 am for the drive to the airport. Had to drop off the Hertz-rental car, took care of that (was actually easier than I thought). Took care of that and walked into the main check-in area of Tampa. First time I was there in more than 6 years, still looks the same. Before I entered the terminal though… there were HUGE lines outside, I was already thinking “ah geez going to be a 1hour wait to check my bags”. Looked up and noticed the sign “ US AIRWAYS “…I was pretty surprised, there were HUNDREDS of people in an outside curbside check in and also inside, all for US Airways…seems like those “Go! Fares” must be working pretty well.
So anyhow, I turned to the left and spotted the Delta counters. I believe there were 2 songs to the left and about 6-10 Deltas to the right of the Song desks. Hardly anyone in line really…They had the electronic kiosks and there was probably about 2-3 people in line per kiosk, phew glad I wasn’t flying US Airways that morning, hehe. Got to my Kiosk…Tried to scan my confirmation page I printed off Delta’s site, but it kept scanning “Incorrect Confirmation Number” or something to that effect. A delta desk agent came to try to help…He tried scanning it and it didn’t work for him either. He asked if I had a credit card as that would work…and since I’m 18, unfortunately I don’t. Another female agent came over and tried to help, she told me to try scanning my drivers-license… tried that, didn’t pickup anything. I looked on the screen once more and there was an option “Enter skymiles number”… Well, I signed up for skymiles when I booked the ticket, and thankfully, I had a printed page with my delta-skymiles temporary card on there, along with the number, and took it on my trip. Manually typed the numbers in on the keypad…and Walla, my reservation popped up right away. Thank goodness I had my temporary paper-skymiles card with me, otherwise I’d have to go wait in another line (which had more people, probably about 30) in which they’d have to check me in on their own computers.
They took our bags and I proceeded to the security checkpoint, which I thought was upstairs. Well, to my surprise, I didn’t see the security checkpoint at all, anywhere. Though for Airside E, there were 2 fairly large lines, both had some type of airport employees (they weren’t TSA) checking our boarding passes to make sure we had flights through this terminal. Line went through pretty quickly…took about 6-7 minutes. Took the tram over to the main concourse…Opened the doors, and there it was…a huge security line winding all throughout the entrance of Airside E. Sigh I thought…well, nothing I can do now but wait. Actually though, the line was progressing quickly. Passed through security…where, for once in my life, I wasn’t selected for the random-screening. After passing security I made a right towards the Delta gates. I was very eager to see if I was on the New-Colors Delta 737-800 or the new-old-colors 737-800, and also the 767-200 that I would have taken if I decided to fly TPA-ATL-FNT instead of TPA-CVG-FNT (both options were the same price).
Well I spotted 2 Delta 737-800s at 2 different gates. One was a NOC colored (new old colors), and another was a NOC, so apparently I wasn’t flying on the wavy-gravy version (my favorite scheme)…no biggy but I’m always curious which paint scheme of an airliner I’ll get stuck with. Additionally, there were 2 songs parked next to each other, and at the far end of the terminal was the 767-200 I would be booked for if I chose to go through ATL…and this 762’ was also in NOC colors. Only new-colored Delta I spotted was a 767-400, which was just starting its engines for a 7am departure to Atlanta. Sat down next to our gate…took 2 pictures of my plane, N377DA, which you can see here:
Picture north of Airside E…Airside D:
Also found out the other 737-800 NOC Delta that I spotted was actually flight 1476 TPA-SLC (Salt Lake City Utah). The two songs I saw was Delta Song 2088 (TPA-LAX, 7am departure)…and the other was Delta Song 2046 (TPA-LGA, 6:55am departure). Well it was getting ready for our time to board, so here we go:
March 29th, 2005
Scheduled Dep. Time: 7:45 AM
Scheduled Arr. Time: 9:56 AM
Aircraft: 737-800, N377DA
Seat Assignment: 26A
Load Factor: 100%
Boarding began around 7:15 to 7:20 or so. Shortly after it began, on the PA the gate agent stated that the flight was oversold and that they were looking for volunteers. With my experience on AirTran (see my first trip report, link posted at the top of this page), I already thought about volunteering on Delta prior to getting here. I decided I’ll take anything they offer, and I’ll take it right away. So as soon as he said they were looking for volunteers, I was the first in line. He asked what my destination was and my Confirmation #, told him FNT and gave him my confirm #…he said “Well, earliest I can get you into FNT would be 11:31 PM”… I thought, Geez… then I asked, “well, what time would I be leaving Tampa?” he stated: I’d be able to put you on the 5:50pm departure to Atlanta. Ugh I thought…well, that’s one hell of a grueling wait for someone who’s pretty impatient like myself. We’re talking about a 10-11 hour wait. Delta was offering $400 compensation and free meal vouchers for the flight. Not as generous as AirTran (2 free roundtrips) but probably good enough for 1 free roundtrip and another roundtrip half paid for. I told him I’ll take it I guess…he told me he’s not going to change it yet, because they’re only oversold by about 2-3 people, so we’ll see.
