Delta Air Lines 757-300 economy class San Diego to Atlanta

Delta Air Lines 757-300 economy class San Diego to Atlanta

On one hand, I was really looking forward to flying Delta 757-300 economy from San Diego to Atlanta. It was an aircraft / airline combo that I had never flown before, and hey – going to visit the family for the holidays is never a bad thing either.

On the other hand, Delta’s economy seats on the 757-300s aren’t exactly what I would call comfortable. They’re a little small, a lot narrow, and the leg room isn’t good enough to make me want to say anything good about it. To make matters worse, I had a middle seat assignment. 

SANspotter was definitely out of his element

San Diego, CA (SAN) – Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Friday, December 23, 2016
Aircraft: 757-351
Registration: N590NW
Duration: 4 hours 9 minutes
Seat: 40E (economy class)

delta 757-300 side view drawing
Delta Air Lines 757-300 (N590NW) side view illustration by
air route from SAN to ATL
Our route from SAN to ATL this morning: ZZOOO1 IPL J18 GBN J50 SSO J4 EWM J66 ABI J4 MEI DUUCK PRICI VYPPR1
travel luggage
Traveling with luggage is not something I do often! These poor suitcases have been around the world a time or two though – and they have the battle scars to prove it.

My detailed review of Delta 757-300 economy from San Diego to Atlanta

If there’s anything to take away from this review, it’s that the economy seats in the Delta 757-300 are a little different than the economy seats on other aircraft in the fleet. Check out my review of Delta A321 economy to see what I mean…

Checking in

The check in process wasn’t all that bad this morning, as we didn’t have to wait in line for more than several minutes. I guess that’s one advantage to taking a mid-morning flight to avoid the early morning rush.

My inexperience of checking bags showed quite clear though – after checking in at the kiosk (and confirming that we would be checking two bags), nothing happened after it spit out our boarding passes.

delta air lines check in san diego airport
Holiday decorations in full effect here at the Delta check in counters.

I was expecting an agent to come over and attach tags to the bags, but it wasn’t happening this time – it seemed we were being ignored. After a minute or two I walked over to one of the agents and asked for help. “You need to check in over here” she replied, pointing to another row of kiosks next to her. Oops. Ok, yeah, well this is what it feels like to be a travel noob I guess.

Ticketed passengers only beyond this point
Ticketed passengers only beyond this point. I’m always nervous taking pics around security, but I escaped without incident this morning…

The pre-flight experience

We timed our arrival to the airport pretty good this morning, allowing us ample time to relax in the San Diego Aspire Lounge for a bit, and the flight was just about ready to board by the time we made our way back over to gate 48. That ended up working out pretty well because it was standing room only and we weren’t able to find a seat until just a few minutes until boarding began.

SANspotter airport selfie
Chillin’ in the AA / AirSpace lounge with a bowl of oatmeal.
N590NW San Diego airport
That’s our bird! N590NW getting prepped for the run to ATL this morning. Nice to see the 753 here in SAN, that’s for sure.

The boarding process

I was really excited to discover that a 757-300 would be operating today’s flight to ATL. My last flight on a 757-300 was a short hop from MSP to DTW on Northwest Airlines on September 28th 2003, and these aircraft have eluded me since then.

There aren’t that many of them out in the wild anyway, so it was nice to see considering that it was listed as a -200 at the time of booking several months ago. The best part about that is that we were flying economy today, way back in the bowels of the aircraft – so we would definitely be getting the full “flying pencil” experience.

Delta 757-300 san diego airport
Close up of the old gal parked here at gate 48.
gate 48 san diego airport
Speaking of gate 48, it looks like it’s going to be a full flight this morning.
travel with apple watch
This is the inaugural trip with my Apple watch! Yep, the tech nerd in me was quite anxious to scan my watch at the gate.
gate 48 jetbridge san diego airport
Here we go – zone 1 has been called and we’re headed down the jet bridge to board the plane.
boarding delta 757-300
She doesn’t look so long and lean from this vantage point.
Delta Air Lines 757-300 economy class
Glad I was wearing walking shoes – it’s quite a trek to the back of a 757-300!

It was a long walk way back to row 40, which ended up being the last row before the bulkhead which separated the two sections of the economy cabin.

The seats

I’ll be honest when I say that these were not ideal seats, thanks in large part to the fact that the mid cabin lavatory was right behind us. To make matters worse, these seats didn’t recline. And did I mention that I was in a middle seat? We hadn’t even left SAN yet and I was looking for an escape.

