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DFW-ATL-BWI-ATL-DFW on DL (Warning: Long delays)

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  • DFW-ATL-BWI-ATL-DFW on DL (Warning: Long delays)

    The purpose of this trip was two things: T & A....otherwise known as my cousin's bachelor party which was centered around the Preakness in Baltimore and some "events" in DC. I booked this ticket through, I was planning on flying Continental (who I try to fly on most of the time domestically) but their fares rose significantly at the last moment, and I was only a few thousand miles short of a DL award ticket to, it looked like it was going to work out okay for me.

    Fri., May 16
    Delta Flt. 992
    Dallas/Ft. Worth-Atlanta (DFW-ATL)
    Scheduled time of dep. and arr.: 5:40AM-8:50AM
    Actual time of dep. and arr.: 6:25AM-9:26AM
    Equipment: 737-800
    Seat: 31F

    Before I went to bed I checked the forecast and saw that there were some storms that were supposed to roll through the Metroplex between 1 and 3 in the morning. Of course, when I walked out to my car at 3:15AM there was no sign of it raining. I drove to DFW...luckily there was no traffic at this hour. By the time the Park and Fly shuttle bus dropped me off at Terminal E it was 4:00AM. Delta doesnt open its ticket counters until 4:15, but a line had already formed for this early flight, with most of the travellers connecting onto the South African flight to Jo'burg. The ticket counter really didnt open until 4:30, and even then there were only 2 agents on duty. Luckily, I was pretty far ahead in line, and it only took me about 10 minutes to reach the front of the line and get denied an exit row window for both flights (damn!). I quickly got through security, and saw that a newsstand was actually open. I grabbed my paper and as I was paying I saw a huge bolt of lightning out the terminal window. Within moments, the sky had opened up, and it was raining cats and dogs with some nasty lightning. By 5:20, we still had not begun boarding the a/c, and the gate agent announced that due to the weather we wouldnt be boarding until the captain thought it was prudent. Finally at 6:00AM we began boarding the completely sold out flight (I dont know how a 5:40AM flight sells out). At this point, I am pretty worried about my connection, considering it is scheduled to leave at 9:30AM. I ask the gate agent if she would consider it necessary to rebook me, she says, "Go board the aircraft." Thanks a lot for your help. The aircraft finally taxies from the gate a little before 6:30, no takeoff sequence this morning at DFW...just taxi to the end of the runway, make the turn, and fire up the engines.

    Once in the air, we are hit by some turbulence, nothing too severe, but it was a bumpy flight the entire way to ATL, none-the-less. Delta Horizons begins playing on the IFE, which consisted of small LCD screens that fold down from overhead in front of every few rows. Boring stuff on Delta usual. Instead, I flip through my paper, and read some magazines. About midway throught the flight the F/A's finally are able to make it to my row (2nd from the last) for "light snack" service. The snack consisted of those good little Biscoff biscuits/cookies/crackers/whatever. We were only given one packet (2 crackers) in addition to our choice of beverage...mine was a cup black coffee, which was served in a mini cup. C'mon Delta, its a freaking cup of low-grade coffee that probably cost about 2 cents, the least you could do is give me a normal sized cup. After the f/a's had collected the trash, the connecting gate information was displayed on the LCDs.

    We landed in Atlanta where it was muggy and foggy (just as I remember it!....I lived in ATL for 5 years), as it turns out, the South African 744 had followed us on descent.

    By the time we parked at the gate and I had gotten to the front of the cabin, I stopped to look at my watch....9:31AM. My flight to BWI was scheduled to leave at 9:30AM. I made an all out sprint from B2 to B26...the boarding door was closed, but the 767-200 was still at the gate. I knew they wouldnt let me on, so I stuck my tail between my legs and walked to the Customer Service Center to be rebooked, only to find that the service center had been replaced with Delta Direct, a bank of phones that connected to a customer service agents. All you had to do was be rebooked by the agent over the phone and pick up your ticket at the counter next door. I was originally supposed to meet my cousin and his friends in Baltimore for lunch, but I knew I couldnt make it, so I might as well go into DCA, where we would all meet that evening...right? Not according to the woman on the other end of the phone who I explained the entire situation to. According to her, since my flight had been delayed to the weather they could not accomodate me on a flight to National. Instead, they would put me on an RJ to BWI that departed at 11:50 and arrived at 1:35. I was not too pleased considering I would have to take the MARC down to DC which runs about every hour....hardly convienient.

