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Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:20 pm

A Return to the Skies DL DTW-MKE-DTW

Sat Aug 21, 2021 10:28 pm

Towards the end of the first part of my medical education, the school that I attend changed the curriculum/schedule to provide all 1st through 3rd year students with a roughly 9 day break every 12 weeks. My first break under this new schedule happened to coincide with the week prior to the 4th of July, which in years past, my family would traditionally travel to Milwaukee to visit my paternal grandmother and my aunt and her kids. Because the dates coincided (and we had not seen my grandmother since pre-COVID) we decided to resurect this old family tradition.

Originally I was supposed to move apartments during the first part of the break (although this ultimately fell through), before flying out to Milwaukee the day after my move. Being that I am going to school in Detroit, I decided to fly on one of DL's nonstops to MKE. DL 2690 (the late afternoon departure from Detroit and early evening return from Milwaukee) happened to be running on a B712 on my selected dates. Seeing as I have not been on one of them since YX was still Midwest, I leapt at the opportunity, and booked the flights using my dad's DL credit card (in order to get the free checked bag).


Online Check in
Shortly after returning from leading a day hike for incoming first year medical students at my medical school, I logged onto my computer to try to check in for my flight to Milwaukee. I was unable to finish checking in because the software said that I needed to pay to check my bags, even though my reservation was booked using a Delta credit card. I spent the next 4 hours simultaneousy trying to resolve the second delay in my move to a new apartment, stewing over not having working hot water, packing, and waiting for the DL chat agent to respond to my request due to unusually high call volumes. When I finally got through to an agent, I found out that I didn't get a free bag because my dad (the primary cardholder) wasn't flying with me. Once I got confirmation that I didn't get a free checked bag I paid the fee. finished checking in, and downloaded my electronic boarding pass.

At the airport
Shortly before 2:30 on the day of my flight I was dropped off by an Uber at the airport. I proceeded to self tag my bag and get into the a very long line for bag drop that was only staffed by 2 workers. After a short wait, myself and a whole bunch of people behind me were diverted to the Skyclub check in in order to even out the loads. After a short walk to the Skyclub desk, my bag was checked in within 10 minutes. I then finished up my water and headed to security, where, in what seemed to be a pattern, myself and a handful of people behind me got diverted to the airport hotel security line. Security took about half an hour to clear, and I got yelled at by a TSA agent because one person told me to push my bags into the machine while another agent (who was away dealing with a passenger with TSA precheck) told me not to.

Once through security I proceeded to walk the entire A concourse and planespot. Because I had extra time, I also took one stop on the Air Tram.

Image DL A359 being serviced by their new caterer

Image N948AT, the 21.6 year old B712 that would be taking me to MKE. Sadly she's not ex YX :( .

Around 10 minutes prior to my flight's boarding time I made my way to the gate area. At 4:05 the gate agents made their initial pre-boarding announcement and immediately started boarding. A few minutes later, the rear of the plane was called and I made my way to the podium. After getting my boarding pass scanned I got onto the gate and waited in a short line to get onboard.


As I stepped through the boarding door, a flight attendant welcomed me onboard and offered my a sanitizing wipe. After I made my way to my seat and got settled in a flight attendant came and thanked me by name for returning to DL after not traveling with them since before COVID struck.

Image DL's B712 seat

The seat was comfortable for the flight and it came with a good amount of legroom. Unlike most other DL aircraft, this one did not have PTV's, although for a flight this short it was not a big deal.

At 4:32, Captain Rob and First Officer Dave Introduced themselves and made their welcome aboard announcement. A minute later (and a full 10 minutes prior to our scheduled departure time), the main door was closed. A few minutes later the flight attendants began a manual safety briefing.

At 4:42 (a minute before our scheduled departure) we began to pushback from the gate.

