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Delta MSN-MSP-LAX and back in F, Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica

Delta MSN-MSP-LAX and back in F, Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica

Old Apr 4, 10, 4:12 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: MSN
Programs: Southwest A-List & Companion Pass, Delta Platinum Medallion, Fairmont President's Club Premier
Posts: 206
Delta MSN-MSP-LAX and back in F, Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica

My heavy travel in the first quarter of 2010 ended with a 4-day weekend to the LA area, partly for business, partly for pleasure.

The destination was Santa Monica, and the hotel of choice, based on past experience, was the Fairmont Miramar. It certainly lived up to expectation. The location is fantastic, right on Ocean Avenue, perfect for runs/walks northward along either the cliffs or the beach, and right at the end of 3rd Street Promenade. If you want crowds and activity, walk south; if you want beach that gets quieter and quieter, walk north. The staff were helpful and pleasant as usual, typical of the customer service with which Fairmont typically excels. We had one of the bungalows in the courtyard among the koi ponds, rather than a room on the hotel tower. The bungalows are comfortable, and ours had a wetbar with Nespresso machine, large bathroom, and private patio, fabulous for relaxing mornings reading the newspaper outside. Fruit was provided for us on arrival by the management, and a tray of cut and whole fruit was left the next day as an apology for a minor air conditioning glitch in our bungalow the evening before, which had been resolved within a few hours, and was, in my opinion, a non-issue. Valet service was prompt. While the car wasn’t always waiting after a call ahead from the room, the wait was under 3 minutes the two times there was a wait. My pet peeve is calling 15 minutes ahead, going down there, and waiting 45 minutes, as has been my experience at some other high-end hotels.


27 March 2010
Delta Connection, Mesaba Airlines MSN-MSP; Delta Airlines MSP-LAX
CRJ, 757-300
First Class


We boarded our CRJ at MSN, not my favorite plane, but tolerable for a <40 minute flight, taking row 2, which sometimes has a little extra legroom. We gate-checked our rollaboards. Security at MSN took under 10 minutes on a Saturday morning. Shoulder room is the big issue for us on the CRJ, as two 6’+ guys with broad shoulders. Being taller, the low windows drive us crazy on the ground, though they’re fine once in the air.

Delta serves nothing on flights this short (though they do in F on a plane with F), so I looked out the window and enjoyed the view. We landed early at MSP.

We hit the MSP lounge on the A/B/C side, which has more character than the bigger lounge on the other side, for some coffee, then headed to the G concourse, where our flight was boarding. Once aboard, my jacket was hung up, and we were addressed by name the entire flight. Drinks were offered, but as always for me, the bottled water was perfect while on the ground. There’s something very comfortable about the F cabin in the 757s, and we settled in for our 3.5 hour flight.

We took off to the South and looped around the Twin Cities counterclockwise before turning southwest toward LA. Drinks and pretzels/peanuts were served promptly after takeoff, and lunch was served about 30 minutes later. Choices were a hot chicken sandwich on ciabatta or a cobb salad. My partner had the sandwich, which was tasty and had good bread, while I had the salad, which was great. Simple airline food is hard to screw up, and I’m a big fan of simple in the air. I’m a particularly big fan of cold meals, even though many think it lacks the high-end customer-service feel of a hot meal. Face it, a salad with grilled chicken is healthy, filling and hard to screw up, even if it isn’t too fancy. OK, I pontificate about principles of airline food & wine a lot, but I’m a foodie; I can’t help it. The salad came with breadsticks, a bowl of cut fruit that was of decent quality, and a Dancing Deer brownie. The sandwich came with chips, fruit, and the brownie. We both had chardonnay with our lunch, and then I settled in for some work, while my partner slept most of the way. FAs were present in the cabin repeatedly throughout the flight, and a round of drinks and snack basket were served before landing. Movies were shown on the drop-down video displays. Overall, it was a very enjoyable flight with better-than-average domestic F service.



