Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Exploring CS100 (Airbus A220-100) with Delta Airlines (Part 1: DFW-DTW)

Welcome to my trip report on Delta Airlines! 



Photo: Yu Cai 
Introduction

Flying the Airbus A220 was very much in my mind and when Delta Airlines started flying this aircraft type, I knew I had to include this in my flying trip. Currently, in Asia, only Korean Air is operating and I could fly with that airline later. So once my decision was made, I checked Delta's routes, thanks to Airlineroute. A big shout out to the folks at this website, without them, checking routes would be more difficult. Here is the link to the website. As I wanted to fly to Dallas, Dallas-Detriot route works for me. I decided to do a return as I was afraid of the last-minute equipment change. Checking the flight history, there is a possibility of Boeing 717 replacing the A220. That's not a bad change, because the 717 in Asia, is not possible to fly anymore, I don't think anyone in Asia is flying this aircraft type anymore. Similar to the Boeing 757-300, I still think flying in the U.S is the best place to fly the rarer aircraft type. Boeing 717, 757-200,-300 and 767-400ER are the ones to catch these days.

The only bad thing is the airfare was quite expensive at that time and later on, I found out the fees did not include check-in luggage which I don't understand why. Paying $30 for check-in baggage on a premium airline, and this comes from an Asian aviation traveller, is ridiculous. But like what they say, you need to adapt to others, not others adapt to you. Don't mind this ranting. 

Later on, I checked, the baggage fees are free for cardholders from some credit card companies and the airline's mileage program high-status passengers, so I supposed this fee waiver for baggage is to encourage travellers to either sign up for the credit companies or upgrade the airline's status. (Fly with the airline using the airline's mileage program often and you get rewarded)

For travel credit card information, I highly recommend - One Mile At A Time website. Click here for the link.

About Airbus A220 (CS-100/-300)

Airbus A220 is named after Bombardier's CS series. This aircraft has 2 types, the -100 which is a narrow-body twin-engine jet, powered by Pratt and Whitney PW1500 engines, flies on short-medium haul flights, carrying a load of 108 to 133 seats for this aircraft type, depends on configuration by the airline. The -300 series is a stretched version, carries a load of 130 to 160. Bombardier discussed with the interested customers before the final configuration of the aircraft was done and in 2013, this aircraft was ready to fly. The maiden flight of the CS-100 took place on 16 Sept and entered service the following year, 15 July with Swiss Airlines being the launch customer. As for the -300 series, it first flew on 27 February 2015 and Air Baltic was the first airline to take delivery of this type a year later in December. 

Bombardier sold 50% stake of the program to Airbus and whether Airbus will buy out the Canadian manufacturer's remaining stake is remained to be seen. At least for now, they don't have plans to. The decision for Bombardier to sell some stake of the CS-100/-300 program was made also partly because of Boeing's unhappiness with Bombardier for selling the CS-100/-300 aircraft to Delta at a very cheap price and wanted 300% tariffs imposed on CS-100/-300 aircraft. That, of course, failed and today Delta is operating the A220.

Airbus has been promoting this aircraft as it has proven to be a reliable workhorse for the operators and probably the best in its class for now. Due to the popularity of the aircraft, the manufacturer has opened a 2nd production factory in Mobile, Alabama.

With all these, I got myself hooked onto the idea of flying on this aircraft, it was, in fact, a top priority for me.

Booking with the airline's mobile application

I am impressed with the interface of the mobile's application. Delta's IT department has done a really great job on it. It is easy to use and eye-pleasing for me.

 

What I don't like is the expensive airfares and to make it worse, even the most expensive ones, are non-refundable. Why?

You can view the seats before booking





For this price, without adding in the baggage fees, is exorbitant. But I am flying for the sake of the A220 so that's that, besides no baggage check-in for me, so it doesn't matter.





The application will keep you well updated, notifying you on your flight status and the assigned gate of your flight. Nicely done!




Always go for the Main Cabin, especially if you don't want inconvenience. I paid the extra to prevent an unpleasant experience.


DFW Airport

This huge airport consists of 5 terminals. More details of this in my American Airlines Trip report, coming soon.


This is terminal E 









The terminals are connected by Skytrain, only available at the airside.


The good old MD-80


American Airlines will retire the MD-80 in September 2019, I try to snap as many photos of this aircraft as possible. I am fortunate to be able to see them because if not for the 737 MAX grounding, they would have been retired already.


Continental's livery spotted on this Boeing 737-900ER (Retro livery of United Airlines)


American Airlines Babybus - Airbus A319


On the Skytrain, you have chances to take this kind of photos


Sun Country's livery is stunning!


