New Year 2013! A Delta and SN tale!!
B.transatlantic To The B.apple! (by MSS658 May 30 2013 in Trip Reports)
December 2011, After a bunch of rumors and speculations Brussels Airlines finally decided to operate its first Transatlantic route to New York JFK using its Airbus A330-300 fleet. The opinions where rather indifferent en skeptical towards the success of this route since the major competition on this route by carriers such as United (777 to Newark), Jet Airways (A330 to JFK and Newark), Delta (767 to JFK) and American Airlines (757 to JFK). not to speak about the proximity of Amsterdam and CDG! At the time Brussels Airlines had a hard product you would find in the back of a US Airways 767, however playing the game smart Brussels Airlines soon decided to make an overall refurb of their cabins. lie flats in their Business class (B.business) and Audio Video On Demand in Economy (b.economy).
Combining this fact my cousin announced that she would be getting married in December 2012. Another interesting fact is that in all my years of transatlantic travels I only had one sole flight on a Belgian carrier. Back in 1998 I flew on a Sabena A340 from Brussels to Atlanta. Just another reason that builded up to this itinerary. A few months later June 1st came and SN501 to New York JFK departed for the first time, I actually saw OO-SFW the next morning after completing her first transatlantic journey from a company A319 heading to Geneva: Brussels-Frankfurt! The Kuwait Way! (by MSS658 Dec 17 2012 in Trip Reports)
A few weeks later it was time to plan my next USA trip, not knowing yet where I would be professionally at the time of travel I had to keep some dates in mind. When looking for fares I decided to depart a day before the holiday weekend since fares were much lower than over the weekend. With the possibility of having exams beginning of January I decided to fly back on New Year's eve. When looking up fares All direct routings between Brussels and New York had similar pricings. So without thinking Brussels Airlines flights 501 and 502 were booked. Just too bad there is no advance seat selection in advance!
In the months to come I only heard great things about the new route, even more interesting is that this route had quite an influence on the other carriers flying to the Big Apple. American Airlines and Jet Airways dropped their JFK route while Delta upped the route to one of their refurbed 767's. United downgraded their equipment as well from a 3 class Boeing 777-200ER to a 2 class Boeing 767-400ER. The excitement just grew more and more everyday...
Failed Delta Douglas 9 Trip! (by MSS658 Jul 8 2013 in Trip Reports)
July 2012, After booking my Brussels Airlines flights to and from New York I had to find some way or another to head down South. My target was to fly the Delta Air Lines DC9 but originally I was going into look at it in September but moments after booking my Brussels Airlines flights to New York I got the sad news that my grandmother wasn't in to good of shape, later that evening I got another call from the USA that she had passed away.
In the days following I was just browsing some schedules and came across a very appealing itinerary on Delta's website. I could fly from New York Laguardia via Atlanta to Columbia,SC consisting of a nice combination of the Boeing 757-200 on the LGA-ATL segment and the DC9-50 to CAE with very attractive timings. Columbia Metropolitan airport would be a new airport on the list as well with a 2 hour drive from Anderson but with the wedding being in Columbia It was easy to stay in town. Knowing that Delta is notorious for equipment changes on their domestic network (heck, you could say that they would call them the AirBaltic of America). I was still unsure about if I should book it or wait until the aircraft types are more certain. After some time I decided to take the risk and only a few days after booking the first part I booked my flight from New York to Columbia. It was nice to be flying my most flown airline again since my last flight was a longhaul from Cincinatti to Paris CDG back in 2009!
A few months later in September I got an email from Delta indicating a schedule change, at first sight my Atlanta-Columbia flight was only changed by a few minutes. But soon my attention went that the flight number had changed from DL1762 to DL5422... Wait a minute, flight numbers that go on from 5xxx are usually operated by one of the Delta Connection partners and so I would probably lose my DC9 and indeed... My flight would be operated on a CRJ 700 by Expressjet. While not to happy at all about the fact of losing my DC9 flight I could still live with this change as the CRJ 700 was a new type in the log (While I had already logged the DC9-50 with Northwest back in 2006). Will it stay the same...
