My girlfriend goes to college in North Carolina for opera and she was having her annual recital in February. After "subtly" implying that she wanted me to come down for this one, I started searching for flights. Unsure about what I would be able to find price-wise for such a short weekend trip (leaving Saturday and returning Monday morning), I was pleasantly surprised to find a $220 fare on Delta out of CVG. After looking at the available itineraries, unfortunately the non-stop from CVG wouldn't work with my schedule so I instead booked the connecting flight through ATL which I had not been through since I was very little. My final itinerary was CVG-ATL-GSO outbound and GSO-DTW-CVG inbound (and my first time in DTW!).
I woke up about 2 hours before my flight (God I love it when I can fly out of CVG), checked in online and hopped into the shower. After getting a ride to the airport I entered T3 around 11:15am. I printed my boarding pass at the kiosk (didn't check any bags) and breezed through security which was dead as usual this Saturday afternoon. The new security checkpoint is very nice and well-designed but, of course, under-utilized. After getting my things back in order post-security I went down and caught the train. We flew past the Concourse A stop and went straight to B. Concourse B is still in excellent shape (clean, maintained, spacious) and even though it was Saturday, it was much more busy than I remember last going through before DL had shuttered Concourses C and A. The gate area was very crowded. It was at the end of the concourse and in addition to my ATL flight there was also a delayed U5 flight to CUN. Not feeling like battling for a seat, I walked around trying to get a good view of the aircraft but this is the best I could do:
Not too long after, they began pre-boarding the flight and then quickly started boarding by zones. Boarding did not take long surprisingly even though it was a full flight, but I was soon caught up in the usual jetway traffic jam. The smartly dressed flight attendant greeted me as I boarded and directed me all the way to the back. Walking through the first class cabin on the MD-88 I was really surprised how cramped it actually looked, being full probably didn't help but the seat pitch didn't look like it had much up on economy. I finally made it all the way back to my seat by the aft galley at 35D on the aisle.
The cabin looked clean and well-maintained. The leather seats felt comfortable and had surprisingly good pitch!
After a decently long taxi, we rocketed down the runway, engines roaring all around (nothing beats a take-off sitting in the back of an MD-80!). We climbed fairly quickly to our cruise altitude for the 1h 03m flight to ATL. The FA's seemed to take their time starting the snack and drink service (about 25 minutes before they were finally in the aisle serving). The flight attendant serving our end of the aircraft today didn't seem particularly friendly but she got me my ginger-ale and a ridiculously small pack of peanuts, so what more can I say.
After a short time we began our descent into into ATL and trash was hurriedly gathered. We touched down in ATL early and, as it always is if you're coming from a smaller airport, it was cool seeing all the large wide-body aircraft, a spotter's dream! The terminal is another story. After deplaning I looked to see what gate my flight to GSO would be departing from, which was two concourses away. The terminal was pretty crowded even though it was a Saturday, I'd hate to see what ATL is like Monday mornings! Bottom line concerning ATL is that other than seeing all the larger aircraft, I didn't find anything particularly endearing about it and I could definitely see why a lot of people try to by-pass ATL.
When I got to my gate it was pretty crowded, no empty seats, and the gate agent announced that we'd be slightly delayed due to waiting on a crew member from an incoming flight. The crowd for our flight was spreading out to the concourse walk-way and the agent kept making announcements trying to herd people to stay in the gate area....but there was no space! It got slightly aggravating but not long after, we started boarding and after getting seated, my dislike for 50 seat RJ's came flooding backre. The flight was full and the cabin was getting a bit toasty which added up to me being very uncomfortable.
The venerable CRJ at ATL
The updated interior looked nice and the seats definitely felt comfortable, but this didin't help the cramped situation of a full CRJ.
After another long taxi the CRJ lumbered off the runway for the hop to GSO. The flight time was 45 minutes and I have to give props to ASA. The lone flight attendant did an entire drink and snack run with more time to spare than my incoming mainline DL flight.
She handed out pretzels AND peanuts, very nice!
I read for a little bit and we hit some choppy air, but other than that it was an uneventful flight. Soon after round one of collecting trash, we started descending into GSO and made a smooth landing on time, even with the delay, which was convenient (but then again I know DL is a HUGE culprit of padding their flight times). Having never been to GSO before, all I have to say is WOW...what was GSO building up for? This was huge airport considering the size of the area it serves!
And I thought CVG looked deserted.
We quickly taxied off the runway to the DL gates and I was off the plane with my pink-tagged bag in hand in 15 minutes. I called my girlfriend and she said she'd be there in about 15 minutes so I took my time exploring the terminal which was incredibly (not to mention eerily) deserted with many gates completely stripped of both seats and check-in desks, it's always sad to see things like that. Exiting the secured area into the check-in level, everything was very light and open but slightly shabby.
They had this really cool model of the airport, but again, it all looks way overbuilt.
My girlfriend finally picked me up about ten minutes later. The whole Greensboro area (more specifically Winston for me) was very nice, lots of good restaurants and scenery and my girlfriend's recital went very well, I was very glad I came as was she. I wasn't able to do any picture taking for the trip back, but the thing I will say is that DTW was VERY nice, it lived up to it's expectations and more. Lot's of seating, very open architecture and easily navigable and there were none of those infamous dots on the windows of my concourse so, I had some great tarmac views. Overall DL did a good job providing fairly comfortable and timely service to my destinations with service that, in my opinion, was above par compared to it's competitors (UA, CO(RIP), US, and AA). ATL was somewhat of an uncomfortable transfer but DTW was a dream. DL really appears to be making an effort, as they're saying in their ads, to become a better airline and I hope this positive trend continues.
Hope you all enjoyed! Feel free to comment.