So a nice weekend in NYC for Christmas. I've been every year for the past 5 years, so I figured we'd better go this year. I specifically picked the flights where Delta had the international 757s flying. These are the planes they picked up from TWA, added winglets and 16 Business Elite seats made by Recaro. They're not the standard 60" business elite loungers, but they're not half bad either. While it's harder to score an upgrade on this 757, I figured it was worth a shot. As a Platinum, I cleared in advance; the boyfriend cleared at the gate... Here's the report:
Delta Flight 84, Boeing 757-200
From: Salt Lake City, UT (SLC
Departs: 08:25 AM
To: New York, NY (JFK
) - John F Kennedy Intl
Arrives: 03:05 PM
Seats 1A, 1B
We arrived about an hour before the flight to have a little drink at the crown room and relax before what I anticipated to be a long flight to JFK
. It seems JFK
is never on time. There's always some kind of weather disturbance preventing an on time schedule. I figured today that ATC would consider the humidity to be unusually high, and thus slow our arrival, so a bloody mary before boarding would be a necessity.
We arrived at the gate 20 min before departure, only to notice they had boarded all zones already. Amazingly they were going to try to get our flight out a bit early. I asked the guy in 1B to trade me for my seat, 2B so we could sit together. He was totally accomodating and thus we took our seats in the front row, one of the few planes I don't mind a bulkhead...
View from our seats looking at the intimate Business Elite cabin on the 757:
The boarding door was closed and we pushed back 5 min before scheduled departure. It looked like there were a few empty seats in the back but of course the Business Elite cabin was full. Pre drinks were served along with the standard Dasani bottle left on the drink tray. The only thing I don't like about this plane is the video monitors are in your arm rests, and must remain in the armrests during the safety video, so you have to watch the flight attendants do the manual demonstration while the video is playing, and they don't do the finger wag during the "Smoking is not allowed on any Delta flight..." bit.
Me and Trav, before departure:
The comfy Recaro seats. They have massage as well, a nice touch:
This was a breakfast flight, and we both chose the warm breakfast as apposed to cereal, fruit and a bagel. Instead we had scrambled eggs on ham with some type of sauce, a warm bagel, and fruit. Here's a shot of Trav's breakfast, mostly gone. I forgot to take a photo...
Service was amazing, and typical of Delta's front cabin. They kept the drinks coming and made regular passes through the cabin to check on us. A few hours later they came by with the snack basket, offering the Sun Chips, granola bars, biscoff cookies, peanuts, etc. I stretched out and watched a movie. The room is great but I still think I like the regular business elite seats on the 767 and 777 a little better... Still, plenty of leg room in the bulkhead:
With incredible tail winds, and clear weather at JFK
, we actually go sequenced in about 30 min early. I guess the humidity held at an acceptable level...lol j/k. We came over the top of Manhattan, then did a series of right turns over Long Island and then out over the ocean to line up with 31R. Beautiful view on approach:
Another view of our seats. Trav's seat was 1A, which is a crew rest seat on the longer flights, and this curtain can be take out for more privacy for the pilots:
Of course our early landing at JFK
was too good to be true. With a ridiculously convoluted taxi to the gate and a 10 min wait for an agent to actually pull the jetway into place, the door was opened at our arrival time. So overall, I suppose I can't complain about an on time arrival, especially at JFK
, but it was annoying to be sitting for 10 min looking at our disconnected jetway:
Finally, 2L was opened and we were able to deplane:
NYC at christmas was great. We went to the clubs, went to see the Rockettes, hung out in SOHO, the village, mid town, chelsea, etc, etc, but our flight home came fast. Oh well, four days in the city was a good amount. Here's the flight home:
Delta Flight 95
From: New York, NY (JFK
) - John F Kennedy Intl
Departs: 03:45 PM
To: Salt Lake City, UT (SLC
Arrives: 07:30 PM
Seats 4A, 4B
Transit to JFK
went way more quickly that we had imagined so we arrived at T3
about 1hr 45 min before our flight. We used the Kiosk to check in, and noticed that neither of us had been cleared for an upgrade. Oh well, there was still plenty of time to head to the Crown Room and have some treats and drinks. The kiosk said there had been a change to our flight, and asked us to review our itinerary, but it didn't seem to be different. The agent where we dropped our bags said the inbound from Barcelona was 20 min late, but when we walked by the gate on the way to the CRC, the GIDS said our aircraft was coming from SLC
, so I'm not sure what happened.
