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Keep Climbing: DL SFO-ATL-MCI, and WN MCI ramp tour

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  • Keep Climbing: DL SFO-ATL-MCI, and WN MCI ramp tour

    This trip report is about the return segment to my stay in SFO, you can find my trip report for my flight to SFO here.

    I want to start out with another one of my favorite Delta advertisements that show the human factor to an airline. I think their new Keep Climbing ad campaign has some of the best airline ads I have ever seen, and think that they are doing an excellent job connecting to customers with this campaign.

    Arriving at the airport

    I got to the airport around 5a.m. on August 9th for a 7:15 departure on board DL 114 to Atlanta.

    The entrance and international terminal at SFO.

    My cousin soon dropped me off at the Delta check in area, and I was on my way. I stopped by a kiosk to check in and when I tried to pay my baggage fee, and the kiosk was not processing my credit card. I was a bit worried that something was wrong with my card, because I did not have too much cash left after my trip, but I saw an agent and got it settled.

    Soon after I went through security, and a TSA agent who seemed to have trouble speaking English asked me what time my flight departed, and I said 7:15, and she responded "Mijo, es no 7:15 flight, do you mean 7:30, yes you leave at 7:30". I showed her my boarding pass that said 7:15, and she just told me to continue.

    After that, I proceeded to the area where you take off your shoes and belt, and was behind a family that took forever to put their stuff on the belt. I was about to walk through the metal detector when a TSA agent pulled me to the side and told me to go to the full body scanner. I did not really have too much of an issue with it. It was fast, and made a cool whooshing noise while it was running. (I'm easily entertained if you can't tell )

    After going through security I was greeted by this F9 flight getting ready to fly to Kansas City. (an old YX Route)

    I sat in the gate area and plane spotted for a bit. I tried to eat breakfast, but I wasn't too hungry, and realized I could probably find something cheaper in Atlanta because the DL gates at SFO has a bar, and a coffee shop, and both were really over-priced, even for airport food.

    The gate area.

    I did look around for Delta Real Toy aircraft to add to my collection. I don't really actively look for them any more, because I'm a lot older now, but I did want to add a DL 2007 rebranded livery to my collection, because I have the 1997 Ron Allen Colors and 2002 "wavy gravy" as well, and thought that this would be a nice edition. But it was $13 at SFO! I would not have paid more than $7 for this. (thankfully, I found one for only $5 in ATL!) And the other thing I noticed is that the shops in the airports only sell the airline that operates out of that terminal + air force one. I can't believe how many over priced AF1 toys exist out there!

    A bunch of Virgins getting ready to fly across the country

    A picture of an empty gate area. SFO was actually pretty neat and tidy.

    I soon ventured down the terminal and saw my 767-300 sitting there. The end of the terminal does not have windows, so this was the best photo I could get of it.

    An empty gate with the city of Milbrae in the background

    During my plane spotting I saw this UA 767 in battleship colors! I will miss these when they are gone! As a kid, when I lived near SFO I remember the endless sea of grey UA aircraft.

    A WN jet being pushed back

    Boarding was about to begin, and that is when I heard an announcement that the flight was oversold and that they would be giving away a free ticket, and partial refund to anyone willing to give up their seats. I got to the counter as fast as I could to take this offer, but unfortunately someone beat me to it! After everything got settled boarding began, and for a fully loaded 767, boarding went by pretty quickly. On this flight I noticed something I forgot to mention in my last trip report, which was that Delta has a pretty good selection of music that is playing while boarding. I did not notice it, as it was very subtle, but it was definitely a very nice touch. I wish Delta would continue to post boarding music play lists on their blog like they did in the past.

    I made my way to 39A, a seat I was excited to get, because when I booked this flight no window seats were available, only seats in the middle section of the 767, but I went to the "my trips" section of to see if that had changed a few days prior to departure, and I saw that there was one window seat open and I took it!

    Flying to Atlanta

    I appreciated seeing the PTV's on board, but the condition of some of the seats was not too great. There were some seats that had torn seat covers, others that looked worn out and wrinkled, and the guy in front of me was complaining about a weird gooey substance covering his seat and requested a blanket to sit on.

    A view out of my window of an HA 767

    Pretty soon we were being pushed back and the engines started, and the safety video was being shown

    Taxiing out to 1R

    We were lining up on the runway, and I saw this AA738, and I was hoping for a parallel takeoff, but it got a 15 second head start over us.

