Delta Air Lines 747-400 business class (Delta One) Atlanta to…nowhere

Delta Air Lines 747-400 business class (Delta One) Atlanta to…nowhere

The flight down from Detroit was more frustrating than it was fun, but I’m never one to hold a grudge and I can get over negative feelings much quicker than most. I know all too well that expecting everything to be perfect and smooth is an awesome way to make life miserable, so that’s why I was feeling chipper and excited again as I was hovering around the gate area in the moments before this flight to SEA started boarding. I was so ready for this Delta One 747 flight!

If you’d like to jump ahead and watch a video I made of this experience, here you go:

And now, on with the words and pics:

Atlanta, GA (ATL) – Seattle, WA (SEA)
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Aircraft: 747-451
Registration: N662US
Duration: —
Seat: 12A (Delta One / business class)

delta 747-451 side view drawing
Delta Air Lines 747-400 (N662US) side view illustration by
Delta Air Lines 747-400 N662US
Delta Air Lines 747-400 N662US getting loaded up here at gate E28 for the continuation to SEA.
N662US atlanta ATL
Is there anything better than seeing this through the windows at the gate?

There were several really good reasons for feeling upbeat about this flight. First of all, Delta pretty much knew they screwed up with the two hour delay coming out of Detroit this morning, and went all out with the snacks and beverages in the gate area as a way of saying “sorry” to 300 delayed passengers. I didn’t partake in any of that since my butt was about to be planted firmly in a comfy Delta One lie-flat seat for the next 5 and a half hours, but I appreciated the gesture.

The second reason was that there was a bit of an “AvGeek” party atomosphere in the gate area, much more than what I experienced up in Detroit a few hours earlier. It was obvious that there were many people who chose this flight just because it was a 747 – it was standing room only at the windows, and trying to get a pic of the 747 sitting at the gate required the use of aggressive elbows to find an open spot suitable for getting a pic or two.

gate E28 ATL
A packed house here at gate E28 while waiting for this flight to board.

Finally, about 10 minutes before boarding started, the captain came up to the podium and personally welcomed everyone to the 747 (as well as apologizing for the delay). The claps and cheers at the end of the welcome announcement made it that much clearer that I was in the company of some pretty hardcore AvGeeks here in Atlanta, something I’ve never experienced on any other flight in my life. This was going to be fun!

concourse E ATL
Pacing up and down concourse E as I patiently wait…
delta flight information display ATL airport
We may be a bit behind schedule, but it’s nice to see this flight on the boards. It’s happening!
gate e28 ATL concourse E
Just few more minutes and the boarding process will be underway.

Delta One passengers were invited to board first, and I wasted no time getting myself into the queue and stepping back onto that airplane. I was in full trip report mode at this point, getting all the pics (and video) I needed in order to make this a truly epic flight review, and I was doing a pretty good job of it if I don’t say so myself.

boarding 747 gate e28 ATL airport
Delta One passengers: welcome aboard!
boarding Delta 747-400
I didn’t introduce myself to any of these guys, but from what I overheard they were hardcore AvGeeks just like me who booked this flight specifically for the 747. My peoples!
Delta One 747-400 seat 12A
Delta One 747-400 seat 12A.
Delta One 747-400 seat 12A
Delta One 747-400 seat 12A.
Delta One logo
Delta One logo embroidered into the headrest on the seat.
delta one 747-400
Complimentary bottled water and earbuds waiting at every seat.
Delta One 747-400 leg room
Delta One 747-400 leg room. No complaints here!
Delta One 747-400 leg room
The footwell is a bit narrow, but not too bad (unless you’ve got massive clown feet).
Delta One 747-400 retractable arm rest
Delta One 747-400 retractable arm rest.
delta one power and usb outlet
Power and electrical outlets are in a very good location – very easy to reach from a seated position.
Delta One 747-400 cabin
Delta One 747-400 cabin (lower deck).

But then: disaster 🙁

I was just finishing up getting the pics I needed when that all too familiar voice of the captain came over the PA system. At first I thought he was offering us yet another friendly welcome to the 747, but the tone in his voice made it clear that he didn’t have anything good to say this time. Long story short, a fuel leak was discovered, and they needed everyone off the plane so that they could work on resolving it. Estimated time for the repairs were an hour to an hour and a half, and as soon as he tacked on a “maybe longer” at the end of that sentence I knew we were screwed. Telling passengers that there was “no rush” to get off the plane didn’t help either, as that made it clear that this delay was going to be a doozie.

As I was walking off the plane, all I could think about was my Alaska Airlines connection I had in SEA later that afternoon for my flight home to SAN. That was a separate ticket, and I was now faced with the real possibility that I was going to miss that if they didn’t get us out of ATL within the next two hours. Normally this sort of thing isn’t much to fret about, but this was Thanksgiving weekend (the busiest travel weekend of the year), and flights were sure to be booked solid. Oy vey.

broken down 747 N662US
Our aircraft (N662US) undergoing repairs at the gate.

I tried to put it out of my mind as best I could with a $10 sandwich purchased somewhere down the halls of concourse E. I took my time with it, hoping for the best, but by the time I finished and checked the boards, I saw that the new estimated time of departure was 3pm. Dang it. There goes my Alaska Airlines connection at SEA.

delta 747-400 N662US ATL
I was really hoping they could get her repaired in time to make my connection in Seattle.

I was so scared to even look at what it would cost for a walk-up fare for a flight out of SEA to SAN later that evening, and I even started to prepare myself for the possibility of having to rent a car and drive. Oh man – I love road trips, but I was not prepared for two full days of driving considering I was very much looking forward to sleeping in my own bed that night. With my hands trembling (or at least it seemed that way), I opened Google flights on my iPhone to see what the cheapest flight from SEA to SAN would be that evening. Long story short, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I ended up purchasing a flight on Delta to get me home. More on that in the trip report for that segment…

SANspotter airport selfie
On the phone with Alaska Airlines, hoping for the best…

As I was finalizing the purchase of that flight, I noticed that the gate assignment for the continuation on to SEA had been changed. But the 747 was still parked at the original gate. Uh oh. That meant an aircraft swap. Will we still get a ride on the 747 to Seattle? Unfortunately, no. Sitting at the new gate was an Airbus A330-300, which disappointed many (including myself). But all was not lost. I’ve never been on a Delta A330 before, so I was a bit happy to get the opportunity to review a new-to-me product.

I feel sorry for all of those who wanted nothing other than a 747 though. There were many disappointed faces in the gate area waiting to board that flight, and I could truly empathize the feeling of being denied the Queen of the Skies.

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