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skyhigh777
Topic Author
Posts: 335
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:07 am

JFK-DCA On Delta

Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:30 pm

Hi all,

Just like to apologize in advance for the lack of pics, since I was not at all planning on doing a TR on such a short flight. However, circumstances of how everything went down just ended up practically begging for me to do a report of my quick trip, so here goes!

BACKGROUND:

This background and TR are both really long, but it serves as a good backdrop to the difficult 24 hours I actually endured throughout this trip. If you don't want to read, feel free to skip down to the actual flight. This TR will serve more as a therapeutic way for me to vent, if you will  Smile

Be warned again, it's LONG!

I went to NYC on Sunday evening from my home in Maryland via 3.5 hr bus ride (which is the cheapest and most popular way to go). I had a job interview in NYC Monday morning, so I thought I'd go up on Sunday evening to spend time with a friend I hadn't seen in a while. For starters, this trip began on the wrong foot. An accident on the turnpike turned this usually scheduled 3.5 hours trip to almost 5 hours! No worries, as I was tired from the night before and slept basically the whole way. I decided to book a 3:40 pm shuttle flight home on Monday afternoon from JFK-DCA so that I could be back in time to beat the evening rush hour. That, and of course I felt the urge to fly (even if for just 30 minutes).

Things took a bit of a "turn for the worse" when I arrived at my friend's apartment and discovered (to my shock) NO A/C!! Ordinarily, I would surivive this type of circumstance, but on the ONE weekend of our unusually cool northeast summer where the temps actually hit close to 100F, it quickly became unbearable. Now, I'm not one to complain about free accomodations and aM usually rather good at adapting to my surroundings like a chamelion, but honestly people I'm not exaggerating when I say that the living room where I slept was easily 95 degrees and humid. But, I digress for now. I figured we could go out for a few drinks in the Village so that maybe, juuuuust maybe, I'd be able to fall asleep in that inferno of an apartment after a few cold beers to numb my fear. Sadly, it was just not meant to work out that way.

I spent all night tossing and turning and, not to mention, sweating like Whitney Houston at customs. I was so uncomfortable I couldn't even focus on the fact that I had a big job interview in the morning. I do admit that I have a tendency to exaggerate, but this was not a joke. Come 2 am, I was convinced my body had lost enough water to classify as severely dehydrated and in need of an IV in my arm. By 4am, I'm nearly positive that I ended up passing out (literally) instead of actually sleeping. Adding to the pleasant evening I was already having, the jungle-like conditions of the apartment forced me to sleep with 2 of the windows open, leaving me exposed to the soothing sounds of the E train rumbling passed me every 6 minutes. By 8 am, I gave up on any further sleep and started to prepare for my interview.

I waited as long as humanly possible before I had to put on my black suit and head out the door to walk 5 blocks to my interview. Being the intelligent planner that I am, I thought I would arrive to the interview 30 min early to cool off in the lobby and gather what was left of my sanity. As luck (and in some ways, a sick form of fate) would have it, I arrived to a completely un-airconditioned boiler-room of a lobby where I began contemplating whether to show up to this interview sporting nothing but a bare chest and underwear. After sweating through an hour long interview (which I was saved from embarassment only because the interviewer actually managed to be sweating more than me!), I walked back to my friend's apartment and gathered my things. By this time, it was 11am and I decided I could not stay in this apartment one more second, as with each passing minute the day was getting hotter and hotter. I turned on the news and the headlines read "First Northeast Heatwave of the Summer!" Just my luck  Yeah sure

I decided I would try and make my way as fast as possible to JFK to see if I could get on the 12:40 shuttle, and if all else failed at least Delta's Terminal 3 would be a relief from this heat, right? Wishful thinking....


