December 15, 2006
BDL - LAX
Tail Number ????? (Forgot to ask)
Scheduled Departure Time: 3:45pm (EST)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 7:01pm (PST)
Before I get into the extensive trip report I'd like to give everyone some background on this flight/route. It used to be operated on a 757 by Song but as Delta axed song the 757 no longer operates this route. This flight is the only non-stop flight from Bradley to California. The flight usually is scheduled to leave at either 3:30 or 3:45 and the flight number changes on the 1st and 15th of every month along with the time. The return flight is a redeye that gets in between 6 am and 7am and is much shorter. The outbound leg from Bradley is a capacity limited flight so, even when they say the flight is full or sold out, there are still going to be empty seats.
This is my first trip report and I tried to take copious notes while flying, in fact, I took over 30 7 3/4 x 5 1/2 page notes. I'm presenting it in a story structure and hope to add photographs later (I took a few pictures, though none of them very good ones.)
Early in December I was still without plane tickets home. I didn't know if I would be changing dorms or not so I was going to need a flexible fare in case I needed time to move to a new dorm. I looked online and found that Delta was having a fare sale. Normally the direct flight from Bradley is one of the most expensive options but with the fare sale I decided the price and convenience were enough to fly with DL
rather than with United with a stopover in Chicago. Since T fares are not at all flexible I decided to purchase a seat on the Thursday flight (which was on the 14th and hence had a different flight number and left 15 minutes earlier) and on the Friday flight (which I ultimately took). Total cost for both seats including taxes was under $250, more than $100 less than a normal restricted fare on the same route costs. If it was not for Delta's $99 fare sale I would have likely ended up running to and from the storage center the weekend before finals instead of after finals. As it turns out, I had so much stuff that my last trip to the storage center ended up happening on my way to the airport.
I go to college in Putney, VT, a good hour and a half to two hours drive from the closest decent sized airport, Bradley, which is pretty easy to drive to since it lies just off of RT91 and Putney has an off ramp and on-ramp on 91. Before going to the airport I printed out my boarding pass and packed up the car with some stuff for the storage place, my luggage and my friend Matt's stuff. After checking out of our dorms for the semester we drove to storage center, dropped the stuff off and then I dropped Matt off at the train station in Brattleboro, VT, since it was on the way down to Bradley. When I dropped him off I realized that I'd likely never have the chance to tell someone that I'd see them in Bangkok so I told Matt "See you in Bangkok in a couple of weeks." His train took him to New Jersey and I'll be meeting up with him on December 31st at his home in Bangkok (I'm going to try to do a trip report for that flight but will most likely have one for the return flight since I won't have to sleep). Anyways further on the way to the airport I got hungry and stopped at Papa Gino's in Northampton, MA for 3 slices of pizza (my first of three pizza joints in three separate states that I'd be patronizing that day.). I got to the airport and parked in Lot E for $45 a week. For break I normally park in the garage but $69 a week for 6 weeks is too much. I said goodbye to my car and struggled to get my bags to the shuttle to take me to the airport. I had 2 rolling duffel bags, one about six inches longer than the other, a rolling carryon, a backpack (stuffed with two computers and 6 different aviation magazines), and, around my neck hung my camera bag.
The parking lot shuttle driver was very nice and helpful and helped both of the passengers (myself included) with their luggage. The other person on the shuttle was a man going to Georgia to golf. He had his golf bag in a soft sided golf bag bag. The shuttle dropped us off at the Delta area and I proceeded to the skycap, asking beforehand if there was a charge for it. Delta, unlike some carriers, still provides free skycap service, something which I find invaluable, especially with as many bags as I have. I showed the guy my boarding pass and ID and he had some problems with his computer, it still had the old flight numbers and hadn't been updated for the flight number change on the 15th. A minute later he came back and tagged my bags and I chatted with him for a couple of minutes. He told me the flight that I was on, was going to be cancelled, effective 'today', meaning that the Thursday flight I had a ticket was going to be the last BDL
flight. Lucky for me the cancellation, which he said he heard about two months ago, never did come to fruition. Anyways after that chatter I tipped him a few bucks and he took my two checked bags to TSA for me to have them screened (one of them was hand inspected as I found out after unpacking at home).