I patiently waited to see if I was going to be on this flight or not…He called me up to the desk over the PA, walked up there and he said “ Nope sorry but it doesn’t look like we’ll need volunteers after all”… I was a little disappointed (not with Delta, just that I couldn’t get any more free tickets). But, well, what can you do. My section was called for boarding and I boarded the 737-800. Flight attendant greeted us at the door “Hi, good morning, welcome aboard!”… so far pretty friendly I thought. First impression of the interior wasn’t as great as AirTran’s, but was still fairly nice. In my opinion, Delta’s seats seem a little late 1980’s to early 1990’s, despite the 737-800 being a much newer plane. AirTrans interior seemed much more modern and new. First thing I noticed as I sat down was how cramped the seating was…Felt like I was jammed in there like a sardine! Maybe I just felt that way as when I flew to Florida on AirTran, I had exit rows all the way. Had a nice view out the window of 26A, and was able to capture the registration number of the 767-200 bird that would have taken me to Atlanta (If I chose the TPA-ATL-FNT routing at the time of booking, which was the same price as TPA-CVG-FNT), here she is, N110DL:
Was pretty happy I hadn’t chosen the ATL routing…This 762’ looked pretty old and dirty from the outside, and probably wasn’t too pleasant on the inside either compared to our much newer 737-800.
Pushed back for an on-time departure to Cincinnati…Engines started, flaps 10 degrees and we were taxiing out for departure. Passed our terminal on the way out to 36L, took a picture of ASA CRJ-200ER that was parked at the gate…not sure if it arrived or was departing, I’m guessing it was departing (found out later there’s an 8:35am departure to Knoxville Tennessee, TPA-TYS, so that’s probably what it is):
Passing Airside F where American and US Airways are…wonder what the security line in there is like, haha!
We were #1 for departure and you can view our takeoff roll on a video that I took, just head over to this link:
The takeoff role was pretty long…not surprising for the 737-800 (I’ve flown a 737-700 before at 100% pax and it too was pretty sluggish on takeoff). About 10 minutes after departure we were reaching our cruise altitude of 35000 feet (first officer stated we were just reaching this altitude). In flight service began and was pretty fast…took the FA’s about 10 minutes to get to everyone in the cabin. I noticed they were splitting the cans, giving people small cups about half the size of the cans, and filling 2 passenger drinks per one can. I like to drink a lot of fluids so I wasn’t too happy about this… as they reached me, they handed out 2 biscoffs (hey, I received 4 on AirTran! …but no biggy, I don’t really care for this pidly things too much anyways). I asked for a full can (of apple juice), which, thankfully, she said “Sure…sure you don’t want ice?”… I stated no thanks and she proceeded on to the other passengers. They also were offering headsets, I don’t recall the price but I believe it was around $2 or so. I didn’t bother to buy one as they were the 2-prong headsets, which are useless to me on most other airlines or anywhere else they’d come in handy. At around the same time they were serving meals, the LCD’s dropped down and began playing some kind of video. I honestly have no clue what they were playing because A. 99% of the flight I’m staring out of the window, B. I couldn’t hear a thing they were saying (hence the fact I didn’t buy the headsets). After about 10 minutes of receiving our “meal” service, the FA’s came around and collected the trash.
About midway through the flight…about 2-3 crying babies were screaming like no tomorrow. So annoying, and I swear it sounded like a clip from poltergeist, I’ve never heard such screams in my life. Additionally, I had 2 young children sitting behind me playing kids games laughing and goofing around…it started to get annoying. Then, one of the children directly behind me started to have fun by kicking my seat…after about 2 minutes of dealing with it hoping he’d stop, I turned around and told him “Can you please stop kicking my seat? Thank you. “… I was pretty pissed considering the mother was in the isle seat, saw him doing it and did nothing about it. After I turned around and said something, she told the kid to stop. He eventually did, but when we were on approach to CVG, I felt a kick here and there. The screaming babies continued their rejoicing for the rest of the trip…all the way till pulling into the gate in CVG. I don’t know what these people are thinking when they purchase tickets for 7:45 am departures and bring their kids onboard, HELLO?!? Plus, the parents neglect to do anything about it (in regards to the kicking situation…the crying babies I can for the most part understand).