This is American Airlines' hub 


I was absolutely delighted to spot this retro livery 


American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner


Aeromexico's ERJ-190 getting ready for departure


I did the online check-in and boarded the aircraft using my mobile phone


Checking my ride, and she is coming in from LGA (La Guardia New York) airport

N101DU gets the honour to fly me to Detriot




Soon it was time to head over to the gate. We had a gate agent welcoming us and will clear the standby and upgrade list before boarding. Our plane arrived early and we boarded the aircraft according to schedule.



The gate my flight was departing from 


Terminal E is less impressive than Terminal D, that's for sure.



My ride: N101DU 


What is so significant about this aircraft? Let's find out!



A better photo of N101DU

Aircraft type: Airbus A220-100
Engines: 2 X PW1519G
Configuration: C12 Y97
Delivered on 25 October 2018
MSN: 50020
Born in Montreal


Photo: Peachair

Flight route: DFW-DTW (Dallas Fort Worth to Detriot)

Miles: 986



Departure date: 21 July 2019
Airline: Delta Airlines
Flight: DL 2914
Route: Dallas Fort Worth to Detriot
Gate: E16
Seat: 24A
Load: 95% Full Y Class
Duration: 2 hours 7 mins (Actual: 2 hours 9 min)
Scheduled departure: 1110
Pushed back: 1110
Boarding: 1033
Scheduled arrival:1450
Actual arrival: 1433
Departure runway: 35L
Arrival runway: 4L

Boarding the aircraft was according to zone, I boarded as early as possible, wanted to take some cabin photos before the seats get filled up.

Boarded the aircraft, the cabin crew were busy so I walked past them and entered the beautiful cabin, with window shades closed. The blue mood lighting gives me a very nice impression of the cabin. One noticeable thing is how big the baggage storage is and the tall ceiling, fitting me in nicely. For other similar size aircraft, I would probably need to bend. 

Time to board!



An impressive list of awards for this airline! It seems the local people I chat with, prefer this airline over the other 2.



Delta Airlines has 4 types of classes for domestic flights. 

Domestic first-class, Delta Comfort (Premium Economy), Main Cabin (Economy) and Basic Economy Class 

Domestic First Class 

From first glance, it doesn't seem different from Economy Class. The difference is the seat pitch and slightly wider seat


For short-haul flights, I rather save the money and miles




The 2nd difference is for the right side, it is 2-seater for this class while for Economy class, this side would be 3-seater.


Delta Comfort +

Slightly better legroom space than Economy Class. This cabin consists of 3 rows of 2-3 configuration. Located just behind Domestic first class cabin. 

Economy Class 

Fortunately, not many passengers at this moment of time. I managed to snap some photos of the lovely cabin, without issues.



The 2-seater is the way to go for single or couple. I find it to be comfortable through the legroom space is slightly tight for me, but no issue for 3 to 4 hours flight.

Basic Economy 

The last few rows of the aircraft are usually selected by the check-in staff for Basic Economy Class passengers. For this class type, passengers are not allowed to select their seats, upgrade their class and change their flights. However, they can enjoy the complimentary snack and the comfortable seat plus IFE system if available on the flight. Depends on destination, there may be extra charges for checked-in baggage. 

Some Basic Economy restrictions are waived if you are an elite or cardholder of Delta's partners (credit card company)



IFE system fitted on this aircraft is a winner for Delta Airlines! 




This is my seat for the next 2 hours or so. 



I find this more of a luxurious Economy Class compared to other airlines


Legroom space does look tight, right?



What is missing here is the headcover, I feel. 




It was a pleasure flying on this aircraft! I glad I had the return flight to look forward to.


My observation

This aircraft may seem smaller than the regular A320/B737 but for comfort-wise, I find it to be better. Cabin noise is slightly lower too. What makes this special is the nice cabin ambience plus the IFE system which keeps everyone entertained. The aircraft is also fitted with WiFi and you can use it instead of the IFE system. Of course to surf the internet, you have to pay to use it. 

The take-off was powerful and the engine noise level was acceptable, didn't find it exceptionally quiet, sitting behind the wing. Once again, Most of the windows were shut during taking off. Very strange to me.  

 Once we were above 10,000 feet, the seat belt sign was turned on. Our flight crew kept us well updated on our flight progress and crew service started with the usual announcements on food purchase and complimentary snack and drink available to us. This set of crew wasn't very friendly but they did what they have to do. I still prefer my previous Frontier flight's crew, as they were more relaxed. 

More photos of the Y class seat 



It was bearable for this short flight.


The window size is big! I am impressed. 


