Welcome to my trip report on Delta Airlines A321CEO flight experience!
This is Delta's Airbus A321CEO registered N360DN, photographed by my friend Doug Kempf. Do follow him on twitter @dougkempf for his wonderful photos mostly photographed at SAN Airport. (San Diego, U.S.A)
I think by now you readers out there must be tired of reading the trip report of the same airline over and over again, right? Why Delta again? I promise you this would be my last report on the airline for this year. I can't promise you about next year because I still have the airline's Boeing 717, ERJ-175 and maybe the 767-300ER to fly on. We should see! At least for this trip report, I will give a comparison between this and the 757-200 and also this aircraft with the A321NEO. So without furthur ado, let's begin!
This flight is a continuation from my part 1 (You can check out my part 1 trip report over here. For this sector, I don't like the flight timing because I will arrive at LGA Airport almost midnight, not an ideal timing. My accomodation for that night was near JFK Airport and you can imagine the distance between LGA and JFK but sacrifices have to be made especially its possible as I was travelling alone.
About the airline's Airbus A321 CEO
Before the take over of Northwest Airlines, this airline operated Airbus A310 (fleet of 21, most were leased) inherited from Pan Am but those aircraft didn't stay long as Delta replaced this aircraft with the Boeing 767.
Delta operated the Airbus A310 from 1991 to late 1995, including leases from Airbus. This is the Airbus A310-300. The -200 doesn't has the wingfence (shown below). (Photo: J. Laporte)
Years later, after Delta Airlines and Northwest airlines merged in 2008, the branding of Delta Airlines was retained and this newly merged airline became the lastest commercial airline in the world in 2008. Delta Airlines kept the fleet of Airbus A319/A320 and have been operating them till today. The airline recently ordered 100 + 30 options Boeing 737 MAX 10 for fleet renewal and expansion and to operate along with the A321. What’s the future for the ageing A319/A320? No one knows yet but I am sure the airline has a plan for it.
As the airline is happy with the A320 aircraft, they decided to place an order for the bigger size A320 member, the A321CEO in September 2013. The airline ordered 30 A321CEO and 10 A330-300 aircraft and this would be the first order directly from Hamburg for Delta Airlines. A year later, a 2nd order for 15 Airbus A321 was placed and 37 more A321CEO were ordered in 2016, taking the total fleet size of the A321CEO to 82.
These aircraft are now operating for Delta Airlines:
This is Airbus A320 in Northwest revised livery (Photo: Andy Egloff)
The first A321CEO joined the fleet in March 2016 from Hamburg and the first American built A321CEO was received by the airline in October 2016. The airline has been very pleased with the performance of the A321CEO aircraft and a year later, the airline placed an order for 100 A321NEO and 25 were added on to the order a few months later. This was not enough for the airline it seems as another 30 planes were to the order, making it a total of 155 A321NEO and 3 of them have been delivered at this time. (July 2022)
A Brief History of Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
This airport came about in 1919 when several local groups came together to take control of a former race track. The airport was opened in 1920 for airmail services and 8 years later, Minneapolis Park Board took control of this airport and a year later, passengers service started. This airport was initially named after 2 World War 1 pilots, Ernest Groves Wold and Cyrus Foss Chamberlain, Wold-Chamberlain Field. In 1944, it was renamed to Minneapolis - St Paul Metropolitan Airport/Wold-Chambelain Field. Now it is known as Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.
This airport currently has 2 terminals with 131 gates altogether. Terminal 1 hosting to gate A to G while terminal 2 hosting gate H. It also has 4 runways, runway 4/22, 12R/30L, 12L/30R and 17/35. Delta Airlines and Sun Country used this airport as their hubs. Sun Country is very much in my mind for my flying trip in 2023.
Here is the layout of the airport
Transiting at MSP Airport
I had about an hour and a half to hang around, so I decided to check out the terminal 1. I had no time to go over to terminal 2, perhaps next time.