Delta Air Lines 757-300 economy class seats
Delta Air Lines 757-300 economy class seats (40 D, E, F).
Delta Air Lines 757-300 economy class seats
Delta Air Lines 757-300 economy class seats (39 D, E, F). A lot more squishy than the seats you saw in my Delta 737-800 economy review!
delta 757-300 economy cabin
We’re not even all the way at the back, but it sure feels like it!
delta 757-300 economy seats
The feeling is a bit claustrophobic way back here…
delta 757-300 economy cabin
Patience is needed while waiting to load a 757-300. It takes a while to get everyone onboard and situated! 
delta 757-300 mid cabin lavatory
Row 40 is right up against the mid-cabin lavatories. Not the most ideal place to be on a long flight.
delta 757-300 economy seat pitch
Seat pitch was pretty tight, but not too uncomfortable. Be sure to read my Delta 757-300 Comfort Plus review to find out what the fancy-pants seats are like at the very front of this economy class cabin. It’s a lot better than this!
delta 757-300 economy seat pitch
I’m 5′-10″, and my knees were happy.
Delta Air Lines 757-300 seat-back video screen
Delta Air Lines 757-300 seat-back video screen. Nice and large!
Delta Studio welcome screen
Nice friendly greeting from Delta Studio.
delta studio aircraft detail screen
But of course this is my favorite part of Delta Studio. #avgeek
delta 757-300 economy seats
The window seat passenger hasn’t arrived yet. Yeah, I was hoping with all my might that I’d be able to move over to the window seat!
delta 757-300 wing
Might as well take advantage of the open window while I have it. This is the view outside. Exciting, huh?
delta 757-300 safety card
Let’s take a look at the safety card while we wait for boarding to complete. This is the front cover.
delta 757-300 safety card
Delta Air Lines 757-300 safety card inner cover.
delta 757-300 safety card
Delta Air Lines 757-300 safety card full interior.
delta studio please wait
“Please Wait”. A common phrase when boarding a 757-300.

The departure

There were many animals aboard today’s flight and it ended up happening that two ended up in the same row and they were not getting along. The flight attendants needed to move passengers around to resolve this matter before we could push off the gate, so that put us a few minutes behind schedule.

delta 757-300 economy cabin
Alright – I think we’re ready!
departing SAN delta 757-300
It feels so weird not sitting in a window seat. I normally take a ton of pics of the departure sequence for each flight, but this one is the only one I got today. Sorry!

The food

They wasted no time in getting the service going just after takeoff, starting with the pay-for-food cart first, followed by drinks and snacks.

Of course it was a long while before they reached our row, and I was sure they would be out of the one item that looked good to me on the menu, so my hopes weren’t very high as the flight attendant asked if there was anything she could get for me.

Thankfully the chicken wrap I had my eye on was in abundant stock, and I was happily stuffing my face a few minutes later with one heck of tasty (though expensive) meal.

delta chicken wrap
The food-for-purchase cart arrived first, so I spent $9 on this chicken wrap. Hope it’s good…
delta air lines chicken wrap
I’m happy to report that it was very tasty! Not quite $9 tasty, but pretty good nonetheless.
delta economy class snack
The drink and snack carts arrived long after my chicken wrap was gone.

Staying comfortable

I must have been tired from lugging around our heavy bags all morning, because I managed to sleep decently for the next two hours, interrupted only by my head falling forward into my lap every 5 minutes due to lack of recline in the seat. It’s an uncomfortable way to nap for sure, but I was sleeping deeply enough to have some crazy dreams in between head bobs.

delta air lines 757-300 economy class cabin
The view of the cabin after lunch.
mid cabin toilet delta air lines 757-300
Delta Air Lines 757-300 economy class mid-cabin lavatory.
delta studio in flight map
Still quite a ways to go at this point.

I woke up for good just as the sun was setting behind us, and my seat-mate at the window was getting some really nice pics of it all. The aviation photographer and trip reporter in me couldn’t stand being denied views like that for very long, and I ended up handing my phone to him, asking if he could get a couple pics for me. Thankfully he was more than happy to oblige, and I appreciated his kindness.

delta air lines 757-300 wing sunset
Huge thanks to the guy in the window seat who took this pic for me. I couldn’t have done it any better!

Turns out that he was a UCSD student on his way to meet his girlfriend (who he hasn’t seen in 4 months) in Florida for vacation. She was coming from cold and snowy Boston, and they were both looking forward to the warm weather in Daytona Beach for a few days. I don’t blame them at all – Florida can be quite nice in the winter time.

A second drink and snack service came through the cabin with 50 minutes of flying time remaining, but the flight attendants seemed very rushed (and distracted) and ended up forgetting to ask us if we would like any snacks to go with our drinks. Oh well – we were just about to land anyway so no big deal.

delta air lines second snack
Our booty from the second snack service.
delta studio in flight map
Almost to Atlanta!
delta air lines wi-fi
There’s not much to take pics of while sitting in a middle seat on a dark airplane. Here’s the overhead Wi-Fi logo. Woo hoo!
delta air lines 757-300 economy class cabin
We’ll be arriving at ATL in just a few minutes…

The arrival into Atlanta

Landing is a very anti-climatic experience when not sitting in a window seat, so my apologies for not being able to provide you a nice sequence of landing pics for this flight. It was dark though, and there probably wasn’t much to see anyway, so you’re not missing much.

We docked at the gate several minutes ahead of schedule thanks to a hefty tail wind pushing us across the country today, but getting off the 757-300 does take a while if you’re seated in the back like us.

deplane 757-300
Nothing to do but wait.
delta air lines 757-300 seats
No need to stand quite yet – it’s gonna be a while.
delta air lines 757-300 interior
We’re freeeee!
delta air lines 757-300 interior
All jokes aside, I do quite like these new Delta 757 interiors – very modern and clean.

Once free of the bowels of the flying pencil, we set off in search of some food to bring onto our next flight, which was departing down to West Palm Beach in a little over an hour…

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