DELTA AIRLINES (Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to London Heathrow Airport), Boeing 767-400ER
Delta Airlines is a major American airline company with its headquarters in the city of Atlanta, Georgia State. Founded on the 30th of May 1924, the airline has a rich history of over 80 years, and has gone through a global expansion by merging with the former Northwest Airlines to serve 247 destinations using 719 state-of-the-art modern, and young aircraft (155 of those aircraft are leased). The average of the fleet is 17 years, which is still relatively acceptable compared with the number of aircraft they have in service. The airline is part of the SkyTeam Alliance program, and has fruitful partnerships with KLM Air France. Amsterdam and Paris are two of the airline’s major hubs outside of the USA.
For flights between the U.K. and the U.S.A. Delta Airlines flies non-stop between six American cities and two British cities. At the time of writing these were: Between Manchester and Atlanta (1 non-stop daily flight), London Heathrow and Atlanta (3 non-stop flights daily), London Heathrow and Detroit (1 non-stop daily flight), London Heathrow and Boston (1 non-daily daily flight), London Heathrow and Minneapolis/St Paul (1 non-stop daily flight), and London Heathrow and New York JFK (3 non-stop daily flights). With its unsurpassed global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer services to more than 300 destinations in nearly 60 countries on six continents.
I was on the flight from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County International to London Heathrow on Delta Airlines’ Boeing 767-400ER to check out their Economy Class seat cabin, and service:
Route: DETROIT (DTW) to LONDON HEATHROW (LHR)
Departure date and time of flight: May 2013
Flight number: DL18 (ICAO callsign: “Delta 18 heavy”)
Flight duration: 9 Hours and 20 minutes
Class: ECONOMY CLASS
Aircraft type: BOEING 767-432ER (21 aircraft in service)
Unit cost of each Boeing 767-432ER: US$200.8 million (2013)
Aircraft registration: N837MH (First flight 11th December 2000)
Engine Type: GE CF6-80C2B7F (x 2 mounted under the wings)
Aircraft Serial Number: 29710 - line 820
Frequent flyer programme: SkyMiles
Seat configuration for this aircraft:
Business Elite: 40 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration,
Economy Comfort: 28 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration
Economy Class: 178 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration
Comments on the check- in process, and any issues:
The check-in process at Detroit airport is pretty smooth and easy. Delta Airlines is one of the major carriers with most flights being domestic. The international terminal is relatively quiet compared to say, Boston or New York JFK.
In my previous report about a Delta flight I took from London Heathrow to Detroit I wrote that one thing I did notice about flying with Delta is that they are very strict about security. On my flight into Detroit I had flown in on the day that the Boston Marathon bombings happened, so the security was super strict going back to London (read this to find out about the security I experienced on the flight into Detroit).
Any baggage issues:
The first luggage bag up to 23KG (for Economy, and Economy Comfort passengers) is free, and the same applies for the first bag up to 32kg for Business Class passengers. There are extra charges on luggage carried beyond that, and if the weight of the bag exceeds the listed amount. Out of most of the airlines I have flown with in my experience, I have found that Delta Airlines is very particular on this policy and regimental on it.
Punctuality of the flight:
Making a timely departure from runway 21L at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, we headed right out towards downtown Detroit, then right again to go over Lake St. Clair before entering Canadian airspace. After around 45 minutes, the flight entered the busy Atlantic Ocean crossing corridor, heading towards the bottom of Greenland before making a decent into Ireland, and passing Dublin at around 37,000 feet.
Preparation for arrival at Heathrow was made as we started the initial decent over Manchester, then Oxford, and finally entering the holding stack over Bovingdon (North-East of London). The overcast and windy weather conditions added onto the already challenging traffic that aircraft have to experience when landing at busy Heathrow. The flight landed in very windy conditions around 10 minutes late at Heathrow’s runway 27L. At one point, it seemed that we might end up going around because you could feel the plane swaying sideways in the wind.
Comments regarding the pre-flight service:
A choice of welcoming drinks was served for those in Economy Class.
Comments regarding the pre-meal service:
I took plenty of water and orange juice as this was an early morning flight (to keep me from being dehydrated). The orange juice had a pleasingly fresh-squeezed flavour. Mini-pretzels and lightly salted peanuts were served in little Delta branded plastic packets (complete with the Delta logo).
Comments regarding the first meal:
Inspired by culinary treats from around the world, Delta Airlines in-flight dining experience offers mouth-watering dishes created by award-winning chefs. A light dinner was served around 30 minutes after take-off.
There were three options for the main meal:
1. Italian style Tuna Pasta with Italian herbs, garnished with plenty of homemade tomato sauce.
2. Beef Lasagne with basil and tomato, sautéed green bean, and carrots
3. Macaroni cheese and pasta sauce with olives and cherry tomatoes.
I opted for the macaroni cheese. Thick creamy cheesy sauce garnished with chunky pasta pieces made this dish a delight for the tongue at 35,000 feet - not bad for airplane food.
Accompanying the main dish was a bowl of fresh seasoned salad, Keebler branded crackers, and Tillamook ‘Colby Jack Cheese’, and a warm bread bun (not from the basket).
