Monday, 25 July 2022

Joyride Day with Delta Airlines (Part 1: LAX-MSP)

 Welcome to my trip report on one of my most anticipated flights - the Boeing 757-200!



This is the 2nd youngest Boeing 757, registered as N822DX, a former Shanghai Airlines aircraft, B-2875. 


Missing 757 completed! 

Introduction 

If it wasn't because of the aircraft change on my BOS-ATL flight, I would most likely be flying back to JFK on this airline's 767-300ER from LAX. Aircraft and schedule changes are part and parcel of the airline's operation and this is done to optimize the network, ensuring the airline is not only operating profitably, flights have to synchronise well especially with connecting flights within the network both in and out of the country, so for this, I understand the changes. Frustrating it can be at times, but at least this airline is quite flexible in terms of allowing complimentary changes during this challenging times. 

At this point of time (July 2022), the airline is operating a fleet of 127 Boeing 757 including some parked aircraft. 16 of the airline's Boeing 757-300 are in operation while the Boeing 757-200 has been reduced in numbers from the original 189 (Combination of Delta and Northwest 757 fleet) and now down to 111. (June 2022 update). With a fleet of 111 Boeing 757-200, my chances of flying the 757-200 is quite high, so nothing to worry about. 

About Delta's Boeing 757-200

Delta Airlines is currently the world largest 757 operator configured in 4 different configuration. This aircraft can fly a maximum range of up to 4,520 miles. First 757 delivered to the airline was in November 1984 and started scheduled flights a month later. The 757 comes with a choice of either Roll Royce RB211 or Pratt and Whitney PW 2000 engines and the latter was chosen for this airline. Besides Delta Airlines, the airline used to operate a low-cost carrier, Song which was around from 2003 to 2006. This carrier operated a small fleet of Boeing 757 but unfortunately it didn't work out for the airline. Song's operation was shifted back to Delta in May 2006. This airline also picked up Boeing 757 from other operators such as TWA, Shanghai Airlines, Northwest (Some -200 and all the -300), Singapore Airlines, Aeromexico and a few of them were leased from ILFC (Leasing company for aircraft). 

This is Song's Boeing 757-200 during good times. (Photo: Rainer Bexten)


I did a check which aircraft would fly me to MSP (Minneapolis) and the honour goes to N822DX, which is in the 75G configuration. 

(The seat maps below are taken from Delta Airlines website)

Delta Airlines has 4 different 757 configuration. They are 75H (199 passengers), 75D (199 passengers), 75G (193 passengers) and 75S (168 passengers). What’s the difference among these types? 

There are 2 types of First Class: Delta One (lie-flat bed seat) and Premium Select (International routes) /Domestic First Class (Recliner seat) 

The 75S has the Delta One First Class product on this aircraft, deployed on some transcontinental and international flights. The aircraft is configured with 16 F class, 44 Comfort plus and 108 Main Cabin seats. 

The 75S Seating Configuration 


75H and 75D are configured with 20 F class, 29 Comfort plus and 150 Main cabin seats. Both have identical cabin products, main difference is 75H are ETOPs certified, which means these planes can fly overwater while for 75D, these aircraft cannot fly overwater. It’s up to Delta whether they want to upgrade the 75D aircraft, it can be done. The First Class is configured with the Domestic First Class product. 

This is the seat map of 75H and 75D configuration


Lastly, the 75G is configured with 20 F class, 41 comfort plus and 132 main cabin seats. The F class is configured with the domestic first class products. 


All these aircraft are equipped with the same IFE system and in-flight Wi-Fi. 

What is ETOPS? 

ETOPS stands for Extended Range Twin-engine Operation Performance Standard. This is required for airline operating twin engines to operate on routes over water for a long period of time. So if the airline for example is given a route across the transatlantic with a Boeing 767-300ER and with a 120 minutes ETOPS certification, the aircraft has to be ETOPS certified and the pilots must be trained for it . The route it does especially when crossing the water bodies (ocean for this case) needs to be within 120 minutes to the nearest city along the flight path. This flight path is usually planned by the operating flight manager at the flight operation centre in the airport (hub). 


The operation manager will plan the route, checking a few factors such as weather, alternative airports along the route and other important information. The Captain and First Officer will do a flight and safety briefing with the crew at the flight operation centre. As they say, the Captain is the boss. He or she will make the decision and for this case, decides the best route and adjust the route if needed together with the operation manager. Once that is decided, the crew for the flight will be on their way. If along the route, there is trouble along the way across the ocean, the pilots will discuss the alternate airports (the closest, the better and of course the airport must be able to handle the load of passengers and size of the aircraft and the condition of the weather at the airport). 

For aircraft with twin engines, the minimum requirement for flying over water, ETOPS apply if the aircraft is 60 minutes away from the airport while for the 3 or 4 engine passenger aircraft, it applies only if the aircraft is 180 minutes away from the airport. However, for the 3 or 4 engine freighter aircraft, they are exempted from the ETOP ruling. 