Image Company B712 taxiing

A few minutes later we began to taxi towards the runway

Image NK hangar with both liveries parked in front

At 4:53 first in line for departure was announced. At 4:57 we began an unremarkable takeoff. Climb out was mostly smooth, except there were a few bumps as we climbed through the clouds. About 10 minutes after takeoff as we climbed out the FA made an inaudible announcement. A couple minutes later, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the flight crew announced that our cruising altitude was 22,000 feet, and we were Southwest of Flint, would turn West at Ithaca, cross Michigan to Muskegon, and then cross Lake Michigan before landing in Milwaukee.

Due to how short the flight was, no service was offered. I spent most of the flight just staring out the window, enjoying a view that I had not seen since February of 2020. At one point, I tried to pull up the inflight map, but for some reason my phone was unable to load it.

Image While I wasn't able to get the inflight moving map working, I was able to capture this screenshot from flightaware a few days after my flight.

Image The Lake Michigan shoreline

At 4:29 Milwaukee time, descent was announced, and the flight crew stated we were 10-15 minutes out.

At 4:40 Milwaukee time, our gear came down.

Image The view on final

2 minutes later we made a firm landing in MKE, and immediately began to taxi to the gate. As we taxied, I noticed that there was an aircraft with a strange livery parked at one of the D gates, surrounded by airport fire trucks.

Image Better pictures to come

Image NK A321

At 4:48 we pulled into gate D45 at MKE (a grand total of 5 minutes early) . After a short wait, disembarkation began.

Once I was off the plane, I made my way towards D35 so that I could try to figure out what was going on with the plane that I photographed earlier.

Image WQ B738

Based on what I could tell, this aircraft was most likely experiencing a fuel or hydraulic fluid leak.

Once I had satisfied my curiosity, I exited the secure area and had to the baggage claim carousel, where I found my mother had already picked up my suitcase. After reuniting with her, we headed out to the arrivals area, where my dad managed to create a massive traffic backup by struggling to pull the upgraded rental car that my mother got him for his 65th birthday up to the curb. After having to make a second pass, my dad returned and we were on our way to the hotel.

Overall Weighted Score


Online Check in
The night before my flight, I checked in using the DL app, paid for my checked bag, and downloaded my electronic boarding pass. I then went out and watched fireworks with my dad's family.

At the Airport
After having lunch at Benji's with my 93 year old grandmother, and making sure to properly pack the frozen custard, cheese curds, farmer's cheese, and kringle which were my entire reason for paying to check a bag, I grabbed an Uber to the airport. My Uber driver was an amazingly talkative gentleman whose primary job was working as a real estate agent. As he dropped me off at MKE around 3:20, he promised to look out for my grandmother if she ever took an Uber (which she probably won't because she struggles with using her Jitterbug phone to text, let alone Uber).

Once at the airport I made my way towards check in. There was no line and my bag was quickly tagged and on its way to DTW. After visiting check in, I made a quick pit stop.

Due to my early arrival at the airport I walked around the pre-security area, and visited the Mitchell Flight Gallery.

Image Closed Concourse E

Image YX, F9, AA, AK models

Image more models

Image I hadn't heard of this airline before...

Image but I love their blue livery

Image More models

After a little bit, I made my way through security, which while it had a minimal line took a very long time to get through. After my government mandated massage I walked around and plane spotted a little bit, although there really wasn't a lot to see.

Image MKE Concourse E under construction

After a little while I made my way to gate D45 and built my Whole Foods grocery pickup order.

Image nearby A321neo preparing to push back

Around 4:41, N926AT arrived at the gate.

Image My 20.8 year old ride back to DTW.

I then went for another short walk around the concourse.

Image Multiple UA birds

Image WN B737 in their old livery

Around 5:18, the gate agent announced 5 minutes to boarding.

At 5:20 another announcement was made outlining the various different boarding groups. At 5:27 preboard began. I don't recall what they were, but the gate agent made many mistakes with her announcements.

When my group was called I made my way aboard the aircraft.

As I stepped onto the plane a flight attendant welcomed me onboard, although unlike my previous flight they did not offer me a sanitizing wipe.

The seat was adequate for the scheduled flight time, and it offered a good amount of leg room.

Image Private jet taxiing at MKE.

Image broken tray table in front of me.

At 5:44 the pilot made his welcome aboard announcement and apologized for the cabin being warm.

