This is my first trip report...so be nice
. Also, I keep trying to insert pictures, and am having a lot of trouble. If anyone could help me I'd appreciate it.
As a graduation present, my parents decided to take a cruise to Alaska. We've been talking about it for at least ten years, and now seemed like an appropriate time to do it! Living in NY, I'd have to fly to SEA
in order to catch my cruise ship. With 500,000+ SkyMiles between my mother, my father and me, the JFK
trip on DL
was the perfect opportunity to use them. Originally we were going to pay for my ticket (to ensure that I would still be able to keep Elite status for next year). However, after some calculations, we figured out I could travel on an Award Ticket and still be able to maintain my Silver Medallion status
. So, two months and 270,000 SkyMiles after booking, on July 21st I was finally ready to make the trip out to SEA
EDT, we had our usual cab pick us up, and got to JFK
Terminal 3 about twenty minutes later. Upon arriving at JFK
, we checked in with three bags curbside. We got our boarding passes and receipts and were on our way to security. Security at JFK
(at least in Terminal 3) is very inefficient. With two metal detectors I've never seen them use more than one, even at peak times. At any given time they'll have 10 TSA
monkeys just standing there doing nothing. Can't they put them to better use by having the other metal detector open? It only took about ten minutes, but at other airports an equivalent line would've taken no more than five. After security we walked towards the PanAm Worldport. Despite all the bad things people say about DL
¡¦s terminal at JFK
, I still think the Worldport is amazing. It's just so rich with history; truly a wonderful part of the airport! Upon arriving there, I looked at the departure screen to make sure our flight was still on time (the weather in NYC was horrible that day). At that point it was still on time, departing from gate 16 at 5:20PM
Since we still had an hour or so to kill, we went over to the BuinessElite lounge in Terminal 2. When I got there, they still weren't serving food, just the typical snacks (Biscoffs, peanuts, etc.). After a while I went up to the desk to make sure our flight was still on time. At that point it had been delayed to 7:00PM
. On the bright side however, it was going to be departing from gate 20, which was right across from the BusinessElite lounge. When I came back to my seat they were setting up for their meal/snack services. The food in the BusinessElite lounge is really good when they serve it (cookies, cakes, fruit, cheese and crackers, and some other hot items). Slowly but surely, the lounge was filling up, but it didn't seem like anybody was leaving. About an hour later I checked with the desk again, and now our flight had been delayed till 8:00PM
. It turns out the plane was coming from SEA
, but the weather was so bad that it was diverted. Not knowing how much longer it would really take, I decided to go to one of the desk areas in the lounge and pay for an hour of wireless internet access. It was definitely worth it, as I still had another forty five minutes to kill after I was done. For the first time ever, I actually saw people sitting on the floor in the lounge! By about 9:30PM
the plane had come in, now at gate 25. So after many hours we finally left the lounge. We waited at the gate for about twenty minutes, and then they announced that the flight would now be departing from gate 1 in Terminal 3! So, in 7 hours we had gone full circle at JFK
. While waiting at the gate, I saw a man in army uniform. I knew he wasn't an air marshal, and no one could figure out exactly who he was. I wouldn't find out about that until later. Anyway, he wound up getting a seat in F. Finally at about 10:30 we boarded.
Scheduled Departure: 5:20PM
EDT (actual departure: approx. 12:00AM
Scheduled Arrival: 8:44PM PDT
(actual arrival: 2:30AM PDT
Boeing 757-232 (N688DL; Ron Allen Livery) Seat 3C
Load Factor: 96% F /?? Y
Flight time: Approx 5 hrs and 30 minutes.