THE FLIGHT

I arrived to JFK Delta Terminal 3 at exactly noon. I rushed up to the counter in hopes that I could make it onto the earlier 12:40pm shuttle to DCA as opposed to the 3:40 pm flight. When I reached the counter, I was advised it would be an extra 60 dollar fee and I would have to basically speed past security and run to the gate to make it. I declined and figured I would just kill time before my flight. I soon came to regret this, as Delta's terminal 3 was comparable to what could be described as a crowded and drab Bangladesh bus terminal circa 1973. Even more fantastic was the fact that the AC was not working well here either, and enormous industrial sized costco fans were strategically placed every few gates to fan off the happy families traveling to Europe and Raleigh-Durham on this lovely afternoon. I tried to keep my spirits up and actually found a decent place to sit and watch the departures and arrivals from a window near Gate B15.

A side note on Delta's terminal 3: Gates 1 through about 18 are in what I would describe as the "foyer" of Terminal 3 near the check-in desks and security. All the B gates and remaining gates are located towards the back via a long hallway which I only discovered later. The latter part of terminal 3, while not overtly pleasant, is YEARS better than the "foyer gates" previously described.

*****************************************
Delta Airlines, Flight 4
Equipment: MD 88
Departure Gate: 17
Scheduled Departure: 3:40 pm
Actual Departure: 3:45 pm
Seat: 26 E

Finally, the time came to board and I wanted nothing more than to get home and take a shower and relax. Upon boarding, the usual mess of carry-on bags and clogged aisles was forcing a long line of passengers to be stuck waiting in the sleeve where the temperature was unbearable (far worse than my friend's apt!)

I made my way on board, and the FA greeted me with a smile and informed us that the APU system on this aircraft was inop. You guessed it, no functioning AC while on the ground. Just when I thought I could finally get comfortable, my dreams were shattered as I sat down in 26E inside an aircraft that was boiling hot. I only took comfort in knowing that everyone else on this plane (which was 100% full) was also extremely uncomfortable and, sadly, there was not much anyone could do about it. Even though I love looking out the window and checking out the action on the tarmac, I lowered my window shade in an attempt to minimize the blistering hot sun from beating down on me as we sat on the tarmac.

While it was very uncomfortable and borderline unbearable inside that cabin, I have to hand it to the DL crews (both FA's and Captain) who repeatedly apologized for the temp inside the aircraft. Strangely enough, even when the engines fired up the AC still wouldn't kick on during our taxi. I was under the impression that if the APU was inop, that the engines could provide a source of power to jumpstart the AC and all other electrical components of the plane....is there someone that can correct me on this?

During pushback, the tug broke a pin which resulted in an additional 15 minute delay while ground crews looked for the part so we could continue with the pushback. In usual JFK fashion, we were number 18 for take-off. Again, the captain apologized for the temp inside the cabin and said it would only cool down once we became airborne.

I tried fanning myself, sleeping, and even attempted to convince myself I was onboard an Alaskan Cruise in January laying out on a damp wooden deck, but all my efforts proved meaningless as we baked under the August sun waiting our turn for take-off. The poor guy seated next to me even contemplated throwing his bottle of water all over his face to cool off. That's how uncomfortable it was.

Finally, it was our turn to line up on the threshold for take-off, and as the captain applied T/O power the entire plane errupted into applause. This was my first time in my 24 years of flying that I've ever heard a plane full of people errupt into full-on applause and cheers as we rotated off the ground. I couldn't help but laugh and remind myself that throughout my 20 hour long trip to NYC, there had to be some humor and laughs thrown in so as to keep myself from becoming a cynical, unpleasant, sweaty mess of a human being.

As we climbed higher and higher, the cabin finally felt cooler and we were able to enjoy the next 36 minutes in flight. Although the flight was short and quite bumpy, the FA's were able to mange a quick water run to rehydrate everyone on board. As the captain announced our descent, the entire plane began to groan as we knew the impending heat would return the closer we got to the ground. Soon enough, we were making the river approach for a visual landing on DCA's runway 1. I am absolutely in love with the approach and landing at DCA. Everytime I fly into this airport, it's an adrenaline rush as the plane makes steep banks and sharp drops to thump onto the short runway.

