Seattle to San Francisco
Aloft San Francisco Airport
San Francisco to Atlanta
Atlanta to Newark
Fairfield Inn & Suites Newark
Newark to Minneapolis
Minneapolis to San Francisco
San Francisco to Seattle
Saturday 2nd March 2013
I was dropped off pretty much exactly where I had gotten onto the shuttle a mere 5 hours prior. Not much time really for any form of relaxation but I was freshly washed, watered (though not caffinated yet) and looking forward to a bit of WiFi to resync back into the world. There was no one in the Sky priority lane at this hour but the Frontier/US Airways check in at the other end of T1 with their own security point was an absolute mess. After waiting in the line for a few seconds as though the lady standing right in front of me couldn’t see me I was beckoned over to a different desk and handled quickly and efficiantly. My Velocity card was accepted without a question and I was soon checked into Newark. Back up boarding passes in hand (was going to try and use the mobile boarding passes again as Delta only seems to issue flimsy paper receipt style boarding passes) and I was going to head through security.
Thankfully i stopped to clear up my stuff as the signs to the Skyclub seemed to point outside of security. Odd.. I headed to a sign pointing the direction towards the Skyclub and it stated “The Delta Sky Club is outside security”. Well that kind of sucked, as I was hoping to clear security now when the line was quiet and not closer to the flight boarding time when it would probably be a zoo. That and the fact it was about 20 minutes till the club opened would of been perfect had I been clearing secuirty now. O well. I went up to scope out where it was and came back to use the free WiFi in the terminal for a bit. I caught up on my blogs that had downloaded over night in my RSS feeds and headed up to the club once it opened for a coffee.
The Skyclub has a bare entranceway to it, and felt ok but it was the fact that it had coffee, some breakfast (not that I wanted any, other than a bit of dried fruit/trail mix to get me through to the time breakfast would be served onboard) and some comfortable quiet seating, it was fine. There was a small view of the ramp and I could see my A330 dominating the ramp. It must of come in from somewhere in Asia overnight. The lounge wasn’t the new look of the MSP or Seattle club but still good and nice none the less.
Usual breakfast offerings and the oatmeal looked half decent with not much water present today (not as bad as Seattle’s water with some oats mixed in). I grabbed a coffee, some trail mix (oo0o0 yoghurt coated pretzels are awesome) and grabbed a seat to get the first part of the trip report online.
With about 30 minutes to boarding I packed up and headed out to the security checkpoint, knowing it was going to more than likely be a zoo. Which it was. An absolute zoo of people waiting in both the Sky Priority lane and the general security queue. Got to love it. One thing that suprised me though was they had Clear access. A service kind of like a paid priority line, in the 10-20 minutes I was in line at the check point, no one used it. Although it wasn’t a TSA checkpoint but private security they were as ruthless about carryons and pat downs as the TSA are. No big difference really. Just no screaming.
With 5 minutes to boarding I made it through the check point and made a brief bathroom pit stop before scooting straight to the gate and after tying my shoe in what I thought was going to be an empty part of the boarding area as I stood up I was in the queue for the Skypriority line. I had inevitably become gate lice without even trying.
Delta Airlines – DL1580
San Francisco to Atlanta
Airbus A330-200 (N859NW)
First Class – Seat 5A
Boarding: 0545 (Gate 46)
Push Back: 0630
Take Off Roll: 0639 (Runway 01R)
Top of Descent: 1315
Touch Down: 1345 (Runway 28)
Shut Down: 1356 (Gate E26)
Pre boarding was done and this included a guide dog. What a site was to see all these people part ways for a lady and her seeing eye guide dog. As they got priority boarding way before a lot of people, and there was even a few disgusted looks. I didn’t mind. As long as the guide dog wasn’t my seat neighbour and if it was, it didn’t pee on my legs 😉
When First Class was called the queue started to move forward and off I went down to the aircraft. Everyone was boarded by one door into 2L which was lucky for those in the Front F cabin as they wouldn’t have everyone trudging past them but I chose the mini cabin for a reason row 5 had more space than any other row from what I remembered of these seats from years ago. A good start when you are greeted onboard by a fun sounding flight attendant, especially at this hour. I settled into 5A pretty quickly and asked while he had a few moments for the Tail number. This puzzled him as he had apparently never heard this question before and asked me why I wanted to know as I could track it online with the flight number. I told him that I kept a record of the actual aircraft I flew on. This got a wierd look.. hah!
