I had to make some last minute travel plans due to a death in the family in Yuma, AZ. I normally fly into PHX or SAN and drive to Yuma. After checking the normal Orbits, Travelocity, etc. most of the PHX flights from BDL were pretty pricy, and YUM, forget it. I however found a fare of $289 R/T on Delta out of BOS to PHX.
It has been a few years since I’ve flown Delta; last time was a Song flight from BDL to FLL in 2005. So I was excited to see how DL was operating now that they had emerged from Chapter 11.
I found Delta’s Terminal A at BOS very striking, modern and clean. My previous flights out of BOS had been on AA and HP and I was not impressed with those terminals.
My flight was departing from gate A18 which was on the other side of the underground walkway. I do not recall if past DL flights had this, but they now provide flight status/details on overhead monitors at the gate. These monitors provided such information as if there are upgrades available and how much they cost, the standby list and a host of other useful travel tidbits.
Delta Air Lines, Flight 871
Scheduled 6:41 AM EST
Departed – on time
Flying Time – 4 hours and 46 mins
May 12th, 2007
We quickly boarded and if I had to guess, I’d say the load factor was about 70%. I was hoping for an ex-Song bird for the PTV, but found N625DL at the gate. This 752 started service with DL back in 1987, so it had the old style ceiling but revised overhead bins. Since I had an emergency exit seat so there was more legroom than the typical Y seat. I found more than enough room and pitch for an overall comfortable flight. I’m sure with the current revamping of DL’s fleet, better seats with headrests and PTVs will be on the drawing board.
We pushed back on time, but didn’t rotate until 7:02AM EST due to normal morning airport activity. During the taxi, I noticed the brakes were very loud on this ac.
We departed runway and made our way up over New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York and on up to our cruising altitude of FL380. At one point the captain pointed out Niagara Falls, but I was on the wrong side to spot it. The typical snack and beverage service was average and the FAs were pleasant and attentive. I was disappointed not see any type of “breakfast” items, but instead cheese, crackers and cookies. Later on they offered snack service again, this time they had Oatmeal-to-Go bars, very tasty.
Headphones for the in-flight movie were $2 and you could keep them. I actually recommend this because they provide an adapter for the single 1/8th jack to a double 1/8th jack. If you use your own headphones, expect sound from only one channel without the adapter. Entertainment was via the CRT screens that ran along the ceiling in the typical 757 layout. Some screens were very dark, other very light, but the aircraft was showing its age. I settled in and watched “Music and Lyrics” and took a quick nap.
Halfway through the flight I woke up freezing! After a quick examination of the area I came to the conclusion it was due to the over wing exit door. I had never experienced this before when sitting by an emergency exit, but I had to move over to the isle seat to get warm and stayed until our decent. I was lucky to have an empty row of seats or else I would have had a miserable, cold four and a half hour flight.
After napping for another hour or so, we began our decent into SLC. This was my first time at SCL so I was sure my camera was ready! And I’m glad I did because the views were awesome.
We gently touched down on 34L at 9:48AM MDT, twenty minutes after our estimated time of 9:25 AM. After coming to a halt and began out taxi roll, the brakes were even louder! I’m no ac mechanic, but I’m sure they needed replacing!
After taxing to our gate, we had to wait another twenty minutes for the gate to open up. I was ecstatic to see the Pink 757 for Breast Cancer Awareness that was on the port side of our ac. The FA even pointed this out via the intercom, but on one seemed to care.
After the parking brake was set, we waited an additional ten minutes for someone to operate the jet bridge. I was thankful that my connecting flight wasn’t leaving until 11:19 AM MDT because people didn’t start deplaning until after 10:20AM MDT!
Delta Air Lines, Flight 1407
Scheduled 11:19 AM MDT
Departed – on time
Flying Time – 1 hour and 5 mins
May 12th, 2007
I didn’t get to see much of SLC, I basically went to grab a new set of headphones at InMotion and made my way to the gate. I was delighted to find out my flight to PHX was on the Pink 757! Ex-Song, so there were PTVs too! This ac entered service with DL back in 1985, so she is a classic!
We boarded on time but were delayed due to a late passenger and her dog. I would estimate the load factor to be 85% for this leg. Seat and leg room was more than adequate for my 5’ 11” – 250lb frame. There was a nice gentleman sitting in the isle seat of my row. We had been conversing waiting for the PX/dog situation to be sorted when the FA asked if either of us wanted more leg room and switch seats to a bulkhead middle seat. I didn’t want to part with my window seat so the gentleman next to me obliged. That is when this flight (thankfully it was only an hour flight) took a wrong turn. The late passenger, with her leg in a cast and toting an oxygen tank plopped down in my row. She immediately propped her leg up on the middle seat and claimed every inch of the row to herself. I was trying to piece her situation together in my head; she seemed fairly young, too young to be tied to an oxygen bottle, what was with the leg, etc.? I then forgot about my seat partner as I watched the taxi and videotaped the takeoff.
About 20 minutes into the flight I was enjoying the view of the desert landscape at FL370 when I started hearing this electronic “beep…beep…beep.” I looked around and paid it no mind, but it continued “beep…beep.” After five minutes or so, people around started asking what the beep was. I looked down at my fellow passenger’s oxygen machine and determined that was the culprit. I asked her “Is that your machine that is beeping?” and she quickly snapped “Yes, I’m out of oxygen!” I thought to myself, oh boy, here we go. She made a racket pulling the machine out from under the seat in front of her, slamming things and such. She finally shut the “beep” off, but then proceeded to tell the FA that was tasking the drink service that she needed O2 immediately. Of course there are no 110 AC plugs around, which I guess is what her machine needed. So the FA brings her a personal O2 bottle with the yellow cup mask. She started barking that she was not going to wear that, etc. when the FA exclaimed “if you need oxygen, this is all I have, take it or leave it.” She then took the tank and plopped it down in the seat next to me and proceeded to put the mask on. Keep in mind the entire time her cup of Sprite, filled to the top, and is sitting on the middle seat cushion bouncing around with every movement she made. I was just waiting for it to spill over onto my leg or something. After grabbing the cup a few times before it tipped, I asked her to take it because I didn’t feel like wearing it. She shot me back a glare, or so I think because she adorned oversize sunglasses the whole time. There were a few more instances when the FA came over to attend to her, but I tried to block it out and enjoy the flight.
Again, drink and snack service was provided with a smile.
We had brilliant views of the Grand Canyon which kept me away from the PTV.
I did poke around with some of the stations and watched a bit of the Discovery Channel after the Grand Canyon passed. The TV channels were at no-charge, but it appeared games and movies, with the exception of trivia, required payment.
We began our decent into the Phoenix area and started bouncing around due to the hot climate, what fun! We touched down….wait, did I say touch? I meant slammed down on Rwy 8 (see video, and yes I exclaim “That sucked!”) and came to a halt at 11:36AM MST, three minutes early.
I have to give kudos to the crew of this flight. After putting up with my seat mate, they still attended to her every need…above and beyond, as well as every other passenger, with a smile and professionalism.
I hadn’t flown into PHX since 2000, so I was expecting to be able to pick up my rental at the airport and scoot on out as I had done in the past. WRONG! You now have to be bused to a separate facility a few miles away where all the car renal agencies are. This adds a good 20-30 minutes on to your travel time, so BE AWARE if you plan on going to PHX! On the return it took me forever to find the drop-off because of construction and the address of the rental company (which was on the contract) was not recognized by my GPS. I was basically driving around Phoenix, with construction and traffic, searching for this place.
[Edited 2007-05-25 14:22:13]