(Flown on March 3, 2017)
The last flight of the day on the first day of my trip was flight DL333 from Atlanta to Miami. In order to catch the 10:26PM flight, I left the Delta Sky Club around 9:40PM and headed straight to the departure gate.
When I looked at the upgrade list, there was one empty seat in first class and I was number three on the list. However, I also noticed that no. 1 and no. 2 – given that they shared the first three letters of their last name – were likely traveling together.
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I tried to board as one of the last, hoping that the first two people on the list rejected the upgrade. However, when my boarding pass was scanned at the gate, there was no seat change.
As such, I headed down to my Economy Comfort seat which has increased leg room over standard economy, and sat down.
While waiting for the boarding to finish, a little child clogged the aisle bringing the boarding to a halt for a minute. Once that was resolved, there was a passenger whose seat was occupied by someone else.
One of the cabin crew members approached the lady sitting at his seat.
“Excuse me, can I see your boarding pass?”
“This is my seat.”
“OK, but can I see your boarding pass please?”
“This is my seat.”
“Sure, but I need to see your boarding pass, Ma’am.”
Finally, she reluctantly handed him the boarding pass – of course while mumbling “this is my seat.” And, as you can already guess, it was not her seat.
Anyways, once the seating issue was resolved and all the passengers were on board, the gate agent came onboard with a boarding pass. She stopped near my seat, looked around a bit, and finally approached me: “Mr. Nukina?”
After confirming it was indeed me, she handed me a new boarding pass with “1C” on it. I was happy to score my first complementary upgrade! At the same time, I was surprised that they do this after boarding. Of course, I happily took my things out of the overhead bin, and headed to the front.
When I got to my new seat, a blanket and a pillow were waiting on the seat, and there was a bottle of water on the small table between the seats. Also, the flight attendant came to ask me if I wanted any pre-departure drink.
The aircraft doors were closed at 10:33PM, and a second after that, the purser went into the cockpit saying “OK, gentlemen, are you all set?” Once that was confirmed, she made the pre-flight announcement mentioning that the flight time would be one hour and thirty minutes.
At 10:36PM, ten minutes after the flight’s scheduled departure time, we were pushed back, and the safety video was played. I quite liked the video which featured Delta employees from all positions ranging from ground handling agents and call center staff all the way to a captain.
Some minutes later, we reached runway 27R, and at 10:49PM, we took off sharply accompanied by the great sound of our two Pratt & Whitney engines.
Cruising to Miami
About twenty minutes into the flight, it was announced that electronic devices were OK to use, and that wi-fi and Delta Studio were available. Delta Studio is Delta’s on-demand service which allows streaming movies on personal devices for free. The aircraft also featured IFE screens.
With the crew out of their seats, earbuds were distributed. This was followed by snacks and drinks. This time, unlike the pre-departure drinks, they were served in glassware.
The seatbelt sign went off twenty minutes after take-off, at 11:09PM. However, due to some turbulent air, it was switched back on five minutes later. At that time, the crew was passing the aisle offering snacks for the second time.
While the service in first class barely differed from the service in economy class given the late departure time and the short distance of the flight, it was still nice to get the extra seat width. As far as legroom is concerned, it did not make too much difference as the first class bulkhead made it difficult to stretch legs.
Arriving in Miami
The seatbelt sign was switched off again at 11:31PM, only to be switched back on nine minutes later as the air was still a bit rough, and we were about to begin our descend into Miami.
At 12:03AM, the landing gear was lowered, and three minutes later we landed on runway 9. We reached our parking gate H11 at 12:12AM – six minutes before our scheduled arrival time in spite of the slightly delayed departure.
Before getting off, I asked if I could visit the flight deck for a moment which as on all the other US flights, turned out to be no problem.
After a short visit into the cockpit and taking some pictures of the cabin, I headed into the terminal.
It took some minutes for the luggage to arrive, but luckily, after picking up my luggage, it only took about three minutes for the hotel shuttle to arrive. As such, I was stepping into my room at the Days Inn Miami International Airport hotel in no time.