DL 4936 XNA-ATL on Aug 30
Seated in 7D. Unfortunately didn't catch the tail number. Equipment was from a DTW terminated leg from the night before, so I figured this would be right on schedule, and it was. I've read that row 6 has additional leg room because row 5 is Econ Comfort. Although I was seated in row 7, visually I couldn't tell any difference in rows 6 and 7. There may be some additional leg room, but I'm doubtful as to how much. Flight was fairly routine, service in both cabins about 30 minutes into the flight. Pretty uneventful.
DL 129 ATL-SEA on Aug 30
Seated in 2D. Tail was N696DL. Row 2 is the bulkhead on the right side in this version of the 57. No legroom issues for me, I'm 5'7, and the lav is far enough away that there wasn't any noise from the door opening or closing. Boarding was on time and through 2L. That's a pretty nice setup if you're in the front cabin as there's essentially no traffic. FAs took drink orders as people boarded and delivered them very quickly. Once everyone was aboard, thunderstorms closed the ramp for nearly an hour. Once reopened, our trip to the runway was pretty quick and we were a speedy second in line for take off. It's probably been 10 years since I've been on a 757 and I'd forgotten the power on the take off, very nice.
Hot towels and drink refills came after about 20 minutes. Dinner options were given shortly after: Cheese Ravioli and Chicken with Vegetables. I opted for the ravioli. It was served with a small salad, roll, and gelato. The roll was pretty hard, but everything else was fine. I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel on the IFE after dinner. Flight was routine after that. FAs came around for drink refills generally every 30 minutes or if they noticed you were empty. Awesome service and pretty good hard product, imho.
DL 1808 SEA-ATL on Sep 3
Seated in 2F. Tail number was N130DL. I've read the questionable reviews of the F product in the domestic 763 birds, but I was still looking forward to the flight as I've never been in the variant before. (Been in Y on the old DL 762's and US 762's.) 1F was reclined fully for the entire flight. It was very difficult to stand up and get out of the row even when my seat mate got up as well. I'm fairly average sized as well (5'7, 155 lbs), so my stature shouldn't have been an issue. Nevertheless, extremely tight space when the seat in front of you is reclined fully. I had to feel around on the panel below the seat divider to find the power port for my laptop. There was no way I could see anything down there. Legroom was still okay, it was just the upper portion of the seat back that was intrusive. I could also noticeably saw and felt the difference in seat width from the 752 to the 763. Although the smaller seat wasn’t necessarily a problem, the larger one was nicer.
Boarding and takeoff were on time. Both F and Y were completely full. This bird seemed to take the entire runway to get in the air. As with before, towels and drink refills were provided about 20 minutes into the flight. Breakfast options were either cereal with yogurt and fruit, or an omelet with sausage. I opted for the latter. Definitely impressed by the omelet and trimmings. (It was even better than one cafe I visited in Seattle.) Potato quality was iffy, some brown spots, but the taste was fine. Opted for some TV on my laptop versus DL's offerings on this flight. Flight was fairly uneventful after breakfast. We did encounter some continual "rough air" (as DL likes to call it so much) throughout eastern Missouri and most of Tennessee. We descended and ascended several times trying to avoid it to no avail. Got somewhat better as we approached ATL.
Left side was my 763. Smaller sibling 738 heading to LAS on the right side.
DL 1120 ATL-XNA on Sep 3.
Seated in 12F. Tail number was N951DL. Not sure how this flight ended up being on an MD88. XNA routinely gets either a 717 or MD88 as the last ATL-XNA flight of the day, but this one was second to last and there was still a 717 scheduled later on. My flight was maybe 55% full and the larger bird was definitely overkill for the load. F was packed as essentially anyone with status was upgraded. I can see the space being needed for the last flight in, but not this one. Not sure if DL was expecting heavier traffic out of XNA today (both the 717 and MD88 were RONs) or what.
As with the ATL-SEA leg, thunderstorms once again closed the ramp just prior to pushback. We ended up being delayed roughly 45 minutes. It opened for just enough time for us to get pushed back before being closed within another 10-15 minutes because of more storms.
Service in the air was fairly lackluster, despite the FAs having a fairly easy job with a half empty plane and plenty of time to get to everyone. I definitely had more space in the MD88 in Econ Comfort over the 763 with a fully reclined forward passenger. (Granted, the seat in front of me in the MD88 wasn't reclined at all).
Don't know if anyone in the XNA area can shed any light, but the ATL landings from the north seem puzzling to me. XNA is approached from the SE and it seemed we could've easily landed from the south. Instead we spent another (just an estimate) 5-10 minutes in the air going around to the north and then having enough room to descend to the field. Is there a reason that the ATL flights are routed that way? I live out towards XNA and routinely notice DL's ATL birds taking that path. I can understand MSP/CVG/DTW flights landing that way, but ATL seems odd.
Also noticed that AA is now sending US's mainline equipment instead of the usual MD80s. Wasn't sure what the below bird was...a 320? Seemed too big to be a 319. Didn't think to catch the tail number.
To sum it up, really enjoyed DL's service. The hard product was good in most cases. I'll probably avoid the domestic 763 birds if I'm flying F again, but the 752's seemed appropriate. I wish DL would bolster the MSP service from XNA in the future though, or try SLC again. Though I much prefer DL to AA, this was a perfect example as to why it's difficult to chose DL solely based on scheduling. DFW in this situation is much more convenient than ATL. I love that DL is up-gauging the ATL equipment to 717/MD88/CR9's, but hope this isn't just at the expense of the other hubs. Taking a look at LIT's scheduling, I would say that is the case. DL really has to impress with service at XNA or hope that someone moves here with previous DL flight experience such as myself.
This was my first a.net report. Hope it wasn't too hard to get through!