Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trip Report - Delta Seattle to Tampa (DL metal)

Lots of changes at Delta since I last flew them on this same route:

- They bought Northwest Airlines
- Continued upgrades in Audio-Video equipment and inflight wi-fi
- Plus the consolidated all Sea-tac operations in the South Satellite (Boo!)

With Delta buying Northwest, they have been busy consolidating Airport Operations around the Globe. Some of these airport changes are easy - in SFO they were on the same concourse already and some of these changes mean Delta moves locations in the airport. In Seattle, Delta decided to leave the very nice semi-brand new, open and bright Concourse A to the rather dumpy, tram access-only South Satellite.
So they probably made this move since NWA still has a daily NRT flight and the South Satellite has the only Custom Facilities at Sea-Tac, plus I am not sure there are enough open gates on A without moving others around. Still, its just a shame that the move means that Delta left some very nice gates (and new-ish Crowne Room). Concouse A also has MUCH easier access to the terminal and Alaska Gates. Ok, my South Satellite rant is over.

One good thing for Delta in Seattle is that they still have a morning 767-300 flight to Atlanta. This is (by far) the nicest way to fly to Atlanta- otherwise its a 757, 737 or narrow-body Airbus connection. Today's aircraft was the Domestic 767-300 with seatback video and inflight wi-fi. The First Class seats had a USB port and RJ-jack -- both are REALLY hidden from view on the lower front of the middle section between the seats. Not sure anyone will know these are there.

View from Seat 3c on Delta 767-300:

The inflight service was extremely well done - it was almost like all the flight attendants were told to make this one flight the best ever (seriously). All the flight attendants were very nice and welcoming, even at the 6am boarding time. They were usually visible throughout the flight, unlike some other Delta flights I have taken. Not sure if this was a "one off" inflight experience or if its a real effort by Delta to improve the inflight experience. In any case, it really helped make the flight enjoyable, rather than annoying.

First Class Breakfast options were the traditional Delta Eggs and Links meal or Raisin Bran+Fruit+Yogurt. I opted for the cereal this was fine and a good "light" option compared to the egg dish.

We landed in ATL about 30 mins late (due to baggage loading delays in SEA). To make matters worse, the ATL Gate agent was really slow to bring up the jetbridge to the plane. So we all waited in the crowded aisles hoping to make our now very tight connections.

My connecting flight from ATL to Tampa was on an odd 757 aircraft. It had the big blue first class seats - but no seatback video and the bathroom was "original" -- making me think this was one of the ex-TWA 757s. There was inflight Wi-Fi, but its only a 1 hour flight so I didnt opt to use it.

View from Seat 6C on Delta 757-200 (maybe ex-TWA):

Inflight service was well done with a cheery inflight. The service was drinks and the Delta first class basket of goodies. I hope Delta knows that the first class basket of items is so much better than just throwing a bag of peanuts at folks. Its one of those small things that makes Delta First Class much better than United or US Airways.

Looking forward to my flight home on NWA to see how things have changed there.