    Getting lined up on 1R

    Taking off, going through lower level clouds/fog.

    Breaking through

    Making adjustments to get on course to Atlanta

    The fog clearing up as we fly over the eastern part of the bay area

    Over NV

    In flight map

    I soon was scrolling through the IFE options and was considering purchasing a movie, or premium TV show. I was debating between watching Fast Five or seeing why some people are obsessed with a tv show called Entourage. The descriptions didn't appeal to me, so I tried to watch satilitte TV, and nothing appealed to me either, so I just listened to their rather large music selection for the 4 hour flight.

    Some of the music selection

    I thought this was a rather cool feature in the IFE. The reading light controls, and FA call button were a part of it. I wonder how many times people will accidentally hit the FA call button when trying to turn their reading light on

    Pretty soon in flight services started, the options were a selection of coke products and either biscoffs, peanuts, or pretzels. I opted for the biscoffs and a coke. The flight attendants were very friendly and did a great job interacting and joking with passengers

    As good as Delta's in-flight product is, the window is always the best entertainment! I am amazed by some of the beautiful formations that can be seen from the air.

    About 1/3rd of the way to ATL.

    A photo of some of the music selection on the flight

    I liked that they had my favorite tv network, CNBC. I was able to monitor the stock market while in flight.

    A photo of the cabin

    Throughout the flight I noticed several other aircraft in the air, but it was always too late, and I couldn't get my camera to focus on them. I finally was able to get a shot of a UPS Airbus using the 35x zoom on my camera

    Flying over the southwestern most part of Kansas

    Edging our way closer to ATL!

    There was a pretty good amount of clouds, and the flight deck warned everyone about turbulence and got the flight crew to do their pre-landing checks early to take their seats.

    The approach was bumpier than a usual one, but nothing terrible

    About to land in ATL

    ATL is definitely a Delta mega-fortress

    Pulling into my gate in Concourse A

    This aircraft was wifi equipped

    A shot of the seat backs

    I thanked the crew for an amazing flight, and was able to go into the flight deck of a 767 for the first time!

    A shot of me in the captain's seat!


    The jetway with DL Branding

    Layover in Atlanta

    I had about 5 hours to spend in Atlanta, and as soon as I stepped into the terminal it seemed kind of dark and cramped. There were large windows in a lot of different places, but then there were also certain gates that had no windows at all.

    A shot of my 767

    I was surprised to see a Dunkin Donuts in Atlanta, but I stopped by and chatted with the employees, because I work at a Dunkin in the Kansas City area.

    I just got an unsweetened iced tea and sat by a window and watched planes

    A Sky Team 757 logo jet!

    After about an hour of spotting, I wanted to explore the airport some more. I rode the tram from concourse T to E several times, and had a lot of fun doing so!

    I eventually found my way at a lot of ASA gates, and saw a bunch of windows over looking the runway, and I sat there for about another hour.

    I noticed this 757 that took off in about half the distance of all of the other aircraft, and made a very quick turn after take off. I think it was either a ferry flight, or a really light load.

    I ventured to the Air Tran gates, and saw the Orlando Magic Air Tran logo jet

    I saw it was getting closer to my departure time, and made my way to gate E27 and explored the E concourse while doing so. It was very nice, and a lot more modern looking than the other ones. They had a lot of great shops and dining selections, and a nicer atmosphere in the terminal.

    Flying corn

    My 757 at gate E27. When I got there the gate area was empty, except for about 4 Air Tran flight attendants who were talking about how much they hated working for Air Tran. I started talking to them, and they were actually really interesting to talk to. They told me fun stories about their favorite/least favorite moments working for an airline, and then how they are excited to be integrated with Southwest in the next few years. They seemed really excited about trying to get SWA's flight attendant contract.

    The DL corporate offices

    A DL MD80 departing

    An FL 737

    Flight to Kansas City

    After a bit of spotting, the gate area started to fill up, and boarding for flight 1587 to Kansas City began.

