Tuesday, 21 June 2022

My First Trans-Continental Flight From JFK to LAX

 Welcome to my Delta Airlines Boeing 767-400ER trip report!



My photo of Delta Airlines Boeing 767-400ER, N827MH. 

Introduction 

Flying the Boeing 767-400ER was one of the agendas for this trip and there are 2 airlines to choose from, United Airlines and Delta Airlines. United at that time flew the 764 mainly on Transatlantic and a few transcontinental routes but none on the EWR-LAX/SFO routes and because Delta Airlines scheduled this aircraft on the JFK-LAX route, I decided to fly with the skyteam member. 

Initially my itinerary was JFK-LAX on the 764 and SFO-JFK on the 752, but the airline changed my flights and aircraft types a lot of times, I had to pay a small fee for the price difference a few times before finally settling for JFK-LAX-MSP-LGA. The flights I chose on the 764 kept changing to 763 and at that time, when my 752 was changed to 763 on the SFO-JFK route, I decided to switch back to LAX to New York on the return and add an additional flight SFO-LAX with Alaska. Fortunately I got my 767-400ER on the day of departure and here goes my trip report! The Boeing 767-300ER dominates most of the flights flying out of JFK to SFO/LAX and it seems that the Boeing 757-200 do fly on the JFK-SFO sector, you need to keep checking the schedule.

The history of the Boeing 767-400ER 

This specially painted scheme did a world tour including a stop-over in Singapore to promote the aircraft to the major airlines, unfortunately no further order of this aircraft.

Photo: Andrew Hunt

This stretched version was launched in March 1997, with Delta Airlines the first airline to commit to this aircraft type. Continential Airlines was the only other airline to order this as both airlines needed an aircraft to replace the DC-10 fleet. What's unique about this aircraft? This aircraft results in 2 fuselage stretches from the Boeing 767-200 varient, with an addition of raked wingtips similar to the Boeing 777-200LR/-300ER. This aircraft is considered different from the 767-300ER  as it features an updated cockpit , redesigned (heavier) landing gear and the 777-style Signature interior. The engines are also uprated, however the fuel capacity was not bigger than the older 767 types. A longer version of the 767-400ERX was offered, however it was cancelled due to the lack of interest in the aircraft. The launch of the Boeing 787 ended the production of the 767-400ER. A total of 37 Boeing 767-400ER were built and delivered to Continental and Delta Airlines and later on, another 767-400ER was built as a military testbed and was sold as a VIP aircraft. Total number of 767-400ER ended up as 38. The Airbus A330-200 is the closest competitor and is more popular among the airliners than this aircraft type. 

This is the VIP Boeing 767-400ER. (Photo by Petr Simacek)


This is my photo of Continental's Boeing 767-400ER

A little tour in New York City 

I ended up spending 2 days touring around New York as my Southwest flights on the 2nd day were cancelled due to bad weather in Tampa and New York that evening. More information on that on my next blog post. 

New York is one of the cities that I always wanted to go, mainly due to the familar scenes that appears on the big screens frequently. Here are some photos of the places that I went. 

The famous Statue of Liberty


Central Park 


Times Square 


The 9/11 World Trade Centre Memorial (Below shows one of the former sites of the twin tower)


Brooklyn Bridge 


The view of the city 


St Patrick's Cathedral 


Trip Report

My ride: N840MH



I noticed that for my flights in the U.S, the registration of the aircraft of the flight is known a few days before my departure flight and so far, they have been accurate. 

Originally, I was scheduled to fly on N830MH but later on it was changed to this aircraft and checking the history of N830MH, the aircraft arrived New York early but would depart in the evening, exchange with N840MH which was originally scheduled to operate the evening flight. I guess N830MH could have encounter some technical issues which require some fixing. 

Delta Airlines Mobile App




DL1348 was my orginal flight but later on after numerous number of changes, I settled for DL351 for the JFK-LAX sector.


On the day of departure 

I stayed at the Airbnb near Brooklyn. I chose this area as it was near to the popular parts of the city. 


