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Save me San Francisco: MCI-SLC-SFO with Delta

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  • Save me San Francisco: MCI-SLC-SFO with Delta

    It seems like I haven't been on here in a while, but I have been busy balancing school and work and have not had very much free time, although I have continued following this site and all of the exciting things occurring in the airline industry over the past few months.

    About three weeks ago I was talking to one of my cousins about how I have not been to visit my family in San Francisco for a while, and I decided that if I found a reasonable fare, I would go. I searched the internet and found a really good fare on United for about $238 to go to SFO, but the problem was that it got into SFO and MCI on the return segment around midnight, and I'm sure that it would not have been fun for my family to pick me up from the airport at midnight. I then decided to check just for fun. I wasn't expecting much because when I've looked for tickets to CA in the past DL has been pricier than the other carriers, but I found one date that had a $238 fare as well, so I decided to book it.

    I was very excited to find this fare, and to be flying Delta again after not having flown them since 2002. Between first and third grade I remember being completely obsessed with Delta, and I still have drawings I did as a kid during art class of Delta aircraft, and all of my toys were DL 767 Real Toy aircraft. All of my friends knew I collected model and toy DL aircraft at the time, so I have a collection of about 7 Real Toy Delta airport play sets. (1 in Ron Allen 1997 colors, 5 in the "wavy gravy" livery, and 1 in the 2007 re-branded livery)

    I also remember my last DL flight being extremely fun. I flew them from SFO-SLC-MCI Christmas Day in 2002, and I have a old home video of the flight crew showing me the flight deck of a 737-200 before departing (boy, I feel old), and talking to a flight attendant after the flight.

    After not flying Delta in a long time, and having high expectations of them, I was excited to see how they have changed since emerging from bankruptcy and rebranding in 2007. I have especially loved their advertisements for their new "Keep Climbing" campaign, and I was excited to see how truthful these ads were. My favorite ad in this campaign is the "Action Reaction" ad, which points out how Delta has taken care of their customers.

    And in addition to that ad, their 2007 "Atlanta Anthem" rebranding ad takes 2nd place for being my favorite ad. It points out all of the new features available in the Delta product that they have changed.

    Arriving at the Airport
    I woke up around 2:30 a.m. to head to MCI, and I was wide awake from excitement. I started to head over around 3:30, and got to the airport around 4:40. To my surprise the airport was packed this early in the morning. Driving through terminal B to get to Delta, I passed by WN's ticket counter and the line was forming out of the door.

    I got to the Delta gates and checked in at a kiosk in about 30 seconds, and paid for my bag, and then found the ridiculously long baggage drop off line. It took about 35 minutes of waiting in that line before being able to drop off my bag and get it tagged by the agent. The line was full of tired travelers, but there was one employee who kept walking through the line and eased impatient travelers. She was very friendly, and happy for being up this early in the morning. She did a good job of talking to almost every passenger in that line making them feel special, making sure they had their boarding passes, and checking to see that everyone was going to be on time for their flight.

    After dropping off my bag, I started to head through security, and encountered more friendly employees. There was an older woman who just walked through the TSA line and found a way to make everybody laugh. She was great, and told jokes and sang, and did everything she could to make people feel more welcomed. I wish the TSA had more people like her working!

    After making my way through security, I sat down at my gate and saw N317US sitting there, ready to take me to Salt Lake City on board flight 1311

    Here is the flight aware info for the flight.

    Boarding seemed relatively calm for this completely full flight, nothing like my last trip with AA where I felt like I was part of a herd of cattle. The agents at the gate did a good job enforcing boarding zones, and kept the line organized and moving.

    I eventually found my way on board the A319, and found my way to row 23, where I was supposed to sit in 23A, but found someone sitting in my seat. I was confused, and talked to him and realized he was supposed to be in 23F, but just got confused because on the DL A319 the seat numbers and letters are not listed along the overhead compartments like people are used to, but instead on the area by the flight attendant call button and AC.

