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Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2000 9:03 am


Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:16 am

So, i finally let go of 90,000 miles and aquired a ticket to see northern italy. And since I haven't written any trip reports in a few years, I thought, what the heck, so here goes:

Fri 07APR DELTA 792 Boeing 757-200 (Latin America config)

We got to the airport about 45 min before our flight. Some say this is frowned on with an international flight, but we figured, ah, what the hell, they'll take care of us. We checked in at the Medallion/First/Business Class check in line. There were only two people in front of us, no big deal.

An excellent agent tagged our bags to FCO and added the cute little priority tags and we dropped them off to the TSA monkeys.

Getting to security was a breeze as there were only a few people in the medallion line. The regular security line looked like less than a 10 minute wait, as I'm sure most people in the 8am bank of departures had already passed through. We then joined another line to pass through the metal detectors, which had a family of four that had somehow all been selected for additional screening. After waiting there for about 10 minutes, the TSA agent told us to join another line. Turns out they couldn't get it together and had to close that line because this was so exciting for them to check the whole family. TSA = Thousands Standing Around!

So then we get in another line, and a stroller got stuck in the machine, and you should have seen the panic that insued as 10 TSA agents starting running around freaking out. Apparently this has never happened before and they had to find a supervisor to restart the machine. It was comical to see them panic like that. You'd think they might have experienced a "jam" in their x-ray before, but obviously not.

So we got to our gate, and they were already on Zone 5 for boarding. No big deal, we jumped on board and took our seats. It was a nice surprise to be on board a "Latin American" 757, that had 22 F seats with additional leg room and foot rests. Very comfy compared to the regular 757.

Our SLC based flight crew gave excellent service. Shortly after take off they came by and starting with drinks and the snack basket. I think it's a crime that DL gets by without serving a meal on the SLC-CVG run. It is 55 miles short of DL's cut off for meals, and is 3hrs 30 min scheduled time east bound... The cheap skates. Anyway, the FAs tried to make up for it by passing out additional snacks. We descended just west of CVG, turing to the north and then a 180 turn to line up with 18R. Shortly after what I think is the Ohio River, we had a rough touch down and a quick taxi into the B gates.

Since we had such a long layover, we decided to rent a car and drive over to Newport on the Levy. We met a friend there, had lunch, and watch as a huge storm rolled into northern Kentucky. The tornado/severe weather sirens went off, and we took cover inside the restaurant as a huge hail/thunder storm moved in.

Fri 07APR DELTA 32 Boeing 767-300 ER
Arrive ROME, FCO 10:20 AM

Back at CVG, we quickly re-cleared security and headed to hang out in the Business Elite lounge for half hour before our flight. The Business Elite lounge at CVG is quite small, and it was also quite crowded. We did find a place to sit though, and had a nice glass of wine before heading to the gate. It turned out our flight had a boarding delay of 30 min due to the weather.

My friend Kara on board, waiting at the gate for the rain and lightning to stop.

We headed down about 15 min before departure, and they had boarded most of the aircraft. Coach was completely full, and there were mabe 5-6 open seats in BE. Champagne was poured and rain again started to pour. It was joined by lightning, and the captian made the announcement that they had closed the aiport, and would not expect it to re-open for at least an hour. You could feel the big 767 shaking in the wind and rain, it was rather disturbing to be sitting at the gate and hear the thunder like that.

After a half hour, the captain added that they may re-open the aiport soon, but only for a short time. He also stated that they may wait anyway, as the conditions for flying would be "less than ideal, and your safety is our primary concern..." Sounds good to me. More champagne dah-ling! While waiting our Cincinnati/New York based flight crew passed out menus and took our orders. The on-board-leader was EXCELLENT! What awesome service.

One hour after our scheduled departure, they re-opened the airport and the ramp, and we pushed back shortly after. Our taxi out was quick, and climb out not too bad.

Dinner was quickly started as it was getting pretty late. They served a salmon something or other for an appetizer, and I had the thai curry soup. For my main course I chose the grouper with mango salsa. I also partook of the cheese and fruit plate, and then enjoyed DL's awesome ice cream sundae. Kara gave me a tylenol PM during dessert, and I think that and the excellent port wine contributed to me quickly falling asleep, and a surprisingly great night's sleep. I woke up somewhere over the south of France, as breakfast service began.

