This is Part 2 of my AUS
trip on DL. The route of flight on my return trip was GCM
I wasn't ready to leave Grand Cayman. I had enjoyed a 10-day stay on the island, and I was very reluctant to leave. For once, I would have rather stayed there longer that flown that day!(It is a rarity for me!) We unloaded our bags from the car, and, said our goodbyes, and headed for the terminal. The wait at the DL ticket counter wasn't too bad, and soon we had our bags rummaged through and then checked. Then it was off to the departure area. Once again, I went clean through the metal detector. My passport had expired, so I used my birth certificate(acceptable in the Caymans) to get through the immigration checkpoint. Things went smoothly, and soon I was looking around the duty-free shops in the departure lounge. After buying my Tortuga Rum Cakes (THE Cayman Souvenir), I settled down and munched on one! Our flight, Delta 906, was scheduled to depart at at 1:17pm. The flight was late unloading, but boarding began soon after it was empty. I snapped some pics of a Cayman Airways 733 and our ride home, a DL738, while on the ramp (N385DN Ship number 3715).
I then proceeded to boarding the front airstairs, and then made my way to seat 12A.
I watched an AC
A319 land and then a US 737.
The 738 I was on then taxiied to the end of the runway, turned around, and screamed down the runway. It eventually got off the ground, and was almost instantly over the water. I watched the island fade away....while taking pictures the whole time, of course!
The IFE was showing the flight stats, and I attentively watched that. Then at our cruising altitude of 36,000ft, the IFE switched to some stupid sitcom. I wish it would just stay with the flight stats and GPS! I chose water as my beverage and Cheese Sunchips as my snack. Great stuff! After I finished my Sunchips, I watched Cuba go by. I was, naturally, taking pics of it! How many times a year do you get to take arial photos of a Communist country?!
A pretty decent-sized thunderhead over Cuba:
An airfield in Matanzas, Cuba:
Some pretty good turns were intermittent throughout the flight, so that kept things interesting. Just south of the Keys, the thundestorm dodging began! I did take a pic of the AFB in Key West.
Very nice island there. There were some pretty decent thunderheads that we skimmed past, and some turbulence. I was on the left side of the plane, so I saw no more land until the Florida coast on the panhandle. One WN
737 did fly at an angle with us for a while, so I watched him. Nothing else happened until our descent into ATL
. I watched the beautiful Georgian countryside go by. It is really gorgeous out there! I hadn't noticed before! The GPS came back on around 20,000ft or so, and I watched that. There was a DL MD
-88 in front of our plane, on the left, flying on finals for ATL
The 8's and 9's were in use at ATL
this time. I evebtually lost sight of the MD
-88 in front of the plane, but I noticed another slightly behind to the left. Gotta love the traffic in ATL
! Touchdown was pretty decent, but we did bounce. I saw an AF
A340 taxiing for takeoff. What a beauty! We vacated the actve, and made our way to the gate. The plane stopped next to our gate at Concourse E. The captain informed us that another plane was still occupying that gate, so we would have to wait for a while. I busied myself watching departing and arriving traffic on 8L
and 8R. The DL 763 at our gate eventually backed away, and we quickly filled the vacant spot.
The 763 that was in the way:
I snapped some shots of a BA
773 a few gates over.
I stayed on the plane for quite some time, until the crowd thinned out. I then got my stuff out of the overhead bin, got my camera ready, and walked up front. I asked the captain if I could snap a picture of the flight deck. He said "Sure, step inside" so I stepped inside the cockpit. I snapped a pretty decent pic of it, thanked him for a great flight, then left.
We headed downstairs to go through customs. We got checked through, claimed our bags, re-checked them, went through the security line, then left. All in all, it went very smoothly. We stopped at Popeyes in E for some dinner.
backed out while we were eating:
After dinner (great food!), we hitched a ride on the train to Concourse B. We got to our gate, and still had more than an hour until our plane left for AUS
. I sat in my chair watching heavy after heavy lift off and disappear.
Bad tail number shot of our plane:
I wish AUS
had trraffic like that! The boarding call came for Delta 1861, an MD
-88,(N974DL Ship Number 974) and our zone was eventually called. I got into yet another window seat, 17A. The flight left the gate around 8:02pm. Takeoff was great, and it also supplied me with a great view of the cargo ramp. The clouds were scattered, but bumpy. We actually got a few where the bottom dropped for a while! I loved it! Then that stopped, and he flight was smooth. Cruising for the fist half of the trip was 32,000ft. The view of the sunset was great from my side on the left, because I could see some great clors in the clouds, without getting the sun in my eyes.
The ground was nearly hidden in haze, just like my flight to ATL
. Once again, I selected water as my beverage, and I was so full of Popeyes that I didn't grab a snack. It got darker as we flew over Lousiana. I noticed the same airfield I had seen on the way out, just a little ways from the Mississippi river. The route of flight was almost iddentical. There was a little bit of air traffic out the left window, but most of the time over LA
and eastern TX
Iwas watching lightning from a pretty powerful storm south of the plane. We banked right once to avoid a growing thundercloud, but then turned left to re-attain our course. I saw the lights of Houston as we made our way toward AUS
. The initial descent began as the last bit of light was fading. As we got lower, I started to recognize cities and lakes in the area. We turned north for our approach into 17L in AUS
. I saw our runway in the distance. It eventually was obscured by the window panel as we turned south. The final descent was smooth, and the landing gear were lowered. Touchdown was moderately smooth, and the plane taxiied to our gate. I git the camera ready as everyone was filing off the plane. The captain was turned away, so I asked the F/A if I could snap a pic of the flight deck. She told the captain, and he asked me if I wanted my picture taken inside the cockpit. I agreed, and he told me to have a seat. I settled into the captain's chair and he took the picture. ( I look pretty good with a blurred face, eh?)
I thanked him, left the plane, claimed our bags, then went home. It was a great trip! If y'all are still awake (pardon the length) then I send ya my greetins' from Austin, Texas!