As everyone boarded we eventually got a PDB (being on the door side they were trying to let the cabin fill up so as not to get in the way) of my choice. A lot of people were choosing Bloody Marys at this hour but I stuck with some coffee as there was already a mini bottle of water at my seat (though no where to put it). The seats were the old Northwest BusinessFirst seats from a number of years ago but they had been recovered into Delta colours/feel. Though angled lie flat it is way better than a standard domestic class seat on any of the other airlines, and not bad for a 4 hour flight to be honest. The only thing is the lack of storage, there is just none at all! Not good for an international flight. It wasn’t all bad though I could cope.
By the time the door was shut I had a quick chat with my seat mate at times and as we were taxiing towards the runways i was asked to “turn off that device” to which he pointed at my camera. Wierd. First time thats ever happened (didn’t last long as I had it back on taking photos of the amazing run rise once he was out of sight). The taxi was quick as we were heading for the 1’s for dual take offs. Though with our size, we probably wouldn’t be racing anyone. They were staggering the take offs rather than racing them (which would of been more fun to race a CRJ down the strip).
I barely thought we were airborne and we kind of gracefully headed north a few wierd turns before turning right and east towards Georgia. As we climbed out breakfast orders were taken and I settled in to wait for the seat belt sign to come off so I could get up and grab my laptop as the bulkhead row doesn’t allow any bags to be kept down. Once off I jumped up and grabbed my bag but by this time they were laying out tablecloths for breakfast way before they normally would have as we didn’t even have a drink order yet and had barely had a hot towell handed to us. I was just going to chill out, watch a movie on the TV (first movie I saw I went with… Lincoln) and wait until I had finished breakfast before whipping out the laptop and working on the trip report and some letters that needed to be written. I was going to enjoy these next 2 days. Stuff it! I have worked hard the last month and I was going to relax for once, in preparation for what was sure to be a busy couple of weeks prior to heading home.
I was offered a beverage of which I already had water so, the coffee was consumed in earnest, sadly it was a bit cold so would probably have to wait for a fresh pot. No complaigning though. By the time I had finished my coffee my breakfast tray showed up along with a choice of bagel or crossaint. I went with bagel but declined the cream cheese in favour of some butter (just a little) as I had some yoghurt on the tray for a bit of extra calcium today. Raisin bran with low fat milk, fruit, yoghurt and a bagel with jam. Not a bad breakfast really.
By the time I had finished I was well into my movie and got stuck into the trip report and just wrote away for the next few hours. The flight just zoomed on by really. A few coffee refils (be it extremely slowly offered… VERY slow). The crew must of been new as there were numerous times I heard “wow I like this” or “do you know where this is” or at times when they were obviously trying to communicate with others and a PA announcement was made hearing “Hello? Hello?”
About an hour and a half out of Atlanta the snack basket was handed around offering Banana’s, chips, muffins, chocolates, biscoffs and some other things I could’t quite see. I grabbed a banana (as they seem to be a rarity whenever I fly) and a blueberry muffin. With some more water that was offered (though my glass of ice was forgotten about until i had to ask again, and no refils of water offered either) I had a good snack. As we neared the 1 hour out mark, a bit of bumpiness as the seat belt sign was turned on and then 5 minutes later an annoucement advising us we should be following the seat belt sign and NOT getting up (didn’t stop people though).
With about 45 minutes to go I started to pack up my trash and get myself sorted as I knew I would have to put my bag away earlier than most people would. The flight had been good but the service spotty. I eventually found out what the aircraft was and we were done and dusted. Started initial descent into Atlanta and all I could see below was clouds. Nothing all that bad really. A pretty quick descent and soon enough we were on the ground at Atlanta. Way off in the middle of now where. I knew Atlanta was big. I didn’t know it was THIS big. The taxi from the runway we landed on over to the Terminals was almost 10-12 minutes. Crazy!!! It was a sea of Delta and Airtran jets everywhere.
I saw 2 US Airways, 1 american and a lone United but other than that, it was Delta everywhere. MD’s and 737s as far as the eye could see! We pulled into the E gates (which seems to be the international terminal as the gate information said the flight was heading to Rome after Atlanta and once pulled up and parked, people were already scrambling for the door. Meer moments after that door opened i was being pushed towards the door and the massive airport that is Atlanta.