November 2012, getting closer by the departure date I was random checking my bookings and noted another schedule change (without any notice, which really raised an eyebrow in Part III.) in my New York-Atlanta flight. Just a few minutes but I soon found out that my window seat has been replaced by an aisle a bit further on. When opening the seatmap I found that the configuration has been replaced by a 3-2 configuration meaning that an MD-88 would be operating my flight to Atlanta. I did not mind that at all as it's quite hard to catch those Maddogs, I quickly selected seat 34E right next to the engine. Before accepting the changes I realized my Atlanta-Columbia flight was changed as well. Equipment swap to the DC-9 again?? No, my CRJ700 had changed into the CRJ200. My least favorite CRJ, wait a minute.. My least favorite aircraft in the sky! Not having to many other options I selected a seat in the forelast row.
Mid-August 2012, With my USA roundtrip almost complete I still needed a way to get back home. This part can be actually split in 2 parts. The first part consists of my way back to New York where I was looking for multiple options. First came along United Express via Washington Dulles to New York JFK, both on my beloved CRJ 200. It being almost the only good option I was almost planning on booking it but sometimes waiting another night can help a bit. The next morning Delta Air Lines had a fare for only 91 Euro's on it's direct flight from Columbia to New York Laguardia. The flight would arrive at 10.00 in LGA, well in time for my onward connection out of JFK. The flight would be operated by Chataqua Airlines Embrear 145,one of my favorite RJs. Not long after this flight was booked.
November 2012, When randomly checking my PNR's I noticed some changes. Apparently my Delta Connection flight from Columbia to New York LGA got cancelled and I was rebooked via Atlanta with a departure time that was more than an hour earlier than forseen and with a very narrow connection in Atlanta. The aircraft types where the exact same types as I would had in part II (CRJ200 to ATL and then the MD88 to LGA). However Delta has a rule incase that a schedule change is made of more than 60 minutes you are free to change it at no cost. I immediately started to search for better options. First I had my eyes on a flight via Atlanta to New York JFK with the Boeing 767-300ER in long haul configuration. However I found the timing to be a bit short so I decided to get another combination that departs more or less the same time as my original Itinerary and would get me into New York Laguardia just before 1300. More than enough time to make the connection. I would have another MD-88 to Atlanta and the Boeing 757-200 to LGA, A combo which satisfied me. The only thing I did not understand was that Delta contacts you for a small thing such as an aircraft change (which I probably was the only pax that really cared) but for a time change that was more than an hour I did not receive anything. hmm...
The second part of todays trip contains the return portion of my Brussels Airlines ticket that was used in part I. I would be taking SN502 from New York JFK to Brussels.
After a great stay in the USA it was time to head back home again. As said earlier in part II I was staying in one of the suburbs of Columbia where we had a special wedding rate in the Hilton inn Harbison. Great service and great room.
Sunday December 30, it was time to move on and drop off my rental car. But first I checked into my hotel. Tonight I would be staying at the Days Inn near the airport. For the price I paid (35 EURs ) great value but If you just check out of a Hilton it is a pure downgrade .
After dropping of my car I went to print my boarding passes for my flights to New York the next day. Interesting to know that the Delta Air Lines counter had already was closed before 16.00. On the other hand a bit logical as the last departure is at DL 5422 at 15.35, unlike last week it was operated by the CRJ 700. Next it was off to the city, nothing of open transportation so I had to pay a taxi both ways, too bad.. After a pleasant evening in downtown Columbia I reached the hotel and went to bed soon. For some Columbia pics see part II.
After a short night it was time to wake up and start my long journey that would take me back home. It was 5.00 now, just about the time Brussels Airlines 501 was due to depart Brussels to New York so I opened my planefinder app. SN501 wasn't visible yet so I decided to start my morning rituals. Just before leaving towards the airport I found out that OO-SFV would be performing to New York rotation this morning. At 6.00 I checked out and headed towards the airport of Columbia.
Leaving Columbia Metropolitan airport
After a small shuttle bus ride I went to the airport and dropped off my bags. It was pretty busy with the first bank of flights leaving between 7.00 and 8.30. Columbia is your average US regional airport all the major carriers regional partners with flights to and from their respective hubs throughout the eastern USA. Delta is the only carrier to fly mainline jets from Atlanta in here (correct me If I'm wrong on that).
Soon it was trough the busy security line, thankfully the line moved pretty soon. By 6.40 I was inside the secured area and could explore the morning traffic. Everything seems to be quiet on the US Airways Express/American Eagle side.
With the first flight to Atlanta closing and another one ready for boarding there was more "alive" in the Delta zone.
The Sun is rising, a new day has begun.
