Delta Connection ERJ-170 first class Seattle to San Diego

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01. Introduction: Chasing the Thanksgiving 747 (and other rare birds)
02. American Airlines 737-800 premium economy (Main Cabin Extra) San Diego to Chicago
03. American Airlines MD-83 economy class Chicago to Detroit
04. Westin DTW (standard room)
05. Delta Airlines 747-400 business class (Delta One) Detroit to Atlanta
06. Delta Airlines 747-400 business class (Delta One) Atlanta to…nowhere
07. Delta Airlines A330-300 business class (Delta One) Atlanta to Seattle
08. Delta Connection ERJ-170 first class Seattle to San Diego

This goes down in history as being the first time in my life that I’ve ever purchased an airline ticket on the day of departure. I’ve always thought how cool it must be to show up at the airport, throw down a credit card, and walk away with a ticket to a far away place in hand. So spontaneous and free…wow! But now that I’ve done it, I’m here to tell you that it’s something that I never want to do again.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the feeling of dread and anxiety was much more overpowering than the fast and free feeling of spontaneity. Much worse actually. Most of that was due to the fact that this was the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is notorious for being the most chaotic and busiest travel weekend of the year here in the US. Airports and flights are packed solid – and I’ve heard horror stories about being stranded for days when things go wrong. Being faced with the need to purchase a ticket on this day, on this weekend, at this time was a very unsettling feeling.

If you’ve missed my previous two posts, I needed to purchase a ticket from Seattle to San Diego because my delayed ATL-SEA flight meant that I was going to miss my connection on Alaska Airlines down to SAN. Since that AS flight was booked separately, and Delta was only obligated to get me to Seattle, it was up to me to figure out how to get all the way home.

First thing I did while waiting to board the ATL-SEA segment was to get on the phone with Alaska Airlines to cancel the ticket. Doing that (as opposed to just not showing up for the flight) meant that I was able to recover some of the cost of the ticket minus the penalty fees. So all was not lost there.

Alaska airlines reservation iOS app

Well, there goes this reservation. Not gonna make it I’m afraid.

SANspotter airport selfie

“Hello, Alaska Airlines? Yeah, I’m not gonna be able to make my flight this evening. Why’s that? Well, long story short, there’s a Delta 747 that has been giving me problems all day…”

Then I had a look on Google Flights to see what my options were for flights from SEA to SAN that evening. I was wincing with clenched butt cheeks as I pressed the “search” button, expecting obscenely high fares, but to my amazement Delta came up as the cheapest asking only $230. Seriously? That was more than acceptable IMHO, so I switched over to the Delta app on my phone to make the purchase. Seems as if DL is serious about competing with AS in Seattle!

The only three seats left on this flight were premium (for an extra cost), but I decided to gamble on my chances and just see what they give me at the gate. Besides, I wasn’t much in the mood for spending any more money on this trip.

DL4564
Seattle, WA (SEA) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Aircraft: ERJ-170
Registration: N246SY
Duration: 2 hours 23 minutes
Seat: 1A (first class)

delta connection skywest Embraer 170 side view

Delta Connection E-170 (N246SY) side view illustration by norebbo.com

Delta connection Skywest E-170 seat map

Seat map of this Delta Connection E-170 (courtesy of seatguru.com) showing my seat for this flight.

seattle to san diego air route map

Our route from SEA to SAN this evening: SUMMA9 SUMMA PAAGE Q11 LAX BAYVU5

delta connection E1875 seattle airport

Our E170 parked at gate B5 here at SEA, getting ready for the journey down to San Diego.

I’ve never been inside the B concourse at SEA, and to be honest I was surprised at how dumpy and run down it was. All I’ve been hearing about SEA lately is how big Delta is becoming there, so I guess that I was expecting something a bit nicer. If DL wants to make a name for themselves here, they’re going to have to step up their terminal game.

Seattle airport B concourse

The B concourse here at SEA isn’t all that flattering IMHO.

turkey sandwich dinner seattle airport

There are plenty of places to grab a quick bite to eat though. This turkey sandwich was dinner.

cat flight attendant pillow

I spotted this pillow as I was walking around and…well…do I have to turn in my man card if I say that I kind of liked it? That would look great at home on the sofa I think!

seattle airport departing flights

It’s only 5:43 and my flight isn’t scheduled to depart until 7:34pm. Ugh…I just want to go home.

SANspotter airport selfie

This says it all. It had been a very long day, and it still wasn’t over.

Seattle airport B concourse interior

Interestingly enough, these are exactly the same seats that are in terminal 2 east at SAN. #thethingsyouknow

In need of a seat assignment, I went to the gate about an hour before boarding was scheduled to begin. I didn’t see my name on the list of passengers awaiting seat assignments (on the overhead display), so I stood in line for my turn to talk to the agent. The guy in front of me asked her if there were any seats in first class available, and she apologetically replied that first class had checked in full. I really had no idea where I would be sitting on this flight, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if they put me in the last row next to the lavatory. Oh well – I just wanted to get home and I didn’t really care where they put me.