I proceeded to security, the line was about 5-10 minutes long to get to the ID/Ticket review person. It was another 5 minutes for the security checkpoint. While I was waiting, a young lady came up and the ticket/ID checker informed her she would likely miss her flight and that they were not allowed to expedite late passengers. Her flight was scheduled to depart at 12:40pm and it was already 12:30pm. One lady allowed her to cut in line which slightly angered me since she had no chance of making her flight. Anyways for the security at BDL
some passengers go through one of the air blasting bomb detection devices, I was not subjected to that. I however did have one of my bags swabbed. I don't know what they saw in it since it had cds, DVDs, a Playstation 2 (Slim), two hats, two external hard drives, some magazines and a usb cable, nothing that should rise suspicion. Anyways the swabbing didn't slow me down at all since I had utilized five bins and had 3 bags going through (8 items total). I took me a few minutes to put my shoes back on, my belt and my jacket back on, and to replace my cell-phone, keys and wallet into my pockets. The fact that my backpack was tightly packed and I had to fit two laptops back in to it further slowed me down at the checkpoint. Anyways got through there fine, and found that the TSA were extremely kind and considerate.
At about 12:50 or so I was through security and checked the gate screens to find that my flight had not yet been assigned one. I decided to go and talk to some of my friends who were leaving on earlier flights. Eventually Gate 9 was assigned for my flight however the preceding flight, a short hop to New York (can't remember if it was JFK
) was delayed and flight 373s gate was reassigned to 12. The aircraft operating my flight arrived from West, Palm Beach Florida around 2:30. I decided to go back to the renovated food court area and had a slice of pizza from a place that I think was called Boston's Famous, or something similar. I had a McFlurry from McDonalds and decided to sit down and read Airports, which I picked up a week earlier at Borders. I read the entire magazine and proceeded to Gate 12. In the time before my flight boarded I talked to the gate agent and he helped me find my SkyMiles number and added it to my flight so that I would receive the miles. He also offered to switch me out of the middle seat I had reserved, I told him that it wasn't a middle seat, and he checked the seating layout and realized it wasn't and apologized for not knowing (really didn't need to, didn't harm anybody) (read the next paragraph)I witnessed him assists some other guests and I feel that he did everything just as a gate agent should. He tried to avoid making announcements to get people to the desk and instead took the care to find passengers who had requested upgrade or had to board early and ventured out into the seating area to give them their upgraded ticket or to get them for pre-boarding. The gate agent's name was Emilio for those of you who may have been wondering.
Boarding started and I was in Zone 5. Boarding of Zones 1 and 2 was first, followed by three and then both 4 and 5 together. I boarded and halfway down the ramp realized I had forgotten my wallet. I went back and retrieved it in the seating area and was allowed to go back to the jetway. I stowed my roller before reaching my seat just in case the bins in the rear were full. I put my backpack under 31A and my camera under the seat in front of me. 32B is one of the best seats on the aircraft since there is no row behind and no seat to the left. There is also some extra legroom and the seats can recline fully. 32B and 32C are the only twosome on the plane. After boarding I asked the flight attendant for some water and she gave me a small bottle. A high school student sat in 32C but he ended up moving to 31D after boarding was complete
The 737-800 was piloted by an Atlanta based flight crew, one of whom I saw earlier taking some McDonald's food on the aircraft with him. The cabin crew was Los Angeles based and was all female. The half full first class was attended to by one flight attendant, who did not refer to herself as purser but instead as the flight manager or supervisor, can't remember for sure, however it definitely was not purser. The less than two thirds full economy cabin was attended to by two flight attendants.
I didn't write down the time when we left the gate but It was around 3:45-3:50. While backing out from the gate I saw a Delta MD-88 and was able to snap a few photos of it, nothing ANet quality though. While taxiing one of the flight attendants handed the gentleman seated in 32D and myself a bottle of cold water which I stowed in the seatback for consumption later. Getting to the runway we also passed some military aircraft (A-10's I think), a DO-228, and various corporate jets. Before we reached the runway the pilot announced that we were third for takeoff and would be taking off shortly. The runway that we were going to be taking off from was 24, I don't know what the designation is other than that but the passenger terminals are on the right. In front of us was a Continental ERJ to EWR
and a Delta MD<-88 (N963DL) which I think was heading to Tampa. Before the MD
-88 took off a US Airways A319 landed. After the other Delta aircraft took off we lined up for takeoff. Waiting patiently after us was a BAe-125, tail registration (N229U).
The 737's engines increased power and, at 4:00pm on my Swiss Army watch, flight 373 BDL
was off. Taking off we zoomed by an Airborne Express wide body unloading on the right, and right when the passenger terminals were on our right, we were airborne and climbing!
Next up: Part two (Not sure if there will be more than two parts but this is very little. I'm hoping that I can get the next part out which may go to the end of the flight or could be the 1st of two more parts or maybe even three (I have to see how much I have after landing, because it could be a whole section alone). Anyways please give me your honest feedback. I feel that it is a little too long and isn't as smooth as it could be but I've spent three hours creating this so I hope it is good. As for pictures… I will try to get them into the next one and maybe add one or two to this one but I don't really have too many and they aren't very high quality.
[Edited 2006-12-23 07:03:31]