Our scheduled itinerary was:
19 July, BOS-SLC-SEA [BOS is Boston/Logan, SLC is Salt Lake City, SEA is Seattle/Tacoma international]
23 July, SEA-SLC-SJC [SJC is San Jose International]
25 July, SJC-SLC-SEA
28 July, SEA-SLC-BOS
With this kind of itinerary, we thought we were going to be mighty sick of SLC by the time we were done. All of the legs were scheduled on Delta Air Lines
En route from work to Logan we got a cab at the hotel across the street from our office... we found out that they now charge a flat rate $25 from that hotel to the airport (IMHO highway robbery, it's never more than $15 on the meter).
Security at Logan on 19 July was not really any tighter than usual. This was unexpected - we had figured it would be much tighter because of TW 800 (TWA is in the same terminal as Delta at Logan).
At 1710 we were looking out the window watching planes land and we saw VS [Virgin Atlantic] G-VMIA "Spirit of Sir Freddie" with "No way BA/AA" titles. We took pictures. :-)
Our outbound flight was DL 751, BOS-SLC. DL ship 630, 757-232. The plane arrived into BOS about 20 minutes late but departed on time.
We successfully upgraded to first class, thus I will describe the meals and service in first class.
Appetizer was an orange quarter and some chicken fingers with an orange-mustard dip.
Dinner choices were pan fried trout (with broccoli and rice) and red papper lasagna (with green beans). The salad was typical unrecognizable lettuce with stuff on top (and balsamic viniagrette dressing). The bread choices were garlic stick, potato roll, and red-pepper roll.
I should mention here that when I first got DL Medallion status and started flying in first class, they had *alot* more meal choices. On our first BOS-SLC leg in first class in December of 1994, there were *six* meal choices! Six, for just 24 first class passengers! Six seemed like too many ... but two doesn't seem like enough. Or at least it didn't. I found that they always had something that I wanted to eat. :-)
C (that's my husband :-) had the trout. He said it was excellent. I had the lasagna. It had a bit too much mushroom for my taste but it was easily scraped off.
Dessert was vanilla ice cream with strawberry topping and whipped cream. Yummm.
The SLC-SEA flight was scheduled to depart at 10:10pm. The Tristar (L1011-1) was inbound from JFK and had left there very late (probably a security thing).
SLC was mobbed. Most of the people were inexperienced travellers (more about that on my return trip :-). So much for my theory that most people would be staying home to watch the olympic opening ceremony.
We were scheduled to fly SEA-SLC-SJC on 23 July (and then back on 25 July). The outbound SEA-SLC flight was DL 1509. The flight was due out of SEA at 6:10pm. We got to the airport earlier than we had planned - 4:45pm. After standing in the first class line for about 2 minutes, it was our turn. My first question was whether our first class upgrade from SLC-SJC had cleared or not -- we were waitlisted (although we had been confirmed SEA-SLC).
The ticket agent cut me off. She said 1509 was going to be late getting out. How late, we asked. About 2.5 hours late. The plane wasn't even expected to arrive until 7:50pm. We got out our DL system schedule but 1509 was our only DL option. "another airline?" we asked. "I'm checking on that right now", she said.
She dialed a few phone numbers but she didn't get through (busy line? who knows?). She asked us how many bags we had to check -- we had none. Since we'd only be gone 2 days from Seattle we had a smallish bag that we had planned to schlep with us (thanks to Lani Teshima-Miller and her Travelite FAQ :-). The ticket agent found us a flight ... on Alaska (AS198) direct to SJC! So much for stopping in SLC again :-) One catch ... it left in less than 15 minutes! "you're going to have to hurry", she said. "that's OK, we have our running shoes", we told her. She wrote up our rule 240 paperwork in record time. I wonder if DL puts its best agents in the first/medallion line.
The flight was due to leave out of D7, practically the other end of the airport from where we were. We part-sprinted, part speed-walked, and part-jogged. It took us 3 minutes *including* going through security. We got to D7 at 4:50 .. before we handed anything in, the gate agent said "don't worry, we haven't even started to board!"
We got seats together. They barely looked at our ID (I had my passport out and waiting). We boarded almost immediately after we got our (adjoining) seats.
It was an MD80. I didn't get the tail number but the plane was manufactured in 1990. We noticed that AS MD80s (or at least this one) are set up 3-2 (as opposed to the more traditional 2-3 in MD80s and DC-9s). We immediately reviewed the seat-pocket safety info card as it was our first MD80 leg in quite a while (does anyone else do this?)
The FA came on the PA apologizing for cabin temp (it was HOT!). She said the plane's APU wasn't working (I don't know why they didn't just hook up to ground air).
We pushed back about 5 min late and then taxied around for a Northbound takeoff. The MD80 climbs like a scalded pig (that's a C quote :-). After takeoff we banked around to the south. Mount Rainier was OUT and it was gorgeous! We flew right down the sound over Tacoma and over ckd's hometown of Steilacoom!
The AS system schedule listed the meal as "S", so I was pretty apprehensive. I'm used to traditional coach-type sandwich-in-a-basket with tasteless tomatoes and wilted lettuce. I was pleasantly surprised to have a turkey and swiss cheese sandwich on FRESH (i.e. not the typical rock-hard stuff) bread. Accompanying the sandwich was a sugar-butter cookie, a small paper cup of red grapes, a breath mint (wintergreen, YUCK), and a cheesy little prayer leaflet (Christian, of course). Along with th nice snack, they served a drink. Pepsi products (YUCK, again :-). My husband and I chose ginger ale. They gave us each a whole can without having to ask.
