Quick trip report and apologies for lack of pictures. It's for the 'reading' learners in our group.
Date: July 21, 2010
Flight: DL 154
Class: Business Elite
Sked Dep: 7:25pm
Actual Dep: 7:45pm
Actual Take Off: 10:45pm
Sked Arrvl: 7:30
Actual Arvl: 9:00ish
Check-in: T3 after air train from Jamaica Station after LIRR rail road from Penn Station. Travelling on a buddy pass (brother with DL since 1974) easy check-in at kiosk. No baggage to check as a quick trip to see a sick relative in the UK. Security line: Bad, like 40 minutes worth at about 4ish. It breaks my heart to see the state of T3 (more on that on the return leg) as my fondest childhood memories are of Pan Am when it opened and watching my Aunt board PA100 from an outside pier. The check-in desks were in the middle of the rotunda with the departure board above. Elegant, clasy, worldly, it had it all. And now, it's in such a sorry state of affairs, well, it just breaks my heart. Dirty carpets, things hanging from the roof, dirty windows and check-in area. Overly crowded, just really really bad. I know DL is planning, or trying to anyway, something around this Terminal. It just can't happen fast enough, it's truly a disgrace when you think of T1, T4, T8 and even T7 at JFK, let alone T5 with JetBlue.
Pre-departure: Treated myself to the Club for $50 as I needed a shower and wanted to chill a bit. Agent at the front desk seemed, well, odd. She insisted on keeping my credit card to process the request for 15 minutes, telling me she'll page me when she's done. There was no one else there and I got to watch her do nothing for the 15 minutes until she swiped the card. Now a days with so much credit card theft it made me a bit paranoid but there you are. When I picked up my card I told her I'd like to take a shower (long day at work needed washing off). She said, "Oh, well, the shower (one, I was by gate 10) is dirty and needs cleaning, I'll call you when it's ready." She never called. I returend 25 minutes later and asked. She then remembered me and said, "Yes, it's ready." Another woman took me to the shower, told me to lock the door and that was that. The shower needed a major overhaul. They left one hand towel sized towel for me so I went hunting for more and found some in a cabin that had a lock on it but was left open. I figured for $50 I should have enough towels, not just a basic hand towel.
Shower done returned to lounge. Munched on some pretzels, had a couple of cokes. I missed the massage chairs they use to have in this lounge. I was told they'd be taken out some time ago as they took too much room. INADA was the brand, really great. Oh well, no massage for me, not yet anyway.
Headed to the gate at 7pm where they had my boarding pass waiting. I was the only one in J for the flight. An X TW757 was the order of the night. Boarding was called about 7:10 for children/families and those needing special assistance. Surprisingly this was followed by, "OK, everyone can now board." I was a bit stunned by that but there you are, no zones, no rows, everyone on at once. I happened to be not far from the door so I entered in the early crowd, did the left turn and found the cabin empty with the exception of a man who had just had some treatment for cancer who the Purser saw upon boarding from the guerney and sat him in 4A - I thought a very nice touch on her part since he clearly was a bit stressed.
LL (I'll call her that), the purser, introduced herself and offered me a drink. I had OJ (I don't drink alcohol). She said, sit where you want, it's just you tonight and asked if i'd sit in the 3rd row so the first two could be kept for crew rest. I thought that a little odd but had no problem with it. Cabin doors shut we pushed about 20 minutes late.
Then the fun began. We taxied back around AA when the Capt came on and said, "Not good folks, two long lines, we're looking at an hour. Between thunder storms over Boston (high ones), normal summer JFK traffic and a potential thunderstorm over JFK we creeped or stood for 3 hours. I will now take this opportunity to thank God for my brother and me sitting up front. I could feel the tension coming from the back. At one point a nice young woman with her infant walked the aisles to try and calm the baby. She wondered toward the rear of J. I placed a blanket on the 4th row empty seat and said, Why don't you put her down on that (with a pillow) for a few minutes to give yourself a break. This isn't easy and it's packed back there. She wondered if it'dd be OK and I said, "We're not going anywhere, I'll take the heat if it becomes a problem.' Of course it did become a problem and LL forced her back... I was a little stunned by that as the woman never sat, she was just standing. Well, I'm sure LL knew best so that was that. Truth is I felt very guilty having 2 F/As and an empty cabin when I knew a lot of folks in the back were in a very bad space.
i was fearful we'd have to go back to the gate if we hit the 3 hour mark but have since learned that doesn't apply internationally, which i find very odd but there you are. It should be mentioned that after two hours the crew quickly watered down the crowd in the back and, I think, handed out some snack food, though I'm not sure about the snack food, I know they did the water.
Take off finally came with a quick rocket like 757 style.
I've flown CO 757s in J and DL far exceeds the CO current J seat in 757s. From the distance between seats to the massage funtion (there's the massage!) to the recline to the leg thingy, DLs BE seat is waaaayyy better than COs on a comparable aircraft and route. I think CO is upgrading theres so forgive me if it's changed in the last year but the DL J cabin was way better than COs.
