xjramper
Topic Author
Posts: 2318
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 1:10 am

Flying The Friendly Skies...series Report

Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:07 am

It has been a very long while since I have written a trip report, so I think I will commence in sharing another one of my favourite past times: flying the friendly skies.

As most of you know, it is hard to put into words what it means to be able to fly. I am just one of the lucky few that has the privilege to do it on such a frequent occasion. Since 1 January 2009, I have already put in quite a number of miles (35,000 to date), putting me above the silver elite status line in Delta’s frequent flier program: Skymiles.

Sitting in the beautiful, albeit smaller MCO Crown Room, sipping my coffee at an ungodly hour of 0500, I think, as I usually do, how lucky I am to be able to do what I do. Just to clarify “smaller MCO Crown Room” there has been a wall placed just on the other side of the fountain and bar area where there used to be a lot more seating room, and an outlook over the concourse. While, I have never been in this crown room, I could not imagine with the Virgin and British heavies (whose elite are allowed to utilize this “exclusive” club) elites in here as well. This place has got to be standing room only during those departures.

One of the inspirations of this story actually comes from another website whose enthusiasts are frequent fliers. Just like any one else here on this site, or that one, we long to find an enjoyable trip report. One that is filled with passion, something in regards of almost an addiction. Which if you search for “passion or addiction” in that forum, you will find the 187 post long thread, in which the flier has had over 180k miles in a year. That to me is one worth so much more than just pictures and words, it brings out the true character of that individual. It also shows that there are other individuals that share the same problem: finding the time outside of the airport or any aircraft.

So this is what this journey will entail. There will be no part one, part two, etc. There will be no summary other than the amount of mileage that I have covered, and how many flights I have flown. Once you have ascertained and have thoroughly read what I have to offer, what my feelings are for that particular flight, my hope is that you have created in your head what I will say, what I will have to offer in terms of suggestions and mostly . I hope that you enjoy this journey with me as I fly around the country and around the globe.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This first part is my journey from Florida to Frankfurt, Germany, with some pit stops here and there.

Flights:
08 February 2009
Delta Airlines
Boeing 737-800 (738)
Origin: Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Destination: New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
Departure (actual): 0623
Arrival (actual): 0857
Load: F-8/16 Y-76/144
Seat: 3C

08 February 2009
Comair (dba Delta Connection)
CRJ-900 (CR9)
Origin: New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
Destination: Raleigh/Durham Airport
Departure (actual): 1347
Arrival (actual): 1538
Load: F-6/12 Y-44/64
Seat: 2C

09 February 2009
Delta Airlines
Boeing 737-800 (73H)
Origin: Raleigh/Durham Airport
Destination: Atlanta's Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport
Departure (actual): 0927
Arrival (actual): 1057
Loads: F-16/16 Y-131/140
Seat: 16C

09/10 February 2009
Delta Airlines
Boeing 767-400 (764)
Origin: Atlanta's Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport
Destination: Frankfurt, Germany
Departure (actual): 1717
Arrival (actual): 0716
Loads: J-29/41 Y-167/200
Seat: 6B

11 February 2009
Delta Airlines
Boeing 767-400 (764)
Origin: Frankfurt, Germany
Destination: Atlanta's Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport
Departure (actual): 0927
Arrival (actual): 1452
Loads: J-21/41 Y-177/200
Seat: 5F

11 February 2009
Delta Airlines
MD-88 (M88)
Origin: Atlanta's Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport
Destination: Daytona Beach International Airport
Departure (actual): 1558
Arrival (actual): 1717
Loads: F-14/14 Y-124/128
Seat: 24C

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

To date, I have received four passport stamps, have flown 24 segments thus far. My shortest flight is from Raleigh/Durham to Atlanta at 356 miles and conversely my longest flight year to date is 4,426 miles Brussels to Atlanta. Sometime throughout the year, I will most certainly reconvene back and start with my first trip of the year, which found me in 3B from ATL-DUB and 4C DUB-ATL.

But enough about the past.

This trip had decidedly put me flying out of Orlando International, which, if it weren’t for the hour drive and the fact that I would be flying back into Daytona Beach, would be just fine. Logistics will be hell upon arrival on Wednesday. Oh well. Small price to pay.

I called a good friend and asked her if I could spend the night with her, so she could drop me off on her way into work the following morning. She readily agreed, so it was settled, I would be arriving into MCO at the ungodly hour of 0430 and spend a solid two hours wandering the halls of the MCO airport.

Perhaps my view of MCO is jaded, but I finally settle it to being the gigantic monster that is the TSA security checkpoint during peak times. Check in was quick enough, walked right pass the passengers who still insist on checking in with an agent, or are too afraid to use the machine. I don’t know if its just a sensory overload, or if people simply shut off their brains when flying, but the check in kiosk is not even close to being that hard. Now granted, sometimes when traveling and interruptions to your trip happen, even the best and most diligent agents may not correctly reissue your ticket. Which sometimes brings the response “an electronic ticket was not found for you”. Not a huge deal, the nice ladies and gents behind the counter will promptly fix anything ailing your ticket and get you back underway to the security checkpoint. But, I digress.

