Back in December of last year, my mother and I traveled to Paris to spend time with our European family over the winter holidays, as we've often done over the years. I'm based in Atlanta at the moment, while she lives in New York, but we wanted to fly the transatlantic legs together for the sake of convenience--and, of course, to get the most family time possible out of my college break! I soon found and booked a decently-priced round trip fare from JFK to Paris (which I might cover in a later report) for my mother and I, but I still needed to find a way to get to New York to meet her.
Because ATL-NYC is one of the most popular routes in the country, there was no shortage of options (including my beloved WN to LGA), but Delta's attractive scheduling gave it a clear edge; I would arrive in JFK with four hours to change terminals, meet my mother, and self-connect to our transatlantic flight. In hindsight, four hours might have been a bit optimistic--especially in the blizzard-prone winter season--but hey, I like to live dangerously!
A lucky bonus was that the flight would be operated by one of Delta's B767-400ER's as a repositioning flight between its long-haul bases at ATL and JFK. I've long had a soft spot for the 764. Its spacious 2-3-2 config in economy means that it's usually a pretty sweet ride. With only 37 examples produced, it's one of the rarer widebodies in the skies today, and, coincidentally, the very first type I logged when I began recording my flights nine years ago (hence my username!). Still, I had yet to fly on the type with Delta, so this flight would come as a very welcome addition to my logbook. December 18th 2018
It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon. By 1PM, I was in an Uber heading to the airport, making record time as I sped down I-85...
...just kidding, any Atlantan will know that the terms "record time" and "85" are oxymorons. Still, it wasn't rush hour so the traffic could have been a lot worse, and we pulled up to ATL's south terminal around 1:45 with plenty of time to spare. Bag drop only took a few minutes, and after a pit stop for some delicious baby back ribs at the food court, I made my way through a busy security checkpoint and walked the short distance to the A-gates.
Among the A-pier's usual sea of 737's, A320's, and T-tails, the 767 stood out like a sore thumb. My ride up to JFK would be ship 1818, otherwise known as N842MH. Delivered in December 2001, she's one of the younger models in Delta's 21-strong fleet of 764's. She had spent the previous four days parked on ATL's north ramp--presumably for maintenance--and had been towed to gate A6 earlier in the afternoon.
Boarding was scheduled for 3:15, so I had plenty of time to get up close and personal with this beautiful beast, parked just inches from the terminal!
Boarding was delayed by around 20 minutes, apparently due to the late arrival of some FA's. Being in Zone 3, I was one of the last to board. Eventually, I stepped onboard N842MH around 3:50, 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time. I was keeping a very watchful eye on the clock because of my connection at JFK, but it was far too early to start worrying.
Scheduled Departure (Actual) : Atlanta - 3:55pm (4:07pm)
Scheduled Arrival (Actual) : New York JFK - 6:20pm (6:06pm)
Seat : 34A
Flight Time : 1h39min
Cruising Altitude : 35,000 feet
Aircraft : Boeing 767-432ER
Registration : N842MH
I took my window seat in row 34, just behind the wing. The legroom was quite tight, but tolerable for a two-hour flight (not much more, though). The seats were plenty wide, too. Disclaimer: I'm 6'7'', so I can count the number of standard economy seats I've found spacious on one hand!
IIRC, the flight was about 90% full in economy. From what I gather, this aircraft has already undergone a significant cabin upgrade
in the year since I took this flight, and--among a number of other improvements--these cute little IFE screens have been replaced by wider and fancier ones!
Within minutes, the captain made a brief announcement, forecasting a slight delay due to a last-minute paperwork change. I busied myself by taking in the apron views outside.
Thankfully, we pushed back only twelve minutes behind schedule and I breathed a quiet sigh of relief. There seemed to be a glitch with the safety video, so the flight attendants did a manual demo instead. Meanwhile, the strong and unmistakable smell of kerosene filled the cabin as the engines came to life. "Atlanta Ground, Delta 1992 Heavy, 1 South, taxi with Victor."