30 March 2010
Delta Airlines LAX-MSP-MSN
A320, DC9-50
First Class

With pre-printed boarding passes and only carry-on luggage, we avoided LAX check-in and were through security in about 15 minutes. We hit the LAX SkyClub, which was under construction. There were a few tables open, so we had space to sit, use the laptop, and sip coffee. The bartender kept the breakfast foods replenished and chatted up anyone who came to the bar to get food or coffee. She did a good job of putting a positive spin on the whole construction thing.

LAX had the worst infestation of gate-lice I’ve ever seen. It put all of my New York experiences to shame. Once aboard, bottled water was at the seat, my jacket was hung up, and the FA offered drinks. While boarding, the FAs could be overheard whining about their jobs in the galley. Just when I’d had so many flights in a row with so much improvement among ex-NWA crew, this team had to blow it. I loved it when the lead FA asked a jumpseating pilot, “Are you Northwest or [tone of voice lowering] Delta?” He smiled and responded, “We’re ALL Delta.” If only the FAs behaved like it.

We departed close to on-time and had under 3 hours to fly to MSP. We were served lunch, another choice of a warm chicken sandwich on Ciabatta or a southwest-chicken salad, a twist on their usual theme of some kind of grilled chicken on a salad. I got the sandwich, and my partner got the salad. Both were tasty. Nothing fancy, but nothing wrong.

For the rest of the flight, the lead FA sat on her @$$ in the galley reading People Magazine and drinking coffee, while the two junior FAs ran their @$$es off serving coach and trying to make extra drink-passes and collect trash from F passengers as they ran back and forth to the forward galley. We actually had a decent amount of attention, but it was from two young FAs doing everything on this A320!

At the end of the flight, when one of the two junior FAs came by with the final trash collection (the lead hadn’t finished People yet), I told her, “I’ve noticed you and your colleague in back running like crazy the entire flight; we really appreciate your hard work.” She looked surprised and said, “Thanks for saying that!”

After a quick visit to the SkyClub, we headed to our gate, where our DC9-50’s #2 engine was naked and undergoing surgery: something that appeared to be thrust-reverser-related, as they kept deploying and closing them. We boarded, only to be told by the captain that we may be delayed for maintenance. Just when I was thinking, “The thrust reverser..,” the captain said, “We just had something fixed with the engine, but now the baggage handlers found a crack in one of the baggage doors.” No one wanted to be on that plane. More surly FAs complaining to each other loudly in the galley, keeping us very clear that the spirit of NWA lives on.

Instead of asking us if we wanted something else to drink (we sure had the time, with maintenance), she walked unsmiling up to each row, pointed at our bottles of water and said, “Water okay?” It was hot as heck on that plane, so my partner asked for a glass of ice water, since he’d downed his little bottle of water. You would have thought he asked for steak-au-poivre. We were updated that the crack was insignificant, and we subsequently left. (Yes, she finally brought the water. I’m surprised she didn’t ask for a tip.)

After a quick 36-minute up-and-down to MSN, with a round of drinks in F, we were home.


Thank you for reading.
msntriathlete is offline  
Old Apr 4, 10, 6:25 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: somewhere between ORD and Willis Tower
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always intersting TRs - its a shame that US based airline have a few bad apple f/a's, be it AA, UA, US etc.
ordogg is offline  
Old Apr 5, 10, 12:40 am
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Join Date: Sep 2009
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Nice TR, thanks for sharing. Interesting notes about the FAs.
debonairy is offline  
Old Apr 9, 10, 1:29 am
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: TSV, Australia
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Interesting report. Thanks for posting?

Did you decide not to post about the hotel?
camsean is offline  
Old Apr 9, 10, 3:30 pm
  #5  
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: MSN
Programs: Southwest A-List & Companion Pass, Delta Platinum Medallion, Fairmont President's Club Premier
Posts: 206
Hotel

Originally Posted by camsean View Post
Interesting report. Thanks for posting?

Did you decide not to post about the hotel?
I did post some general impressions in the first paragraph. I'd be happy to provide more detail, if desired.
msntriathlete is offline  

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