    Delta Flt. 5934 (op. by Comair)
    Atlanta-Baltimore (ATL-BWI)
    Scheduled time of dep. and arr.: 11:50AM-1:35PM
    Actual time of dep. and arr.: 12:35PM-2:17PM
    Equipment: CRJ-200
    Seat: 8F (exit)

    For the next couple hours I spent my time wandering through my old home airport. Nothing much had changed in the past year since I had left. I took the train to Concourse C, so I would arrive right in time for boarding....I knew there wasnt much to do there. If you have never been to ATL, I recommend staying away from Concourse C if at possible. It has to be the most disgusting terminal in the U.S.---this can probably be attributed to AirTran passengers and the characters that head off on ASA to places like Dothan, Alabama and Florence, South Carolina. Lets put it this way, in Terminal C, the mullet never goes out of style. The DL Connection side of terminal itself is dark, dank, and gloomy, with cheap
    office style chairs in the gate areas. I also have a sneaking supisicion that DL relegates its more homely gate agents to Terminal C duty. When I arrived at the gate, the flight information monitor was flashing a departure time of 12:20. When I enquired as to the reason for our delay I was rather surprised to hear..."A broken faucet." As it turned out the entire fresh water system was malfunctioning. Finally, we began boarding and headed down the stairs to the tarmac where our CRJ (in Landor colors) was waiting. This was my first time on Comair, so I was interested on how the interior compared to that of ASA. Unlike ASA, the seats were outfitted in blue leather, instead of cloth. Not bad. Pretty comfortable least on the exit row.

    I usually detest flying regional carriers for their shoddy and inconsistent service, but this flight attendant was great. First of all, she apologized profusely that we would have no fresh water on this flight. Once our flight finally got underway, she came through the cabin at least five times offering more pretzels, snack mix, drinks, and Biscoff cookies. I had my fill of pretzels and snack mix after the third round, so I tried to go to sleep. Too bad the guy next to me was chewing my ear off. Nice guy, but I dont think he realized that I was up at 2:45AM. We began our descent into BWI, and were promptly rocked by some hard turbulence. The chop continued until we were below the clouds (at around 1,000 ft.). Unfortunately, at BWI there is no big slinky, and it was raining quite heavily as we exited the aircraft and walked up a set of air stairs into the gate. By the time I entered the terminal I was thoroughly soaked. Somehow, my bag had made it onto my originally ticketed flight...go figure, and it was waiting for me when I got down to baggage claim.
    After a weekend full of drunken mischief and other hijinks, it was time to head home. The infield at the Preakness was an absolute blast...and the bachelor party requirement of T and A was fulfilled.
    Sun., May 18
    Delta Flt. 1448
    Baltimore-Atlanta (BWI-ATL)
    Scheduled time of dep. and arr.: 7:05PM-9:02PM
    Actual time of dep. and arr.: 10:40PM-12:03AM
    Equipment: 757-200
    Seat: 26F (exit)

    As it turned out, my cousins were leaving Baltimore at around 12:00PM, so I was dropped off at 1:00PM at BWI. Leaving about 6 hours before my flight back to Atlanta. I checked in at 3:00, and just hung around the airport and took some pictures from the observation deck and terminal. I actually took a cab out to the observation park, only to find that the a/c were taking off past the park, not landing. Just my luck. Somehow, it took 25 minutes to get through security at BWI, which is rather pathetic. The inbound aircraft arrived a bit late, and we were notified that our departure would be pushed back to 7:35. I went to Pizza Hut to grab some dinner, which was absolutely disgusting, and when I walked back to the gate I noticed that our new departure time was now 8:10. we go again. The gate agent made an announcement that due to thunderstorms in ATL, there was a ground hold, and pretty much all connecting flights would be affected by this so there was no need to worry about the connections that you are holding.