After a quick check in and a friendly hello by the Delta MCO agents, I made my way into the Hyatt “courtyard” right in front of the TSA checkpoint. As per previous engagements requiring the use of the MCO airport, I was preparing myself for a long wait as I approached the entrance, however, much to my surprise, there were exactly two people in front of me. It took just under a minute to present my ID and my boarding pass to the nice TSA lady who then sent me underway bidding me a good flight. I then went to an empty lane and was quickly thru the checkpoint in under three minutes total.

Since Delta cut Freedom’s contract for the MCO routes, the 60-69 gates are a little bare, so mainline Delta and on the other side, AirTran, now use those former OH/F8 gates as staging areas for overnight aircraft. On my way over, I was able to spot a NW320 and two DL757 (wavy gravy) to my left and 2 FL717s and a FL737. The first couple of gates facing the main terminal were occupied by two NW 757s. Good merger under way. For fear of pissing off the NW people, don’t worry I am just making a partisan comment  Wink.

Once over in the 60-99 gate lobby, I made my way up to the Delta Crown Room. As I have already said, this is my first time in here, but it’s a really nice Crown Room. I have been a few of ATL’s and they are kind of sad. I chatted with the agents in the very empty club before grabbing a seat by a window with a poor, but still a view of the ramp.

I take a look around the still fairly empty Crown Room, but notice that it has filled up somewhat. That’s what happens when I pay attention to what I am doing, and not look around and enjoy the scenery.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, hello again. This is coming from 3C on board Delta flight 1482 MCO-LGA (Boeing 737-800). This is a fairly younger crew, which I am only guessing are NYC based. Too many times I have been aboard the MD-88, as that is what is usually at our disposal out of DAB (amongst ASA CR7s *shudder*). Well today it was very nice to have a change of pace of a different aircraft type and a different take off view.

After a lengthy pushback from gate 83, we taxied out to runway 35L for a rolling takeoff to the north. After a few turns, which I would assume was for noise abatement purposes, we headed towards the OMN VOR. Passed by DAB, and witnessed a gorgeous sunrise over the Atlantic.

About 20 minutes in to the flight, the seatbelt sign came off and the flight attendants sprung into action asking us for our drink orders. I ordered my favourite: ice free orange juice for a morning flight.

So for now I am going to sit back and relax and enjoy Two and a Half men as I work my second glass of OJ.

About 30 minutes out of LGA, the captain comes over the PA and while uses a hilarious amount of “LaGuardia’s” in his announcement, he also explains that there are some gusty winds in the NYC area, so he asks the flight attendants to wrap up their cabin service sooner than normal so they can be seated for the last bit of the flight. Not surprisingly, the seatbelt sign came on as I heard the engines power back and the F/As were in full swing trying to get everyone situated for landing. It was only just before landing that we received a continuous light chop.

After we landed, we got the 2 cent tour of LGA, passing by AA, US, and what I am guessing is a general aviation terminal. We finally ended our trip at gate 2, just holding short of the gate for 30 seconds before the ramp marshaled us in. Now, as we got off the active, I watch as two ambulances and two cop SUVs head in full speed along side us. As we got nearer our terminal, I saw what had them in a rush. Next to an AA 757 with winglets, next to a belt loader that was still positioned in the bin of the aircraft, I saw about 15 or so rampers surrounding someone laying on the ground with the two SUVs and the two ambulances parked close by. I hope he or she is okay  Sad

As we parked at 0857, and my next flight does not leave until 1350, I have plenty of time to leave security. So I head up the dingy terminal, exit security and check around the airport. I have been here once before, not to fly out, but to get thru security only to head back to JFK.

I grab subway and a vitamin water and enjoy watching the foot traffic (as there are no good spotting opportunities inside the secure area) as I savor the sub. One thing that cracks me up is the lack of space out of what I consider a heavy trafficked airport. I completely understand the lack of space that they have to consider building something a bit bigger, but alas what can you do?

Around noon, I decide to walk through the security checkpoint as it had no one in queue. Again, another case in point, the security checkpoint is really tiny. Nice thing though, as I watched people go through the checkpoint, it was mainly made up of business travelers, so even though the line was busy, it was a quick through for anyone waiting. As I made my way thru the detector, I pulled out my boarding pass. The TSA agent laughed and said thank you for knowing that you needed your boarding pass. It was actually an enjoyable (gasp) experience going through checkpoint.

As I made my way back to gate 2, I toured around the small shopping area they have just after security checkpoint, and found that everything there had something to do with the Yankees or the Mets. Since I am a die hard Boston fan, nothing interested me.  Silly

Shortly after the 1250 departure to ATL pushed back, my CRJ-900 ride to RDU parked and started to offload. And around 20 minutes before departure time, we started to board. First impressions upon boarding the flight left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The flight attendants demanded to see my boarding pass, which coincidentally was in my left pocket and my left hand was occupied with my laptop roller. I said, hey I am sitting in 2C, since I have no room to turn around and they said, no we need to see it now. And after I showed them twice, the one flight attendant came and asked me again. Not great service in my opinion.