    Boarding was fairly organized, and it was my 4th completely full flight in a row

    A shot of my 757 before boarding

    I made my way to seat 36A, and got a quick shot

    A shot of the seat

    out of my window

    We soon were on our way out to the runway, where we were #7 for take off

    While waiting for our turn to take off, I got to watch a bunch of CRJs, MD80s, and this 753 take off. It was very exciting to hear the noise of the engines of these aircraft revving up for take off, and the way they shook the ground after they passed by

    We soon were cleared for takeoff, and I got this shot of ATL from the air


    I got lucky with another air-to-air shot, this time of a BA 744, but my camera did not have enough time to focus on it.

    The sun was beginning to set. Watching clouds/the sun from the air during dusk and dawn is probably one of my favorite things to do.

    We soon were beginning our descent into Kansas City. There were quite a bit of clouds, and it was a bumpy, but interesting approach.

    Approaching KC from the south

    For those of you familiar with the Kansas City area this is a shot of the Plaza area and part of the UMKC campus.

    About to cross the MO river

    On our way down to 1R

    I felt some pretty interesting last minute adjustments during the landing, but it was a lot of fun. We eventually made our way to the gate area.

    I thanked the flight crew again, and had a small discussion with them about what it was like to work at DL. This flight crew seemed to love their jobs, and did an amazing job working together throughout the flight. I got to visit the flight deck of this 757, and when I first saw this photo I thought it was a double of the shot on the 767.

    Economy class

    I soon collected my bags, and walked into the baggage claim area to talk to the employees and to tell them about my great experience with Delta. They were happy to see someone who was not complaining about a broken or lost bag.

    I called my ride up, and they were still about 40 minutes away so I hung out at the airport for a bit, and got this shot of my 757.

    Overall my flight experiences with Delta were great. Almost all of their employees that I came in contact with were positive, their in flight product was great, and they had a lot of different flight options to chose from. I would definitely consider flying them again in the future.

  • #2
    While I was waiting for my ride, I decided to go down to the other end of terminal B and say hi to the Southwest Airlines people. I also wanted to see if one of the operations managers who I have interacted with on the Southwest Airlines Kansas City FB page was working, to say hi, and he was in fact working.

    A few months ago I was offered a tour of the airport, but was not able to do it on that trip because of time constraints, but when he saw me he offered the tour again, which I was not expecting due to the fact that I did not inform him that I would be at the airport.

    It started by going behind the integrated WN/FL ticket counter, to go to a side room and ride an elevator down to the lower level.

    A photo of the lower level employee break area

    I then got to go to see the area where bags go after you check them in, and I was excited to see what it looked like. This part of the tour fascinated me a lot!

    But the most exciting part of the tour was being able to go on the ramp with a 737 that was getting mx work done!

    I was able to do something I have always wanted to do, which was to get my photo taken in the engine. I also got to spin the fan blades and was certainly an experience I will never forget!

    I also got a pic standing in front of the tail to N527SW

    Looking back at Terminal B

    I also got to open and close the cargo bin door, and look inside the cargo bins of a 737. After seeing these I have significantly more respect towards ramp workers who effectively organize bags in these bins.

    A photo of the wheel well for one of the main landing gear

    The front part of the aircraft

    The engine that mx work was being done on

    The nose of N527SW. I love the reflection of the engine!

    The nose gear with a gear pin in it.

    I've also always wanted to get a photo like this taken, and was very grateful that I had the opportunity to.

    I then got to walk up the stairs to the jetway to go inside the aircraft!

    The cabin of N527SW

    The flight deck

    I then got to go back down to the lower level to see how they control arriving/departing aircraft, gate assignments, weight and balance, etc. and it was all very amazing. I wasn't down there for long, because my ride showed up, but I thought it was very interesting to see.

    This opportunity was definitely one of my most memorable aviation moments I have ever had. I want to thank the employees of Southwest Airlines Kansas City for allowing me to have this opportunity. No other airline I know of would go out of their way to do something as special as this for an airline geek pax (who wasn't even flying their airline!). This visit gave me a greater understanding and appreciation of what airline employees do every day, and I wanted to thank SWA for this opportunity.


    • #3
      Great flight review; very detailed and thank you for the excellent pictures. Looks like you had a wonderful trip with Delta. It's amazing to see how much DL has improved in recent years and they still offer complimentary snacks. The tour of the WN's facilities at MCI must have been a really unique experience, thanks for sharing those pictures. Sorry for the late response, I haven't been on for a long time because I have been so busy with college and work.