    Taxi and Takeoff
    Once everyone was settled we were on our way out. The FAs did a manual demo, and afterwords there was an endless stream of advertisements for the Delta Sky Miles program from the flight attendants. During every announcement I heard "if you are not a sky miles member and are interested in enrolling on today's flight, please be sure to see a flight attendant", which was followed by one of the FAs walking through the cabin with pamphlets about the program asking people if they would like to enroll. It apparently got the attention of some passengers, because I saw numerous people sign up for it, and the person next to me got an application for the DL AmEx card.

    Anyways, we were eventually on our way out to RWY 19L.

    A bunch of military jets outside of the old TWA/AA MX base

    Getting lined up and ready for departure

    A view of KMCI as we begin a turn to the west.

    Turning. Sorry for the bad quality of some of the pictures on this flight. My window was extremely dirty, and was covered with something sticky. I could get some good photos out of the window behind me, but it was a pain to do, because it basically put my elbow in my seatmate's face, and it was an awkward/uncomfortable position.

    Here is a video of taxi/takeoff. If you watch around 1:50 in the video you can hear the hydraulic system of the aircraft making a barking noise that is famous on the A320 series. I noticed that there was a lot more "barking" than what I'm normally used to on an A320, but I enjoyed listening to it. And then for some reason their are a lot of "dings" during the process, does anybody know if/how the hydraulic system and the dinging noise are linked?

    In Flight
    After passing through 10,000 feet we heard the usual announcement, plus an additional sky miles promotional announcement, and the crew began beverage service.

    The crew of this flight were all very friendly and professional. They seemed to work together really well, and were having fun engaging with customers as they served beverages. They also offered a great selection of "scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, french toast, waffles and pancakes that were disguised as either peanuts, biscoffs, or pretzels." I know this next statement will be an awkward thing to put in my trip report, but this flight crew seemed like a flight crew I would have on Southwest. They demonstrated a servant's heart assisting every passenger, and a fun-luving attitude by having fun with passengers while still maintaining professionalism.

    During the flight I was reading Howard Shutltz' book Onward and it was fairly interesting, but for some random reason I looked out of my window and luckily I just happened to see KDEN outside!

    I put down my book to take advantage of the best IFE anyone can ask airplane window

    We began to get closer to SLC and there were many clouds, and the pilots made an announcement to expect a bumpy approach

    Soon the Great Salt Lake came into view.

    The salt left some interesting patterns in the ground

    on approach over the lake

    Touchdown in SLC, my first time coming to this airport in almost 10 years!

    Here is a video of the approach and landing into SLC

    Layover in Salt Lake City

    After stepping off the plane, I was greeted by a 757 sitting at the gate across from mine.

    I had just over 3 hours to spend in Salt Lake City, and I had an adventure exploring the airport. I noticed that it had a lot of very nice amenities that appealed to everyone. They had a great variety of shops that sold cologne, watches, sun glasses, clothing, shoe shining, toys, and a lot more than what I am typically used to seeing at an airport. There were also outlets everywhere, nice areas to sit and eat, and socialize.

    Walking the concourses

    I eventually found my way down to the WN gates, which were located on ground level, which provided some interesting views of numerous DL, UA/CO RJs, and a few WN 737s.

    SLC was DL galore, and after a while I wanted to sit and rest, so I went to one of the areas in between concourses that provided numerous seats, and great views of the tarmac.

    One of the interesting things I noticed were the mini-rush hours that happened. Once 9am hit there were about 30 aircraft departing in a short time period, and once that rush was over it appeared to be a slow (well, slow compared to what it was like around 9) and steady pace.

    I eventually took my laptop out and used SLC's free wifi to check my facebook, email, stocks, and airline news. I was later joined by an elderly Indian woman who needed help connecting to the internet on her iPad, and she also had a lot of other random technology questions to ask me. She was interesting, and we had a nice discussion, except she was wearing noise cancelling headphones, and any time she wanted to talk to me she screamed "HELLO!!" at me really loudly.

    A picture of seats and the window. Sorry about the over exposure!

    A gaggle of DL Airbus aircraft (Airbii?)