Food: My other F/A (lol), let's call him EQ asked me what I wanted to eat. LL had given me the menu when I first boarded 3.5 hours ago. I did something I never do, I ordered the fish - crab cakes with some kind of soup starter and salad.
The crab cakes were delicious, the soup was spiced terribly and cold, the bread was good and the tea was decent. Overall I'd give the meal an 75%. Compared to CO on that I'd say it was a toss up. LL and EQ couldn't do enough for me. I listened to music, watched a couple of movies and was reclined for the flight. I LOVE the DL J blanket. Reminded me of BAs, sort of a quilt thing that does the trick. Also the color goes very nicely with the blue leather of the seats.
About 45 minutes to an hour out of MAN EQ offered me the breakfast. Nice cereal (not enough milk in a container), fruit, breads and tea. Was fine for a 6 hour jump over the pond.
Landed and quick taxi to T2 at MAN. L2 was used for exit. I was about 5th off the plane, first through immigration and first out as I had no luggage. Met my cousin and all was right with the world. We had two days of golfing (I sort of stink but am getting better), a few decent meals out and a few good ones at home. The occassional game of dominos and cards and TV shows.
MAN-JFK (Day 1)
With my familial relations renewed I headed back to T2 at MAN for Monday. Getting on this trip was not to be. I didn't realize that the British kids got out of school July 23rd and every kid and their parents who could afford to go to America were at MAN. To the tune every trans-atlantic carrier out of T2 (probably AA out of T3 too) had the 'if you can travel another day' signs out. DL was offering $1,000 in travel voucher and a night at the airport hotel. US was offering $650-$750 (they are even cheap at this stuff) and I'm not sure what CO was offering. Needless to say I didn't get out. I met a lovely lady and her son who were standing by going on Day 4. Because my cousin only lives 10 minutes from the airport I jumped in a cab and spent another day with them.
MAN-JFK (Day 2)
Didn't look good this day either. Not one nonrev on the ATL trip and JFK looked as bad. Somehow, someway, one seat left available and was offered to a couple with a higher rated ticket than mine. They didn't wish to separate and I got to take seat 32B. I didn't really care as I was just so grateful to get out. A day later and the whole crew are still waiting from what my brother tells me from looking in the DL system. And the flights were only going to get worse as the week wore on. There's great perks to nonrevving, but if you get stuck, it can be a traumatic nightmare. For whatever reason, Lady Luck looked down on me and I was running to the gate, literally.
Date: July 27, 2010
Aircraft: 757-200 (x-TWA)
Sked Departure: 11:00
Actual Departure: 10:59am
Sked Arrival: 1:55pm
Act Arrival: 1:24pm
After running, literally, to make the flight, the door was shut upon my entrance in the cabin. We pushed back as I sat down in 32B. Yep, a middle seat between a hung over woman (still smelling of booze) and a 6'3'+ guy jammed in the aisle seat with B.O. Oh well, I was glad to be on and was going to make the best of it.
We were off by 11:17 in a straight shot toward Northern Ireland - felt like the runway closest to T3. There was a drinks round followed by a chicken or pasta meal. I had the chicken and besides the portion being on the 4oz small side was very tasty. As was the salad, the dressing and the vegetables. A nice desert cookie and all was well fed. I was impressed with the meal in Y. Watched a couple of movies (don't ask me, can't remember the names) and it was time for pizza and ice cream. A final drinks runs came with the pizza and ice cream but I couldn't get hot tea, only cold drinks and preferable coca-cola (can you hear me Atlanta: DL & Coke!). I found that incredibly odd that they wouldn't serve British folks tea during tea time but the F/A was very clear with me "NO HOT DRINKS." OKaaaaaaayyyyyy.
We touched on 31L a good 40 minutes early as we actually found a tail wind going east to west after initial heavy head winds. Unusual but welcome on my part. The seat was adquate in Y with about 32" of leg room. The TV monitor good though the person behind me was playing a game on it and I felt like my head was being poked for 3 hours. I almost said something but decided to leave it out.
Arrival at JFK was Gate 2 at T3. OH MY GOD what an embarassment. From the ridiculous length of the walk behind a dirty glass window to the inoperable down escalator to the filthy floors and carpets, it was the worse possible impression someone could get on their first visit to the US. PLEASE DL, do something!
I buzzed through immigration (we beat the DL afternoon arrival rush) and went straight out as I had not checked bags (remember?). In a taxi and was in my apartment by 2:05pm in Manhattan a very happy camper.
In a head-to-head J and Y comparison on this route I need to give it to CO for ground service and DL for aircraft comfort and meals. CO at EWR is a nice hub while DL at JFK is a disaster. Once onboard however my hat tips toward DL, especially in J.
Again, apologies for the lack of pictures. No excuse really, j ust lazy. I tried to make up for them with words.