(don't you just love ATC lingo?)
ATL was running easterly ops that day, and we made a very quick taxi to runway 9L.
Within minutes, we were ready to blast off, and at 4:18pm we did just that. Well, it was more of a slow, lumbering kind of blast-off, but you get the idea! You can watch the takeoff video here!
If you have a good eye, you might have noticed a Southwest 737-700 departing parallel to us in the takeoff video! As we climbed out into the gorgeous sky over Atlanta, I managed to get some pretty cool air-to-air footage!
(apologies in advance for the constant zooming). If memory serves me right, the Southwest flight was headed to Columbus, Ohio, but don't quote me on that.
As luck would have it, a plane spotter filmed our climb from the ground, and uploaded the video to Youtube!
I stumbled upon it several months later.
Okay--that's enough video links for now! I had noticed that Wifi was not available during the takeoff and climb, but it became available around 4:40 once we had reached our cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. Meanwhile, the cabin crew walked through the aisles with the drink cart. I was incredibly thirsty, and gulped down a few cups of water and Diet Coke in a matter of seconds. Delta's signature Biscoff cookies made for a very satisfying dessert.
As we powered eastbound, helped by a generous tailwind, the sky changed color with astonishing speed, and I was treated to a glorious sunset.
At 5:30pm, we started our descent over Delaware as the last rays of sunlight disappeared from the horizon. The effect of this flight was quite odd; even though we had only cruised for ~50 minutes, it felt like a lot longer! I attribute this to the crew dimming the cabin lights all the way down, creating the ambiance of a long-haul flight, as well as the "time warp" effect of the sky changing so dramatically from day to night.
We were soon joining the CAMRN arrival into JFK from the south, and were vectored for an approach to runway 4R. As per usual, I tuned LiveATC as we checked in with the busy approach frequency and flew up the New Jersey coastline.
As we began our final approach, the Manhattan skyline was clearly visible in the distance.
It was a clear, crisp winter night in New York with gusting winds out of the northwest, so our pilots fought a strong crosswind all the way down. At 5:57pm, we landed on 4R with a shaky thud, after a very quick hour and thirty-nine minutes in the air. You can watch the landing video here
Our approach path
As we slowed and began to turn off the runway, the brakes were (accidentally?) applied harshly and abruptly for a few seconds, sending everyone lurching forward in their seats. "Well, at least we know the brakes work!," I heard someone quip.
Following a short taxi--passing some interesting heavy metal along the way--we pulled into Terminal 4's gate B37 at 6:06pm, some fourteen minutes early! Any concerns I had about my four-hour connection were put to rest.
I deplaned by 6:15PM, and began the long trek through Terminal 4 to baggage claim. I had forgotten how massive Concourse B was!
My suitcase took its sweet time to arrive. When I eventually retrieved it, I stepped outside into the biting cold for a few seconds before hopping on an AirTrain to meet my mother at Terminal 8, where our connecting flight would leave from later that night. Any JFK-savvy reader will have a good idea of what airline we were connecting to!
N842MH, meanwhile, would have only a few hours' rest before continuing on to Dublin as DL44. Personally, I'm not sure that I could bear 5+ hours in Delta's B764 old economy seat, given how cramped it was. The cabin and IFE (though functional) also seemed quite dated, but that's not really relevant after the fleet refurbishment. Otherwise, my flight with Delta was smooth, uneventful, and--most importantly--on time! Flying on an elusive aircraft type like the 764 is always a pleasure, too.
Thanks for reading! As always, comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated. If anyone has tried Delta's refurbished product on the 767-400, I'm curious to read about your experiences!Previous ReportsHow a broken A220 made my day: LGA-BOS-LGA on Delta!Best value across the Atlantic? TAP's A330-900neo: JFK-LIS-OSLBoutique Business Done Right: La Compagnie A321neo ORY-EWR