Taking the Green line at Nassau Avenue, I took it to Court Square station and changed for the E line to Jamaica station. The ride took me about an hour and and a half. I checked out at 6 am, leaving early just in case of any unexpected delays along the way. I could not/would not want to miss this flight! For the 767-400ER, my sleep was worth the sacrifice. 



The subway was old but the network is impressive.


Once I reached Jamaica station, there are signboards leading you to the AirTrain station. (Sutphin Blvd - Archer AV-JFK Airport)


Its very hard not to miss the direction to the train station.


What I am not happy is the exorbitant price of $8 in and out of Jamaica station to the JFK airport. I guess that is a price to pay for the public transport that operates 24/7. 


This is the map of the JFK AirTrain system. The ride from Lefferts Blvd to the terminals (Vice versa) are free but if you are getting off at Jamaica station, $8 fare needs to be paid. 


The ride took me about 10 minutes (Jamaica station to Terminal 4).



At Terminal 4 of JFK airport

Terminal 4 of JFK Airport (June 2022) is the home for Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico, Air India, Air Europa, Avianca, Caribbean, China Airlines, China Southern, Copa Airlines, EL AL, Emirates, Etihad, Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Jetblue , Kenya Airways, KLM, Kuwait Airways, LATAM Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Azbekistan Airways, Westjet and Xiamen Air. 





The terminal wasn't crowded and I managed to get check-in done within 2-3 minutes. It's better to come early as you never know how long you have to queue up at the TSA checkpoint especially if you are flying on Economy Class.


Even though I used the app to check in, I wanted the paper boarding pass, so I used the automated machines to get the boarding pass. 



With the seat confirmed at 49A, I know for sure I am flying on the 767-400ER. The last row of the 767-300ER is 42. 


Do I want to volunteer? Definitely not! 


I keep the paper boarding passes as part of my collection.


Checking my flight it was operating as scheduled. (2nd flight from bottom)


After 20 minutes of queueing up at the security check, I was at the airside. 



Is Delta Airlines the number 1 airline in New York? You decide. 





Time to make my way to the gate.



This is where my flight was departing.




It was a full flight and not a surprise, the staff did made a few announcements asking for volunteers to fly on the next flight instead. I stayed far away at that point of time.


My ride: N840MH

About this aircraft 

Boeing 767-400ER (Owned)
Delivered in May 2001 (21 years old)
Configuration: C34 W20 Y184
Engines: 2 X GE CF6-80C2B7F1
830th Boeing 767
Built in Everett


The excitement of flying the 767-400ER! To be honest, I don't care which part of the plane I am sitting, as long I can add this to my logbook, that is more satisfying. 



My first Boeing 767-400ER ride! 


Route: JFK-LAX

Miles: 2,475


Time to depart! The excitement was there, that's for sure. 



I did a check on the weather, the good news is no bad weather expected on the route. There should be turbulence, but nothing bad. 


Date of departure: 3rd June 2022
Airline: Delta Airlines
Flight number: 351
Route: JFK-LAX
Aircraft type: Boeing 767-400ER
Registration: N840MH
Departure terminal: 4 
Departure gate: B38
Seat: 49A 
Load in Y class: 100%
Scheduled departure: 1029
Boarding: 0945
Push back: 1027
Take off: 1043
Flight duration: 5 hr 18 mins (Announced)
Actual flight duration: 5 hr 23 mins
Scheduled arrival: 1335
Actual arrival: 1306
Departure runway: 04L
Arrival runway: 25L

In-flight experience 

Boarding took place early but it took a while unsurprisingly as the flight was full and some passengers on the aircraft were changing seats with others so that they can sit together. Once everyone was settled, the Captain made his welcome speech and later on followed by the leading cabin crew. The flight crew was informative through out the flight while the in-flight service was ok. 

We pushed back 2 minutes early and taxiied to our assigned runway, 04L. The cabin is of the 777 style with a smaller diameter across the fuselage (compare to the 777), configured in a 2-3-2 configuration. The seat mate beside me, was whiney, complained about the airline putting 2 big fellows together. Not the airline's fault! I told him, at least it's a 2-seater, so not so bad. He was a bit arrogant in his response, but at least left me alone when I went on to do my stuff for this trip report.

