Last night and this morning I flew back to NYC from Salt Lake City, UT, where I go to school. I'm now home for the holidays for a couple of weeks but I thought I would write a brief report for the first time in my life on these travels. This is the second year I've been able to maintain Silver Medallion status on Delta and I fly them whenever possible in order to take advantage of the benefits. It's not much, but it's certainly better than nothing.
I figured I could save $20 if I took public transportation to the airport. My student ID doubles as a free pass. In SLC we have buses and then the TRAX (light rail) all operated by UTA. I had to stop at Walgreens first so I went there, then Google Maps told me I could take TRAX all the way to the airport. I'd never seen that before and I had thought the extension (to the airport) didn't open until April 2013, but I went for it anyway and took the route 21 bus to Central Pointe where I would catch the Green Line TRAX.
(Sorry for the blurry picture, these were all taken with my phone. Also they are all from Instagram as it was the easiest way to upload them quickly.)
Finally after waiting a few minutes the train came and I took a seat. I thought it would be a while since the airport was presumably the last stop, even though it said "GREEN LINE - ARENA" By the way, all of the trainsets are made by Siemens.
Green Line to the airport... or so I thought.
When we got to the Arena station they kicked everyone off. That was when I learned that the project wouldn't be complete until April, and I had to figure out another way to get to the airport. I found out I could take the Blue Line to Central Station and catch the route 550 bus to the airport (that's what I would have taken otherwise). So I switched onto that, which was on one of the older trains with the steps. Not very nice when you're lugging around a huge suitcase!
Older Blue Line train.
Central Station is the last stop on the Blue Line. It's an intermodal hub for TRAX, local buses, FrontRunner (commuter rail), Amtrak, and Greyhound too. It was pretty chilly and it was sort of sketchy sitting around waiting for a bus.
No action for 30 minutes.
Finally the bus shows up and I'm actually and truly on my way to the airport. At this point I had been trying to get there for nearly two hours. Next time I will just take the two buses I know to take (route 220 stops right in front of my school and I can take that downtown to transfer to route 550 which goes to the airport) which takes only around an hour, or just take a cab.
By the time I get to the airport it is nearly 9:30pm. I'm cold, tired, and PreCheck closed for the night at 8:00 I check my bag and luckily there's no line at security. I like PreCheck so I can leave my shoes on and my computer in my bag, but it's only a small hassle. I go through the body scanner without a hitch and make my way to the Sky Club.
I've been to this lounge enough that I know most of the employees there, and they are always so friendly to me -- it's really one of the high points of travel for me. By the time I get to the bar Keith has my drink already made (double T&T to begin) and I can finally relax for a bit.
Snack mix, celery and carrots with ranch dip, crackers with hummus, cheese, and my T&T. The olives are gone
Flight 1: SLC-ATL
SLC (KSLC) - ATL (KATL)
Delta Air Lines (DL) flight 2324
STD: 12:55am MST
ATD: ~2:00am MST
STA: 6:20am EST
ATA: 7:04am EST
Duration: ~3 hours
Distance: 1589 sm direct, flew 1633 sm
N697DL (s/n 880)
Manufactured in 1999
Economy Comfort, seat 20A (bulkhead, window, exit 2L)
Finally, it's time to leave the Sky Club and head to gate C7 to board. When I get there they're still pre-boarding, so I take a seat and wait for them to call zone 1. I always find it funny that it's actually the third zone to be called, as it follows Sky Priority and First Class. Some people can't wait to get on the plane though, it seems.
Gate lice! It got much worse than this a few minutes later.
A few minutes later they call for zone 1, and I board and take my seat, which happens to be right next to the door from which I entered the plane. I'm on early enough that I can put my messenger bag in the overhead bin, and once everyone is onboard I also put my camera bag up top as there's no seat in front of me. The flight attendant offered to hang my coat in the closet which was a nice gesture.
I paid a short visit to the flight deck.
There's a 737-800 next door.
Boarding finally completes and they close the door. I can see the jet bridge pulling away from my window. But then the pilot came on the intercom and said that because some lavatory vent line had overflowed and they needed to let it drain. In the meantime I took a few more photos and messed around with Instagram.
Everyone looked pretty tired.
N3731T with huge winglets.
The pilot updated us on the progress every 20 minutes or so.
Almost 2:00am and we've yet to move.
Finally, a few minutes before 2:00am, we push back and the engines rumble to life. We taxi over to runway 16L and perform a surprisingly short takeoff. At some point during the climb I fell asleep as I had a really long day; I woke up just under an hour outside of Atlanta. I walked to the back of the plane and got a cup of Fresca and some pretzels. We were making good progress and a short while later we began our descent into the Atlanta area. At 7:04am we touched down on runway 8L and taxied to gate B28.
Since we had the delay, I had only 20 minutes to get to my connecting flight before they shut the door, as they close the door 10 minutes before the scheduled time of departure. I was the second person off the plane, and I was able to catch the plane train just as it was pulling in. I took it one stop to Concourse A then ran the rest of the way to T as there as some holdup on the line. I wasn't sure which gate I had to go to and initially went the wrong direction, but then found out I had to go to gate T3 which was pretty far down the T concourse. Luckily I made it with only a minute or two to spare. I was the last passenger to board the plane; after I got on they gate checked a few bags and then shut the door.
Flight 2: ATL-LGA
ATL (KATL) - LGA (KLGA)
Delta Air Lines (DL) flight 1647
STD: 7:35am EST
ATD: 7:34am EST
STA: 9:53am EST
ATA: 9:12am EST
Duration: 1h 38m
Distance: 761 sm direct, flew 827 sm
N684DA (s/n 535)
Manufactured in 1993
Economy Comfort, seat 20B (bulkhead, middle, exit 2L)
Again I was sitting in the very first row, but since overhead space was very limited and my bags were pretty small, they stored them in the closet with coats. I held onto my jacket to use as a blanket since it gets cold by the door. We pushed back a minute early and I was wondering if my bag made the connection successfully. Anyway we quickly taxi over to runway 9L and take off. It's a long takeoff roll as every seat on the plane is taken. There were over 40 people on the upgrade list!
The climb is pretty bumpy but we quickly reach 29,000 feet. Once we're smoothly cruising, they began a snack and beverage service. Since I had a drink voucher I got another cup of Fresca (odd, it's not my usual drink) with a mini-bottle of Bacardi rum, and a package of Biscoff cookies. After I enjoy my snack, I took a nap for 30 or 40 minutes. At that point I was pretty exhausted.
I feel like a zombie.
I woke up around five minutes before we began our descent. Outside the weather was clear and there were great views of the Manhattan skyline. We took the Expressway Visual approach to runway 31 and landed over 40 minutes early. Because of that, we had to wait around 30 minutes for a gate to open up.
Eventually we taxi to gate B10; I'm the first one off the plane and a while later I'm pleasantly surprised to see my suitcase on the belt at baggage claim. I go to the taxi stand and 20 minutes later I'm finally home.