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Return Trip STL-ATL On Delta (Pics And Vids)

Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:49 pm

This is my return trip to ATL after seeing my best friend graduate from basic training. Unlike my trip up to STL, my trip home was direct.

Delta Flight 1655
Gate A6
Depart STL: 5:15 PM
Arrive ATL: 8:00 PM
McDonnell Douglas MD-88

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Photo © John E. Jauchler - New England Airports

I was dropped off at STL very early, 11:35 AM for a 5:15 PM flight. My friend was required to travel with the Army to the airport. He ended up leaving Fort Leonard Wood (about two-some hours southwest of STL) a bit before noon. I had a good bit of time to kill before he got there. At first I tried to find a good spotting location within the immediate vicinity of the terminal, but to no avail.

I didn’t have the luxury of internet access during my stay in Rural Missouri, so I couldn’t print my boarding passes online. Luckily the self check-in area was empty, so I was able to walk right up, input my SkyMiles number and PIN, and have the machine print out my boarding pass.
May as well take a picture of the check in area
The reader board. Unfortunately, my flight wasn’t posted on it just yet.

I went downstairs, picked out a seat, and mostly read to pass the next two hours. Shortly after 12:15 I went and got a pretzel from Pretzel Time to hold me over for a while. I went back to my reading and a bit of listening to my MP3 player until my buddy called me right at 2:30 to tell me he was at the airport. I walked back upstairs to the American check-in area (since he was flying home with American on a flight that left only 5 minutes after mine did). His mother sent a peanut butter cheesecake she made herself with him, since there was no way it would have survived their drive back to Georgia. The two of us plus one of his newly-made friends destroyed that pie. Really we had nothing to do after that, so we walked around the terminal aimlessly, looking at every shop we could find.

Finally it came time to split. He headed off to the C-Gates, and I headed the opposite direction to the A-Gates. We coordinated our meeting up in ATL and went our separate directions. I got to security with not much of a line in front of me. I put my bag and shoes and such on to the belt when they said there was a problem. It was my tube of toothpaste. I made it through security in Atlanta without incident earlier in the week, but I guess Crest Vanilla Mint in the state of Missouri in an indicator of being a terrorist.

Funny story though. The TSA in ATL and STL both missed something in my bag that posed a greater threat than toothpaste (which I didn’t discover until after I got back home): A book of matches. Makes you feel safe doesn’t it?

That aside, I walked to gate A6 and took a seat next to the window. My plane wasn’t at the gate when I got there; in fact, it was an ERJ going to Cincinnati.
Chautauqua ERJ at my gate. The ERJ pulling away allowed me to take this shot:
An American 757 with winglets taxiing
Finally 45 minutes before we were scheduled to depart our MD-88 pulled in
N902DE pulling in while the previous AA 757 takes off in the background.
MD-88 (again) pulling in
And finally all the way at the gate.
I managed to take one more shot before boarding time came:
I just had to have some US Airways at some point
Boarding started at 4:45 Central Time. I set my watch back to Eastern Time, so other than departure times, all of my references will be Eastern Time. Boarding was rather slow. Finally when zone 6 was called it seemed like quite a rush. Just about everyone formed a line, but nobody was making any attempt to board, so I handed the gate agent my boarding pass and was asked if I was fine sitting where I was sitting. I was seated in 26A, a nice exit row window I took my seat and enjoyed the legroom.
Window view from my seat at the gate.
We pushed back at 5:12 Central Time, three minutes early, but as it eventually turned out, we wouldn’t be getting off the ground as quickly as I thought.
Window view during taxi.
The captain came on and said we would be waiting about 15 minutes due to spacing. I could see my friend’s American Connection ERJ a few aircraft behind me, but not well enough to take a picture of it. I did, though, manage to get a couple of pictures that were decent:
Air Canada Jazz CRJ
Northwest Airlink CRJ
Cabin view while we waited.
Finally it came our turn to take off from runway 29 As far as power, it really was weak. It’s been about 8 years since I flew on any MD-80, but my more-recent experiences on 717’s seemed to do much better than that. On a happier note, the climb was steep, which was nice. I took a quick video of climb out shortly after takeoff.
View of the airfield after a 180-degree turn back to the east. We passed Busch Stadium and the Arch from the south, and I really tried to get pictures of both, but a combination of clouds and my exit-row seat over the wing didn’t allow it.

