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Summer '16 trek back home - Part 14: Delta Connection, a quick hop in the Midwest! (MSP - GFK, Aug '16)

Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:53 am

The final leg!
A recap of what was an amazing summer -
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 2: ChicaGO on United's A319! (MSP-ORD, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 3: World's longest jet, Lufthansa's B748i! (ORD-FRA May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 4: Nearly First Class - stories of the empty A380! (LH FRA-DEL May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 5: Air India's domestic Dream)liner (DEL-CCU May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 6: Big delays, cracked windshield, angry passengers (SG CCU-BOM B73J) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 7: Efficient IndiGo! (Mumbai to Kolkata, A320, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 8: Vistara's INAUGURAL flight out of Kolkata! (CCU-DEL, Jun '16)) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 9: Take me home, Vistara! (DEL-CCU, Jul '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 10: Konnect, Lite, Delight...(S2 B73H CCU-DEL, Aug '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 11: Epic Lufthansa, Epic A340! (Delhi to Munich, Aug '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 12: Flying the Friendly Skies... (United Munich to Chicago, Aug '16)) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 13: Super old, Super 80, Mad Dog Across the Midwest! (AA ORD-MSP, Aug'16) (video trip report)

Find the video trip report: here!!

INTRODUCTION
The return flight to Grand Forks… Pretty straightforward. I selected a conveniently timed return, the 1120 hours departure (reaching GFK at 1238 hours). In terms of aircraft choice, there only were CRJ200s. A CRJ700 would’ve been nice…I guess I’ll be waiting for my time!

THE DAY OF
Being very tired (and super comfortable on the bed), I did not want to leave. But alas, it was time to leave. It was a cold rainy day, ideal for a nap. But well… It was fly day. A final flight to finish off my Summer 2016 trip home. I called a taxi from the lovely AirBnB on a rainy and gray Minneapolis morning. A quick drive to the airport, I was at Terminal 1 pretty soon.

A car was parked outside the terminal: signs were everywhere saying that cars cannot be parked. A police officer was having a look at what was going on. He stopped for a minute and greeted me. I was back in familiar territory - the niceness of people was evident!

CHECK IN
I went to the kiosk to check in and get my mall recie….boarding pass.
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Baggage drop had long lines, but was going through pretty quick. As if I didn’t feel awkward enough flying from MSP just to get to Grand Forks, even the lovely lady checking my bags in found it funny enough. ‘Are you heading to Grand Forks to work or study?’ ’Studying, I said. ‘Great place to study…in the middle of nowhere!’ We both chuckled. She guided me to Gate B12 and the northern Security check point. The second example of niceness.
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SECURITY
Security was surprisingly empty! I guess the morning bank of departures had ended, hence the emptiness. There was no end to niceness in Minneapolis, it seemed. The TSA gentlemen was really helpful, guiding us to put our boarding documents away, also saying that we wouldn’t need them till the gate, while guiding us towards the gate, finishing off my greeting us with a good flight.
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THE OTHER STUFF
The body scanner thing was less of a mess, however I did have to down a bottle of ginger ale to not let that go to waste :D
I headed for the McDonalds in concourse D straight away. This was a pretty empty concourse, but many planes were parked at Concourse C! I decided to see where the observation deck was at MSP… turns out it was just at the entrance of Concourse D! It was a quiet place, good little spot where its away from all the movements in the terminal, and also with a good view of the activity on the tarmac (duh :P)
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I headed towards Concourse B at 1023 hours. This included a walk in to the MSP Airport tram, it is pretty fun :)
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Concourse B is kinda secluded from the rest of the terminal and concourses. An escalator takes us down that goes under the taxiway between concourses A and B - small CRJs rule the roost here :D Gate B12 is one of the last gates of concourse B…fun long walk, yaaaay
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I was at the gate by 1043 hours. Remember when I talked about my American Government professor being onboard my flight out of Grand Forks? Yeah, he was on this flight too! :D
My bird for the day was N447SW, a 13.9 year old Montreal built Canadair CRJ-200ER. It had come in from Flint, MI as DL4827 and had been waiting around for a couple of hours before the flight to Grand Forks.
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BOARDING
Boarding was called on time at 1055 hours. This was zone wise, again. I don’t get Delta’s zone wise boarding… I was seated all the way in the front (well, row 4 anyway), and yet I was to be one of the last ones to board. Anyway, boarding for my zone was called at 1102 hours, and I joined the line.
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Unsurprisingly, there was no welcome aboard for me. However, the only flight attendant onboard had her hands full with the boarding announcements. ‘On behalf of Delta Skyteam and our global partners we would like to welcome you on flight…..(looks at card for flight number info….) DL4844 with service from Minneapolis to somewhere in South Dakota……’ come on, I know we are flying to literally the middle of nowhere, but that…? Not sure of where we’re going?

More announcements carried out and more doubts came up. ‘We would be going to Forks….Grand (passenger says Grand Forks) Grand Forks…I will get it right before the end of this flight’ she said. Is it really that bad? :(
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The Captain gave a more detailed announcement… We would be flying at an altitude of 26000 feet, reaching Grand Forks in 42 minutes of flying time. Just the 42 minutes more, and I would finally be home!! Another downpour happened as we waited to pushback.