For dessert, there was a helping of a scrumptious triple chocolate brownie from the brand Love Quiches. In Economy Class, Delta Airlines still provides plastic cutlery to the passengers.
Comments regarding the after meal drinks and in-flight snacks:
A second round of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (including any coffee, tea and beverages) were offered. I opted to drink plenty of still mineral water. Most people don’t realise but drinking water is the best option when flying because it helps to keep you dehydrated as well as keeping your skin fresh and naturally moist (this can also help with the effects of jetlag according to some medics).
The drinks offered on Delta Airlines include:
· Coca-Cola® Classic
· Diet Coke
· Coca-Cola Zero
· Bottled water
· Seagram's Club® Soda
· Seagram's Tonic Water
· Seagram's Dry Ginger Ale
· Seattle’s Best regular and decaffeinated coffee
· Starbucks® coffee (flights between JFK and LAX, SFO, or SEA)
· Minute Maid® Orange Juice
· Minute Maid Cranberry Apple Cocktail
· Minute Maid Apple Juice
· Motts Tomato juice
· Mr. & Mrs. "T" Bloody Mary mix
Comments regarding the second meal:
The second meal, a very light snack, was offered around an hour before landing at Heathrow. I have to give kudos to the crew for providing an excellent customer service, however sadly the food was not good. The snack meal consisted of a banana, an apple muffin, and a small bowl of orange juice. The food came straight from the freezer in the basement of the plane, and it must have frozen even more as we made our way over the Atlantic Ocean overnight. The banana skin was difficult to peel, and the banana itself was frozen.
The muffin was cold, and the orange juice was frozen too with chunks of shredded ice inside it. Quite possibly the worst airline meal I have had for some time. There was no point in complaining because it would have made no improvement or difference in this situation. I had to sip through my orange juice while making sure I did not bite any of the crushed ice particles. I also managed to finish the banana and muffin while feeling the pain in the teeth.
A final round of drinks was completed. This included a selection of beverages, soft drinks, juices, tea, and coffee.
Comments on the in-flight entertainment system:
Pocket sized headphones were offered in the Economy Class cabin. The PTV screens on the Boeing 767-400ER are placed behind every Economy Class seat. The Delta Airlines advanced, touch-screen digital entertainment system, located right at of the seat, puts you in charge of your entertainment options. The user friendly system allows the passengers to watch, listen or play - choosing from up to 300 movies, HBO, SHOWTIME, 18 channels of live satellite TV on select flights, 4500+ songs, TV and games, including in-flight trivia.
The good thing is that Delta Airlines gives passengers the chance to have access to Wi-Fi (there is a fee). Since August 2008 Delta passengers have had access to the Aircell mobile broadband network, Gogo, which enables customers travelling with Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, smart phones and PDAs, to access the Internet for a fee. Delta has the largest fleet of Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft in the world. The airline announced that it will offer Wi-Fi on international flights beginning early 2013.
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
The cabin crew on Delta Airlines came across to be very friendly, caring and knowledgeable about all things to do with not just the flight or aircraft, but also the destinations as well. Immediately as you enter the plane, you can tell that you have already arrived in America without leaving the ground. That amazing American accent just hits you straight, and it feels very international. I think Delta’s crew are a great symbol of unity. I have nothing bad to say about the crew, they were awesome, and very professional.
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort):
Delta Airlines have three cabins in their Boeing 767-400ER (76D) aircraft. The Business Elite cabin (Business/First Class) has 40 flatbed seats, each with a width of 21 inches, and can stretch out to 81.6 inch (around 6 feet).
There are 28 Economy Premium seats, and each seat has a width of 17.9 inches (narrow by most airline standards), and a pitch of 35 inches (50% more leg room than in Economy Class).
There are 178 seats in the Economy Class cabin, and each seat has a width of 17.9 inches, and a pitch of around 32 inches maximum (not comfortable for anything over 6 hours). While the Economy Class seats are generously spaced out in a 2-3-2 layout, the comfort of the seat is only beneficial if one person has allocation to 2 seats (in most cases this would not be the fact- especially if the flight is full).
Delta Airlines logo and livery:
Back in the days, Delta Airlines was a pioneer when it came to having an airline livery. Delta's current livery, "Upward & Onward", uses four colors (navy blue, light red, dark wine red, and white. It features a "widget" (triangle) on each aircraft's vertical stabilizer to refer to Delta's origins as a carrier in the Mississippi Delta. All aircraft have a white fuselage; the underbelly is colored in navy blue in a wavy shape with the wave reaching its peak underneath the wings. The word ‘DELTA’ is painted in dark blue capital letters on top of the windows in the forward fuselage (over the business class cabin). The ‘widget’ is painted just after the cockpit windows, and before the DELTA titles.
About Airline PR
This is a special section on Airline Branding, and Airline Public Relations written by me on all the flights I have been fortunate enough to have been on. These are not records taken from somewhere else, but are actual flights I have been on. Most of the flight trips are officially sponsored by the airline companies in order to promote their certain routes, and aircraft. Airline promotion and PR related work in the aviation industry is one of my expertise.
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B777-300ER Cockpit Video 1
B777-300ER Cockpit Video 2
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