plateman
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IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:36 pm

Welcome to one of my first trip reports in a while. I welcome all comments, questions, etc.

Planning
This trip takes me from Washington to San Juan, Puerto Rico. My family heads to the Carribbean every thanksgiving. We started in Aruba and have been going to San Juan for the last six or so years.

My family all lives in the New York area and I live in the DC area, so it was easiest to fly down and meet them in Puerto Rico. For the last few years both United/TED and American flew direct IAD-SJU, but American dropped their flight. The flight going was an easy choice as it was a direct and got me there only 30 minutes after my family's JFK flight.

However, going back the United direct flight left too early in the afternoon so I had booked US Airways SJU-CLT-DCA. I check my flights religiously and noticed they had cancelled and rerouted me through Philly. Since I hear Philly is bad on a good day, I was not connecting there on Thanksgiving Sunday. They gave me a full refund and I rebooked on Delta. SJU-ATL in First and ATL-DCA in Y.

So here we go...

Flight #1: UA IAD-SJU
Since I would be flying back to DCA, I had to cab it out to Dulles from Arlington, which was about $50 and at about 5am. Not fun, but knew I could catch up on sleep once I get to the lounge chair. Also knowing this was Thanksgiving Thursday, I prepurchased one of their travel packages giving me priority check-in and security, checked bag, and economy plus seating.

Security was surprisingly fast, even for the normal lines. The TSA had all their lanes open and the new checkpoint definitely relieves the bottleneck.

Right after security I made my way down to the still new-ish AirTrain
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1a.jpg
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1c.jpg

Since I despise the C/D United concourse at Dulles and love the A/B concourse, I always wait for my United flights there and did so on this trip.

The A/B concourse is stunning. Full of light, stores and everything else you need at an airport, especially at 7am. The early hour also explains why this concourse is so empty.
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1d.jpg


My flight -UA699- on the board
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1e.jpg

Morning flight board at Dulles and time is 7:02am. Yawn.
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1f.jpg

A/B concourse has shared gate spaces
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1h.jpg

Then with about 30mins I made my way to United;s 30-year 'temporary' terminal. What a dingy, dirty, crowded place. Reminds me of JFK T2/3
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1i.jpg

Anybody know what that fleet of unmarked jets in the background is?
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1j.jpg

My A320
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1k.jpg

And arrival in San Juan a few minutes early
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1l.jpg

San Juan, Puerto Rico
We stay at The Ritz Carlton San Juan, which is all of a 10-min cab ride from SJU. I caught a cab and met my family who was already at the hotel. Here's a brief sample of our time there, I can add more pictures by request.

Quite literally it is Heaven on earth
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/22d.jpg

My friends wonder don't I get bored laying at the pool for four days. Not at all, I reply
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/22a.jpg

The hotel is right near the airport too
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/22e.jpg

We eat at the Ritz two nights. One is at BLT Steak, the other at Il Mulino. And Il Mulino is one of my favorite meals in their world. You get so much before you even start your meal. Here;s the gigantic chicken parm with bone still in
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/22f.jpg

Part III: Delta SJU-ATL-DCA

After a few problems at the hotel they gave us late check-out so we went to the beach, they made our way to airport around 2pm. This time I went to the airport with my parents.

This was our ride:
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/1.jpg

Sweet ride:
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/2.jpg

We arrive at the airport in no time. The driver first dropped me at the Delta area, then the rest of my family at the American area. At SJU, you first have to have your bags scanned by US Agriculture Department. I tend made my way to Delta F check-in and was greeted by a friendly agent who tagged my bag through to DCA and gave me boarding passes.

Security lines were very long but I got fast-track as flying in F. Then decided to walk the entire terminal to see my family once more
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/3.jpg

JetBlue is building up here as AA pulls out
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/4.jpg

Will never fly them
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/5.jpg

American used to have a focus city or hub here but it's dying a slow and painful death. They still have their own terminal though. Anyone know when the new SJU will open ... been working on it forever
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/6.jpg

A dirty AA bird flying to MIA
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/7.jpg

The SJU concourses were kind of packed this afternoon. The airport is cramped, old and sometimes dirty.
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/8.jpg

The 757 ex-NWA bird to take me to ATL
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/9.jpg

The plane was not what I was expecting and was in awful condition. The flight is advertised with seat-IFE and had none. Just overhead screens and it was hanging down from the ceiling (falling out of the ceiling .,.. I wish I had a pic). The seats were old and cramped and the lead FA was openly saying how this was an ex-NWA bird and she hated it too. The lead FA was friendly but kind of stand offish. She just had an odd sense of humor when dealing with passengers.