Upon boarding (at 1L, as gate 1 couldn't accommodate a 2L boarding), I was greeted by two LAX
based flight attendants, Steve and Keith. They were not nearly as friendly as the NYC based crews I've encountered. I was pleased to see that this plane had the new interiors (but not the new "curtains")! While the 757 seats are significantly wider than those on the MD
-88 (the a/c I¡¦m usually on), I didn't find them as comfortable. Maybe they need to be broken in. I also noticed that dinner was already heating in the ovens. Assuming there would be an on time departure, they must've wanted us to get the food immediately. Keith took the drink orders, hung coats and passed out snacks as Steve stayed at 1L greeting the pax. After they closed the boarding door, I noticed that 6B
was still empty. I guess they didn't want to wait on upgrades in order to ensure as close to an on-time departure as possible (i.e. 5 hours late instead of 5 hours and 5 minutes later
) After showing the new safety video, we pushed back "on time". After that we wound up being something like number 13 on the runway (didn"t catch any numbers as I had an aisle seat), to having to switch to a different runway. At that point everyone was allowed to get up, use the bathroom, make phone calls, etc. until we started moving again (another 20 minutes). After 3 gate changes, and 1 runway change, we finally took off at about midnight. After reaching a safe altitude, Keith came around taking drink orders (I requested a Passion Fruit Sparkler which they didn"t have, so I opted for tomato juice) and Steve did the obligatory hot towel service. Then came dinner (which had been heating for hours at this point). We had the choice of either chicken or chicken. I'm disappointed that DL
no longer offers meal choices; hopefully that will change. I was so hungry at that point I was willing to eat anything (I felt really bad for the folks back in Y who hadn"t, and weren't going to have anything for hours!). The presentation was shoddy at best. The fake tablecloths, plastic utensils and plastic cups are extremely disappointing for domestic F, even these days. After eating the salad, and bread, it was time for the infamous chicken! Wow, I've never tasted anything so disgusting in my life! I've always enjoyed DL
's catering, so I'll attribute it to the fact that it was just sitting for so long. The brownie pie is to die for however! Sometime between starting the meal and finishing the edible portion of my meal, the movie started. It was "She's the Man"..I'll pass
. As a bonus, due to the delay, free headsets were given out in Y as well as an additional movie "Ice Age 2"! Honestly, I'd rather have watched some of their Horizons programming. Every now and then they show something interesting, or at least a good sitcom. Instead of the movies they were showing, I decided I'd watch a few DVDs on my laptop instead¡Kmuch better. Every now and then Keith would come around with the snack basket, but he as well as Steve stayed in the galley (with the curtains closed I might add!) for the majority of the flight. After a while I fell asleep. I woke up an hour and a half later to hear that we were preparing for our initial descent. By 2:30 PDT
we had landed and were taxiing to the gate. This was where the true sadness came in. Before anyone was allowed to get up, the captain requested that the supervisor of one of our fallen soldiers be allowed off first (that's the army guy I was talking about before). It was a very sad moment¡Keveryone became silent and I even heard a little crying. However, the woman next to my mom seemed to be oblivious to all of this; she picked up her phone and called one of her friends and was laughing, as if nothing was going on. Whether or not one supports this war, a 20 something kid had just died for his country and I think he should¡¦ve been paid a little more respect. In any case, a few minutes later we deplaned from 2L at gate S4
. We were originally supposed to land at A14, but that was also supposed to be 5 hours earlier. After a ride on the tram, we went to baggage claim. It seemed to take an exceptionally long time. It was at least a half hour before the carousel even started. I rarely check baggage, so I don't know what the normal wait time is. Maybe it just seemed like a lot longer because of how tired I was. Once it started going, our bags were some of the first out. I was surprised to see they had those green "Priority" tags. I only thought that international BusinessElite pax got those, but I guess domestic F get those tags as well. It was kind of difficult to find the taxi line, and by the time we found it, there were many people in line, yet there were no cabs! It was another half hour before even one cab came. This was all nerve racking as we had a hotel room waiting and we didn't know if they'd hold it for us past a certain hour! Eventually we got into a cab and got to our hotel at about 4:30 PDT
. We all tried to get some sleep knowing we¡¦d have to get up early to get to the port!
I will not go through all the details of my cruise since that isn't the point of this trip report. However, in a brief synopsis, I'll say it was great! The sightseeing in Alaska is amazing. It seems like you're in a different country. During the seven day cruise we took three excursions; one in Juneau, one in Skagway and one in Victoria, BC
. It was great to escape the NYC heat wave and get to experience some 50 degree weather. Never did I think that I'd have to wear long sleeves and a jacket in July! And to top it all off, the food on the cruise was absolutely amazing.
A week later we arrived back in Seattle. After checking in at our hotel (The Fairmont Olympic) we went to the Space Needle and ate at the restaurant at the top. Food was great there, but a little pricey. However, I recommend it to anyone who goes to Seattle. The views plus the quality of the food are definitely worth it! The next day just took a brief three hour tour of Seattle. Considering the short timeframe we had, it was an excellent way to see the city!
Well, before we knew it, Monday morning had come. While I was sad that my vacation was over, I was happy that I'd be flying
At 9 AM PDT
we caught a cab in front of the hotel and we were on our way. We got to the airport within twenty minutes, and once again checked our baggage curbside. After getting our boarding passes and receipts we headed to security. SEA
still has a priority security line for F pax as well as elites for all the airlines it serves. I've never been a fan of the TSA
, but I must say the agents at SEA
are heads above their counterparts at JFK
. They were friendly and efficient, and one of the agents actually joked with me! The JFK
people should really take a lesson or two from these guys; if I didn't live in New York maybe my views on the TSA
would've been different. There is a departure screen right across from the checkpoint; as of that point we were still supposed to depart at 11:45 from A14.