I believe our routing took us somewhere over eastern Alabama or western Georgia…over KTYS (Knoxville Tennessee) then into CVG via the SWEED7 arrival. Here are some pics of us enroute:
Not sure what this airport is…some rural airport probably:
Knoxville Tennessee airport…KTYS:
After descending and have a pleasant view of Kentucky and the lower Cincinnati area… on the LCD’s onboard the 737-800, Delta provides gate and flight information for the passengers onboard the flight. For instance, somehow they acquire where everyone is going, and program the flight information into the displays of the LCD monitors. In the list of flights for CVG, my flight popped up “ Flight 4780 – Flint, MI – On Time – Gate A8 (I believe that’s what it was) “. I thought that was a nice touch…and was something I haven’t seen before on any other carrier. Definitely helpful flight information…and it was interesting to see where everyone else was going. I spotted South Bend IN, Buffalo NY, Syracuse NY, New York-La Guardia, Manchester NH, Boston MA, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Seattle…and numerous others, was pretty neat to know where everyone onboard was heading…all across the country. Additionally, the LCD monitors provided our altitude and our routing information, which you can see here (though I took the photo in Meters… whoops!):
Descending into CVG:
Interesting scenery as we descend:
On downwind for runway 18L into CVG:
Very sharp 30 or so degree turn for base 18L into CVG, thought it’d be pretty neat to look straight down, anyone see their house down there? :
Now on final for 18L into CVG:
Heres the video of the whole approach into 18L CVG:
We landed quite hard on 18L… probably the hardest landed I’ve experienced in a while. Seemed like we also slammed on the brakes too (autobrakes were probably on)…if you listen closely to the video, right after touchdown you should be able to hear the squealing of the brakes.
Taxiing to our gate after arrival:
After pulling into our gate…a Delta MD-88 was parked next to us, I believe it came from MCO (the MCO MD-88 flight has about the same arrival time as our TPA 738’ flight):
Parked at the gate:
Our plane, N377DA, was to continue CVG-LGA, LGA-CVG, CVG-SEA, RON in SEA for the night, return SEA-CVG in the morning, fly CVG-BDL sometime during the next day (Someone on airliners.net actually took a photo of N377DA in BDL the next day or so I believe).
We disembarked…I was one of the last to get off since I like to wait till everyone leaves…FA’s near the front stated “ thanks for flying Delta…take care! “ or something to that effect. FA’s were pretty friendly and efficient on the flight…no issues what so ever.
I was very impressed with CVG and how it looked. In fact, prior to CVG, I felt one of the nicest terminals was Detroit’s McNamara terminal, however, now its CVG. If you’ve never been to CVG before, then you need to connect through there one day…you’ll be amazed at the beautiful interior of the terminals. Since I was flying ASA, I had to get to concourse A. Took an escalator downstairs and boarded an underground tram (which was pretty neat) to concourse A. Spotted an Northwest Airlink Old Colors CRJ-200 at the gate along with an Northwest Airlink Mesaba Avro-RJ85. Was a very long walk to the near-end of concourse A…to gate A8. Eventually got there and…Was hoping for a new colors, but it was not to be…N857AS waited for me at the gate, an old-colors ASA CRJ-200ER.
So heres the next leg of my trip:
March 29th, 2005
Delta 4780 ( CAA780, Candler 780).
Scheduled Dep. Time: 11:05 AM
Scheduled Arr. Time: 12:16 AM
Aircraft: CRJ-200, N857AS
Seat Assignment: 4D or 5D, one of the two.
Load Factor: 94%
As I waited for my flight, had a look at the gate system in place at concourse A for the CRJ’s, pretty interesting:
The first plane in the photo is the plane I’m scheduled to be on…DL4780. The 2nd one, the New-Old-Colors ASA CRJ next to my plane, is DL4266 to Islip, New York (If your curious, that plane was at least 90% loaded as there were a hell of a lot of people boarding it). The 3rd plane, the new colors ASA CRJ, no idea where that came from or where it’s going. The last plane is a Chautauqua ERJ-145 that flew TPA-CMH-CVG over the course of the morning.
