JFK-LAS-JFK on Delta 22-24 Dec 2009

Tue 22 Dec 2009
DL 731 JFK-LAS 5:40 PM – 9:17 PM 757-200 Seats 3B and 4A First Class

Thu 24 Dec 2009
DL 728 LAS-JFK 12:05 PM – 8:18 PM 757-200 Seats 3A and 3B First Class

This trip was a mileage run for my boyfriend and I tagged along. We were both upgraded at our respective elite level windows.

Both of these flights went very well in first class.  The outbound aircraft was delayed due to a late-arriving inbound aircraft and a delay in receiving the “performance data uplink” from Atlanta.  We departed about an hour late, but still arrived about 30 minutes early. The return flight departed a few minutes early and arrived nearly 45 minutes early. The outbound aircraft was also an older 757-200, without seatback in-flight entertainment, so the viewing options were limited.

However, both flights offered consistent on-board services.  We received a pre-departure drink service on both flights. Once we were in the air, we received hot towel service, drink service, meal service, and snack basket and repeated drink service the remainder of the flight. Both flights also had Gogo Inflight Internet. My laptop battery died after about three hours on the outbound as the aircraft had no power ports, but I was able to use my iPod Touch the remainder of the flight. The return aircraft had individual power ports, so I was able to use my laptop the entire flight.

The outbound flight meal was dinner and our choices were chicken pomodoro with side veggies, salad, roll, and pie, or vegetarian pasta with yellow tomatoes in a cream sauce, salad, roll, and pie.  The return flight was lunch and the choices were a chicken sandwich, chips, fresh fruit side, and a molasses cookie, or a salad (with grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, and tomato), breadsticks, fresh fruit side, and a molasses cookie.

Delta also has a new cocktail called “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”  It’s made with orange juice, cranapple, rum, and a slice of lime.

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TRI-CVG-SFO on Delta 31 July 2009

DL 6520 TRI-CVG 12:30 pm-1:33 pm CRJ Seat 8C Exit No Seatmate
Actual 1:23 pm-1:59 pm (36 minutes takeoff to touchdown)

DL 1162 CVG-SFO 4:50 pm – 6:37 pm 737-800 Seat 2B Aisle
Actual 5:16 pm -6:46 pm

The first flight was fairly uneventful except for the fact that it was delayed.  The weather was awful at TRI, high winds and pouring rain, so I assume that the inclement weather played a role in the delay.  The inbound aircraft arrived late, around 12:50 pm.  Deplaning and aircraft turnaround was rather quick all things considered.  However, for some reason, TRI only had ONE gate agent and ONE baggage handler for three flights, our flight to CVG, one to ATL, and a NW Airlink flight to either MEM or DTW, so it caused additional delay.  The ATL flight, then the NW flight, then our flight boarded, in that order.  And it was “all aboard,” no Breezeway or zone boarding.  I felt badly for the lone baggage handler, who kept running between checked luggage and valet.  I actually patted him on the shoulder and said, “It’s tough having to do it all, isn’t it?” and he shook his head yes.  We pushed back fairly quickly and were airborne by 1:23 pm, 53 minutes late.  There was no service in flight “due to the short duration” and we landed at 1:59 pm, only 36 minutes in flight and only 26 minutes late.

I spent my next two and a half hours in the Concourse B Delta Sky Club.  I have to say that I enjoyed my complimentary Internet and the peace and quiet, but the beverages left a lot to be desired.  I first tried a Bloody Mary.  Apparently there was no Mr.  & Mrs.’s T’s Bloody Mary mix, because it was made with plain tomato juice and lime and I had to “doctor” it myself with the provided salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco.  I much prefer the mix.  So for my next drink, I asked if he could make a margarita, hoping for the Rande Gerber Signature version found aboard Delta flights.  Again I was disappointed, as the mix was not that and was not good.   One nice touch was the offering of mixed nuts, in addition to the standard Biscoffs, pretzels, dried fruit, and Nutella.  As I was leaving, the club had put out the evening fare that I love so much:  chicken salad, hummus, cheese and crackers, and olives.  I confess I took a few olives and ate them quickly before leaving!

Around 4:20 pm, I proceeded to the gate and as I walked up, the gate agent called first class to board.  Perfect timing!  In my seat were the standard pillow, blanket, and mini Dasani.  The flight attendant offered a full pre-departure beverage service.  I had a glass, not a plastic cup, of white wine, the Fetzer Sauvignon Blanc, which after having a few times on Delta, is a pretty “uneventful,” bland offering, but otherwise harmless.