Once we reached the runway, we held there for a minute before taking off. The cabin noise was on the loud side especially during take off but it was a powerful take off and a bit of turbulence along the way, flying out of the unfriendly skies and making our way across the country. This was my first time doing the transcon route and the following day, I will be doing the return flight with Jetblue. 

In Asia, you should be expecting a full hot meal even on domestic flights (above 1 and a half hours usually) but for U.S Airlines domestic flights, only a snack plus drink service or two are the only things you receive for transcontinental flights. Even though I felt hungry midway through the flight, I won't purchase any snack as they are overpriced and more importantly, no proper meal was offered. 

Time flew very fast for me as I caught 2 movies to keep myself occupied and of course looking out of the window from time to time. I notice comparing to my 2019 trip in U.S, window shade doesn't need to be opened for take off and landing. I was one of the few passengers who left the shade opened during take off and landing. 

Our plane arrived early and because our assigned gate was still occupied, we had to wait for about 10 minutes before taxiing to our gate. The Boeing 767-400ER is a nice plane to fly on, with slightly longer fuselage than the 767-300ER and the rake wingtip which differs from the 767-300ER. 

Delta One cabin 

The cabin is configured in a 1-2-1 seating configuration with 34 seats at the front of the aircraft. The staggered configuration allows you to choose either the window or the aisle seat. Every seat gets the aisle access. 


If I am travelling alone, I would definitely choose the window seat. 







The seat offers 20 inches wide and about 77 to 81 inches of legroom space. It can be converted to a fully flat bed, very situable for longer flight sectors. 





There is a central divider which offers privacy if you are sitting with a stranger. 


Would I pay more for these seats? No. I am a fan of this product to be honest. Like I mentioned before, I am more into flying than going for the premium classes. 

Comfort + cabin

There are 20 seats in this cabin which is in the 2-2-2 configuration, the middle section has extra rows. The width of the seat is the same as the Main cabin, but the seat pitch is at 35' inch, 3 to 4 cm longer than the standard main cabin pitch. 


I was offered about $150 to upgrade to this class, but I decided to stay put. 




The seat has an extra padding which provides extra comfort. Perhaps I should try this class one day. 





Main cabin 

This is the standard 2-3-2 seating configuration, same as the Boeing 767-300ER. There are 184 seats in the cabin and the seat pitch is 31 to 32 inch, depending on where you seat. 






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The bulkhead row usually offers better legroom space and is usually available during check in. 


I got to say I like the 2-3-2 layout, not too cramp. So far only Ukraine Airlines operates the 767 in 2-4-2 configuration which is extremely uncomfortable according to my friends who flown on it.



Can you see the difference between Main Cabin and Comfort + seats? (See above and below) 



This was my seat, 49A 



I boarded quite early to take some photos of the cabin. A cabin crew caught me snapping some photos but she was ok with it. 


Delta Airlines certainly has a good Economy Class product in my opinion. 


These seats are standard among the airline's fleet except the Boeing 717. 



The cabin interior during the flight, you can't really tell the age of the aircraft. 





Overall I am satisfied with my flight. The 5 hours and 5 minutes on the 767-400ER? No problem at all even if the flight is full. The ride across the country was smooth for most parts of it except for the take off at JFK and the approach to LAX. 

What's inside the seat pocket?

The safety card


Complimentary ear plugs. I remember I had to pay $2 for it in 2019. 


Blanket is provided on this flight


Disposal Bag


More photos of the Economy Class seat 

Legroom space was adequate for me. 


Plug socket is available on this aircraft 


The distance between my window to the next window in front 



Toilet interior 

Toilet was in good condition. The space inside is enough to settle the baby's needs. 



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In-Flight Entertainment system









The IFE system is familar to me as I have experience it on my A220-100 rides 3 years ago. Nothing much has changed. I was able to operate the system without any issue. 



The interactive map system was detailed, no complaints about it.


The selection of movies were limited but they were definitely enough for the assigned flights duration of this aircraft. 



In-Flight Wifi

To surf the internet, one has to pay for it. 







For foreigners like myself, these packages are not worth it. 