I approached the podium when it was my turn and I asked the gate agent about my seat assignment. As soon as she saw name, she handed me a pre-printed boarding card, smiled, and whispered that she gave me a complimentary upgrade to first class (trying not to let other passengers hear I guess). My eyes must have fell out of my head, but all I remember is thanking her with all the energy I had left in me. Wow! This was a totally unexpected upgrade considering that I currently have no status on Delta. What a nice surprise to end a long and frustrating day!

delta first class boarding pass

Complimentary first class upgrade. Score!

My spirits were instantly lifted at that point, and I was a pretty happy guy by the time it came to start boarding.

gate B5 Seattle Tacoma airport SEA

Gate B5 – our departure point for this flight down to San Diego.

gate B5 Seattle Tacoma airport SEA

Gate space is definitely tight here in the B concourse. If you don’t arrive to the gate early, chances are you won’t get a seat.

The same gate agent who upgraded me was also scanning boarding passes at the gate, and I thanked her a time or two again as I passed. I hope she understood how much that upgrade meant to me after such a long day. She was my hero of the day, that’s for sure.

SEA airport jet bridge delta

Finally – the last segment of the day!

E175 forward door Delta air lines

Stepping onto a small regional jet doesn’t feel quite the same as stepping onto a 747.

Delta Connection E175 first class seat 1A

Delta Connection E170 first class seat 1A. This guy wouldn’t stop hanging all over it so this was the best pic I was able to get. I was so tired that I didn’t really care.

delta connection E175 first class

Looking across the aisle to seats 1B and C. It’s a 1-2 layout up here in first class on the E170’s.

Delta Connection E175 first class seat 1A

There’s no room for bags (on the floor) in the first row, but leg room is generous.

delta connection E175 first class bulkhead

Reading material is located in a pouch on the bulkhead wall directly in front of the seat.

Delta Connection E175 first class bulkhead

Delta Connection E170 first class bulkhead.

Bottled water was distributed during the boarding process, but I didn’t really care about service on this flight. I just wanted to relax and sleep as much as possible. The driving rain outside helped to make me sleepy, and we were off and on our way up above the clouds in no time.

rainy night seattle tacoma airport

Rainy and gloomy out there this evening, but the jet bridge is detached and we are on our way out of here.

departing SEA airport late night

Turning onto the active runway. So long Seattle!

departing SEA airport late night

Dodging the rain drops as we depart Seattle.

It was a rough and bumpy first 10 to 15 minutes of the flight, but things smoothed out nicely by the time we cleared all that rain. The service began with the distribution of hot towels, and drink and dinner orders soon followed – which kind of threw me off guard a bit. Sure I was expecting drinks, but…dinner as well?! For some reason I thought that this was going to be a true “connection” type flight, which usually means cheap drinks and a small bag of peanuts or pretzels. But dinner caught me by surprise, and even though I wasn’t hungry (I ate dinner at SEA), I had to partake in this – just for sake of making the trip report complete!

The choices on tonights flight were a chicken wrap or a farro fennel salad. I went with the salad. Unfortunately it was too large for me to finish, but it was quite good and I’d recommend it to anyone seeking a healthy vegetarian inflight meal.

delta connection first class meal

Dinner on a Delta Connection flight? Who would have thought? This is the farro fennel salad, which was actually pretty good.

The rest of the flight was pretty much a blur. I slept. Took a few pictures along the way. And slept some more. Actually, it was more of a nap really, but it felt good to close my eyes and know that I’d be home soon.

Los Angeles at night from above

Overflying the city of Los Angeles.

Landing in San Diego was as routine as ever, with fairly clear skies and chilly evening temps. It was nice to see the Christmas lights on the buildings downtown during the approach!

San Diego night skyline

Flying into San Diego at night during the holiday season is always a treat with all the red and green lights on the buildings downtown.

flying into san diego at night

One of the most scenic approaches in all the US, that’s for sure!

flying into san diego at night

Passing over a Southwest 737 just moments from touchdown.

san diego airport arrival

Welcome (back) to San Diego!

SAN terminal 2 west

Pulling up to terminal 2 west, bringing this two-day adventure to a close.

And that wraps up this quick two-day 747 Thanksgiving trip that ended up being a bit more of an adventure than I had expected it to be. Sure it was fun – but I learned a pretty important lesson about stringing together multiple itineraries so close together on a single trip. I thought my planned 5 hour layover in Seattle would be more than enough to prevent missing my Alaska flight due to unexpected delays, but apparently that didn’t work so well. I will point out that I *almost* made that AS flight to SAN though – even with all those delays, my ATL-SEA segment landed in Seattle just minutes after that AS flight took off for SAN. So close, but yet so far…

Thanks for reading! My next trip report begins soon, which involves some new and interesting aircraft types in and out of SAN for my annual Christmas trip to Florida…

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