Roanoke to LaGuardia to Richmond to LaGuardia to Roanoke on Delta

I flew six segments in four days trying to make up some ground from the winter: June 30: ROA-ATL-LGA, July 2: LGA-RIC, July 3: RIC-LGA, and July 6: LGA-DTW-ROA. Overall the flights were good. Some of the highlights were:

*My original ROA-ATL took a delay, so I was able to rebook myself online to a later set of flights so I would not misconnect. I also retained my upgrade.

*ROA-ATL took a 20-minute hold in the air for wind shears reported in the ATL area due to storms in the vicinity. ATL-LGA took a similar residual delay from the earlier ground hold, but both flights still arrived on time.

*All of the Delta Connection flights (ROA-ATL, RIC-LGA, and DTW-ROA) had a standard beverage and complimentary snack service except for LGA-RIC. For some reason, we got the “due to the short duration” spiel. That same flight also took an ATC delay from LGA, at 9:30 am on Friday morning, July 3.  We took off an hour late after waiting in a long line to take off.  We were 16th for departure at one point.

*I had a standard meal service on the ATL-LGA flight, choice of a chicken wrap or a pasta chicken salad. We also had Gogo Inflight available.

*I flew on my first DC-9 aircraft from LGA-DTW.  It was also my first missed upgrade of 2010. The flight was completely full.  I was something like #7 of 11 on the list with one seat open. I had exit row seat 11B aisle on the two-seat side, which was fine, as it had excellent legroom. The DC-9-30 was in amazing shape on the inside and out, but it did still have the Northwest-style cloth seats. We had a beverage and snack service.  My only disappointment was that the plane was not catered with the coach BOB snack boxes, as I wanted one and I heard someone else near me ask for one. We were probably both thinking breakfast.

*My DTW-ROA flight aborted the first landing attempt at approximately 300 feet above the ground. The pilot said that a “caution light” had come on, requiring them to abort and go through a checklist before landing.

Overall score for the six flights = B+

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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.