TRI-ATL-PHL on Delta 5 May 2009

DL 5326 TRI-ATL 830AM – 948AM Seat 1B CRJ-200
DL 1012 ATL-PHL 1232PM –  235PM Seat 25C Exit MD-88 with Gogo Inflight Internet

Today could have possibly gone differently, but the DL agents at TRI were proactive!  I arrived at TRI and started to check in at the kiosk, when an agent asked me to approach her and told me that she was putting me on a delayed 8:30 am flight to ATL because of low ceilings/weather delays.  She was afraid the 9:50 am would also delay and I might misconnect.  So I rushed through security, hit the restroom, and boarded.  She had assigned me 1B and I had no seatmate, so I was pleased.  We departed the gate at 9:25 am, one hour late, but 20 minutes earlier than my original flight.  The flight attendant was excellent.  Although the flight was scheduled to be 37 minutes en route, she offered a full beverage and snack service.  She was the kind of flight attendant that makes the others look badly!  We arrived ATL about 45 minutes later, around 10:10 am.  And I found out later that my original flight did leave on time and arrived about 20 minutes after my new flight, but I still appreciated the TRI agents proactively trying to prevent misconnects.

I had some extra time to spend in the Delta Sky Club near B10.  That is the small club, but it was a light crowd in the late morning.  I checked delta.com and saw my upgrade changes were absolutely nil.  I ended up being something like number six of 17 with no seats remaining!  I relaxed and ate pretzel mix and had a couple of Bloody Marys.

Boarding began promptly at gate B11, with first class and zone 1, then zone 2, etc.  Although first class was full, coach had 42 empty seats, including the middle seat in my row, so the guy in seat A and I in seat C were able to spread out, which was nice.  And the MD-88 exit row legroom was very good.

We pushed back on time and took off around 1:00 pm for a flight time of approximately 1 hour 25 minutes.  We had a full beverage and snack service in flight, but I had also purchased a sandwich before boarding, because I knew I’d be in coach.

The highlight of my trip today was that I finally got to try out the Gogo Inflight Internet service on my new iPod Touch for $7.95.  It took the iPod a few minutes to connect, but once the connection was made, all I had to do was open the Safari, log into the Gogo account I had set up in advance, and I was off!  I was able to send and receive e-mail, as well as surf the Internet and make posts to a frequent flier forum, Facebook, and Twitter.  Having the Internet made my flight go by so quickly and I felt like I’d accomplished something, too.  I will be a Gogo customer again every time it is offered.

We landed on time around 2:30 pm, but we did have to wait about 5-10 minutes for our gate, A13.

Upon deplaning, I passed through security, to zone 2 ground transportation to catch my shuttle to Dollar for my rental car to New Jersey.  I was nervous at first, because I am not confortable driving in areas with which I am not familiar, but the drive to Toms River was quite pleasant and I had no trouble getting there with Gigi, my Garmin nüvi®.  Once I exited the Philadelphia metro area, the 45-50 minute drive on Route 70 East was very rural and relaxing, until the Toms River area, where I finished my drive in on Route 37 East.

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TRI-CVG-LGA on Delta 24 April 2009

DL 6027 TRI-CVG 615P-720P seat 12A EMB-145
DL 1218 CVG-LGA 800P-1005P seat 3B First Class 737-800

This trip was flawless.  I arrived at TRI about an hour before my flight, reprinted my boarding pass at the kiosk, and passed quickly through security.  I spent about 15 minutes in the TRI Business Center, aka our lounge, except without food.  Apparently most of the power outlets in there are not operational anymore, as I tried three cubicles, no go.

We boarded quickly, pushed back about 10 minutes early, and were airborne about five minutes early.  In-flight service was by request only.  We landed at 7:01 pm, 19 minutes earlier than scheduled, which gave me a quick 15 minutes in the Delta Sky Club in Concourse B at CVG.  My snacks included a glass of Chardonnay, chicken salad, chickpea salad with yogurt drizzle, and mixed nuts.

When I arrived at my gate, the plane was already boarding.  When I arrived at my seat, there was a pillow, blanket, and mini bottle of Dasani.  The flight attendant took my pre-departure drink order and I had an Amstel Light.

We pushed back early and departed about 10 minutes past scheduled departure.  In-flight services consisted of a full beverage and snack basket service and Delta television, which included “How I Met Your Mother,” “Big Bang Theory,” and “Delta Destinations.”  The snack basket contained Twix® bars, Biscoff cookies, Pretzel Crisps®, and peanuts. I had two of Delta’s signature margaritas made with tequila and Rande Gerber Midnight Bar Collection MixWe landed at 9:37 pm, 28 minutes early, which might be a record into LaGuardia!

12 Days of Travel: Day 3

Day 3 began very uneventfully, with breakfast and the final concurrent sessions of my conference at The Hotel Roanoke.  I did win a one-night stay with breakfast for two at the closing session, which was cool. I had lunch at the hotel before departing for the airport, peanut soup and a salmon Caesar salad. Yum!

3 Apr 2009
US 4158 ROA-LGA 4:48-6:45 PM Seat 4C Exit Dash 8-100

The wind in Roanoke had become quite blustery, with wind gusts up to 60 mph, and the weather in New York quite stormy, so I was anticipating some trouble.  And I was right, unfortunately.  The flight was originally delayed until midnight, then gradually easied back to 10:30 pm, 9:10 pm, then finally 8:50 pm.  I completely understood the weather and Air Traffic Control issues before me, but what bothered me was that the original gate agent in Roanoke was very uninformative.  For about three hours, she never made a general announcement in the boarding area, and people kept having to get up and ask her what was going on.  I personally got my updates from flightstats.com, usairways.com, and friends and family who checked other sources of information for me.  Finally another agent arrived and announced that he would update us every 30 minutes and/or if there was a change in the departure time.  Finally!

During my lengthly gate wait, I was thankful I had purchased food and had my computer, because it was a long sit. The Roanoke airport does not have anything past security except restrooms, gates, and a very small café, which closed around 7:30 pm.  The guy working in the café was nice enough to shout out a last call to us before he closed!

We finally boarded around 8:25 pm and after all was said and done, the plane was about half full.  I think some had left to try again tomorrow and some had managed to find other options.  However, US Airways did not transfer any tickets to other carriers when I was there.  All I heard the agent offer were flight options on US Airways the following day.

The wind was so strong when we boarded that the little Dash 8 was rocking at the gate.  We pushed back and were airborne by 6:44 pm, and was the climb out ever rocky!  That was probably one of the most turbulent takeoffs I’ve ever experienced.  Finally we got above the weather where it smoothed out considerably.

The in flight service was surprisingly good for an Express flight.  The flight attendant served us a full, complimentary beverage service, and gave us each three packages of Biscoffs.  I thought US Airways/US Airways Express discontinued free snacks, but apparently there was a stash of Biscoffs on board.  She also gave us each the entire can of our beverage of choice.

Our approach and landing into LaGuardia was also very turbulent and it seemed like the wind was still carrying us as we landed.  But we landed at 10:27 pm, making the total flight time one hour 43 minutes.  All-in-all, not a bad experience.  A nearly four-hour delay was certainly better than what could have been.

Airport Experience/Information Provided to Customers = D
In Flight Experience = A