    At 8:20, we were able to board the aircraft. Prior to getting on the plane, I asked the gate agent just to make sure that my connecting flight to DFW was delayed. He didnt even check the flight, he said "everything has been pushed back by one to three hours." Once on board the aircraft, the captain came on the p.a. system welcoming us on the flight, and announcing the ground stop should be lifted in a few moments allowing us to begin the flight. However, the doors remained open, and 20 minutes later the flight attendants were serving snack mix and bottles of water, and started the Delta Horizons presentation. The captain came on the p.a. again, notifying us that we had "missed our slot" and a new ground stop order had just come down because there were now too many a/c in the air heading to Atlanta. By 10:00, Delta Horizons was over, and the door was still open, and the ground hold was still in affect. The flight attendants were allowing passengers to get off the plane to see what kind of alternate arrangements they might be able to secure. I decided to do this, as I might be able to get out the next morning, and secure a hotel on DL's tab.

    However, the same guy who had been so thorough in looking up my connecting flight information was the guy I was now talking to. And let me tell you, this guy was a pathetic sack of crap. You could tell this guy just wanted his shift to be over. The guy was mumbling, completely rude, and totally unhelpful. He said he could put me on a flight out of IAD at 5:30AM the next morning....huge help....yeah, right. I enquired as to a free or discounted night at a hotel at IAD (which wouldve been problematic anyway due to the lack of public transportation), he told me, "Uhhh, its your choice to get off the aircraft, so I wont help you with a hotel." Whatever. I decided to reboard, and see how things panned out in ATL.

    When I got back on the plane the flight attendants had started the movie "Daredevil." Finally, about half an hour later, the captain informed us that the ground stop had been lifted and once we had the necessary paperwork and recieved our release we would be on our way. Right after takeoff, I fell asleep and really didnt wake up until our final approach into Atlanta. Once on the ground, the flight attendants gave us instructions to check the monitors in the terminal and to proceed to the gate that was holding the next flight to our final destination.

    When I finally got off the aircraft, I checked the flight information monitor. Surprise, surprise, my ticketed flight to DFW had already left, and the only flight left was the 11:30PM (delayed) ASA flight to DFW, which I knew was sold out anyway. I asked the person meeting our flight whether I really have to go out to Concourse C (we arrived at T) when I was 99% sure that I was not rebooked on that flight because it was overbooked in the first place. He told me to go there anyway. On my way to the train, I noticed a couple gate agents that were about ready to shut down their gate for the night. I stopped and asked if she could do me a huge favor and check on my flights. She obliged, and told me I was on a 1PM flight to Birmingham with a connection to DFW the next day, as all the morning non-stops to DFW were already full. I asked her instead to book me on a non-stop in the evening, if one was availible. She asked if I had friends in the area, and I responded that this was my former home town. She told me that my checked bag would be on the first flight to DFW in the morning, and I was confirmed on the 5:30PM flight.

    I proceeded to the landside ticket counter and was given an option in hotel vouchers...$89 for a night at the Renaissance ATL Airport, or $49 at the Holiday Inn Express. Real tough decision here, considering I had stayed at the Renaissance a few times before and the airport views are unbelieveable. I recieved a small amenity kit (all my essentials were in my checked bag), and hopped on the bus to the hotel.

    Mon., May 19
    Delta Flt. 195
    Atlanta-Dallas/Fort Worth (ATL-DFW)
    Scheduled Dep. and Arr.: 5:30PM-6:46PM
    Actual Dep. and Arr.: 6:12PM-7:17PM
    Equipment: 757-200
    Seat: 36F

    I woke up at around 8:30, called some of my old buddies from high school. Unfortunately, everyone I called was either A.) asleep B.) working C.) carless or D) still at college. So, I decided to do the next best thing....head out to the airport and take pictures from the terminal.

    Several hours later, I headed to my gate, only to find that the arriving flight attendants from a BNA flight were late, so we would be delayed about 40 minutes. Luckily, this delay wasnt too obnoxious. The aircraft was quickly boarded, and on our way out to the runway I saw a Polynesian 738 taxi weird is that? Again, I was completely exhausted so I quickly fell asleep and didnt wake up until we were approaching the city of Dallas on approach. I saw my street, but you cant really see specific houses because of the trees and the height of tha a/c.

    After we landed, I was able to collect my luggage from a baggage closet, and got on the shuttle bus to grab my car.
    Hope you enjoyed my report.

  • #2
    Should have gone with CO. apparently the infield was a lot more calm than last year--could have been the fact that it was wet. The flights problems may have been related to the fact that it has been raining forever here in Md. Good report.


    • #3
      Great report. Very informative!


      • #4
        Great report JCS, this is just like my return from Spring Break, weather delays and lousy customer service. I have to agree with what you said on Concourse C.