My seat before takeoff had a bottle of water, pillow and blanket. They also came by with pre-flight drinks and I had a cranapple with vodka

This was my assigned seat in row 01. I wound up sitting in row 02 so a couple could sit together. Surprisingly, the bulkhead legroom was awful and row 02 was better.
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/10.jpg

My actual seat:
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/11.jpg

Lunch was then served. I had ordered one drink with vodka, one without, but only got the vodka one. The thai chili chicken was actually pretty good and the dessert while not totally fresh, was doable. According to the FA, the meal was catered in SJU
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/12.jpg

Cruising along
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/13.jpg
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/14.jpg

We arrived early at ATL and took one of the longest taxi's I've ever been on. I like how Delta has personalized connecting information for each flight. Most of the passengers were connecting
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/15.jpg

Transferring from B to C to get Atlanta Bread Company and then back to A for my next flight. I had about 90 minutes.
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/16.jpg
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/17.jpg

Parts of the airport were empty, but must totally packed with a true cross section of America and many people wandering around lost.
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/18.jpg

DL definitely has a lot of flights at ATL
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/19.jpg

And mine on the board:
http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee141/bmkbowler/20.jpg

I stopped taking pics here as I was exhausting at it was getting to late. The flight to DCA was on another ex-NWA bird. This time an A320, which was also in terrible condition. The plane inside was filthy and the seats mighty uncomfortable.

Does anyone know why Delta is flying these birds around in such poor condition? Any plans to bring up to standard?

Landed at DCA and my bag, still priority tagged from SJU, was one of the first one. Typical DL had no idea which carousel our bags were on, each staff member said something different. Third choice was right.

And as is becoming typical of DCA at night, the cab line was massive, but I have a trick so I was in a cab in 5minutes and back home 10 minutes after that

Conclusion
Typical domestic flights here. But for as much as DL advertises modern fleets, they really let me down with those ex-NWA birds and poor condition.

Thanks for reading. I welcome all questions and comments

-Brian

[Edited 2011-12-15 10:05:15]

[Edited 2011-12-15 10:10:26]
"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
 
rscaife1682
Posts: 84
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:25 pm

Those 767's at IAD belong to Vision Airlines and perform operations for different government branches in Washington DC.
 
chepos
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:08 pm

Thanks for sharing, I hope you enjoyed your time in my homeland of Puerto Rico. In short the new terminal in SJU is ready to open up, however, typical PR politics/bureaucracy I'm sure they will wait till November open up the shiny new terminal and the current governor will claim it as his project. The current terminal B/C/D is in disrepair and they are doing a poor job with upkeep, a real embarrassment.

Regards,

Chepos
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
atlflyer
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:30 am

Those seats DO have personal IFE in the armrests.
 
emirates202
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:51 am

If I remember correctly, those were the biz elite seats I have on JFK-LAX/SFO. If they are, those are my favorite seats in the delta fleet, other than the lie flats on the LR's. The ife is in the arm rest. Last time I flew DL on anything other than LAX/SFO was ATL to Liberia, Costa Rica, and the 757 F seats were just like on the 738's. They were old, and only reclined a little, with no foot rest, but your seat had a foot rest, so I guess you got lucky and got the good seats!
Fly Emirates, Hello Tomorrow
 
plateman
Topic Author
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:52 am

Quoting ATLflyer (Reply 3):
Those seats DO have personal IFE in the armrests.

Just audio .. when I booked and up to the trip it listed on-demand as it was supposed to be a transcon/atlantic 757. Instead had a TV that was literally falling out of the ceiling.
"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
 
airjamaica
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:19 am

Quoting plateman (Thread starter):
Welcome to one of my first trip reports in a while.

Cool Trip Report.

Quoting plateman (Thread starter):
DL definitely has a lot of flights at ATL

Indeed they do. When I first visited that city in 2005 my JM flight had to hold for nearly 30 minutes prior to getting clearance to land.

Quoting plateman (Thread starter):
Will never fly them

Neither will I.

Quoting plateman (Thread starter):
The hotel is right near the airport too

My kind of hotel.
greenheart
 
Nicke
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:31 pm

Thanks for a nice report Brian, you should post them more often! Looks like you caught some nice planes(in gorgeous light) on photo with out being aware of it - Maybe i'll try my luck and visit Washington again  
 
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1337Delta764
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:55 am

Quoting plateman (Reply 5):
Just audio .. when I booked and up to the trip it listed on-demand as it was supposed to be a transcon/atlantic 757. Instead had a TV that was literally falling out of the ceiling.