At 5:35 pm, we made a rough landing onto DCA's runway 1 and literally screamed to a halt. I've landed at DCA more times than I can count, but this was by far one of the most abrupt landings I've ever experienced. The pilot threw us onto the runway and applied such forceful brake action and thrust reverse that the passenger next to me smacked into the seat in front and let out a surprised gasp. As we slowed down, I could smell the burning of the brakes and tires and, for a split second, thought they may have actually caught on fire. Of course, I was confident in our pilots ability to stop the plane and know what they were doing, but that was still one hell of a landing! When we turned off the runway, I could see that we had just about 20 feet left before the end of runway 1....talk about cutting it close! It makes me nervous to think of a possibly different outcome had the runway been wet. We made our way to Gate 15 where there was literally a mad dash to get off the plane.

All in all, I would say my experience in NYC, and my experience with Delta, was an adventure to say the least. I'm back in my air-conditioned office reminiscing on my experience and, strangely enough, looking forward to my vacation in the hot and steamy carribbean this coming weekend. Thanks for reading!
 
User avatar
CrimsonNL
Posts: 2122
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:34 pm

RE: JFK-DCA On Delta

Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:24 am

Hey SkyHigh, that was a good read! Though I feel a little guilty laughing at your misfortune  Wink I also love the river approach at DCA, and the whole airport itself. I have first hand experience on a 767 without cockpit crew on board so no A/C during the one hour ground time! If it makes you feel better, airconditioners are still pretty rare around here, none of the offices I worked in had any! Did you get the job?

Rgds, Martijn
Always comparing your flown types list with mine
 
skyhigh777
Topic Author
Posts: 335
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:07 am

RE: JFK-DCA On Delta

Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:12 pm

Hi Crimson,

Thanks! I have to go back for round 2 of interviews...so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
 
BZNPilot
Posts: 282
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2006 6:10 pm

RE: JFK-DCA On Delta

Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:10 pm

Hi SkyHigh777,

That was an entertaining and well-written story. Thanks for sharing. At least you seemed to have a certain sense of humor about the whole thing! Can't believe the ACs weren't working everywhere you turned--apartments, buildings, planes, etc. What are the odds of that...

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
Soon enough, we were making the river approach for a visual landing on DCA's runway 1. I am absolutely in love with the approach and landing at DCA. Everytime I fly into this airport, it's an adrenaline rush as the plane makes steep banks and sharp drops to thump onto the short runway.

At 5:35 pm, we made a rough landing onto DCA's runway 1

Think you mean DCA's RWY19, which involves the river visual. And I agree, it's just an amazing approach! I love it.

Good luck with the next job interview.

BZNPilot
 
staralliance38
Posts: 1114
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:09 pm

RE: JFK-DCA On Delta

Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:38 am

Interesting Report! Recently I flew into DCA with a River Visual. I'm sorry about your experience though. Here's to a better one (on US  Wink )
Roar, lion, roar
 
skyhigh777
Topic Author
Posts: 335
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:07 am

RE: JFK-DCA On Delta

Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:31 am



Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 3):
Think you mean DCA's RWY19, which involves the river visual. And I agree, it's just an amazing approach! I love it.

Sorry my mistake! But yeah it's a great approach, always really exciting.

Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 4):
Interesting Report! Recently I flew into DCA with a River Visual. I'm sorry about your experience though. Here's to a better one (on US Wink )

Thanks! I'm actually flying US on Friday to CUN...my first time flying with them in probably 8 years. I'm excited to see the changes! (Although not so excited about baggage fees...lol)
 
kstatepilot
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:23 am

RE: JFK-DCA On Delta

Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:47 am

Just to answer your question about AC on the airplane.

The AC PACKS are powered by Bleed Air taken from the APU or Engines. With the engines at idle during taxi, there is not enough airflow through the packs to cool the airplane!
 
skyhigh777
Topic Author
Posts: 335
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:07 am

RE: JFK-DCA On Delta

Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:36 pm



Quoting Kstatepilot (Reply 6):
Just to answer your question about AC on the airplane.

The AC PACKS are powered by Bleed Air taken from the APU or Engines. With the engines at idle during taxi, there is not enough airflow through the packs to cool the airplane!

Maybe that would explain why the captain was trying to rev the engines while we stood in line for take-off? It seemed like he was trying not to let those engines stay on idle and kept powering them up every so often.

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