We hit cruising altitude at 33,000 feet and drink service began at 6:40 (Eastern Time).
Window view at cruise
And another.
Unfortunately, the drinks were distributed to everybody before the snacks were even halfway. I was patient enough to wait and take a picture.
I opted for water and orgasms in a package (known to some as Biscoffs)
We began to descend at 7:15, not bad considering we still had 45 minutes until our scheduled landing. I honestly was quite disoriented once we crossed in to Illinois, and all the way through cruise. Finally I saw something familiar that told me where I was.
Dobbins Air Force Base just north of Atlanta
The Atlanta skyline
Fulton County Airport just west of Atlanta. Once I saw FTY, I was really hoping to see Six Flags Over Georgia, but we were right over it.
Then I took a long video of approach:

The landing was a smooth one on runway 26L, the same runway I took off from two days earlier. Our touch down was at 7:44, 16 minutes before the scheduled arrival.
I snapped some pictures during our taxi to gate A28:
Concourse B
Now you see why ATL is known as Delta Land.
An MD-88 and 757 Sitting at Concourse A
Remember how this flight was supposed to arrive at gate A28? It’s the one with the MD-88 sitting at it. The captain came on and made us aware of that, and told us that they were also about 15 minutes away minimum from pushing back. During this time my buddy’s plane had arrived and he was sitting at Concourse T waiting on me. He gave me a call letting me know where he was and I told him of my situation. Just then the captain announced that we were moving to gate B33. I told him that and he took the train to Concourse B and waited on me, instead of the plan that was the opposite.
As we began to taxi I took the time to take some more pictures.
American Eagle CRJ-700.
My other (and better) hometown airline. I’m certainly not a hater of Delta. They’ve delivered a great product to me every time since New Years 2004/2005. It’s just that Airtran has been better.
We pulled in to gate B33, and like my other two flights; I made sure to be the last one off. For some reason, everyone was moving very slowly getting off. I could only get one good shot from my window of the 737-800 parked at gate B31 next to us.
My seat on the exit row. It was a great seat, lots of leg room, nice views out the window, and not too close enough the engine to be absurdly loud, but also close enough to not be so quiet.
One last picture as I walked out of an airplane for the last time for a long time. My experience with Delta was a great one. I was happy to be able to fly after not taking to the skies for 20 months. It was a long dry spell for sure.

[Edited 2008-08-11 16:54:13]
Careful, doors are closing, will not reopen. Please wait for the next train.
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RE: Return Trip STL-ATL On Delta (Pics And Vids)

Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:21 am

NIce report, thanks.

I take it you left ffrom your taxi out of STL, you left from the new runway?
Cookies are the Gateway pastry. They lead to Éclairs and Bear Claws.
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RE: Return Trip STL-ATL On Delta (Pics And Vids)

Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:49 am

Quoting Jmy007 (Reply 1):
I take it you left from your taxi out of STL, you left from the new runway?

My apologies for being stupid. Is this the runway you're referring to? If so, yes, we did use the new runway.

Is that sort of thing a rarity?
Careful, doors are closing, will not reopen. Please wait for the next train.
Posts: 540
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RE: Return Trip STL-ATL On Delta (Pics And Vids)

Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:52 am

Quoting N776AU (Reply 2):

yep, that's the new runway. I have flown in to STL at least a dozen times since the new runway opened, and have yet to land, or take off on it. AFIK, it's not heavly used.

[Edited 2008-08-11 21:56:50]
Cookies are the Gateway pastry. They lead to Éclairs and Bear Claws.
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RE: Return Trip STL-ATL On Delta (Pics And Vids)

Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:57 am

Nice report, thanks for sharing!

flown: F50,F70,CR1,CR2,CR9,E75,143,AR8,AR1,733,735,736,73G,738,753,763,744,77W,788,319,320,321,333,AB6.
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RE: Return Trip STL-ATL On Delta (Pics And Vids)

Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:17 pm

This is a neat trip report. of the Future

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