Saturday, November 24, 2007

Trip Report - Delta Seattle to Providence (via JFK)

Delta Airlines Flight 30 - Seattle (SEA) to New York (JFK)
757-200, ex-Song aircraft
7am Departure

The first class cabin was showing about half full when I checked online, but it was full at departure time with lots of non-revenue passengers. This aircraft was an updated ex-Song 757 aircraft. It had the "new" first class cabin with 26 seats/7 rows and seatback video screens (PTVs as Delta calls them).

There was also a "for the long haul" paper package for each first class passenger. Nice touch.

On this flight the PTV's were working with only a couple Dish-TV channels not available. Here is the view from my seat at 5B:

Before the meal was served, the flight attendant came by and asked only a couple people for their choice. (Delta only stocks a limited amount of hot meals for first class). The choice was a hot egg omlete or a "cold plate" (meaning ceral and fruit).

Oddly, the Flight Attendant asked the "non-rev" Delta employee next to me for their choice first. The employee answered "Hot please". Not a big deal, but you would think the airline would want to provide -paying- passengers with a choice before their employees...but I guess not in this case.

Anyway, the meal was so-so...I have had better Delta meals on morning flights.

The flight attendants were professional and service was just fine for Domestic First Class. One major bonus: Delta serves Coke Zero (my current favorite soda).

Upon arriving in JFK, I was wondering if I had to switch terminals since Delta operates from Terminal 2 and 3. Luckily, there is a post-security walkway built between the two terminals. No need to re-clear security when connecting between Delta flights at JFK. Terminal 3 is still a bit dated, dark and under repair...while Terminal 2 has been updated, unfortunately the only JFK Crown Room is in Terminal 3 -- and is hidden way back by Gate 10.

I had a long layover at JFK which proved to be somewhat annoying. I was there during the big afternoon bank of flights. The overheads announcements where nonstop for about 2 hours. Here is a sample of the sounds from JFK near Gate 25:

Not a bad Delta flight experience, but I probably would not do another 2+ hour layover at JFK again.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hotel review - Hyatt San Francisco (Embarcadero)

Hyatt Regency San Francisco
5 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, California, USA

I have stayed at this Hyatt before so I kind of knew what I was in at this hotel. The best thing about this hotel is the location -- its located above the Embarcadero BART/Muni station and near the Ferry Building. Its one of the best locations of any 4/5-star hotel in San Francisco (less rift-raft, and better proximity to transit and things to do).

I checked in at close to 7pm on a Thursday -- the check-in was ok, the clerk said that they were pretty full (me thinking upgrade!)...but she then said "all I have is a room on the second floor". Oddly the woman before me was given a room on the Regency Club floor.

The clerk said it was on the quite side, and I was only staying for one night -- so it was acceptable.

However when I arrived at the room, it was clearly the "priceline" room. It was above the lobby-level restaurant (which you could hear through the floor), had a handicap bathroom -- with no tub, and was a bit "worn".

I found a nice stain on the floor and called the front desk -- she said there were other rooms available - but still only on the second floor. I passed on that and just decided to stay the night.

Here are some pictures of Room 238

Fairly large room with a decent desk and outlets for doing work. Regular TV -- nothing special.

I did have a balcony off the room with a view of the Ferry building, and it was on the "quiet" side facing the alley between the hotel and the Embarcadero Center.

The bathroom was a disappointment. The bathroom was huge, but there was only a very skinny shelf to put my stuff. Plus the shower had a low showerhead, as found in most handicap bathrooms.

Overall, its a nice hotel and is still 4-star in my book. However, I was NOT on a Priceline rate and I felt they really gave me a sub-standard room type. Plus they should have told me it was a handicap room prior to giving me the keys. The room was fairly clean, but the stain should have been cleaned prior to my arrival.

Great Location, good room.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hotel Review - Hampton Inn Providence Airport (PVD)

Hampton Inn & Suites Providence/Warwick-Airport
2100 Post Road, Warwick, Rhode Island, USA 02886

I had a flight at 6am the next morning, so I wanted to find a hotel next to the Providence Airport. This Hampton Inn is RIGHT NEXT to the airport. There are a couple other options including a dumpy looking Sheraton "Inn" that I saw, but this was one of the best options being newer and very friendly.

The shuttle Van is run "on demand"-- meaning, it comes when you call -- no having to wait for scheduled pick-ups. The Van ride is all of 2 minutes to the hotel from PVD airport.

The staff was very friendly and the hotel was very clean and comfortable. Although I did find the sign at the front desk that said "Local Police have reported several break-ins in airport hotel parking lots..." a bit worrisome. In fact, the area around the airport is a bit sketchy...but this hotel is well lit and seems to be secure.

The bed was comfy having a new mattress and I was given a handicap bathroom (but it was fine). Plus it had free wi-fi that worked well!

Here are some pictures of Room 310 at the Hampton Inn at the Providence airport:

After seeing some of the other hotels around the area, I would stay here again if I had to be by the airport. The free breakfast was decent and there is a nightly happy hour. One drawback - there is no restaurant at this hotel -- but there is a nice looking seafood place across the street. The Van driver told me -twice- he would take me anywhere within a 4 mile area if needed.

Overall this Hampton Inn is a decent 2/3-star airport hotel, very clean, and very friendly.