Soon as daylight started to fall I could see my plane parked at gate 9. Today N909DL had the honnors to operate my first leg to Atlanta today. Here is a bad shot of the airframe.
At 7.15 Boarding started, since I was in zone 2 I was onboard at 7.25 of.
22. Delta Air Lines flight DL 0971 from Columbia to Atlanta
Monday, December 31 2012
Columbia (CAE/KCAE) - Atlanta (ATL/KATL)
Delta Air Lines 0971
McDonnelDouglas MD-88 (LN:1395), N909DL, Economy 34E
Delivered to Delta Air Lines on 29 December 1987
07.45-07.45 (Gate 9; wheels up on runway 29 at 08.12)
09.05-09.02 (Gate B31, wheels down on runway 28 at 08.48)
Announced flying time: 40minutes
Cruising Altitude: FL220
Load factor: 90% in Y
177th flight registered
22th flight in 2012
31st flight on Delta Air Lines
7th flight on the MD-88 series
7th flight on the MD-88
1st flight on N909DL
Movies made onboard DL 0971 from Columbia to Atlanta
Taking off in Columbia
Landing in Atlanta:
When boarding I was greeted by two mid-aged flight attendants. One of the flight attendants shouted with a "You where at cowboys yesterday, right!!". It seemed like the crew and I had had dinner in the same restaurant last night. What a greeting where we did had a laugh about. As usual the magical box appeared out of my bag. Like my New York LGA-Atlanta flight I had seat 34E on this flight as well. Great view at this hour.
Next door was a Chataqua Airlines Embrear 145 registered N571RP. I flew the same airframe between Cincinatti and Greenville/Spartanburg back in 2009. I wonder if I would have flown her again if my nonstop flight wouldn't be cancelled.
There where open seats on the plane, however I wasn't lucky enough to have one next to me. Legroom was standard but sufficient for this short leg to Atlanta.
United Express 5700 (CRJ 200-N828AS) bound for Chicago ORD being de-iced.
Soon the doors were closed and we started our pushback from the gate where we waited a while. The captain came on telling us we had to wait to be de-iced. Soon the de-icing fun begun.
Unlike in Europe, most of the North American carriers do their own ground handeling across each US airport.
Just a few minutes after 8.00 we started to move and commenced our taxi to runway 29.
In the distance I could see a US Airways Express Dash 8-300 land, I took a flight on it in December 2010 from Greenville/Spartanburg to Charlotte. After a short taxi we where reaching the threshold of runway 29.
Propping Around The Upstate! (by MSS658 Aug 7 2011 in Trip Reports)
At 8.13 N909DL blasted off into the South Carolina clear winter skies.
Passing above the subdivision of the newweds .
Turning towards Atlanta.
Soon we where at FL 220
As on my inbound flight to Columbia, there was no service on this flight neither. Thumbs down as there was more than enough time to carry at least one round. At least I had the engine view that I could enjoy. For the non A.netters onboard there was wifi as well.
Cruising over the Savannah River.
At 8.35 our descent started into the Atlanta area.
Our descent was rather quick.
Anyone knows the name of these mountains down here?
Flaps down please.
Meaning that we will be landing soon.
At 8.48 we touched down on runway 28, Atlanta's farmost runway.
Welcome to Atlanta, or as one can say Deltaland!
But Airtran has something to say here as well.
Soon to be Southwest!
At 9.02 We came to a full halt at gate B31, the exact same gate where I arrived at when I was coming on Delta Air Lines 1847 from New York Laguardia a week prior. We where parked next to another MD-88.
On the way out I was allowed to take a peek inside the flight deck.
The room with the view!
The "gas" pedal :-p
I thanked the crew for everything and we had a quick chat about our plans for the day. The purser asked me if I needed any help on connecting from LGA to JFK. Thumbs up on this one. By 9.15 I was trough the jetway back in Atlanta.
Transfer time in Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport
As on my outbound journey I had 50 minutes until boarding was commenced for Delta Air Lines flight 1886 to New York Laguardia. Connecting passengers to destinations all over the United States and long haul connection. Can you spot it? Handy feature of Delta anyhow .
N909DL awaiting her next mission as DL 1521 to Dayton.
FIDS shows my next flight to be departing from gate T02, however I decide to go the other way to look at the F-concourse.
Once in the F-concourse I was pretty much impressed by the open feeling compared to the other concourses.
N854NW (A330-200) resting out before it's next longhaul mission, the new Delta sheme looks good on the 330. But I still can't get used to seeing Delta A330s and A320s taxing around.