As the flight attendants walked through the cabin and began to prepare it for departure, they had to ask the guy in front of me to wear his scarf face covering properly. He complied, although after a few minutes his scarf was right back where it was prior to the flight attendant correcting him.

At 5:49 the boarding door was closed, and a few minutes later the safety briefing began. At 5:54, we pushed back from the gate and the engines roared to life. A few minutes later we began to taxi to runway 19R.

Image Another private aircraft

At 6:05 we executed an unremarkable takeoff.

Image Air-National Guard ramp

Image airport solar farm

Image Lake Michigan shoreline

Image Cool cloud formation

As we climbed out we experienced some light chop. When the lead FA made her announcement, it was hard to understand them between the white noise of the B712's engines and her accent. At 6:15, the captain announced a 23,000 foot cruise with a slightly early arrival, and he turned off the seatbelt sign.

I again tried to access the moving map but was not successful (and unfortunately I didn't think to check FR24 to pull the route before it was put behind a paywall). I spent most of the flight just looking out the window and zoning out.

Around 15 minutes later (at 7:30 EST), we began our descent into DTW.

Image Lots of lakes

At 7:48 our gear came down and two minutes later we made an unremarkable landing at DTW. Around 7:56 we pulled into gate A7, and within a few minutes I was out the door and in the concourse.

Image DL/new YX E175

As I walked up to the baggage carousel, I could see my bag on the baggage carousel. Once I picked it up, I made my way out to the Uber pickup area, where I got to deal with the joys of surge pricing, and a Lansing based driver who had never done a pickup at DTW before. After several attempts, the driver was able to pick me up and take me to my apartment, where I discovered I still didn't have hot water :cry: .

Overall weighted score

DL did a good job of getting me from point A to point B ontime, although their fares are starting to get a little expensive (although it is hard to tell if that's just part of the growing pains our economy is going through or if that's going to be a long term thing).

Logbook and Previous Trip Reports

This chart offers a comparison of all the short haul flights that I have taken.

Flying Into the Future Part 3: Delta ALB-DTW-ALB

Flying into the Future Part 2: Southwest ALB-BWI-ALB
Flying into the Future Part 1: Delta ALB-DTW, American DTW-PHL-ALB
Onwards and Upwards Part 2: Air Canada TLV-YUL-BOS
**No Flights** Onwards and Upwards Part 1.5: The Final Days before Leaving the Country
Onwards and Upwards Part 1: Swiss and El Al BOS-ZRH-TLV

The Milwaukee Way WN BOS-MKE-BOS
Porting it to and from Toronto
Southwest to Milwaukee and Back (with a surprise)
Air France, CSA Czech Air, and Alitalia to Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest

From my Archives: Summer '16 rescheduled and delayed with Iberia, Vueling, and British Airways

From my Archives Summer '15 Shuttle America: Do they actually meet Delta's Standards?

From my Archives: Summer '14 Returning from Israel One of the Only Ways Available El Al
From my Archives: Summer '14 Outward bound to Poland and Israel with LH
From my Archives: Winter '14 From Sunny Spain to Snowy Boston, KLM and Delta to Boston
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Re: A Return to the Skies DL DTW-MKE-DTW

Sun Aug 22, 2021 9:26 pm

The situation looks to be better now but not too long ago the fares between DTW and MKE were astronomical (approaching $400 for a one-way IIRC). Its nice to see that mainline has returned to that route though, and even better that its with the 717 since pretty much everything else nowadays is 737/A320.
Topic Author
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: A Return to the Skies DL DTW-MKE-DTW

Mon Aug 23, 2021 3:27 pm

mke717spotter wrote:
The situation looks to be better now but not too long ago the fares between DTW and MKE were astronomical (approaching $400 for a one-way IIRC). Its nice to see that mainline has returned to that route though, and even better that its with the 717 since pretty much everything else nowadays is 737/A320.

DL's prices are still pretty high-- I'm looking at about $550 for a refundable roundtrip to BOS. A nonrefundable would have been ~$400-450

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