We were ready to push back on time, but the pilot announced that we were going to wait a few minutes on a group of passengers that were coming through customs.  Honestly, if I were one of those customers, I would be eternally grateful to Delta for holding my flight.  We pushed back only about 12 minutes late at 5:02 pm and were airborne by 5:16 pm.

About 30 minutes in flight, the flight attendant offered dinner service, which consisted of hot towel service, drinks in glassware, and dinner.  I was sort of shocked, because the dinner offerings were the same as I had back in March 2009, the short ribs or penne pasta with red sauce.  I would have thought Delta would have changed the menu by now, five months later, but I guess times are tough all over!

The meal was served on different dinnerware than before, but the meal was essentially the same, a nice-sized portion of very tender, no knife needed, beef rib; salad, grilled squash, mashed potatoes, and a very rich, chocolate mousse-like dessert, similar in texture to cheesecake.  My seatmate, a wine geek turned businessman, and I opted for the “safe” Fetzer as the beverage, but wow, it did not taste very good with the meal!  So we inquired about the red offering, which was a 2008 Copperfish Shiraz from “Central Baja,” whatever that means!  We assumed it would not be very good.  It was slightly better with the food than the Fetzer.  To be honest, it tasted better after the rich, sweet dessert. I suggested to him that we needed to move away from the wine and on to the Rande Gerber Signature Margarita, with a soda water and lime in between as a break!

The flight did not have Gogo Inflight Internet, but it did have Dish Satellite TV and On Demand movies and music.  I watched some of WNBC NY local news and NBC Nightly News.  While writing this trip report, I opted to listen to Delta’s On Demand music offerings.  My seatmate tried to listen to the standard music channels, but the system kept resetting to Channel 1, so I suggested he try the On Demand offerings on Channel  1, which worked!

My seatmate actually told me in flight that this was his first transcontinental upgrade on Delta as he usually flies other airlines as per his company travel budget and policy, so he was not familiar at all with the Delta 737-800 first class service and amenities, and that I steered him correctly on the power outlets under the center console, the choice of the short ribs for dinner, and the music on Channel 1.  I think he was surprised I knew so much!  Being a travel geek does have its advantages!

The rest of the in-flight service consisted of the standard Delta snack basket and full beverage service.   The one disappointment was the margarita I ordered.  What happened?  The mixer for this one was the same as the Sky Club and it was not very good, so I asked the flight attendant to take it away and bring me an Amstel Light.  We landed at 6:46 pm, nine minutes late.

14 March 2009: SFO-CVG-TRI

DL 1836 SFO-CVG 11:34 am – 6:55 pm 737-800 Seats 1C and 1D

Wow, this flight was almost a mirror image of my outbound flight except for aircraft type, which is how it should be – consistent, reliable, and comfortable. We pushed back on time and were airborne by 11:45 am. Upon reaching 10,000 feet, we received our hot towel, beverage, and meal service. The meal choices were the same as the outbound, so we chose the ribs again instead of penne pasta with eggplant tomato sauce. It was just as good this time as the first time. That chocolate mousse cake is RICH. We also spent the flight watching satellite TV as we were not interested in the movies, and I worked on my trip blog (I will let you know when it’s posted nationally!) We had plentiful beverages served throughout the flight.  During the last hour, the flight attendant came around with the snack basket and more beverages.  We landed about 10 minutes early and John walked me halfway to the A concourse! Our inbound plane was his LGA outbound plane, lucky guy!

DL 6138 CVG-TRI 8:05 pm – 9:08 pm EMB 145 Seat 12A

Not sure why as it was about half full, but this flight departed about 20 minutes late. However, flight time en route was only about 35-40 minutes, so we still managed to arrive a few minutes early. The flight attendant offered a water only beverage service “due to the short duration,” but it was better than nothing! The funny part about this segment was our arrival at TRI. There was a crowd of about 75 people at baggage claim, which is a rare sight at little TRI. It seems that there was an NAIA track and field event being held locally and of course, the start of NASCAR week, which meant more inbound travelers than usual on a Saturday evening, and three flights (DL, NW, and US) had arrived around the same time. Now that was some “excitement” for sure!