I swapped over to 2D to enjoy a non-existent window. I kid, its just because of the First class seating offsets from the window. After pushing back from gate 2, we sat on the taxiway for 15 minutes without a word from the crew and no traffic around us. But after taxiing out, we ended up cutting in line around 7 aircraft. After sitting in “position and hold” on runway 4, we rocketed down the runway, and after a steep climb out we turned left 180 degrees and flew right over Manhattan. The first class flight attendant ended up serving us quickly and then filled up my drinks twice after the original service. This was my second trip on the CR9, and I would have to say that it wasn’t quite as nice as the Pinnacle CR9 that I was on in April of last year.

We are around 40 minutes out and I take a look out the window, and I would have to say around 1000 feet below us, I see a Usairways Express ERJ-145 fly right below us. How can I be so sure it was a USx ERJ? Because I could read off the side of the aircraft as it rocketed past us. Lol

Cruising altitude today originally was slated for FL280, but I don’t think we made it above FL240 due to strong winds off a low pressure system that was moving quickly towards the east coast. Due to a nice stiff breeze in the RDU area, the crew asked the flight attendants to once again wrap up their cabin service quickly and sit down as soon as possible. The crew did a great job on the crosswind landing on 23R and pulled off at B4, waited a few minutes, taxied around to the east side of the new terminal to C9.

I love the new terminal at RDU, its nice its efficient for the passengers, and hell from the agents standpoint. Shortly there after, I was picked up by my friend and spent the night at his place.

Ok and a few pictures for you. Don't gripe at the quality, they were taken with a cell phone.

MCO Crown Room

[img]http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2282/37/6/39708406/n39708406_32406308_9404.jpg{/img] Another shot of the CRC

Gate house for the other NYC bound flight in the 80's gates

First class on board the 738 MCO-LGA

looking over a bay at the Shea

Baggage Claim at LGA Deltaland

B757-200 bound for MCO

My CR9 to RDU

I will continue this saga later. Hope you enjoy the first part!  Smile

xjr
Look ma' no hands!
 
TDubJFK
Posts: 124
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:14 am

RE: Flying The Friendly Skies...series Report

Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:59 am



Quoting Xjramper (Thread starter):
One of the inspirations of this story actually comes from another website whose enthusiasts are frequent fliers. Just like any one else here on this site, or that one, we long to find an enjoyable trip report. One that is filled with passion, something in regards of almost an addiction. Which if you search for “passion or addiction” in that forum, you will find the 187 post long thread, in which the flier has had over 180k miles in a year. That to me is one worth so much more than just pictures and words, it brings out the true character of that individual. It also shows that there are other individuals that share the same problem: finding the time outside of the airport or any aircraft.

So this is what this journey will entail. There will be no part one, part two, etc. There will be no summary other than the amount of mileage that I have covered, and how many flights I have flown. Once you have ascertained and have thoroughly read what I have to offer, what my feelings are for that particular flight, my hope is that you have created in your head what I will say, what I will have to offer in terms of suggestions and mostly . I hope that you enjoy this journey with me as I fly around the country and around the globe.

Such a theatrical buildup .....
FLOWN: 744,742,M11,D10,L10,763,762,752,707,D8S,DC8,72S,727,738,734,733,732,M80,D95,D93,F10,B11,F28,F27,DH7,DH8,SH6,EM2
 
greg99
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:00 am

RE: Flying The Friendly Skies...series Report

Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:33 pm

Nice report.

With a title like "Flying the Friendly Skies...", though, I was expecting a UAL report, not Delta...  Wink

Greg
 
phileet92
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:37 pm

RE: Flying The Friendly Skies...series Report

Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:11 am



Quoting Xjramper (Thread starter):
looking over a bay at the Shea

Its flushing bay and Shea is gone.... its now citi field.

Thanks for the report! Seat pitch looks a bit tight
 
xjramper
Topic Author
Posts: 2318
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 1:10 am

RE: Flying The Friendly Skies...series Report

Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:22 am



Quoting TDubJFK (Reply 1):

Such a theatrical buildup .....

I know, wasn't it?  Wink

Quoting Greg99 (Reply 2):
With a title like "Flying the Friendly Skies...", though, I was expecting a UAL report, not Delta...

Yeah. As soon as I hit submit, I thought about that. But I was going for the quality of the flights that I had, and not by airline slogan. So I apologize.  Smile

Quoting Phileet92 (Reply 3):

Its flushing bay and Shea is gone.... its now citi field.

Thanks for the report! Seat pitch looks a bit tight

I knew the Shea was going to be going bye bye. I believe its being turned into a parking lot for the new field?

I'm glad you enjoyed the report. And yes, the seat pitch is exactly as narrow as it looks in the picture.

xjr  Smile
Look ma' no hands!

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