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DL DTW-AMS-DTW (Reconfigured A333) in J

DL DTW-AMS-DTW (Reconfigured A333) in J

Old Apr 16, 13, 8:57 pm
  #1  
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DL DTW-AMS-DTW (Reconfigured A333) in J



Introduction

I am a student at the College of William & Mary and my father works for Delta Air Lines. As a full-time student under the age of 24, I am entitled to full pass privileges on Delta. When I found out that the newly reconfigured Ship 3301 (N801NW), would be flying DTW-AMS-DTW on April 17 and 18, and my workload for the time I would miss was minimal, I knew I had to go.

A little more on 3301, the star of this report, she was taken out of the system and flown down to SIN to undergo a major overhaul. This overhaul includes the installation of Weber Cirrus reverse-herringbone lie-flat seats in BusinessElite, B/E Aerospace Pinnacle slimline seats in Economy and Economy Comfort, and the Panasonic eX2 in-flight entertainment system. Satellite-based international WiFi will be installed on the refurbished A330s. However, 3301 is slated to undergo installation later this year. The A330-200s will also receive Bulk Cargo Crew Rest (BCCR) facilities during their refurbishments.

Planning

Now, I had very little time to plan this trip as the first flights 3301 was to fly after returning to the States were only loaded into the system a few days beforehand. When I finally found the flights out, I immediately listed myself for DL234 and DL235, the aircraft’s first revenue intercontinental flights since returning to service (her first revenue flight since being cycled back in was DL117 on April 16 from Atlanta to Detroit).


Clockwise: Bag packed and ready to go; Canon PowerShot G11 for this trip; Alarm set for way too early

MORE TO COME!

Last edited by sky303; Apr 19, 13 at 3:24 pm
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Old Apr 16, 13, 8:57 pm
  #2  
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Part I: PHF-ATL

Transportation

So I left my dorm at around 6:30 am, had a quick breakfast at one of the dining halls, and began my long, but cheap, journey to Patrick Henry Field (Newport News/Williamsburg Int'l). Being situated in Williamsburg, PHF is the closest commercial airport and I have devised several cheaper ways to get there than by cab. Today's method was to take the local bus from the train station to Newport News (free) and the Hampton Roads Transit bus to a stop just about a third of a mile from the airport ($1.50), and walk the remainder of the way.


My Dorm, Barrett Hall, constructed in 1926.


Wren Building, the oldest, operating academic building in America (W&M is the second oldest college in America, est. 1693)


Breakfast


Williamsburg Area Transportation Authority (WATA) bus to Newport News


Hampton Roads Transit bus to Jefferson Commons (across from PHF)

Flight


ExpressJet dba Delta Connection Flight 5499
Newport News/Williamsburg, VA (PHF) to Atlanta, GA (ATL)
11:09 am (scheduled) 11:19 am (actual) to 12:39 pm (scheduled) 12:48 pm (actual)
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Bombardier/Canadair CRJ-200
Seat 3C



This was a typical short RJ hop to ATL and nothing of note happened. I ate my banana I didn't eat at breakfast, drank some water and passed out till final approach.


PHF main passenger terminal entrance


Delta's PHF check-in area


Gate in PHF

Last edited by sky303; Apr 19, 13 at 1:51 pm
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Old Apr 16, 13, 8:59 pm
  #3  
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Part II: ATL-DTW

Upon arriving in Atlanta, I was among the first to deplane and I headed for my connecting flight to Detroit. We had arrived at gate C-43, and my flight to DTW was leaving from A-12. I hopped on the Plane Train and rode to Concourse A, and walked over to the gate. It would be a full flight up to DTW after all stand-bys were cleared. This flight was operated by an antiquated PMNW 757-200, with 22F and 160Y. I was assigned 34E, a center seat in the rear Y cabin. It wasn't all that bad, as the flight was only a short 1h28m air time, and there was still overhead space in the back where I was meaning my foot space was open. Typical flight up and, again, nothing really of any significance occurred. I had a club soda with lime and some pretzels and conked out till arrival.