Checking Flightradar24, N360DN would be taking me to LGA!
I always wanted to visit this city, well next time! For now, I should check out the terminal 1 airside of MSP Airport. As the time duration was short, heading out to the landside was not an option for me.
There is an airport shuttle train to take from one end to the other end of the terminal .
This is a certainly a nice airport for aircraft photography.
This is the Boeing 717 of Delta Airlines which I have plans to fly on. For now the airline will operate this aircraft till 2029 subject to changes.
This is Delta Airlines' A321CEO (Not my aircraft)
Delta Airlines ERJ-175
After plane spotting for a short while, I continued on checking out the terminal.
There are ample sitting areas for phone charging and plane spotting is possible as there are seats by the window.
Somehow it reminds me of my local airport (Changi).
Overall it was a nice airport to visit, I hope to return and visit the city soon.
At the boarding gate of my flight
Time to board the A321CEO aircraft!
Flight route: MSP - LGA
My ride: N360DN (Photo: Jason Whitebird)
Airbus A321-211 (WL)
Delivered to Delta Airlines in August 2018
Configuration: C20 Y172
Engines: 2 X CFM56-5B3/3
Age: 4 years old (2022)
Built in Mobile (BFM), Alibama
Date of departure: 8 June 2022
Airline: Delta Airlines
Aircraft: Airbus A321CEO
Seat: 21F (Middle seat vacant - yeah!)
Terminal gate: C5
Departure Terminal: 1
Schedule departure: 1955
Actual departure (delay): 2030
Push back: 2015
Take off: 2034
Arrival terminal: Terminal B
Arrival terminal: B1
Schedule arrival: 2351 delayed to 0016
Touch down: 2343
MSP departure runway: 30R
LGA arrival runway: 22
My in-flight experience
My flight was delayed even though it arrived early from LAS (Las Vegas). I believe the aircraft had a technical issue but the decision to continue on to fly to LGA was made by the flight crew and I trust their judgement. What’s the issue? Well during taxi before take off and after landing, a loud whining sound (check the video below) was heard. It was very annoying but since it didn’t affect the performance of the aircraft, the pilots probably decided to go ahead to fly to LGA instead of further delaying or cancelling the flight which would have disappointed the passengers.
Boarded the aircraft about 24 minutes before our schedule departure time, I wasn't surprised the departure time come and go and at 2015 hours, we were finally on our way. The Captain informed us that we would arrive on time despite the delay and also expected some turbulence when we were near New York area. He apologised for the delay as he explained due to heavy traffic at that time. I suspected our flight lost our original timeslot so we had to wait for the next available one.
Anyway, after take-off, that annoying noise went away and for the rest of the flight, it was peaceful. Service on this flight was normal, nothing much to write about. The In-Flight Entertainment system hanged a few times but the flight went past quickly. True enough, it was bumpy while flying near New York area during our descend. Nothing bad but after touching down, not long after, the annoying noise you hear on the video came back. The rest of us sitting in the cabin were dead silence and probably couldn't wait to leave the aircraft. Luckily after the engine turned off, the noise died. At that time, it was almost midnight, most of us probably looking forward to getting home and rest. I would have to find the best way to get to my accomondation. I was actually thinking of taking the train all the way but that would take too long.
Cabin interior of N360DN
Main Cabin and Comfort +
Emergency legroom space is definitely top notch
The nice mood lighting certain helps improve the atmopshere on this cabin. Apart from the Space Flex Cabin and seating configuration on the A321NEO, the cabin is similar to the A321NEO. Which aircraft do I prefer? The NEO, for the quieter cabin and bigger overhead cabin storage space.
There was this loud annoying noise before departure and after arrival, not until the engines are turned off then the sound went off.
According to an A320 pilot, he told me that the sound comes from the yellow system electric pump, the same sound that the ground crew will hear when the the cargo hold is opened and closed. This noise is unusual but it doesn't affect the operation of the flight. I believe the airline could have tried fixing it but decided to go ahead to operate and fix the aircraft at the airport at the end of the working day.