Another strange sight to me is the Boeing 747-400 in Delta colours, N645US is being prepared for flight DL 281 to Tokyo Narita at noon.
Wide and open spaces over here.
By now it was 9:45 and it was more than time to head up to the T-concourse where my next part of the adventure will take place. On the way down a quick snapshot of a Boeing 757 in skyteam colors.
After a long trainride I arrived at 10:00 at the T-concourse . For the ones who want to log the maddogs. Atlanta is the place to be.
The South terminal drop off area, I wonder how many times in my life I've been here before.
Soon I arrived at the gate where boarding hasn't commenced yet due to the late arrival of our crew. A quick peek outside of the window shows me that N666DN would secure my second leg of the day to New York LGA. Here she is just after her first mission from Detroit as DL 689
Delta, Delta, Delta.... all you can see in Atlanta.
At 10:12 boarding commenced for flight Delta Air Lines 1886. Since I was in zone 3 I had to wait a little bit. At 10:29 I was onboard off.
23. Delta Air Lines flight DL 1886 from Atlanta to New York Laguardia
Monday, December 31 2012.
Atlanta (ATL/KATL) - New York LGA (LGA/KLGA)
Delta Air Lines 1886 (Westjet 6630)
Boeing 757-232 N666DN, LN 354 Economy Class 33A
Delivered to Delta Air Lines on 22 March 1991.
10.36-10.47 (Gate T01; wheels up on runway 27R at 11.02)
12.53-12.54 (Gate D01, Terminal DL ; wheels down on runway 22 at 12.48)
Announced flying time: 1hour37minutes
Cruising Altitude: FL 390
Load factor: 100% in Y
178th flight registered
22th flight in 2012
32nd flight on Delta Air Lines
7th flight on the Boeing 757 series
6th flight on the Boeing 757-200
1st flight on N666DN
Movies made onboard DL 1886 from Atlanta to New York LGA
Saftey video :
Taking off in Atlanta:
landing into New York LGA:
Soon after boarding I distributed my chocolate box, the crew was once again very happy with it. After reaching my seat The aisle seat has already been taken by a woman in her 20s. We exchanged hello's before getting settled, seems like Delta is adding the winglets along the 757 fleet as well.
Looks like Delta did some work on their 757's. Their older CRT screens have been replaced by newer LCD's.
Right before the boarding door was closed another man came and occupied 33B. Aah, there goes that open middle seat but what can we do about it. Soon the flight attedant came with a request to trade seats with a party of 3. 3 seperate aisle/middle seats where to trade for, suddenly the man next to me calls out "The three of us will change".... Wait, wait... I didn't say anything and I for sure did not want to change my window seat. So I refused the offer. Sorry but I don't think there is any reason another (strange) person should be taking decisions in my place. With that passed, we pushed back about 15 minutes behind schedule.
Giving away to the Airbus registred N364NB, I flew the same airframe back in 2006 from Memphis to Atlanta when still in service with Northwest.
In the meanwhile the saftey video started to play. It was my first time viewing the new saftey vid, personally I tought it was pretty nice. Underway we passed N173DZ at the A-concourse which was being prepared as Delta Air Lines flight 1364 to New York JFK, maybe next time!
Some more Airbus action.
And some colors between all the Delta action as well.
At 11.02 We reached runway 27R and we blasted off once again into the Georgia skies.
Over the I-20 again.
Turning towards the North.
Bye Bye ATL! See you next time.
Soon we where high in the sky again enroute to New York.
Soon the Inflight entertainment begun, some sitcoms where shown.
wifi was availible as well.
Legroom was a bit on the tight side, While it was still acceptable for this shorter hop to New York, I would not want to travel on longer flights they deploy this version of the 757 on.
I just love that winglet.
Leveling off at FL 390 just over the Anderson, SC area.
Some traffic above North Carolina.
at 11:30 the service started, as on my New York to Atlanta leg you had the choice between peanuts and cookies. There was a BOB round aswell, Delta is offering snack boxes for 6USD. Given that I had not eaten any proper breakfast and my next meal would be somewhere above the Atlantic I decided to purchase one of these. Non-alcoholic beverages are free, Some European carriers can definite learn from this.
The rest of the flight passed uneventful, there was a pretty thick cloud layer above the Northeastern part of the US as you can see.
At 12:15 our decent started in the New York area.
Overflying the PHL area.