Delta Air Lines Flight 1640
Atlanta, GA (ATL) to Detroit, MI (DTW)
1:50 pm (scheduled) 1:48 pm (actual) to 3:55 pm (scheduled) 3:41 pm (actual)
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Boeing 757-232 (N530US)
Seat 34E




Gate for DTW


Registration number for the 757 taking us up to DTW

Last edited by sky303; Apr 19, 13 at 2:12 pm
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Old Apr 16, 13, 9:00 pm
  #4  
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Part III: DTW-AMS


Delta Air Lines Flight 234
Detroit, MI (DTW) to Amsterdam, NL (AMS)
7:45 pm (scheduled) 8:22 pm (actual) to 9:40 am (scheduled) 10:21 am (actual)
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 (arrived next day)
Airbus A330-323 (N801NW)
Seat 4J

Upon arrival at gate A4 at Detroit-Metro's McNamara Terminal, I began making my way, albeit very early, to the AMS departure gate, A56. Instead of taking the tram, I decided to walk it, since I was in no rush. As I began approaching the gate, it became clear that DL was making an event out of this flight, and that certainly got me pumped for the flight.



I settled into a seat to await the flight. I used the two hours of complimentary WiFi provided by DTW, and by the time I was done surfing and working (mostly the former, admittedly), the departure time was approaching. The photography team began packing up and thee gate agents arrived. For a while the weather outside warranted a ground stop, due to lightning sighted on the field as well as a hail storm. The serious weather passed by in about 30 minutes or so and then it appeared to clear up.





About an hour prior to scheduled departure time, I was called up to the podium. I was asked whether I knew this flight was in the new configuration by an enthusiastic GA, to which I responded that that was the entire purpose behind my entire trip. He was quite happy to see enthusiasm in me, and further asked what seat I'd like, telling me some of the open options. I selected 4J on a whim, only knowing that I wanted a window seat.

I then took a seat near the boarding area and put away all of the stuff I had gotten out during my layover. It began to drizzle again, but it didn't look too serious. No doubt, the weather wasn't the best in DTW that day. Soon enough boarding was called for BusinessElite passengers, after preboarding, and I walked aboard, being the second person, after the wheelchair passengers to board. Boarding was a bit behind schedule, because the ground stop delayed the catering process, so the caterers were in front of the door used for boarding (only one today, 2L). I was feeling quite excited as I headed down the jetway, and was greeted by a happy Detroit-based cabin crew as well as a lovely new interior.


Cabin upon entry

As I was putting my bag in the overhead and getting settled, one of the FAs working the BE cabin came and asked if I'd like my jacket hung up, to which I replied, "sure, thanks." I began checking out the seat (more on that later). Soon after I had sat down, another FA came and offered me a PDB, either champagne, OJ, or Heineken. I took the OJ and sipped it while continuing to check out the new seat, as I was handed a menu by the purser and told she would shortly be along for my selection.


My seat, 4J


PDB and water bottle, placed at seat prior to boarding


Menu, click to view.

When the friendly purser came back around, I gave her my choice, the beef. I typically go for the beef option in BE, despite the fact that it's generally overcooked. I generally like the side dishes much more than the other choices offered, and this time was no different. Not to mention this was at least my third time having this exact same entree.

As we sat at the gate stormy weather reappeared over the field and a lightning strike meant another ground stop and a delayed departure. I didn't mind, as the FA had just come around with newspapers and I took the USA Today to do the crossword, having already done this month's SKY Magazine crossword. A while later the below-wing staff appeared out on the ramp again and final preparations for pushback commenced. One thing that the FAs did that I commend them on was activating the IFE system during the delay, meaning passengers could access Delta On Demand while we were awaiting pushback.

We finally pushed back 37 minutes behind schedule and the captain announced a flying time of approximately seven hours.

On climbout, the air was rather rough and it would remain that way until we passed over northeastern Canada. The FAs braved the turbulence and provided an excellent meal service in an efficient manner so that passengers could get some sleep on the flight.

