Delta Airlines Atlanta to Frankfurt (ATL-FRA), June 2011

This is the 2nd installment of my second almost-’round-the-world trip for 2011.  Here are some previous introductory posts, trip reports, and live posts during my travels:

 
 
Delta Airlines
Flight #14
Atlanta (ATL) – Frankfurt (FRA)
June 14, 2011
Departure: 16:42 (scheduled 16:30)
Arrival:  07:48 (scheduled 07:40)
Duration: 9’06”
Aircraft: Boeing 767-400ER
Aircraft Registration: N833MH
Seat: 18A (Window, Economy Comfort)
Miles flown on this trip including this flight: 5,359

Check-in

Just connecting from EWR, so was already checked in.

Lounges

As usual, to take advantage of the current American Express promotion (expiring on June 30, 2011) I did the ATL Delta SkyClub tour.  My previous flight was gated at Terminal A, so my order was the 2 lounges in Terminal A, the 1 lounge in Terminal T, the 2 lounges in Terminal B, the 1 lounge in Terminal C, and finally the 2 lounges in Terminal E.  Since my gate was in Terminal E, I made the lounge closer to the TGI Fridays my home after my lounge run.

When I was approaching the first Terminal E lounge (closest to Fridays) there was a Delta agent standing there directing all incomers to use the other lounge around the corner.  Weird I thought.  After checking in to the farther lounge, the agent just gave me a handful of 300 bonus point certificates (which I previously mentioned here)…which is how I ended up with 13 certificates when there are only 8 lounges in Atlanta.  Sweet.  Free points.  Always good.

This lounge is mostly one large open room, but it has the best view in ATL if you are interested in looking at a wide-body aircraft up close.

The nose of the plane is so close the windows, if they could open, you could almost reach out and touch it.  I stayed here for a little bit, had some more Sweetwater 420 Pale Ale, crackers, and cheese, then went to my gate to make sure I was first in line if they needed any volunteers.  My gate was E4.  The gates are farther apart in the E terminal because this is where most of the international flights board, and so there needs to be more waiting area space for the increased passenger capacities.  From the farther lounge out to gate E4, it must have taken a good 5-6 minutes.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the distance I walked was at least 1/4-1/2 a mile.  I thought I would never get there.  I arrived about 2 hours before the flight was scheduled to take off, and there was nobody working the gate yet.  There were only a few passengers waiting.  After about 10 minutes somebody came to start setting up to “open” the flight to gate control.   Before coming to the airport, I did some research on available inventory for the flight, and it looked promising, though not guaranteed, that they may need volunteers.  She took note and remembered me if she needed anybody.  As there was still an hour before boarding, I made my way back to the lounges to wait in comfort….even if it did require another long round trip walk.

This time, the closer lounge was available, so I made my final check-in for my last 300 point certificate.  Later, I found out from my seatmate on the plane that there was a guy that kinda went a little crazy, or needed some medical assistance, and had to be escorted out.  So I assume that’s why they weren’t letting anybody else in temporarily.  This lounge is a bit smaller that the other E lounge, but it does have showers available.  For about 45 minutes I again enjoyed my last Sweetwater 420 PA for a few months.

Boarding

I left the lounge a little early just in case they needed me and they needed time to process everything.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t oversold enough to need any volunteers.

Our Boeing 767-400ER from the gate waiting area

After the passengers that needed assistance, families, and BusinessElite passengers, I queued up and took my seat.  (For the record books, this flight number, DL 14, is the lowest flight number I’ve taken to date)

Seat

On this flight I would be getting to try out the new Economy Comfort seats that officially rolled out for purchase June 1st.  For a few weeks prior however, they were already installed in some aircraft and able to be used and selected for free by all Medallions.  Now, only Platinum and Diamond Medallions can select them for free.  Golds get them at 50% off, Silvers at 25% off.  And General Members pay full price.  The main perks of Economy Comfort are 4″ of extra leg room, 50% more recline, free spirits (beer and wine are already complimentary), and being able to board earlier and not have to fight for overhead space.