We landed a bit late. Scheduled arrival was 1855 and we didn't touch down until 1903 or thereabouts. The FA came on the PA saying we'd be deplaning from the left forward door. A few minutes later the captain said we'd be deplaning through either the left forward door or the stairs in the tailcone (on a 727 they would be the DB Cooper stairs). Since we were sitting fairly far back (row 26), we went down the rear stairs. Turns out we were on a gate that didn't have a jetway.
We called for (and secured) first class upgrades for both SJC-SLC and SLC-SEA. At about 3pm on the 25th I called DL for reconfirmation. The agent I talked to said our reservation was in order. I had to actually information). The SJC flight was going to leave on time but the connecting flight out of SLC was not due to arrive from JFK (cursed Kennedy) until 2230, and was not due to leave until 2300.
We went down to the airport early to try and stand by for DL 1512, due to depart at 1640.
The ticket agent said the flight was "very full, oversold by 9" and our chances at standby "did not look good at all". The ticket agent was not *unfriendly* but she was hardly what I'd call solicitous either. She put us on the standby list (in coach, she said we had no shot at first class, and when I found out that DL 1512 was a 737-300 with just 8 first class seats, I agreed with heR). We went down to gate C9 and began the horrible task of waiting.
1635 PDT rolls around and they're starting to call other standbys including a group of 4 college aged kids - odd, I thought our boarding priority would have been much higher than theirs (I can't imagine they were Gold Medallion or higher) but I don't know how DL figures their boarding priorities.
We got the last two seats on the plane! 18A and 26B. We got the guy in 18B to swap back to 26B. We arrived at SLC just about on time (after a FABULOUS approach over the copper mines). The 737 unloaded very quickly. We exited the plane and went to the "uniformed Delta agent" and asked about the flight to Seattle. She said it was leaving from D13 (we arrived into D7). Turns out the agent had gotten it wrong. D13 was the late flight to Seattle (of which they had adjusted the departure time to 0009. oh gods we wanted to make the earlier flight). The earlier flight was out of C13. We made record time speed-walking from D 'til C. We out-walked the people on the people-mover!
Flt 709 was due to depart at 2015. We put ourselves on the standby list and began to wait (again). I made a food run since we'd manage to miss the meal window (the later flight out of SJC was a meal flight in first class only). We called C's parents and told them that unless we called them again, we'd have made the flight. 2005 rolled around ... and they called our names! We got 18B and 21F. We got the woman in 18A to swap with us (she had wanted a window seat, but row 18 on this plane had the air duct so she had no view anyways).
The plane got into Seattle a bit late. It was due at 2109 and didn't get in until 2125. We got out of the plane pretty quickly and went down to the curb to meet our ride.
We were scheduled to leave SEA-SLC-BOS on DL 1929 to SLC. We managed to secure an upgrade on the first leg but got waitlisted for the second. Our plane was scheduled to leave on time (finally! :-). It was N712DA. We've been on this Tristar before ... it has a large reinforcement on the fuselage right next to the left forward door.
The only meal DL served was in first class and it was a "snack" (an aside here, for a while DL was serving what we called a "stealth snack" -- snacks only in first class and no mention of it in the system schedule. The typical stealth snack used to be chicken caesar salad with warm rolls and a chocolate chip cookie. Absolutely yummy! But I admit I got a bit tired of it after a time). Our snack was "San Francisco Chicken" - an oriental (Chinese) chicken breast over a salad (iceburg lettuce, purple cabbage, zucchini, carrots, bell peppers), with warm rolls, a Ghiradelli Chocolate square, and a fortune cookie. There was also duck sauce on the side. The snack was unusual and very tasty.
Our last leg - finally! And we hadn't even gotten sick of SLC! :-) The flight was DL 1898 (which we have taken 3,000 times, or at least it feels like it ... it's the flight that gets in latest in Boston which allows for a humane departure from the west coast). Ship N108DL, 767-200 with the damned GE engines (hummmmmm). We got on the wait list for first class and had quite a long wait. 1898 was due to depart at 1635 and at 1625 they called our names. Whew! Last two seats again .... we got seats across the aisle from each other (3D and 3E) and swapped with the guy in 3C so we could sit together. I should mention now that we had a guy who swore that 3D was his seat ... but he was confused. "D3" was the gate :-) Inexperienced travellers abound ....
The movie was "Happy Gilmore" with Adam Sandler and Randy Quaid. We passed, willingly. Two guys I don't like along with Golf and Hockey (two *more* things I can't stand :-).
The dinner choices:
Big Apple Rotisserie Chicken, roasted breast of chicken with herbs, accompanied by a apple BBQ sauce, oven-roasted red potato wedges, scalloped apples, and a tomato stuffed with creamy corn.
Lancaster County Pork, roasted pork loin sliced and served with a cucumber peanut sauce complimented by steamed baby carrots and green beans.
The salad was typical undescribable greens with a creamy onion dressing.
Hot fudge sundaes were the dessert with *real* hot fudge. The appetizer was salmon on little toast-like crackers with lemon. C ate mine and his.
We got into Boston on-time ... scheduled arrival was 2258 and we touched down at about 2256. We had claimed bags and gotten out of the airport by 2310 (practically a new record, 10 minutes from gate to curb *with* a checked bag :-).
All in all the trip was uneventful. We sprinted across more airports than I would have liked, but so what? :-) All of the flights we were on were *packed*!! I'd be surprised if any of them had under a 95% load factor. Good for Delta, certainly. It's been quite a while since I've travelled domestically during peak summer (late July, early August). I've forgotten what hell it could be.
I'll be HTML'ing this trip report and putting it on my trip report web page, (I have other trip reports up there now).
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