Since we once again had several hours to kill, we went to the Crown Room Club across from A11. While it doesn't compare to the BusinessElite lounge at JFK
, it was nice and spacious. They had the typical snacks (Biscoffs, peanuts, etc). After sitting around and reading for a while it was already 11! We left the lounge and walked to gate A14 where we were supposed to board. However, there was a change and we were actually going to depart from A11 (where we had just come from!). After that everything went smoothly. I found it interesting that they didn't scan my boarding pass; rather they just tore it and gave me the stub. I don't know if all the gates are like this at SEA
or just this one. Anybody know?
Scheduled Departure: 11:45 AM PDT
(Actual Departure: on time!)
Scheduled Arrival: 8:12 PM
EDT (Actual Arrival: 8:04 PM
Boeing 757-232 (N625DL; "wavy-gravy" livery) Seat 2B
Load Factor: 100% F/?? Y
Flight time: 5 hours and 19 minutes
Upon boarding at 2L I was immediately greeted by Rose Marie, an ex-PanAm flight attendant (3 out of the 4 on this flight were!) What a lovely lady! Immediately I knew that this flight would definitely make up for my flight going to SEA
. Again I was happy to see that this a/c had the new interiors as well as the "curtains". Upon entering the F cabin I was greeted by Marilyn who took my coat and drink order. In addition to the bottles of water which were waiting for me, when I was done with my coke I was offered a second! I"ve never been offered two beverages pre-departure before. These PanAm girls are truly something! We pushed back and took off on time. As soon as we reached 10,000 feet, Maryanne (the other F flight attendant, also ex-PanAm) started heating the meals. A few minutes later Marilyn came around once again taking drink orders as well as providing the obligatory hot towel service. I chose the Passion Fruit Sparkler (which they actually had this time!!). Maryanne came around asking if we wanted lunch. The choices were mushroom ravioli with chicken or nothing. I opted for the ravioli
I've heard bad reports about this meal before, but it was actually very good. As close to restaurant quality as you can get in domestic F these days. The salad, warm roll and lemon pie were good as well. The presentation was once again shoddy at best (no linens, plastic everything). It's interesting to note that while all the utensils were plastic, this time the knife was not a "Delta" plastic knife, but a generic clear one. I've never seen that before. After the initial meal service, either Marilyn or Maryanne would come around every 15 minutes like clockwork with the snack basket in addition to taking drink orders. Maryanne would also come around with a tray of 24 water bottles. Considering she was probably in her mid-70s, I found all of this to be pretty impressive! Sometime in the middle of the flight, a rather eccentric looking woman in 6B
demanded that her seat be changed as it didn¡¦t recline. Being the nice guy that I am, I volunteered (as a reward I got a whole sleeve of Biscoffs, not a $250 voucher, but it¡¦ll do
Oddly enough, when I sat down in 6B
, it was ALREADY reclined (as much as any normal F seat would). The only bad thing about that seat is that it¡¦s right next to the 2R
lav. However, I still prefer it over row 1. Before I knew it we were cleared to land at JFK
. This flight was too short! Maryanne, Marilyn, Rose Marie as well as Liz (from coach) made this flight one of the best in my life! They all went above and beyond the call of duty and accommodated all your needs. In all my travels on DL
I've only encountered one flight attendant, also ex-PanAm whose service was superior, both times on the JFK
route (and it takes a LOT of patience to work that route!). We arrived at gate 22 in Terminal 2 at 8:04 and deplaned from 2L shortly afterwards. The bags seemed to take a long time (we were sitting there at least 45 minutes); however it wasn't a big deal unlike last time since we didn't have a hotel room waiting for us. After we collected our bags we were on our way to the taxi line and in a few minutes we were on our way home after a nice long ten day vacation. It¡¦s interesting to note that the taxi line at Terminal 2 still has the song motif around it.
Despite how bad the flight out to SEA
was (not all of it was DL
's fault, but the unfriendly crews didn't help make it any better), the trip back to JFK
made up for it tenfold. The crew really makes or breaks the flight (and most DL
crews are usually great!). Needless to say, Delta Air Lines will continue to be my family's first choice when it comes to air travel, even if they cost a few dollars more. Despite all the cutbacks, the professionalism of DL
employees (generally) is unparalleled and at the top of the industry!
[Edited 2006-08-08 05:33:30]
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