We flew over corsica, then turned east to intercept the italian coast. We then turned south, and headed directly into FCO. We ended up about an hour and 15 min late. Upon deplaning in Rome, our on Board leader stood at the door with the captain and thanked each of us in the BE cabin by name for flying Delta. I'm impressed she took the time to learn 30 names and faces. What a nice touch! In fact the whole crew was incredible. Probably the best service I've ever had on board an airplane.

Italy was great. I thought I'd include a few photos of our other high speed travel. You Europeans can't make fun of us Americans for being amazed and jealous of your high speed railways! But I was impressed. Lots of fun and pretty damn fast!

Eurostar 550 rail service Rome Termini to Florence Santa Maria Novela:

First class on the train... Ok, while not Business Elite, it was pretty nice:

Tue 18APR DELTA 85 Boeing 767-300 ER
Depart MILAN-MXP 12:05 PM

So, after about 12 days, it was time to go home. I was actually excited, because after that many days in Italy, every city starts to look the same.

MXP was quite a nice airport. The check in procedure was a little weird, with passport control before being let into the check in area, but oh well. Business Elite check in was very speedy, and within no time we joined the line for security.

Now why can the Italians have 3 people running a security line and do a good job of security, but we need 7 TSA employees to do the same thing in the US? (We need at least two to three people just to get the plastic bins from one side to the other, the italians make due with a nice little roller conveyor that does the work of three TSA idiots. Ok, sorry, I'll try to quit knocking the TSA.

We went up to the MXP lounge that DL gave us invitations to check out, but it was pretty lousy. We went and did some duty free shopping, and then waited in the Alitalia lounge which was not much better.

Our flight was delayed about 15 min due to a late inbound aircraft, but they did a great job of turning the 767 and getting us on board before the late departure time. We waited for a few minutes for paperwork, and pushed back about 10 min late. Coach was pretty open (maybe a little less than half full, and BE was about 8 people short of being full. It's funny how you can spot the non-rev people right away. Always dressed much nicer than the rest of us, and ususally sitting in the bulkheads...

Me on board shortly before departure:

Service from our NYC based crew on this flight was mediocre. They passed out menus just before pushback and the ancient on board leader took our orders. He didn't bother to call us by name, and you could tell it was a chore for him to take our orders.

Lunch started and they had a salami plate for an appetiser. I had some corn chowder soup and roasted shrimp for the main course. Once again I had the cheese and fruit as well as the ice cream sundae. The food quality was just ok... not the best. I ended up sticking with champagne for my beverage. Not a bad champage; I'm pretty sure it was the Brut something or other. Boy they were sure stingy with it. I had to ask for a refill each time. Our FA made himself scarce most of the flight. If you wanted anything, you had to ring your button. There was no passing through the cabin to check on the passengers.

I think our assigned FA went to rest, and a really nice lady from the back came up to take care of us. She was awesome, and proved to me that our original FA was a dork. Unfortunately we got him back and about an hour before landing, he served our "afternoon snack" I had the hamburger, and Kara had the chicken salad. Both were actually pretty good. The warm cookie was excellent. I also liked that they passed out San Benedetto water on this flight, rather than Coke's Dasani, which I think is pretty cruddy stuff.

We flew out over the Materhorn, and then through switzerland and France, crossing into the Atlantic ocean just south of Ireland and England. We climed a few thousand feet to FL370 and made our way across. We approached North america near Prince Edward Island and continued into the gulf of Maine, then down across Masachusetts and right over Providence, RI. We turned west over the Hamptons and followed the southern coast of Long Island all the way to Kennedy for a quick right turn to land on 31L. We pulled into gate 12 on a gorgeous and clear 68 degree day in New York. We deplaned without any thanks from the crew, and headed for the joke we call US Customs.

Tue 18APR DELTA 1565 Boeing 757-200 (new interior)
Seats 2A, 2B FIRST

Kara and I spend some time at the Business Elite lounge by Gate 9 I think... anyway, it was quite nice, large, and had some tasty little snacks. We headed over to gate 16 about 30 min before scheduled departure. Our inbound aircraft from SLC was late, so we were about 30 min late leaving. We headed out to the runway and were #6 for departure on 31L, which is my favorite departure out of Kennedy.

