Trip Report – The Comfy Run: Atlanta to Newark

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

After touching down in Atlanta there was one thing that hit home about Atlanta airport.  This place is HUGE!  The taxi over took at least 10 minutes and then once I got out into the terminal itself I was dumbstruck at just how big it was.  When I got down to what they refer to as the “Center” point of the terminal… just wow.  I was in the E gates at this point, there was like 7 terminals and the departures monitor was MASSIVE!  It seemed to go on forever!  I knew Atlanta was big, but I didn’t think it was THIS big.

Atlanta is dominated by two Airlines.  Airtran (aka Southwest) and the biggest airline out there, Delta.  It is a see of Delta everywhere.  I was leaving from the A gates and not really sure where to go or what to do, I figured I would head to the nearest Skyclub to my gate and just camp out.  WRONG!  Dumbest idea everywhere.  The club was a Zoo!  Absolute mess.  I couldn’t even get someone to serve me a drink at the bar even if I had wanted to offer them a tip they wouldnt even recognise that I existed.  The club was in the new layout and design which was nice and it was good to see it in it’s full glory.  But DAMN!

I tweeted and facebooked out to see if someone would give me a better tip and a friend of mine who is East coast based suggested I either check out the secondary club on the A concourse (closed weekends) or flick over to the T gates which was one terminal over and a smaller non refurbished club.  So that’s what I did.  Smart move!  It was super quiet.  Though by this stage I only had about 20-30 minutes in the club before having to move head on back.  I figured if I walked back to the A terminal I could justify snacking on some of the goodies, like the Chocolate covered popcorn *drool*

Atlanta airport is still pretty sweet though, it is well staffed, well signposted and the trains between the terminals run every 60 seconds like clock work.  They have a timer at each station telling you when the next train will arrive, and it is not wrong.  Down to the very second that train will pull in and disgorge the masses of people.  I know I want to come back and do some work with Delta here now, there are an endless opportunities of things to write about here.

As I headed back towards the gate past the throngs of people I got a snap of my A319 that was going to wing me to the end of my 2nd day of this run and then I saw the snow start to fall.  I didn’t think it was that cold and it didn’t seem that bad at the time but it must of been just getting enough for a light sprinkling to start.  It was still pretty cool though.

Delta Airlines – DL2142
Atlanta to Newark
Airbus A319 (N361NB)
First Class – Seat 1A

Boarding: 1600 (Gate A1)
Push Back: 1636
Take off Roll: 1659 (Runway 27R)
Top of Descent: 1804
Touch Down: 1834 (Runway 4R)
Shut Down: 1843 (Gate 42)

Boarding was called and there was a little throng of people clammering to get onboard quickly.  Thankfully taking Row 1 i was guaranteed overhead bin space.  Which was fine with me.  The legroom though, no way!  Next time I am going Row 2.  This crew were super chirpy and friendly which started off good and I had barely been in my seat 2 minutes before I was offered a PDB.  Diet coke for me and I was set to start this flight.  I got myself settled and waited for everyone else to board and watch as bags got gate checked etc.  Ahhh the joys of people watching onboard.

We boarded pretty quickly and the door was shut a good 10 minutes prior to push back, but we still had to wait for our slot.  This was fine with me as it was my last leg for the day and all that awaited me at newark was a bed, some dinner and some sleep before getting up and doing it all over again, but a LOT longer day ahead, plan for this flight.  No technology.   Book, Ipod, Lunch, Window.  That is it.

The one thing you have to remember with Atlanta when you leave, is those schedules HAVE to be padded.  We were taxiing for a good 20 minutes before we were #1 for the runway.  There was plenty to see though. Delta MD88, Delta MD88, Delta MD88, Airtran 717, Airtran 717, Delta MD88 (you get the picture here).  But there was a good couple of shots obtained including a Southwest special livery and an Air France A330.

By the time it was our turn for takeover it was a spritely run down the strip, wheels off the deck, up and climbout.  The wierdest thing with the A320 family of aircraft is just the sounds it makes.  Unlike the CFM engines on the 737 it kind of makes a whiney noise.  This is where noise cancelling headphones come into their own and once I had mine going, I was set.  As we got into the air lunch orders were taken and it was a choice of a Pastrami and Swiss on Rye or a Cold Fried Chicken plate.  I figured i’m heading almost to New York, I gotta have a Pastrami sandwhich.  Diet coke ordered along with it and I was set for happiness.

Service started quite a while after that, almost 25 minutes into the flight.  I was kind of happy for this but not.  Sure it was good that I was in a leisurely mood but to be honest, I was thirsty.  But first up came the tiny little hot towels that Delta offers on their domestic service.  Tiny tiny tiny little flimsy towels.  But it was better than nothing!  Now the service started getting wierd.  Stuff was kind of just thrown at me and it felt as though the crew leader serving the first class cabin did not want to be there.  Well meh to you to!  The lunch looked good.  I was super impressed to see the Giant pickle and after realising all the vegies I had scoffed in the lounge would make the vegie portion of my lunch the sandwhich had a good serving of what looked like half decent pastrami and some nice cheese.  I figured I would avoid the cheesecake thingy and just stick to the fruit.

By the time I had finished lunch the tray was collected before I coud eat the cheesecake (which is good cause therefore I wouldnt have the temptation), my drink was offered as a refil and back to my book I went.  It was about this point as we were about to start descent mere moments later and my seat mate still hadn’t been served the meal he ordered.  The crew member had given his sandwich away and just never served it to him at all.  So he was stuck with nothing.  If that was me I would of been making a nice little complaint to Delta right there and then via the web app.  As we were descending before GoGo was switched off I checked in for the next days flights (thanks for free Delta app access in flight) and I had my boarding passes ready.

As we were into full descent I ended up chatting away with my seat mate as he was trying to work out if he had to go airside at Newark to go from Terminal B to C to be able to make his flight to India.    Sadly yes he did and this started to worry him a little but w were WAY ahead of schedule (almost 30 minutes at this point) and we just had a good chat on the way in. Talked about the usual things you do with a seat mate, I slipped him a business card and hopefully I will have a new client 😉

The flight dropped below the clouds and it was by now dark out so all you could see was lights everywhere.  Industrial facilities mainly and Jersey isn’t exactly known for it’s amazing scenery or anything  like that.  It is known as being i guess a nice term the “arm pit” of New York 😉

As we touched down and taxiied to the gate I was happy to be early as it meant that I had time to try and find myself some dinner.  What I did not expect was the shoddy looking nature of Newark Airport.  This place looked like a dump.  What did not help the fact was that just about everything was closed and the fact that the train connecting the terminals was shut down for the weekend.  Joy o Joy.

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