The system hang a few times during the flight.
Like my previous flights with this airline, food service and a complimentary snack and drink were offered
I would have love to try the Fruit & Cheese Plate to compare with Alaska's version. However, I wasn't able to preorder on Alaska's website due to technical issue with the website, so no inflight meal on my next flight and since that was the case, I gave this a skip.
Domestic First Class Seat
After this flight, I have flown on both the A321CEO and A321NEO of Delta Airlines!
I had the gingle ale and biscoff biscuit
Window shot photos
The weather was great at MSP at that time.
After pushed back, we made our way to the departure runway.
Once we reached the runway, we took off immediately in this beautiful weather.
Even though the weather looks fantastic, it was slightly bumpy.
We headed to the darkness.
We started our descend at this point
We touched down smoothly at LGA.
After having to endure the noisy whine for about 10 minutes or so, we reached our gate, parked beside fellow company's 737-800. As for our aircraft, it will continue it's journey the following day.
After arrival, I made my way out of the terminal.
I had quite a bit of walking to do before reaching the bus stop where I take the shuttle Q70 to the train station.
At midnight, I looked at the price of the Uber ride from the airport to the hotel and it cost a whopping $82. So what I did was to take the bus Q70 to the St-Woodside station and grab an Uber ride from there to my accommodation and this cost about $50 cheaper.
My short stay at this hotel
I reached the hotel at 0130 and slept for 4 hours before making my way to JFK Airport for my next joyride trip to Seattle with Alaska Airlines.
Airline's website/mobile app: 4/5
Airport staff at MSP: 4/5
In-Flight Service: 4.5/5
Cleanliness of aircraft: 4/5
Condition of aircraft: 1.5/5
In-Flight Entertainment System: 4/5
In-Flight Snack/meal: 2/5
Seat comfort: 3/5
Cabin interior: 4/5
Overall rating: 35/50
I am fortunate that all my 5 flights went ahead without any major hiccups like flight cancellation or delay and possible aircraft change. For this flight, sometimes technical issues like the loud annoying noise may happen but I guess the problem only lies when the plane is taxiing so the decision to go ahead with the flight was a right one. I trust the crew to know best whether its safe to fly or not. So flying with Delta Airlines, I have no problem at all. In fact I am looking forward to fly more with this airlines in the near future for the remaining aircraft type missing from my flight logbook especially. Which is the most memorable Delta Airlines flight among the 5 flights? The 757-200, that's for sure, for the wonderful crew and the fantastic performance of the 757-200. The A321 series is a great plane but somehow it doesn't have to "Wow" factor when compared to the 757. However, I rate the A321 very highly especially the NEO series. It is certainly a good 757 replacement with better economics such as fuel efficiency, lower operating cost, modern cockpit for the pilots and better passenger comfort. However, the 757 wins the A321XLR in one aspect, it can carry more passengers.
Which aircraft do I prefer? The A321 or the Boeing 757-200
I admire the Boeing 757-200 for its tremendous flying performance. The A321 takes off and fly fine, but it just doesn't have that power the 757 has especially during take-off. For passengers comfort, the A321 definitely wins with a wider and quieter cabin matching today's technology. It is unfortunate that Boeing decided not to continue enhancing the Boeing 757 with a new engine type. (757 MAX) if you call it. If the manufacturer has gone with this path, we could have seen a lot of orders for the MAX version.
Overall, the Boeing 757 gets my vote by just a margin. The winning factor would have to be the design of the aircraft, the sleekness of the 757.
With that, I have completed my trip reports on Delta Airlines. Here are the list of my previous trip reports with Delta Airlines flown in 2022! Hope you enjoy these trip reports.
For my next trip report (Alaska B737-900ER JFK-SEA), click here.
Thanks for reading, have a great one!