Our plane began boarding…we boarded via the stairs, and wow…the APU sound of the CRJ, even from the front of the plane, is deafening. Cant imagine what its like on the DC9’s or MD-8x’s! A southern-accent female FA greeted us as we boarded. Sat in my seat 4D or 5D (window seat…don’t remember if it was 4 or 5D, one of the two though for sure). I was expecting the windows of the CRJ to be much lower, but they weren’t too bad at first. The seats were EXTREMELY comfortable…These seats were probably the most comfortable I’ve sat in on an airliner in a long time. They were leather with ridges in the back…and conformed to my body perfectly. Almost felt like a business chair I have a home here for my computer. Was nice and cool onboard and I was eager to depart. Doors closed after about 10 minutes of boarding, we pushed, started the engines (Wow are they quiet…barely noticed they were running from the front of the plane!)…and began taxiing. Was a fairly short taxi…CVG air traffic control had the 18’s and runway 27 for the actives. 75% of departures were routed to runway 27, probably another 12% or so to 18L and another 12% or so to 18R. As we waited in line (we were #4 or so for departure on runway 27)…more planes began to lineup behind us. Waited for about 10 minutes next to runway 27 because departures were departing 18R too (18R intersects with runway 27). Saw about 2 RJ’s takeoff, 1 737-200 (when we were still taxiing), 1 737-800, a 757-200 and then our turn was up. Behind us in line was a Comair CRJ-700, a Delta 737-200 (Destined for Boston), and another Comair CRJ-200 which you can see in this photo:
Once we positioned and held on the runway… I began to get tired of bending my neck and head to look out the window…At first it wasn’t so bad but after a while it began to get annoying and a little painful too.
Well we were cleared for takeoff…and heres the video of it:
We were airborne pretty fast…The CRJ is extremely quiet and a little quirky too. It seemed like it made quirky-sudden turns in flight. The worst thing about the CRJ…though, is the deafening ding-dong sound. I nearly s*** my pants numerous times during the flight when its nice, quiet, smooth, then all of a sudden “ DING DONG! “…the sound overpowering all other sounds in existence around me. I don’t know if the speakers were defective on this RJ or what…but Bombardier needs to lower the volume on these speakers. I probably lost 10% of the hearing in both my ears over the course of time as the pilots flicked the seatbelt/no smoking signs on and off.
Speaking of the no smoking sign…The no smoking sign was off the entire flight, not sure why. The seatbelt sign turned on and off periodically as needed, however, the no smoking signed was off for the entire flight, from departure to arrival.
On of the positive aspects I noticed about the RJ was the fact that… Since I sat on the right side, and it was 11am in the morning…The sun would have shined through my window, and it did. But, the nice thing was, since the window is down lower…the sun wasn’t shining in my eyes, which is a substantial benefit considering I was literally blind when I flew FNT-MCO on AirTran (window seat…left side) around 7am in the morning.
In flight service was normal as usual…Friendly FA, she sounded (and you can hear her on the landing video) as if she was from the south, Texas I presume. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit because ever since Delta moved almost all of their operations out of DFW…especially their ASA base operations…I bet she transferred to CVG along with other ASA crews. I had 2 biscoffs and a full can of coca cola…She too was giving out half cans of coke as on the previous Delta flight…but I requested a full can and received it without a problem.
While in flight (no idea of our cruise altitude)… I spotted KDAY, Dayton Ohio airport:
General in flight photo:
I think this one wayyyyy out in the distance is KTOL, Toledo Ohio:
Passing west of Brooklyn Michigan…Its Michigan International Speedway!
Our approach into FNT began…We entered a left downwind traffic for runway 27…turned left for the base, left for the final. It was fairly bump and I assumed it was windy in general outside (though it actually wasn’t at all when I left the airport around 1pm). Was a bit of a crazy approach with this quirky CRJ…seems like the thing just wants to shoot around…which makes it even more enjoyable to fly on
We had a smooth landing on runway 27, which you can view here:
You also shouldn’t be able to miss the very loud ding-dong sounds onboard. After arrival…I zoomed in on an Airborne Express DC-9-30 Freighter parked on the ramp. FedEx has two 727’s parked at the other end of the field, which you can see just before touchdown on runway 27.
Taxied past the terminal where there were zero-planes parked at any gate…Very surprising for FNT. Didn’t see one AirTran/Midwest Conn./Northwest/Delta/Continental Con./ you name it…We were the only plane pulling into any of the gates. The awkward thing was, after we disembarked… the terminal was packed with people inside…waiting for some kind of flights (Not just our Delta flight for the return to CVG…but there were probably 200-300 people scattered throughout the terminal [past the security checkpoint, so they had to be waiting for a flight]).
Retrieved our luggage which took a while actually to come to the carousel…about 15 minutes. Arrival was on time…Onboard service was good (Nothing fancy…but what can you expect these days in the US Airline industry) and efficient…Planes were nice, clean….
The CRJ is now my new favorite RJ too, but only as long as it has leather seats
If I had to rank the two airlines I flew over that one week span…AirTran and Delta, I’d give AirTran a 10/10, Delta a 9/10. Both excellent airlines…But have to give AirTran a little props for better compensation on their volunteers for giving up seats on flights and also for being more generous regarding onboard drink service (and…well, AirTran did give 4 biscoffs and Delta 2…but that’s really meaningless since those biscoffs aren’t worth anything anyhow).
And that’s it!