This report covers my flights to Delaware for my annual visit there to see my family. Back in September 2019, I had originally planned to visit in April of this year, and had tickets booked on Southwest and American, but I was regrettably forced to cancel it in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A couple of months later, when school came to a close for the year, my East Coast relatives called me asking if I'd like to visit for the summer. Given that the US hasn't contained the virus yet, it was a tough decision to make, but I eventually chose to go, given the low risk of transmission on an airplane when wearing a mask. When looking at flights, my options were rather limited, but I decided to fly with Delta because of their seat-blocking policy. My itinerary is as follows:
7/14/20: DL 1824, dep. SEA 11:59 pm, arr. ATL 7:29 am (+1)
7/15/20: DL 2077, dep. ATL 8:10 am, arr. BWI 9:55 am
7/29/20: DL 1539, dep. BWI 2:30 pm, arr. ATL 4:16 pm
7/29/20: DL 691, dep. ATL 5:36 pm, arr. SEA 7:45 pm
On the day of travel, I woke up fairly early, and spent most of the day packing, along with baking some Doubletree chocolate chip cookies (you can find the recipe online, they're very good) to bring for my relatives and running to the grocery store for some last-minute things. I took the ferry over to downtown Seattle at around 6:45 pm, getting into the city center about an hour later.
I ordered a Lyft to take my dad and I to the airport; it was an uneventful ride without much traffic, and we arrived at Sea-Tac around 8:15 pm.
As you can see, this part of the airport was quite empty, even for this hour. I had already checked in on my phone earlier, but I opted to print out my boarding passes at a kiosk both as a keepsake and in case I needed them later.
We then dropped our bags at the check-in counter, which was equally empty. There was a minor issue with the free checked bag from my dad's SkyMiles card, but it was resolved quickly by the friendly agent. Following this, we proceeded to the security line, which we breezed through in no time (a nice change, considering how bad SEA's security lines usually are in the summer).
After clearing security, my dad and I had originally planned to wait at the gate for our flight. However, we passed by Delta's Concourse A/B Sky Club, and hearing good things about it, we decided on a whim to buy lounge passes for it.
Even though it didn't have its full range of amenities available when I visited, the lounge was quite impressive in my opinion. It had many types of seating available, including a conference table, great ramp views, and what looked like a well-stocked bar (being 16, I did not partake). There were some finger sandwiches and snacks available, which were appropriate given the circumstances and time of day. The lounge also had a spa and showers, along with a mezzanine level with more seating, but those were closed.
I'd estimate that the lounge was about 10-15% full when I entered, but once the earlier Atlanta and Detroit redeyes started boarding around 10:00 there was only a couple of people left.
I got to the gate when my plane was being sanitized, about 20 minutes before boarding, and took a melatonin pill to improve my chances of sleep. The gate agents said that boarding would be done from back-to-front (though this was somewhat of an exercise in futility by the time I got on), and I boarded at about 11:40.
N845DN, the 2015-built Boeing 737-900ER taking me to Atlanta.
Disinfectant wipes were handed out to every passenger at boarding by the FAs. My seat area was quite clean, but I chose to wipe it down anyways in the interest of thoroughness.
My outside view from seat 11A.
From what I could tell, the plane seemed to be full with the exception of blocked middle seats, and everybody wore masks. There was a small issue with some passengers (perhaps non-revs, I'm not sure), but it got resolved quickly, and we started pushing back shortly after midnight. During our taxi, a short video played outlining Delta's cleanliness procedures on their aircraft, followed by their Habitat for Humanity-themed safety video.
We taxied out along the alley between concourses A, B, and the South Satellite, passing by a Hawaiian A330 and a rare visitor, an Atlas Air 747-400.
At 12:18 am, we took off, and climbed slowly over south Seattle before turning southeast. A link to a takeoff video is also attached below, if you'd like to see that.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag671tzjoNQ
After takeoff, I decided to call it a night and try to get some sleep. I put on my blanket, neck pillow, and eyeshades, and tried to get comfortable, but despite my best efforts, I simply could not get to sleep. Despite this, I decided to just try to relax since I would have a long day ahead of me. While trying to sleep, the FAs offered snack bags to passengers, which had hand sanitizer, a napkin, water, a KIND bar, and Biscoff cookies.
Other than this, the flight was mostly uneventful. There was some rough turbulence around central Iowa, then the FAs came around with water bottles over Kentucky. I gave up trying to sleep somewhere between Evansville, IN and Nashville, TN, and got a sunrise shot around that time.
Our descent into Atlanta was uneventful as well, and we touched down at 7:29 am EDT, exactly on time.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRuFbTmaYQM&t=27s
We parked at Concourse F, ATL's international terminal, because my plane was going to SJU after this flight. This worried me slightly since my connecting flight was parked at the A Gates and I had a tight layover, but I was seated near the front so I was confident about making it.
One last look at N845DN parked at gate F14, before its next flight to San Juan, PR.
I took the Plane Train because of my tight connection, and got over to Concourse A about 25 minutes before departure.
Things were looking ever so slightly more busy here, but still much less crowded than pre-Covid, I'd imagine.
I got up to gate A10 where there was no line, apparently after the "all rows can board" announcement but before the final boarding call, and got onboard.
My wing view from this flight, out of seat 12A. I was flying on N3740C, a Boeing 737-800 delivered to Delta in 2000, and coincidentally, was parked next to a 767-400ER heading back to Seattle. This flight was a little bit less full than my SEA-ATL leg; coach appeared to be full but there were a few empty seats in Comfort+ and first class.
We pushed back on time, and as before, the cleanliness and safety video played as we taxied out.
There was no line for takeoff, so without much of a wait, we shot into the morning sky at 8:21 am, climbing steeply.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1XN5yEXbuU
This flight was smooth and routine, we got another snack bag during cruise and I left the IFE on the moving map, dozing lightly until we started our descent into Baltimore, arriving on-time at 9:42.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoDIrEuzrFY
Parked at Concourse D.
After deplaning, I went over to baggage claim to grab my bags, then met up with my family near the check-in area.Conclusion:
Overall, I was satisfied with taking Delta on this trip. After the past few months, it's understandably scary going back into the air, but I feel that Delta did the best they could to make the experience as safe and stress-free as possible. Other than my return flight, I'm not sure when I'll be traveling again, but if/when I end up doing so, I would definitely consider taking Delta. Hope you all enjoyed reading my report, and feel free to leave any comments/questions below!