DEPARTURE
Jet bridge pulled back at 1114 hours, and we pushed back at 1123 hours three minutes late…to the soothing tone of the flight attendant messing up the destination.
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Start up video

Both GE CF34-3B1 engines were fired up, before a short taxi to Runway 30R. We lined up with the runway at 1127 hours before finally beginning our take off roll and setting a North-Westerly course towards Grand Forks.
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Take off video

As the captain described, it was a bumpy flight through the clouds. This only meant that making an effort to take pictures out of the scratched windows as absolutely not worth it. I decided to get some eye shut instead.
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Service began pretty soon, I got my ginger ale and peanuts fairly quickly at 1143 hours. Oh, I forgot to mention that before the flight a father asked for a glass of water for his son, and the flight attendant denied this. However, this was forgotten. It was fairly cloudy for the rest of the flight, the sun really wasn’t out in full force as we flew over the flatness of Minnesota. I rested it out for the most part of the flight, the aircraft was definitely quieter up front, enabling me to have an easy time asleep.
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ARRIVAL
We began our descent in to Grand Forks at 1204 hours. About time, LOL. For once however, the flight attendant got it right, she said Grand Forks! :P She read out all of this information out of a card, so she continued to say ‘If you are making a connection in….Grand Forks, please look for the information screen inside the terminal…’ So she clearly was reading off the information card for Minneapolis :D I checked the schedules for Grand Forks on the date (20th August 2016), and Allegiant Air did not have their flights that Saturday…it was only the Delta flights to Minneapolis. There were way too many mistakes on the flight attendant's part. She is human just like you and I, no reason to be too harsh about it :)
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We cut through some more clouds as we closed in towards the border of Minnesota and North Dakota, probably in Grand Forks airspace by now. Gears were down at 1217 hours, and soon the farm lands started to look very familiar! We lined up with runway 35L and touched down at 1220 hours, seventeen minutes before time.
Landing video
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Taxied towards Gate 2, along the way there were a few UND students waiting to depart in their Cessna 172s, it was normal service for my buddies! Docked at 1224 hours, it was all over! Time to stay away from planes for a while :D

I thanked the flight member and headed for baggage claim. I got my baggage and headed for college with my friend….
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I had to get a burger, first thing!
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And that is it! My crazy experiences of summer 2016 had come to an end, and I am glad that it all went well! As for N447SW, she’d head back to Minneapolis as DL4844 again, before operating a flight to South Bend, IN. I felt this wasn’t very high utilization for a regional jet, just 5 hours of flying during the course of the day.

What a trip! New airlines in Lufthansa, United and American, new aircraft types in the B747-8i, MD-82, CRJ-900, B777-200ER with PW engines, an inaugural flight, a very delayed flight with drama, a fruitful internship...I was in high spirits prior to the start of my sophomore year in college!

My other trip reports:
2016
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 13: Super old, Super 80, Mad Dog Across the Midwest! (AA ORD-MSP, Aug'16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 12: Flying the Friendly Skies... (United Munich to Chicago, Aug '16)) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 11: Epic Lufthansa, Epic A340! (Delhi to Munich, Aug '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 10: Konnect, Lite, Delight...(S2 B73H CCU-DEL, Aug '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 9: Take me home, Vistara! (DEL-CCU, Jul '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 8: Vistara's INAUGURAL flight out of Kolkata! (CCU-DEL, Jun '16)) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 7: Efficient IndiGo! (Mumbai to Kolkata, A320, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 6: Big delays, cracked windshield, angry passengers (SG CCU-BOM B73J) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 5: Air India's domestic Dream)liner (DEL-CCU May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 4: Nearly First Class - stories of the empty A380! (LH FRA-DEL May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 3: World's longest jet, Lufthansa's B748i! (ORD-FRA May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 2: ChicaGO on United's A319! (MSP-ORD, May '16) (video trip report)
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)
The pencil jet(s) for spring break! (+ Iron Maiden bonus): Delta MSP-FLL-MSP, March '16 (DL1608 video trip report, DL2027 video trip report)
De-iced & Delayed, cold onboard a CRJ! (ORD-MSP-GFK on Delta, Jan '16) (ORD-MSP video report) (MSP-GFK video report)
Delta's aged B767-300ER across the Atlantic! (CDG-ORD in Y, Jan '16) (video report)
Air France's NEW Economy (B777-200ER, Bengaluru to Paris, Jan '16) (video report)
Delays and despair: stressed out in the middle seat! (Jet Airways B737 Mumbai - Bengaluru, Jan '16)
Air India's hybrid babybus from Kolkata to Mumbai (Jan '16, Y) (video report)

2012
South Africa 3: 12 days in Scintillating South Africa (Kruger, Kulula and Rand Airport, Apr' 12, LONG!)
South Africa 2: Elegant Emirates Economy! (DXB-CPT, B77W, Apr '12)
South Africa 1: My first flight on Emirates, my first flight on the 777 (CMB-DXB, Apr '12)

2011
International transit with Jet Airways (BOM-MAA-CMB, Oct. '11)
Konnecting to Bhubaneswar (9W BOM-BBI-BOM, Jul '11)
Three trips between India and Sri Lanka (9W BOM-CMB-BOM: Jun '11, Jul '11, Oct. 11)
To India's Orange City: Mumbai - Nagpur - Mumbai on Jetlite & Tadoba National Park (May 2011)
My last flight on Kingfisher Airlines (and 2 other Jet flights, May '11)

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