Meal

Service started with a refreshing hot towel.



Next came nice warmed, mixed nuts along with a beverage service.



Then came the appetizer tray, consisting of a shrimp and avocado with cocktail sauce starter, which would have been good, but I think with the turbulence was in the chillers for too long, and a great pumpkin bisque



Soon after distributing the trays, an FA came by with the bread basket and I took the pretzel roll. Always a reliably good option.



Next was the salad, which was nice with the creamy ranch dressing. Also available was balsamic vinegar and olive oil.



Finally, the main course made it's appearance, and presentation wise it was quite nice. The beef was a little overdone, but had the FAs been released from their seats earlier I think it would have been great. The star was the wasabi mashed potatoes. Really smooth with a little spice, wonderful (err...at least better than the dining halls...remember my tastebuds have been ruined by college cafeteria food).





Last came the dessert cart. On offer were the usual sundaes, fruit and cheese, and the alternate option which in this case was a Belgian chocolate cheesecake. I opted for the cheesecake, and the FA even drizzled hot fudge over it from the sundae toppings. These were truly some great FAs and did everything they could, even in turbulence, to make the flight enjoyable. And, yes, the cheesecake was delicious, and incredibly rich. Probably the best part was rolling the strawberry around in the hot fudge left on the plate and having an impromptu chocolate-covered strawberry. Yum! I was really full at the end of the service.



I ended up sleeping straight through breakfast service, but having had the crepes on several previous flights, I can attest that they are generally quite good for an airplane egg dish.



Last edited by sky303; Apr 23, 13 at 5:55 pm
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Old Apr 16, 13, 9:01 pm
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Seat
The main reason, of course, that I took this trip was for the new cabin. The new BusinessElite seats are the Weber Cirrus suites. These are already installed on all of Delta's 747s, but the ones on the A330s have some minor differences, mostly to allow them to fit in a 1-2-1 configuration on the narrower A330. For this section, I will include images of the seat with explanations of the images, and then give my thoughts on the new seat.


Repeating a picture here, but note the lack of the storage space off of the shoulder that typically holds the headset on the 747. Additionally it is immediately evident that the side-table space has been reduced in the new seats.



Rear-facing view of the seat, note one difference between this and the 747 seat is the lack of the storage space by the moveable armrest.



View facing forward, notice here the "step" between the footwell and the floor. As far as I can recall, this is not present on the 747.



Footwell.



Seat controls, remote, and monitor release button. This is identical to the 747.



Monitor deployed; I love the size of the monitor and it is of a very good resolution.



Literature and storage space. This has also taken a hit in size and also now has a special slot for the safety card.



Reading light, identical to the 747 seats. Only one brightness setting, adjustable by rotating the silver dial.



Headphone port, USB power port, and universal A/C power port.



Literature pocket located at floor-level on the wall ahead of the seat.



Life vest storage unit located at floor-level under the moveable armrest.

Overall, I like the new seats. They are miles ahead of the old NW World Business Class "egg" angled flats. Personally, I prefer these new seats to their 747 counterparts. I feel as though I'll probably be alone in this conclusion, because the primary reason I favor the 330 seats over the 747 seats is that the 330 seats aren't so massive. I find the 747 seats to be just too big. It may be the weirdest complaint, but I find that everything about the 747 seats is just oversized. My primary complaint, and perhaps my only one about the new 330 seats is the vent in the footwell. I frequently rubbed my feet against it and while not painful, it was an irritating sensation. The one thing I miss about the 747 seats is the aisle armrest cup/water bottle holder. One thing to note about the newly reconfigured 330s is the incredible responsiveness of the IFE system. Unlike on a lot of IFE systems, one reasonable tap of the screen takes you immediately and seamlessly to the next screen.