The airlines are usually given 120 or 180 mins ETOPS, some may get 240 mins ETOPS depending on the routes. Right now, the Airbus A350XWB has been given the 370 mins ETOPS and that is great for routes such as Auckland to Santiago or other parts of South America, all depending whether the aircraft has the range for it. Lastly, for flights over Antarctica, only the B747-8, A340 and A380 are allowed to fly non-stop flights across it. 

Hope you find this information useful.

Checking which aircraft I be flying on, N822DX is scheduled to operate my flight.


At that point of time, this aircraft was on its way from Guatemala City, 


The average age of Delta's Boeing 757 fleet is around 25 years old, with the youngest around 17 years old (757-200) and the oldest also the same model with the age of 30 years old. I suspect that the oldest 757 will soon be replaced as more Airbus A321NEO aircraft enters the fleet. 

This is ex-TWA/American Airlines Boeing 757-200 now operating for Delta Airlines. (N706TW)


Did you know? 

The Boeing 757 and 767 (-200 and -300 series) shares similar system such as the advanced wing technology, air conditioning pack, APU (Auxiliary power unit). These 2 planes have similar flight deck design which allow the pilots to fly both 757 and 767 without going through additional training. Delta Airlines was the first airline to operate both 757 and 767 and made history in 1984 when 2 pilots from the company demonstrated the common-type pilot rating and that makes the 757/767 aircraft very popular with both the airlines and pilots at that time. However, the 767-400ER has a different cockpit instrument, it is more similar to the 777 and that requires a different type rating to fly this aircraft. 

On the day of departure 

After settling my shower issue, I made my way to the airport via LAX bus centre. There is a free bus shuttle that takes you to the terminals. The driver on my shuttle bus didn't make any announcement of the stops at the terminals so I had to rely on goggle map to ensure I alighted at the right stop. 


Once I arrived, I headed for the self check-in kiosk. It was bustling with travellers at the check-in counters with many travelling out with their baggages. 


Checking my flight, it was operating as scheduled, that's great!


I was flying out to LGA today with my part (MSP to LGA on my next trip report) 


First, we are off to MSP with the Boeing 757-200!


The next leg will be operated by an Airbus A321CEO. 



Looks like this would be a full flight.


Once I was the airside after a bit of waiting at the TSA screening queue, it was time to head towards my gate. 


Delta ERJ-175 is in my flying list for next year. 


This former TWA 757 is now operating for Delta Airlines. 


I am glad to see the traffic at the airports picking up.


At this point, I had to take a shuttle bus over to Tom Bradley terminal 


It took about 5 minutes or so to reach our destination.


Once there, it was a short walk to our gate. 



This was my first time departing from this terminal. Delta Airlines is actually based at Terminal 3 but it is temporary closed for renovation. For now, the airline is flying out of either Terminal 2 or Terminal B (Tom Bradley terminal).

My flight's boarding gate at Tom Bradley Terminal (LAX)


Time to board the aircraft! 


Flight route: LAX-MSP


Miles: 1,535

My ride: N822DX

Boeing 757-26D (Owned) 
Former Shanghai Airlines Boeing 757-200 (Purchased from BCC)
Delivered to Delta Airlines on April 2016
Configuration: 75G (C20 Y173 including comfort +)
Engines: 2 X PW2037
1049th 757 built (2nd last 757 produced)
Age: 17 years old (2022) 
Built in Renton (RNT)



Date of departure: 8 June 2022
Airline: Delta Airlines 
Flight: DL 1261
Route: LAX-MSP
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Registration: N822DX
Seat: 33A
Departure terminal: Tom Bradley Terminal
Gate: 131
Load: 100%
Schedule departure time: 1305
Started Boarding: 1227
Push back: 1302 
Take off: 1314
Flight time announced: 3 hours 8 mins
Actual flight time: 3 hours 11 mins 
Schedule arrival time: 1835
Touch down at MSP: 1825 
LAX departure runway: 24L
MSP arrival runway: 30L 

I won't go too much details into these seats as they are similar products with the other Delta's flights I flew on so far. 

For the 757 that is equipped with the International First Class (Delta One) seats, this is how it looks like on the 75S configuration. Here is a trip report by Travelbinger, click here.

My flight experience 

Boarding was very much on time. It was an exciting moment for me as this would be my first proper ride on the 757. Why do I say that? I had flown on the 757 before but that took place when I was very young and at that time, I wasn't really into aviation. However I knew it was a 757 as I saw the old safety card. Back then, I did notice the shapes and sizes of the aircraft, but other than that, not much memory of my ride on this aircraft. 

I managed to get myself on board early. As I looked at the first class cabin, it would have been great to try out it out even on the recliner seats. Perhaps next year, Iet's see how it goes. At the entrance of the aircraft, I was greeted by a friendly crew. The cabin interior is similar to the 757-300, except that the fuselage is shorter and and the boarding process was quicker. Once everyone was seated, we were on our way, few minutes ahead of schedule. 

Take off was very powerful, I felt myself pushed back to the seat as the plane accelerated quickly into the skies, that was a thrilling experience. I certainly would love to experience that again. For the in-flight service, the crew were great. For this 3 hours + flight, we were treated to some nice view along the way and the entire flight was smooth.