Anyway, I noticed that there was one seat vacant in Business Class, 7 checked in, and 7 reserved seats unclaimed. I was #2 on the list, Trav was #5. There was a slight chance for an upgrade but I wasn't going to hold my breath, because there was still a full hour for people to check in. At any rate, 7+7+1=15, and there are actually 16 seats on the plane. Last time I flew this plane, 1A went out empty because according the the flight attendant working our flight, the ground agent must have forgotten to unblock the seat as crew rest. So I asked the gate agents at the desk why there were only 15 seats available, but 16 total seats on the plane, and she confirmed they forgot to change this flight as well, and she thanked me for reminding them. So my upgrade started looking better, with 2 available seats, and me #2 on the list.
We had drinks and headed back to the gate 30 min prior to departure. They were boarding zone 3 and I had indeed cleared to the business cabin. Trav was #2 on the list with one reserved seat unclaimed, so I told him we should just board. I made Trav take my seat 4A and I took his seat in 21C. It actually wasn't bad and had more leg room than the other 757s. I noticed they have put the extra slim seats on the plane and this plane also had full video IFE in the seat back. I was more excited when I noticed that 21B was a very small girl and even more excited when someone came back with my same seat assignment. He had been given 21C as well, which probably meant that somehow Trav had been upgraded.
I grabbed my stuff and walked towards the front and noticed the GA
coming back with the passenger manifest. I asked about the upgrade and she confirmed I (actually travis) had cleared to 3B. The gentleman in 4B was more than happy to switch, so once again, we were in the front cabin sitting together. View from 4B:
Trav snapped a quick shot of me prior to pushback:
We waited and waited for pushback. According to the captain, they had catered our plane incorrectly and hadn't loaded enough food on board for coach, so we had to wait until they could re-cater the plane. We pushed back a bit late, which was really going to hurt us considering the strong headwinds we'd be battling.
Taxi was short for JFK
, only about 30 min, and then we were off. Here's a view of JFK
turning back to the west. The airport is just below the wing tip:
Climbing higher, we were given an excellent view of the sunset above the clouds:
View of the moving map, with its optimistic hope that we'd land at 7:19. This was taken just after takeoff... Wishful thinking.
View of the typical departure from 22R to the west from JFK
in the afternoon:
Drinks weren't served prior to departure, I guess hoping to speed up departure because of the known head winds, but I've never understood this because if the FA
's have time to chat in the galley during boarding, then why can't they serve 16 drinks? If they were actually going through the plane helping people board and put their luggage up, that would be one thing, but they weren't on this flight. Oh well, they tried to make it up by getting to us right away after take off. (gosh you'd think I have a drinking problem the way I worry about pre-departure drinks...)
Dinner was then served, a choice of chicken or bow tie pasta. Trav had the chicken, I had the pasta. I've had the chicken dish before, which is really quite good, but I wanted to try the pasta. It was overcooked and kind of bland, but I guess I should have figured that in advance... The portobello mushrooms in the dish had great flavor though... Not a bad presentation, and the cheesecake was pretty good:
I watched Batman and an episode of Sex and the City. I think I like the IFE on this international 757 better than the ex-song 757s with the live TV
. The international 757s have lots of "on demand" TV
shows instead of the live TV
, and there are no commercials and you can choose to watch what you want. I'd be fine if DL
didn't install one more crappy dish network satellite on the plane, and instead did the on demand TV
. After my shows, we still had 2hrs, 26 mins left to go, battling 170 MPH headwinds:
We landed at 8pm, well past our scheduled arrival, and many on our flight had missed their connections, although it looked like a number of flights were waiting a few minutes for connecting passengers as we walked to baggage claim. Knowing that the mid afternoon departure is late over 70% of the time, I don't think I'd ever book a connection to anywhere out of JFK
originating that time of day. We waited forever for our bags too, probably because they were trying to grab the connecting bags if possible first.
Overall, a great flight. I was happy we both were upgraded on both flights, and the Bus Elite seats make this flight a delight, even with strong head winds. It makes me so happy that these ex TWA planes are getting a new life and new meaning, far more than AA
would have ever given them, and they look great with the winglets and the new paint job. An awesome and incredibly capable plane. Long live the 757! I give these flights an A-.
It would have been an A or an A+ had the people at JFK
catered the plane correctly and got us out 15 min earlier than we did. The headwinds wouldn't have been such an issue, and everyone probably would have made the connection with an extra 15 min. But 30 min late when we were battling headwinds like we did wasn't too shabby, considering what it could have been if we'd been also battling JFK
's typical taxi times at 4:00 PM
Thanks for a great trip Delta, and I welcome your comments!