I love the sweeping left turn over Jamica Bay with awesome views of Manhatten. It was so clear, we had an excellent view as we flew the huge, climing circle out over the bay an then up over the arrivals path to 31L & 31R. You could clearly see 9 aircraft waiting for 31L. We contiued climing to the north and then to the west and took a northerly route to SLC over Toronto, crossing back into the US in northern Wisconsin, flying through central Wyoming and then into the Salt Lake Valley.

Our SLC based crew was also EXCELLENT. Dinner was a chicken breast with Manocotti and a salad and brownie with icing. I caught a cold while in Italy, and our awesome FA made me a little tea drink with some different things in it, i'm not quite sure, but it helped to clear my sinuses and make the descent more bearable. She was so friendly and cheerful and helpful. For the most part Delta has probably the best employees out of any other airline. While there will be an occasional idiot, most are just fantastic.

We flew into the northern valley over ogden, and then flew west over the Great Salt Lake. The sunset was just awesome. Our FA thanked the first class passengers for our business and we made the hard left over the striped water tower to line up with 34L. Our priority tagged bags came out at carousel 6 within the first 10 bags, and we were on our way home.

Overall these were great flights. I know the MXP-JFK crew were not quite as bad as I make them out to be, but they were so completely overshadowed by their colleagues that they really stuck out as being pretty bad.

Despite the complaints of others that the 767s BE seats are too narrow, I find them to be shaped just fine, and they are far more comfortable than some of their counterparts, like the Envoy seats on USAir's A330s. While it's true I don't fly in many other airline's premium cabins, I still think DL has a great premium product, especially when you've got a good crew on board.

I hope enjoyed reading this long report, and please feel free to comment! Sorry about my spelling, I am a bit lazy at
Posts: 2144
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am


Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:25 am

Nice report! I flew Delta Business Elite from MUC-JFK a few years ago and I found it to be really good. The seats were great! One question, do they use glasses and actual silverware on the international flights, or still the plastic for everything?
I love to fly!
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Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 7:00 am


Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:59 am

Interessting and easy reading report. I was on Biz Elite from ZRH-SJU and
ZRH-ATL and i loved it. it reminded me of flying int. first class on DL.

regards: DALelite
They loved to fly and it showed..
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Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 4:47 am


Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:49 am

Nice's encouraging me to save up another 35,000 miles to get to the 90,000 needed in the account...figure I might have it by the end of the year, which would be a nice Christmas present.

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Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:12 pm


Thu Apr 20, 2006 4:11 pm

Great report mate!
I have never really felt all to inclined to fly Delta with having had some bad experiences with them. But I'm glad your trip was good! One other thing that you should try is if you get enough miles again to fly on Air France, their partner. It�s the same amount of miles as going on delta, and I think that from what I've seen Air Frances product is nicer then Deltas... Newer, with flat seats!!!
~~Kyle H.
to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2001 8:13 pm


Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:22 pm

Great report. It was only 90K miles for a roundtrip from SLC to FCO? Is that a standard reward? That's not bad at all! That's at least 32 hours of round trip flying for that I'm on a standard BusinessFirst award, round trip flying is only 15 hours, and it's costing me 80K miles. Very interesting...

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Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2000 9:03 am


Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:48 pm

Thanks for your replies everyone!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 1):
One question, do they use glasses and actual silverware on the international flights, or still the plastic for everything?

They use all glassware and silverware, with the exception of the pre-flight champgne, which is served in a plastic wine cup, and the knives are plastic.

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 4):
One other thing that you should try is if you get enough miles again to fly on Air France, their partner.

I've heard horror stories at FlyerTalk about how AF treats DL elites, from involuntary bumping and downgrading to poor service and rude employees. Also, I've heard that connecting in CDG can also be a hell of a mess, and why would I want to add 1 more connection? Having said that, if I was going to Paris, and DL didn't have any award seats on the 777, then I would give AF a try if they were available.

My next mileage trip is to Costa Rica... I just booked four tickets for me and a few friends to fly SLC-ATL-SJC. 140,000 miles and poof, they're gone  Sad I'll have to work to get that balance back above 200,000 before I can even think about another trip to I'll have to say, it was a good deal, 35K miles for a $700 ticket. Usually to Europe you pay $700 for a coach ticket or 50K miles.

Quoting Salvation (Reply 5):
It was only 90K miles for a roundtrip from SLC to FCO? Is that a standard reward?

Yes, a "skysaver" award is 90K; a "skychoice" award is a whopping 250K miles... Turns out too many DL elites were gladly paying 180,000 miles for the capacity un-restricted award.

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