That appears to be a PMNW 752. And as everyone should know, PMNW 757 cabins are in much worse shape than the PMDL aircraft.
The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
 
N747PA
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:12 am

Quoting ATLflyer (Reply 3):
Those seats DO have personal IFE in the armrests.

I think that is a PMNW ETOPS 757 with WBC seats (check the winglet paint). IIRC, inside the armrest is only an arm to hold a digEplayer.
 
plateman
Topic Author
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:31 am

Thanks everyone for the feedback!

Quoting rscaife1682 (Reply 1):
Those 767's at IAD belong to Vision Airlines and perform operations for different government branches in Washington DC.

Thanks, so even Obama does not know what they do.

Quoting airjamaica (Reply 6):
My kind of hotel.

Indeed. The front desk thinks I am crazy when I ask not for an ocean view, but airport view

Quoting Nicke (Reply 7):
Thanks for a nice report Brian, you should post them more often! Looks like you caught some nice planes(in gorgeous light) on photo with out being aware of it - Maybe i'll try my luck and visit Washington again

Thanks good sir. Indeed those photos were by surprise but what can I say when I learned from the best in the business. And you're welcome back in DC anytime.

Quoting N747pa (Reply 9):
I think that is a PMNW ETOPS 757 with WBC seats (check the winglet paint). IIRC, inside the armrest is only an arm to hold a digEplayer.

Indeed. Thanks for the support.
"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
 
LGWflyer
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:56 am

Hi plateman! Great TR, thanks for the pics! Bet it was great having the hotel next to the airport, nothing better than chilling in the pool while watching aircraft... heaven on Earth!     
3 words... I Love Aviation!!!
 
777fan
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:58 pm

Quoting plateman (Thread starter):

Does anyone know why Delta is flying these birds around in such poor condition? Any plans to bring up to standard?

Dunno, but I rode a DL 752 ATL-BWI just last week and it was arguably the dirtiest, most tired commercial aircraft I've ever flown. That said, it got me where I needed to go which is more than the oil leaking US A319 that nearly stranded me can say!

777fan
DC-8 61/63/71 DC-9-30/50 MD-80/82/83 DC-10-10/30 MD-11 717 721/2 732/3/4/5/G/8/9 741/2/4 752 762/3 777 A306/319/20/33 AT
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:42 am

Quoting ATLflyer (Reply 3):
Those seats DO have personal IFE in the armrests.

Nope.

Quoting Emirates202 (Reply 4):
If I remember correctly, those were the biz elite seats I have on JFK-LAX/SFO

The 757s used on the JFK-LAX/SFO runs are all ex-AA/TWA 757s where the interiors were completely gutted and re-done. The first seats 'look' the same as the PMNW seats on their ETOPS 752s but they are very different. The PMNW seats are closer to DL's 75Vs that are used on the OGG/KOA runs in that the seat recline/footrests are manual push button and do not have PTVs.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Agustin Anaya



Note DL's Recaro seats have in-seat power and motorized seat manipulation.

Quoting N747pa (Reply 9):
I think that is a PMNW ETOPS 757 with WBC seats (check the winglet paint). IIRC, inside the armrest is only an arm to hold a digEplayer.

  

I don't quite understand where DL's a/c refurb program is at the moment. Everything sort of stalled when both carriers merged. They was a plan for all 757s that they planned on keeping to get PTVs in every seat. Now, they are going with LCD monitors with the majority of the standard PMDL 757s that are 24F 159Y (currently have overhead CRTs). Some a/c are hit and miss. All have blue seat covers but some either have the sidewalls and lighting done but the overhead PSUs are still the old kind with the brown trim and regular light bulbs (some 75Xs) or the inteior is completely finished. New lavatory occupancy signs, new PSUs with high intensity LED bulbs, new white sidewalls and high intensity LED cabin lights, etc. The only a/c that is consistent across the board are the MD-88s where all of the above had been completed.

The ex-NW a/c, although with the "Delta blue" still look tired. Seat trays are of a different color than the DL standard, different overhead bins, different sidewall color, etc etc.
What gets measured gets done.
 
DeltaRules
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RE: IAD-SJU UA; SJU-ATL-DCA DL F; Ton Of Pics

Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:35 pm

Nice TR. We used to vacation at one of the condo complexes just a few doors east (towards the airport) of the Ritz. Still one of my favorite places to visit.

Quoting plateman (Thread starter):
The airport is cramped, old and sometimes dirty.

SJU's "B" concourse (31-41) was renovated some time in the early 2000s. If nothing else, it's nicer than it used to be. If I remember right, parts of it used to be painted a purple-ish color similar to that of the overhead information signs.
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