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Air Tran Business Class, MSY-ATL, 12/4/05

Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:22 am

Air Tran Airways
Flight #156
Boeing 717-200
Scheduled Dep: 10:25am
Scheduled Arr: 12:46pm

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Photo © Jay Selman

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Photo © Daniel Wojdylo

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Photo © Carlos Aleman - SJU Aviation Photography

It was a slow Sunday at MSY, although of course it didn't use to be that way. Prior to Katrina, numerous buses were lined up on the departure level, dropping off and picking up cruise ship passengers. Ah, memories.

Anyway, I got dropped off for 9:00am. There were a few people at the FL counter. FL has enough counter space now to make a mini hub out of MSY if they chose to do it, with the absence of F9. They could have up to 9 check in positions. It's good to dream!

I checked in my bag and got my seat assignment from one of the Byepass machines. My seat assignment: 2A. The departure gate was C5. C9 is the normal FL gate at MSY but the jetway was down for mx. I made my way through security in minutes, took a seat at C5, and did some writing until our aircraft arrived. Flight 156 started boarding at 9:50am. I was the second passenger to board. Here is what an Air Tran business class seat looks like:

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Photo © Justin Cederholm

The seat was very comfortable with ample legroom and good recline. This plane did have the XM satellite radio on it, which is an excellent feature, over 100 channels and of course perfect sound quality. I got a Diet Sprite before we pushed back from the gate. We had a normal tug pushback this morning, which took place ten minutes early. The load on this flight: 97 passengers.

After a quick taxi to runway 19, we were airborne after using up 5,000ft. of runway. As usual, it was a very quiet and very steep takeoff. The 717's get up quickly! We ended up flying over my house before crossing Lake Pontchartrain and climbed above the cloud layer up to FL350. Flying time to ATL was scheduled to be 56 minutes.

In flight service consisted of two drinks, as well as an assortment of snacks. I had a "Coke Zero" (which tastes just like Diet Coke in my opinion) and a bag of Friday's Potato Skin chips. Overall it was good service for such a short flight. The flight attendants were attentive and courteous. We landed in ATL on runway 27R and made a short taxi, past a lot of DL heavy metal, to gate C18. Before we got to the gate I saw this beauty:

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Photo © Gary Chambers

Our aircraft would continue to LGA. Huge crowd at all FL gates in ATL, which I guess is pretty typical for a Sunday. It did take awhile for my bag to finally show at carousel #2, but I was not in a rush. Overall I really enjoyed Air Tran and the beautiful 717 aircraft. The XM radio service is impressive. It's easily the best domestic IFE after PTV's.

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