Having not had a trip since traveling to Costa Rica in late February/Early March I was very excited to get back to the airport for a flight this past weekend. We'd be flying a much shorter distance to Grand Rapids, MI but still we were traveling!
On Friday, April 30, we arrived at about 5:00pm for a 7:15pm flight. The airport, unlike in late February when we arrived for our flight to Atlanta and Liberia, was empty! I even commented to myself in line how quiet the airport seemed, and a woman turned from in front of me, to also acknowledge this. Perhaps the strange weather on Friday in Minneapolis was the reason?
Anyway, as we were not checking bags and since we had checked in already on-line, we headed to security and passed through very quickly. We had a nice dinner in the main concourse, and then heading down to C7 where our flight would be leaving from.
View of the E Concourse :
US Airways heading to PHX at E-2
Delta Airlines #7532
MSP - GRR
7:15pm - 9:38pm (estimated)
7:40pm - 9:40pm (actual)
When we arrived at C7, it was pretty empty so I took a walk around the C concourse; walking very far down checking the gates to see where other people would be flying to tonight. Thunder Bay, Phoenix, Providence are just some of the destinations I saw . ..
After buying a coffee, and checking out a bookstore, I went back to C7 where I saw our DC-9 had arrived and was in the midst of being catered for our flight.
The gate area continued to become more crowded, and I soon realized we were going to be very full tonight as it almost became standing room only around the gate!
Boarding began a bit late, as the flight attendants were late arriving from another flight. The agent though was very good in keeping us updated, and not too long after 7:00pm the first announcement came for boarding.
Upon entering the aircraft I realized it would take a while for boarding as many people had large rolling suitcases and space was quickly become very limited. First Class was already completely full when the call for Zone 4 to board was made.
View from # 8F
Once we were all on and everyone seated, we began the preparations for departure. We pushed back and began the taxi to 12R. Here's a Saab 340 heading out for its next flight ...
I think the new Delta colors look great on this prop!
With no one in front of us, we began a very fast takeoff roll and bolted over MN - 5 into the rather hazy skies around Minneapolis/St. Paul
It was clear enough this evening that I was able to follow along on the ground where we were! We stayed at a pretty low altitude till around Lake Elmo/Stillwater before we climbed so high that I couldn't make out where we were. Here are some views of the ground after takeoff ..
South St. Paul / Inver Grove Heights?
Valley Creek Road/Radio Drive - Woodbury, MN intersection :
The lead flight attendant at this point announced the service we'd be receiving on-board along with a welcome to Sky Miles members.
After we were above the clouds, I settled in and relaxed for the short flight across WI and Lake Michigan.
The rest of the flight was uneventful and once we were over MI it was well after dark, and the flight deck announced the impending arrival at GRR. After descending through thick clouds, we broke through and were already on final approach. The Captain made a very smooth landing, even though it seemed very fast ... !! Does anyone ever find the landings in DC-9's to feel really fast compared to other aircraft??
GRR was very empty and within minutes we were parked at Gate A6.
On Monday, May 3, we arrived back at GRR after a great weekend. The airport was pretty quiet, and with no checked bags it again took us very little time before we were heading through security.
Only a few flights were leaving around the time of ours, including a Midwest Connect flight to MKE and a Delta CRJ-900 to DTW which looked to be completely full.
We arrived at Gate A5 and began to wait for our flight.
Delta Connection #4145 (Operated by Pinnacle)
GRR - MSP
Here's a view of some other CRJ traffic moving around GRR.
Heading to ORD
This CRJ-700 would be later bound for the 4:00pm to DEN
Our CRJ-200 arrived early, and here it is at our gate just after arriving ...
Window shades being closed to keep the plane cool ..
At exactly 4:30pm / 30 minutes before departure, boarding began for the CRJ. Our gate area had filled up pretty quickly, and soon there was a line forming for boarding.
The solo flight attendant was in the galley welcoming us on-board as we got on, and I quickly noticed the plane was HOT .. The air conditioning must not have been working quite right as passengers were fanning themselves with the safety cards/magazines to keep cool.
Boarding didn't take very long; a big difference from flying mainline aircraft! Soon door 1L was shut and we were pushing back. The flight attendant gave the safety demonstration but spoke so fast that most people I don't think could understand it!
View from Gate A5
We had nobody waiting so we had a very fast taxi, and didn't stop on the runway before takeoff! Soon, we were up in the sunny Michigan sky.
This flight was very uneventful, and I tried to do a bit of reading/napping.
About 10 minutes into the flight, the First Officer came on to give us the flight information and told us our altitude was going to be 28000 feet.
View from cruise.
Sitting only 3 rows from the back, it took some time for the beverage service but same as before, we had free snacks and drinks. The flight attendant also said something interesting; she was only accepting "cash" on this flight, where normal Delta flights are "cashless" now... is this because Delta Connection flights are different?
The flight from GRR - MSP was only 1 hour 5 minutes, so it seemed to be very quickly after the flight attendant finished her beverage service were we on our way down to MSP. Weather was not as nice as on the way out, as you can see in the next photo!
It did clear up before landing, so I could make out Eagan and parts of St. Paul before we landed on 30 R. After a smooth landing, we headed over to A-9 and began the long trek back to the main concourse.
All in all, very nice flights with Delta! No hassles, problems, and minimal delays...