    Around ten o'clock I headed to my gate for my 11:30 departure, and as soon as I sat down I got an email from Delta, and right when I opened it I heard the gate agent make an announcement that my flight to San Francisco was delayed about an hour due to air traffic control issues due to heavy fog in the SF area.

    I thought that the Delta representatives in Salt Lake City, as well as the email updates were very nice. The agents continuously talked to the passengers in the gate area every 20 minutes, and announced a potential for the delay to be shortened. Delta did a great job keeping passengers informed throughout the delay.

    I did notice a lot of people taking advantage of the numerous outlets throughout the terminal!

    My aircraft, N375B ready to take me to San Francisco

    Flight to San Francisco

    Here is the flight aware info for the flight

    The delay eventually ended up being about 45 minutes instead of one hour, and boarding eventually began.

    This flight was completely full, and everyone had an oversized carry on, so boarding did take a while, but the crew did a good job of making sure the line to get on the aircraft was moving.

    I eventually made my way to seat 26B, a middle seat , but upon getting to my seat I was excited to see this 737 was equipped with PTV's!

    A view out of my window before my seat mate arrived.

    A picture of the cabin. I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice IFE system like this in a domestic cabin, and was happy to see that Delta has invested time into upgrading their product.

    The famous Delta safety video

    Pretty soon I was beginning to forget about not having a window seat and distracted myself with the various features the IFE had to offer.

    I began with creating a personal playlist to listen to throughout the flight. They had a very good amount of options for music, and had a good amount of selection that appealed to a wide array of people. Here is a picture of one of the pages of the pop/hip hop tab

    in flight games

    I was able to get some shots outside of the window

    A picture of the seat!

    Eventually I wanted to check out TV, because I do not have cable at my house. I'm a business nerd, and of course I watched CNBC for a majority of the flight. It was interesting, and I was watching them discuss the new debt problems.

    And of course I had to check out Shark Week.

    An in flight map, something I am not used to seeing in flight!

    Over the sierra-nevadas

    We began our approach into SFO, and I saw SJC.

    Salt fields on the SF bay.

    We flew over the Dumbarton bridge.

    Notice the VX airbus off to the side of the pic

    the Virgin's shadow

    an air-to-air pic. The quality isn't too good, because I wasn't able to put my camera against the window.

    A slightly better picture.

    Coming in on 28R

    Making our way to the terminal.

    After the flight I chatted it up with the crew, and told them how much I appreciated their hospitality and great attitude on this flight. Delta is certainly different than any of the other legacies, the people seem to be very happy about their jobs, and they offer a great product to go along with that.

    the Delta terminal at SFO. I have not been here in such a long time, I remember being here as a kid watching aircraft taxi to 1 L and R.

    Some Virgin America aircraft

    I was taking a picture of the UA 767 taxiing in the battleship colors (my favorite livery!), and an ANA 777 hopped in the photo.

    I thought this looked cool. It was in the middle of the terminal.

    An A380. This bird is huge!

    While gazing at the sky, this Emirates 777 caught my eye. I think it might have been circling an approach to SFO, but I'm not sure.

    After getting my bag, I called my cousin and found out he was still in east bay, so I took that as my opportunity to explore the airport. I checked out T-2, and it looks really nice!

    I went back outside to the baggage claim level, and explored, and found a nice little spot where I could see airplanes. Unfortunately this was a security and police car parking area, and I got out of there after a few photos because I did not want to look suspicious.

    Eventually my cousin came to the airport and picked me up, and I got this picture of downtown San Francisco while driving on the San Mateo bridge.

    In the end my flight experience with Delta was great. They have a great staff that represent the brand really well, clean airports, consistent branding, combined with a superior domestic product. I was never expecting this much from Delta when I first embarked on my trip and was pleasantly surprised. I look forward to booking future trips on Delta, and I definitely enjoyed my experience on the AVOD equipped 737, and will be willing to chose Delta on future trips even if they are a little bit more expensive.

    Thank you for reading my report, comments would be appreciated!

  • #2
    That's a great flight review, I enjoyed it, great photos too. Looks like DL's domestic product is pretty cool.