Last edited by sky303; Apr 23, 13 at 5:48 pm
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Old Apr 16, 13, 9:01 pm
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Old Apr 16, 13, 9:02 pm
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Old Apr 16, 13, 9:02 pm
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Old Apr 16, 13, 9:03 pm
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Old Apr 23, 13, 9:56 am
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Old Apr 23, 13, 12:20 pm
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Great start to the post! Thanks for the review - I'm going to have to make an excuse to get on this thing soon - is it reliably doing DTW-AMS for now?
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Old Apr 23, 13, 1:59 pm
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Sorry to rain on the parade and this it to no fault of the OP (good for him for taking advantage), but isn't it a bit unsettling that the child of a DL employee gets upfront for free, but someone who purchases thousands of dollars from the company can only get up front if they purchase a much higher fare class?

Am I missing something?
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Old Apr 23, 13, 5:24 pm
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Originally Posted by playbbg View Post
Sorry to rain on the parade and this it to no fault of the OP (good for him for taking advantage), but isn't it a bit unsettling that the child of a DL employee gets upfront for free, but someone who purchases thousands of dollars from the company can only get up front if they purchase a much higher fare class?

Am I missing something?
Yeah you are. OP is a full-time student, still on parent's dime and his dad is apparently a somebody at DL. So if his dad's benefits afford his family this luxury, why should we come down on OP for this. Every company has employee perks. Doesn't bother me in the slightest that OP got an awesome hook-up to fly a really nice, new product. If anything I appreciate the thorough pic TR and it inspires me to pay my own way to check this out.

It isn't about what other have and how much they pay for it. It is about how hard I work and what I can spend my money on.

Would you knock me because I scored an awesome discounted biz fare and now there will be people on my flight to Europe come June who paid 4 or 5 times what I paid for the same service? I see no difference. Once OP is 24, the free flights stop. I think it is awesome he isn't being like other college kids rushing to south Florida to be stupid on Spring Break, but rather adventuring and learning how to be an independent, well-traveled young person.
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Old Apr 23, 13, 6:41 pm
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Nice reporting style, I appreciate the details, including the "lowbrow" ones such as how to catch the local bus.

People will be critical of you for flying in BE as a nonrev, but don't worry about it.

My view is that Delta ought to be much more generous with their upgrade policy (allowing it for cheaper fares or without fare restrictions at all such as AA), but that's something to be angry with the corporate folks for. Once the seat is open anyway, a non-rev might as well be allowed to ride in it. It's part of the employee compensation package for Delta employees, including the details of which employee relatives get access to the perk.
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Old Apr 23, 13, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by sky303 View Post
Part I: PHF-ATL

Transportation

So I left my dorm at around 6:30 am, had a quick breakfast at one of the dining halls, and began my long, but cheap, journey to Patrick Henry Field (Newport News/Williamsburg Int'l). Being situated in Williamsburg, PHF is the closest commercial airport and I have devised several cheaper ways to get there than by cab. Today's method was to take the local bus from the train station to Newport News (free) and the Hampton Roads Transit bus to a stop just about a third of a mile from the airport ($1.50), and walk the remainder of the way.


My Dorm, Barrett Hall, constructed in 1926.


Wren Building, the oldest, operating academic building in America (W&M is the second oldest college in America, est. 1693)


Breakfast


Williamsburg Area Transportation Authority (WATA) bus to Newport News


Hampton Roads Transit bus to Jefferson Commons (across from PHF)

Flight


ExpressJet dba Delta Connection Flight 5499
Newport News/Williamsburg, VA (PHF) to Atlanta, GA (ATL)
11:09 am (scheduled) 11:19 am (actual) to 12:39 pm (scheduled) 12:48 pm (actual)
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Bombardier/Canadair CRJ-200
Seat 3C



This was a typical short RJ hop to ATL and nothing of note happened. I ate my banana I didn't eat at breakfast, drank some water and passed out till final approach.


PHF main passenger terminal entrance


Delta's PHF check-in area


Gate in PHF
Nice report. Your pictures bring back memories. I graduated from WM '01 and at that time Barrett Hall was a female dorm. I also worked at PHF during high school.
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