Among the Pensylvanian shoreline.
Statue of Liberty could be seen.
Soon we were above Manhattan, I will let the pics do the talking from here on.
Over the Bronx.
Spot the Target.
Turning on final.
At least one cabin shot of our fully loaded 757.
Flaps down please!
At 12:43 N666DN touched down on runway 22. We almost used the full runway length. Once on the ground our Purser mistakingly announces that we have landed in Atlanta, she never corrected herself. Wonder if she would have noticed it, Anyway welcome to the big apple!
Before reaching our gate we had to hold for several moments before we could be pulled in by tug. Anyone knows why? The CRJ farm was pretty calm.
At 12.54 we reached our gate and the seatbelt sign was turned off.
Another cabin shot before deboarding.
Another flight deck visit was granted at the end of the flight.
Had a small brief chat with the first officer about airliners.net and about the trip report, F.O R.S If you are reading it I hope you enjoyed it. By 13.05 I was in the Delta terminal of New York Laguardia.
Transferring in New York
Once back in the airport I took a picture of our aircraft being prepared for her return journey to Atlanta as Delta Air Lines 2247 at 14.00.
Since we where parked at gate D1 I asked if I could take one picture from a nearby restuarant. I thanked them for letting me and promised to dine there on my next visit to LGA.
Once Airside I did not have to wait long at all for my checked bags. Well Thank you Delta, Too bad I'm leaving NYC in just 3,5 hours from now.
Soon I got on the next available shuttle bus to JFK. By 13.30 we were on the road again.
After another stop at New Yorks LGAs main terminal we made a 15 minute drive to New York JFK. At 13:55 I could see B.Line 501 heavy taxing to it's gate, it was running a little bit late but there was no worries for a delayed departure. Terminal 1 was the first stop on the list.
Check in for Brussels Airlines 502 to Brussels was already in full progress. Note that there is quit a bit of cancelled flights of Lufthansa, Austrian, Aeroflot,...
Quite an "International" mix of carriers here. SN uses the same rows as Air China, Lufthansa and Austrian Airways.
Soon I joined the rather long check-in line, looks like even on New Years eve this route is going to have a healthy load. The beginning of the line was marked with a promotion of each cabin. B.economy for me today.
Terminal 3, while it is a masterpiece of a construction. It isn't a pleasure to be in there as a passenger at all.
After being checked-in my carry on bag was weighed as well which was just under 12 kilo's. This mainly because I was moving some stuff back to Belgium again. In the early days of Brussels Airlines' service the flights where still marked as Sabena. Thankfully 6 months later it has been adjusted.
Next stop was the TSA checkpoint, which went rather chaotic with construction works everywhere and people who where not so familiar with the procedure. Finally by 15.00 I was trough the checkpoint. I think Terminal 1 is quite a nice place with wide corridors, good spotting locations and interesting traffic.
Like this Saudi Boeing 777-300ER (H7-AKZ) bound for Jeddah as SV 20.
Or an Air France A330-200 (F-GZCM) being prepared for it's flight to Paris CDG as AF 23.
China Eastern Airbus A340-600 B-6055 taxing out for her 15 our journey to Shanghai as MU 588.
Competitor Air China is being prepared to follow as CA 982 to Beijing. The Queen of the skies (B-2447) would have the honners. I wouldn't opt for Air China for a 12-hour flight. Why? just bare with me another few reports.
Next to our gate there was another A330 boarding registred D-AIKL. This A330 belonged to Lufthansa and was heading to Frankfurt as LH 401 tonight.
Royal Air Maroc 200 arriving from Casablanca.
Alitalia EI-ODH in full Skyteam colors resting out before het 18.00 departure to Rome as AZ609.
XA-MIA, an Aeomexico Boeing 737-800 as AM 403 to Mexico-city.
Brussels Airlines usually uses the farmost gate at Terminal 1. Today was no exception, the only downside is that you almost don't have any view of the terminal. Here is the only thing I could see of OO-SFV being prepared for my flight to Brussels.
At this time it was 15.45, just a half an hour before boarding I decided to get me a (overpriced IMO) snack and a small drink and filled in some paperwork of today's journey to help my memory a bit when typing this trip report a few months later .
At 16:10 boarding was called for B.Business and Star Alliance gold members. At 16:15 New York Time, 22:15 Brussels time all other passengers were called. Just a few moments later I was onboard of.
[Edited 2013-08-04 15:02:26]