Boeing 767-400ER Standard Economy legroom

Boeing 767-400ER Economy Comfort legroom (not a picture of my actual seat)

The legroom difference might not look like much (if you click on each photo, you’ll get a better view of the difference), but its definitely noticeable enough where I don’t have any worry about my knees when the person in front of me fully reclines.  I didn’t take my laptop out but I would still be watchful if I had my computer on the tray table and the person starts to recline.  The seat may still hit the top of your screen.  I thought I took pictures of the differences in recline, but I either lost them or didn’t take them.  On my flights home, I have Economy Comfort seats again so I’ll be sure to snap pics then.  This plane also had power ports (AC & USB) for every seat in Economy Comfort.  It seems these seats require a little more oomph when trying to recline versus regular seats.  Just don’t be afraid to push a little harder while holding down that silver button.  Of course as a courtesy give the person behind you warning when you are reclining.

This aircraft has power ports for the entire forward section of economy, not just Economy Comfort.  Both ports are located underneath the seats, in the center (at least for the double seating to the outside of the aisles).

My seatmate's ports were slightly broken when we found it. Mine was the lighted up one on the right.

On this aircraft, economy also has personal entertainment on each seat headrest.  Delta is working on reconfiguring their planes so that all their long haul flights have individual in-flight entertainment in economy.  In the meantime, you may want to avoid flying their Boeing 747-400s to Asia as they still use projector screens for economy.

Service

Service started a little later than expected, since there was some rough wind.  Nothing special, standard service….drinks first, then the choice of meal.  I chose the chicken with some mashed potatoes.  I forget what the other meal was.

There was a small salad in the plastic container. I'll usually never turn down free food....the chicken tasted marginally better than it looks in the picture

As most eastbound flights to Europe are red-eyes, service slowed to allow for sleep soon after dinner.  I would have appreciated a refill on my red wine, but I suppose I should have used the call button if I really wanted it.

When I got to my seat, I struck up a conversation with my seatmate, Thommy.  He was a hairdresser who owned his own salon somewhere in Frankfurt.  Thommy was heading home from Monterrey after giving a clinic to teachers who teach hairdressing.  Pretty cool, I thought.  I inquired some more, and he says he does this all over the world, a few times a year.  The economy has scaled back his traveling, but he still goes out every once in a while.  Much of his travel was because he is a free-lancer/consultant with a major hair product brand.  He also said he’s even competed and won in international hairdressing competitions, like when the World Cup was in Osaka.  I didn’t even know there was a World Cup for hairdressing.  Through our conversation I also learned that there is the World Championships for hairdressing (I don’t know the actual names of these events) and that one of them are really artistic cuts and styles which you would not usually see on the street, and the other is for more “normal” styles.  Anyway, we ended up sharing information and said that when I’m around in Frankfurt he would show me around a bit and get some good German food.  (I know what might be on some of your minds…..he has a wife and an 11 yr old daughter)

I managed to get about a good 5 hrs or so of sleep before breakfast came around.  I don’t know how, but I forgot to take pictures or write down what the choices were, too.  Sorry.  Wasn’t exceedingly good or bad if I don’t remember anything about it.  The one really REALLY annoying thing that does stand out was whenever drinks were being handed out, one of the stewardesses was in charge of the coffee, tea, or water.  She would walk up and down the aisles robotically saying “Coffe tea water!”  (If you’ve ever been to the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ, you know how annoying the recorded message “Watch the tram car please” can get.  This was WAYYY worse, and it wasn’t recorded)

Deplaning

Getting off the plane was fairly quick, though I took my time a bit.  Thommy were still engaged in conversation all the way through from when we woke up all the way to when the jetbridge pulled up.  Even though I took a few extra minutes getting off the plane, he waited just after the jetway for me.  We continued to talk and he gave me suggestions on where I should go in Frankfurt for my 6 hour layover.  Once we got to immigration, we separated into our respective EU / non-EU passport lines.  Similar to Amsterdam, you do not need to fill out a landing card when flying into Frankfurt.  I got my stamp, and was funneled into the baggage claim area.  I went to an agent to make sure my bag was on this flight and not stranded in Atlanta somewhere, then I was off to explore Frankfurt!

Go to Get Gowing on Facebook to see more photos on this segment of my trip.

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3 Responses to “Delta Airlines Atlanta to Frankfurt (ATL-FRA), June 2011”

  1. […] Delta Airlines Atlanta to Frankfurt (ATL-FRA), June 2011 […]

  2. I’m taking off from Atlanta and headed to Frankfurt tomorrow. I have never been out of the US. I’ll be in the same seating as you back and fourth. Thanks for the great post!

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