In-Flight Snack

There was a snack service and 2 drink services on this flight.I was given the pritzel and the popular biscoff biscuit and a choice of drink was allowed, I chose gingle ale. It was nice to see the standard can being distributed. 


The 2nd round of drink came just about an hour due to landing, I chose a cup of water. 


My thoughts of this flight 

Flying the Boeing 767-400ER is definitely the top highlight on this trip, it doesn't matter where I am sitting, whether it's Economy or Business Class, I am so glad to have gotten this aircraft off my list. What strikes me about this aircraft is the raked wingtip and the long fuselage of the 767 family, making it my preference over the more common type, the 767-300 series. Unfortunately, I missed out flying on the 767-200 and this aircraft is almost impossible to find these days, with just a handful of chartered operators operating this type. 

The products on board the aircraft comparing with Asian airlines is not as good especially the premium products. Economy Class product on the other hand is actually quite decent with comfortable seats and a common product with the IFE (In-Flight Entertainment system). One complain I need to highlight is the lack of food especially on transcontinental routes. This applies to the major airlines and if they offer hot meals which require us to pay for it, I am sure others would be willing to pay. The good thing though is we are allowed to bring our own food on board. 

Window shot photos 

The aircraft was finishing refueling. 


American Airlines A321 is a common sight in the U.S, replacing the 757-200 which I regret not flying when they were still around.




Lining up behind this beautiful livery of Hawaiian Airlines A330. 


We passed by many interesting airliners.





The take-off was powerful as we climbed out of this gloomy weather at JFK.


You can see how big the airport is with multi runways.



If only the weather was better!








We were at cruising attitude at this point.




Flying over the country will give you some nice views of the mountains.


At this point, we started our descend to Los Angeles.




It was slightly bumpy as our pilots battling with the wind to ensure that our aircraft was in control. 








Nice to be back in LAX! Among the cities visited in the U.S so far, Los Angeles is the top city visited so far. 




This photo reminds me of my cancelled flight with Southwest, hope to fly them next year.




This was where our assigned gate is. N840MH was to fly back to JFK around 2 hours later. 


My flight summary by Flightradar24 



Mission 767-400ER completed! 


My rating: 

Airline's website/mobile app: 4/5
Airport Staff at JFK: 4/5 
In-Flight Service: 3.5/5
Cleanliness of the aircraft: 4.5/5
In-Flight Entertainment system: 3.5/5
In-Flight Meal: 2/5 (Low score due to the lack of a proper in-flight meal)
In-Flight Experience: 4/5
Punctuality: 5/5
Seat comfort: 4/5 
Cabin interior: 4/5
Overall rating: 38.5/50
Verdict: Great! 

Conclusion 

It was a typical U.S domestic service which one cannot expect much when flying on Economy Class but that doesn't matter much to me as the important thing was to fly on the Boeing 767-400ER and this has certainly gotten me very excited. I can imagine how disappointed I would be if the plane turned up in front of me was a 767-300ER. 

The Boeing 767-400ER  has a lot of common traits with the 767-300ER such as similar cabin interior, seating configuration and possibly the cabin noise level during cruising is about the same. The notable difference would have to be the length of the plane, lack of the 2 emergency windows (763's configuration) and the raked wingip vs winglets (763). I am just glad I have finally flown on this aircraft and would I like to fly on United's aircraft? Yes, why not? I would have to plan an itinerary that would make it works. 

As for my flight experience with this airline, it is similar to my previous trip with Delta, I flew the A220-100 from DFW to DTW and the return flight. You can check out the trip report over here

Among the 3 big airlines in the U.S, Delta Airlines has to be my preference. What do I like so far about the airline? The user-friendly mobile app, the inflight cabin Y class product, the massive network and the aircraft fleet.

 I will do a summary of this airline after completing all 5 flights with this airline. At this point of time, masks are not mandatory on U.S domestic flights, but I still wear them to stay precaution. 

For my previous trip report (Virgin Atlantic A350-1000 LHR-JFK), click here.
For my next trip report (Jetblue A321NEO JFK-LAX), click here.

Thanks for reading and have a good one! 
Charles

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