I spent half the time on the IFE system and watching the view outside. The flight went past too fast for my liking. Soon we were on our descent and at this point of time, I was thinking of asking for a cockpit visit, might as well do it now otherwise I would have to wait for next year. Anyway, our plane landed early and we reached our game with time to spare. For this aircraft, the plane would be served by a new batch of crew which would fly to Reykjavik, Iceland in a couple of hours time. As for this lovely set of crew, I was treated to a cockpit visit. A big thank you to the crew of DL1261 on 8 June, especially to the veteran Captain and the female first officer. It was their last flight of the day, so I didn't want to take up to much of their time. Trust me, at that poing of time, I had lots of questions to ask them about the Boeing 757. One thing for sure is they are very enthusiastic about the 757. 

Domestic First Class 

There are 5 rows of 4 in this class, located at the front of the aircraft. So when you board the 757, you will enter the aircraft by the 2nd door which means you turn left while for the passengers on other classes will turn right to their respective cabin.

The cabin is configured in 2-2 seating configuration. 




Comfort + Seats 

This cabin is configured in 3-3 seating configuration with better legroom space and extra padding on the seat compared to the Main Comfort cabin. 




Main Cabin

3-3 seating configuration


This time round, I got my window seat. I would have insisted on a window seat if they relocated me! 


Windowless seat 


The lavatory in between the the 2 Economy Class cabin 



It's hard to tell this is a 17-years old plane! Delta Airlines has certainly done well keeping its cabin updated.




The safety card of this aircraft 


The seat pitch is of the Economy Class is the standard, 31' inch. 




Almost reaching MSP Airport. 


Information of my flight and aircraft type


In-Flight Wifi 

At this point of time, this airline has plans to introduce complimentary Wi-Fi on all the aircraft, so below information you see may be outdated in the near future. The airline has not stated about the launch of the complimentary Wi-Fi but they are currently working on it. 



 I took a video of the take-off (2 minutes clip) and if you are interested, click here to enjoy the take-off. 

In-flight snack 

I had the biscoff biscuit and ginger ale for my snack. 


Window shot photos 


Just like in JFK and LGA, LAX is undergoing some upgrading with some of the terminals. 


This is China Airlines A350-900 based in Taiwan.


We took about 10 minutes or so to reach the runway from our departure gate. 




Almost there! The weather once again at LAX looked gloomy. This time, I would say goodbye to LAX.  See you next time! 


Off we go! The takeoff is the most powerful among the narrow-body aircraft types. 


It was certainly a lovely day for flying. 





At this point, we started our descent. 



We touched down smoothly at MSP, a new airport to my flight logbook. 




MSP is also a hub of Delta Airlines 




We parked besides this Airbus A330-900NEO which was bound for Europe. 


After the flight, I asked the Captain who was standing near the L2 door and tada, I received the green light. There is no harm asking! Usually the flight crew are cool with it, just remember to always be nice to them especially when the flight is not going according to plan (flight delay/cancellation and any other unpleasant incidents). They play a big role in ensuring our comfort and safety whether in flight or on the ground. 

Presenting to you the Boeing 757-200 cockpit! 

The first officer's seat 


The captain's seat 



The cockpit of the Boeing 757/767. 


Overhead panel 



Summary of my flight 



Arrival at MSP Airport

Thanks for the ride, N822DX! 


This is Minneapolis airport! I had about an hour and a half before my next flight. 




With that, stay tuned for the next part of my joyride day with Delta Airlines! 

My rating: 

Airlines's website/mobile app: 4/5
Airport staff at LAX: 4/5
In-Flight Service: 5/5 (Best set of crew so far) 
Cleanliness of aircraft: 5/5
Condition of aircraft: 5/5
In-Flight Entertainment system: 4/5
In-Flight snack/meal: 2/5
Punctuality: 5/5
Seat comfort: 3/5 
Cabin interior: 4/5
Overall rating: 41/50
Percentage: 82%
Verdict: Great! 

Conclusion 

This is certainly one of my most enjoyable flights so far and I am very glad to have found this itinerary. Most folks would have gone for the direct route, but when you have an itinerary like this for an aviation enthusiast, you would go for it. I am grateful that United and Delta didn't follow American by retiring the 757s, though I feel it was kind of a regret not able to fly on American's. If I had known, I would have put American's 757 flight on top of the list in 2019. 

Flying the Boeing 757 has made me like the plane even more now and now that I am back home, I can't wait to return to the U.S to do more 757 flights! The cockpit visit + good weather  + departure from Tom Bradley terminal at LAX - what more can I ask for, right? I suppose this makes up for the middle seat assigned to me on my 757-300 flight the day before. 

On my next flight review (last one with Delta), I will do an overall review of my flying experience with this airline. 

Hope you enjoy this part 1 of my trip report!

For my previous trip report (Alaska A320 SFO-LAX trip report), click here
For my part 2 of this trip report (Delta Airlines A321CEO MSP-LGA), click here

Have a great one!
Charles

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