On Swiss Air, there will be an LCD display located just in front of the air-con vent, that is a mini-monitor screen which can show you the safety video and advertisements. 


What's inside the seat pocket?

Airline's safety card


In-flight magazine 


Encouragement to use the WiFi (Payable only for internet usage)


In-flight meal menu (pay as you order)
Only credit and debit cards are allowed for payment


In-Flight Entertainment System 

This aircraft is fitted with the same IFE system as the wide-bodies. I am surprised that the airline chose to install it on this aircraft, but that is a good way of keeping your customers happy even on short sectors. This aircraft is capable of doing medium-haul routes, so for 3-4 hours sectors, this is the perfect aircraft especially for thin routes. 


The USB port and the earplug port are located at a convenient location.


I like the IFE system, it is easy to use and the touchscreen is responsive.


It even shows you the aircraft type and the registration of the aircraft you're flying on! Impressive.



The 3D navigation map is one of the latest in the market.





A good number of movie selection


Drink and Food Menu, some are available for purchase



You can either pre-order or order them on board the flight (subject to availability)



There is even Live TV! Is this why the airfare is on the higher side? 


Do note that you can start using the IFE system from the moment you sit down to the end of the flight. Only announcements and safety video interrupt. 

WiFI is available 




I think the pricing below is a good deal


I tried watching the movies on my cell phone, works flawlessly.


In-flight menu and snack 

The pictures made me tempted, maybe on long haul flights next time.





The U.S premium airlines can do better than this, how about a sandwich instead?


Window shot photos 


We pushed back exactly on time, thanks to everyone on board for turning up early.
 \

The engine started up quietly but there was a strange hydraulic noise which went on until before the plane took off. The strange noise turned out to be from the power transfer unit. It sounds like an angry dog barking, but not to worry if you hear this sound, it doesn't affect the operation of the aircraft.

PTU (Power Transfer Unit) helps to ensure adequate hydraulic pressure for twin engine jets. This usually happens if the pilot opts to save fuel by taxiing with just one engine. Because each engine powers up different components of the aircraft, the PTU helps to compensate by running components that the other engine is not running. Airbus’ aircraft are usually noisy, but the sound will die off once both engines are running normally. 




Passing by American Airlines' fleet. I have no idea which terminal is this, but more trips to this airport, I would be able to recognise then. 


On the runway now, that strange noise died down at this time.


Take off was a smooth affair, it was powerful. I haven't flown on a PW powered aircraft for quite a while, it's nice to fly on one especially on the new type.





We made a series of turns and I got to view DFW airport from the air! What a sight!



For most parts of cruising, I spent the time watching the movie and occasionally looking out of the window. 


We started descending into Detriot, it was cloudy at that time. We went through some roller-coaster rides while flying through some clouds! 




Descending was smooth and the aircraft gently touched down the runway with plenty of time to spare.




Landed safely and we taxied to our assigned gate, reaching there ahead of schedule.


This is Delta Airlines' hub, I managed to see plenty of Boeing 717 and regional jets.


After the flight, I managed to score a visit to the cockpit! A big thank you to the flight crew. 



The Captain previously flew on the Boeing 737 fleet. He is a veteran, having flown with the Boeing 727, and Boeing 747 (Classics). He told me that he was happy with the aircraft even though there were teething problems but the airline is happy with them as things are improving with strong support from the Airbus side. 

My flight report 




My rating

Delta Airlines' mobile app: 8/10
DFW Airport experience: 7/10
IFE System: 7/10
Cabin interior: 9/10
Cleanliness: 10/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
In-flight snack: 6/10
Punctuality: 10/10
In-flight service: 6/10
Seat comfort: 7/10
Overall rating: 80/100

Conclusion

I am impressed with the Airbus A220, it is probably the top aircraft in its class. Delta Airlines offers a good Economy Class product with the IFE system and availability of WiFi. For the Domestic First Class, I don't think it justifies to pay more for it as I feel it is more of a premium economy class if you ask me. Economy Class is good enough for me for flying Delta's A220. I recommend the Main Cabin Economy to make your travel more pleasant. 

What impressed me most of the aircraft is the spacious feel to the cabin, not at all I feel cramp at any point of time. I am glad I got this aircraft off my list and will do the return trip report which is also operated by this aircraft type. My overview of Delta and the A220 will be in my next trip report. 

Hope you enjoy this report as much as I do.

You can follow me on 
Instagram - travellingdreamliner 
Facebook - Charles Ryan Teo

For my Delta Airbus A220 part 2 trip report, click here.

Have a fantastic week!
Charles

No comments:

Post a Comment