Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy class Los Angeles to San Diego

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01. Introduction: Business class battle royale – British Airways vs. Virgin Atlantic
02. British Airways 747-400 Club World (business class) San Diego to London (LHR)
03. Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London
04. Hilton London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 4
05. The 3 things that I love most about London
06. Virgin Atlantic Club House, LHR
07. Virgin Atlantic A340-600 Upper Class (business class) London (LHR) to New York (JFK)
08. InterContinental New York Barclay
09. jetBlue A321 Mint (business class) New York (JFK) to Los Angeles
10. Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy class Los Angeles to San Diego

I never realized how much of an airline nerd I was until I sat down this morning to write this particular trip report. “Dude. I’m writing about an economy class Delta Connection CRJ-900 flight in excruciating detail. Who does that sort of thing?” That’s when I had a sort of come-to-Jesus moment and realized how much satisfaction I get writing these airline reviews. I seriously considered skipping it, but then the anxiety in me bubbled up to uncomfortable levels when I realized that leaving a segment like this out would mean that that the entire trip report would be left incomplete. Sends shivers up and down my spine I tell ya…

I suppose that someday I could see myself skipping writing about these less-interesting segments, assuming that I start flying in a lot more international premium cabins. Ben Schlappig is a perfect example a trip-reporter that does just that – he flies a ton of domestic flights, but doesn’t write about any of them since he’s in a different international first or business class cabin every week. If I flew that much, I’d likely do the same thing. But for now, I’ve got to take all I can get and you the reader will have to suffer reading about what life is like way back in economy class on tiny regional jets. My sincerest apologies.

DL4832
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Aircraft: CRJ-900
Registration: N803SK
Duration: 27 minutes
Seat: 16D (economy class)

dirty delta crj-900 side view

Okay, this is a slight exaggeration, but I swear this was the dirtiest airplane I’ve ever been on (read on to see why). A very dirty N803SK illustrated by Norebbo.com

delta connection CRJ-900 seat map

Delta Connection CRJ-900 seat map (courtesy of seatguru.com) showing my seat for this flight.

LAX-SAN route map

Our route from LAX to SAN this afternoon: LAXX8 MZB

To be honest, I’m not even sure how to begin this one. What is there to say really? I just spent the last four days flying around the world in some really good business class cabins, so finding myself standing curbside just outside of terminal 3 at LAX was a bit of a downer. The only thing standing between me and the end of this journey was a short CRJ-900 ride (in economy class) down to SAN and to be honest I really wasn’t looking forward to it. Travel isn’t always glamorous, folks.

Despite the calendar saying it was October 20th, the Santa Ana winds were blowing hard and bringing in some oppressive heat in from out of the desert. It was HOT! The heat was so intense that I actually went into the Tom Bradley International terminal to cool off for a bit as I made my walk around the airport to reach Terminal 5 (the Delta terminal). I ended up staying there for an hour and a half, just stretching my legs and doing a bit of plane spotting from the big windows on the ground floor. I’m not a fan of Delta’s terminal here at LAX (it’s much too crowded) so spending a little time in the international terminal dreaming of my next big trip was a perfectly fine way to kill some time.

walking between terminals LAX

Making the long walk from terminal 3 to terminal 5 – but it was so hot out that I had to take a break to cool off in the Tom Bradley International Terminal on my way around.

I finished walking the rest of the way to terminal 5 at an hour before boarding for my flight down to SAN was scheduled to begin, and by the time I got there and did the security checkpoint thing, I didn’t have much longer to wait. I grabbed a quick bite to eat, walked up and down the terminal a time or two, and then sat down in the gate area just before the gate agents started the boarding process.

LAX terminal 5 Delta Airlines

Terminal 5 at LAX. Currently the home for Delta, but they’ll be moving over to the other side of the airport soon.

delta check in terminal 5 LAX

Personally I’m looking forward to them moving to a soon-to-be redesigned terminal – this one (terminal 5) is showing it’s age.

delta airlines terminal 5 checkin LAX

As much as they’ve tried to keep things looking modern, the check in area still feels very dark, old, and outdated.

delta airlines terminal 5 LAX interior

Things look a bit better inside the terminal – at least there is natural light!

delta airlines gate podium LAX

Speaking of old and outdated, I spy a dot-matrix printer here at the podium.

delta connection CRJ-900 LAX terminal 5

This was the best shot I could get of my ride down to SAN this afternoon.

LAX delta terminal 5 gate area

It’s always such a letdown to be waiting to board a tiny little regional jet after flying around the world in posh business class cabins.

gate 50B LAX terminal 5

Alright, let’s get this over with. Boarding underway here at gate 50B.

boarding delta CRJ-900 LAX

Looks like a squeaky-clean airplane, right? I was about to find out that it was anything but.

Delta connection CRJ-900 aisle

Trudging my way back to economy class.

Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy class

Delta Connection CRJ-900 main cabin.

delta connection CRJ-900 economy class seats

“Boy, it sure would suck to sit in that seat. There’s no window!” I was feeling pretty good at this point, glad that I didn’t have to deal with a crappy situation like that.

delta connection CRJ-900 economy class seats

But then…this. Yup, that’s my seat, and it looks like I’ll be missing a window as well!

Despite the lack windows, my spirits were starting to build as I began thinking about the really nice departure pics I would be able to get from this flight. The sun was setting beautifully, and I had a window seat on the correct side of the aircraft to get nice views of the terminal as we blast off into the stratosphere. Perfect! Hey – at least the sunset departure pictures would help to make this dull trip report more interesting, right?

Wrong. Things went sour as soon as I plopped down in my seat and assessed the view out the window. Saying that the window was dirty isn’t strong enough to describe the horror I was feeling as a trip-reporter and aviation photographer at that moment. The window was so grimy and scratched up that I knew right away that photography would be impossible.

dirty window delta connection CRJ-900

It may not look so bad in this pic, but the amount of filth on this window was like nothing I’ve ever seen on an airplane. Keep reading – you’ll see exactly how bad it actually was!

dirty window delta connection CRJ-900

Oh man. There goes any hopes for juicy departure shots. 🙁

Argh! I knew I had to dig deep in order to find something (anything) that would make this trip report interesting, but it wasn’t looking good. I was packed in like a sardine way back in the bowels of economy class in an old and smelly CRJ-900 – with no decent views of the outside world to be had.

Delta Connection CRJ-900 row 16

Delta Connection CRJ-900 row 16. There are missing windows in this row, and the in the row directly behind. Aviation photographers beware!

Delta Connection CRJ-900 leg room

Delta Connection CRJ-900 seat pitch.

Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy class

Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy class cabin.

dirty airplane windows

Pushing back from the gate, but there wasn’t much to see. How do airplanes even get this dirty?

dirty airplane windows

*sigh*

I’ve been in four wheel drive trucks caked with layers of mud that had cleaner windows than this, and it was such a let down knowing that I would not be getting any window view shots from this flight this afternoon. No beautiful views of the LAX terminals bathed in warm late afternoon light. No stunning coastline pics. No beautiful pics of downtown San Diego on final approach into SAN. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

dirty airplane windows

This airplane was so dirty that there were times during the taxi out to 25R that I had no idea where we were. And I know LAX like the back of my hand!

dirty airplane windows

Rolling out to 25R. I think.

dirty airplane windows

Luckily I was able to see some interesting bits through all the haze. What a beautiful Qatar 777!

dirty airplane windows

These departure pics could have been epic, but it wasn’t meant to be today.

I really wish I could write something like “then, out of nowhere, the most amazing thing happened…” but I wasn’t that lucky. There was absolutely nothing at all amazing about this flight, so all I have to say is that we basically flew down to San Diego. That’s it. Well, the flight attendant did come by offering water to anyone who wanted some, as the short flight time of 25 minutes didn’t offer much time for anything else. But other than that, flights don’t get any more boring and routine than this.

delta connection CRJ-900 safety card

Since there wasn’t anything else to take pics of, let’s have a look at the safety card.

delta connection CRJ-900 safety card

Delta Connection CRJ-900 safety card.

Delta Connection CRJ-900 safety card

Delta Connection CRJ-900 safety card – the entire thing.

Delta Connection CRJ-900 ceiling

Delta Connection CRJ-900 ceiling detail showing the air vents and lights.

CRJ-900 window shade

Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with pulling the window shade down and getting a bit of shut-eye.

flying into San Diego

Starting the descent into San Diego.

flying into San Diego

Seeing that bridge on approach to SAN is always a treat. It means I’m almost home!

flying into San Diego

Crossing over I-5 and touching down in a matter of seconds.

Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy class cabin

Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy class cabin, as seen as I was deplaning.

Delta Connection CRJ-900 N803SK

One last look at N803SK parked at gate 49. She looks pretty clean from this distance!

terminal 2 west san Diego airport

Terminal 2 west here at SAN looks so good bathed in late afternoon light.

terminal 2 west san Diego airport

Another shot looking directly through west-facing windows.

Phil's BBQ terminal 2 west san diego airport

The perfect way to end a trip here at SAN. I stopped by Phil’s BBQ here in T2 west to grab dinner to take home.

leaving san diego airport

Palm trees and sun. I’ve been living in San Diego for 19 years now and it never gets old.

san diego airport taxi

The taxi ride home!

For as much complaining as I did in this trip report, I was still quite thankful that it was a beautiful evening in southern California, and my trip to London had been a smashing success. Not being able to see out the window was an insignificant problem when looking at the big picture, I know, and to be honest I was feeling great knowing that I was able to put another great trip behind me. It’s always such a nice feeling to come home after a long journey.

Thanks for reading about my little adventure to London! Be sure to stay tuned for my next trip report, starting soon, which involves a 747, two long delays, and a last-minute ticket purchase to get me home…