Delta Air Lines 767-400/ER Comfort + (premium economy) Atlanta to San Diego

Delta Air Lines 767-400/ER Comfort + (premium economy) Atlanta to San Diego

Remember back in July when I thought that I had flown on my last Delta Air Lines 767 into San Diego? Delta dumped all but six of their domestic 767-300’s in September of 2016, and such drastic reduction in airframes meant that it was pretty much a done deal that we wouldn’t be seeing them anymore of them at SAN.

Rumor had it that those six remaining 767’s in domestic configuration were needed on very dense routes out of ATL to LAX/LAS/SFO/HNL and Delta has stuck to that plan pretty religiously since then. We haven’t seen a DL 767-300 here in San Diego since.

Much to my surprise and excitement, back in October (when I was booking these tickets), I noticed that Delta would be sending the 767-400 to San Diego from ATL for a few weeks in December and January. And the schedule even fit within our travel plans for this trip to Florida.

You bet I booked that 764 – though I was highly skeptical that it would actually remain a 764 by the day of the flight since Delta is always changing their schedule around. I crossed my fingers as hard as I could and made the reservation, and luckily, there was indeed a 767-400 waiting for us at the gate on the day of the flight.

Atlanta, GA (ATL) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Aircraft: 767-432/ER
Registration: N834MH
Duration: 4 hours 38 minutes
Seat: 17G (Comfort + / premium economy)

delta 767-400 side view
Delta Air Lines 767-400/ER (N834MH) side view illustration by
ATL to SAN route map
Our route from ATL to SAN this afternoon: NASSA2 YAALL J14 IRW SYO TCC ACH PXR J18 HOGGZ LUCKI1
delta 767-400 ATL airport
There she is – our 767-400 peeking through the windows and getting loaded up for the run to SAN.
N843MH 767-400 1810
N834MH will be doing the honors of flying us home to San Diego today. Looking back on my records, I’ve flown on this aircraft once before – that was on December 30, 2002 from ATL to LAX. Nice to get reacquainted with the old gal!

It was very important that this flight leave ATL on time, as we needed to arrive in San Diego in time to pick up our cat from the pet hotel before they closed. Being that dependent on on-time performance is a recipe for disaster IMHO, and the only thing I could think of while eating lunch before the flight was that something was sure to go wrong. It always does.

Things were looking pretty good right up until the time they started to board the flight. We were sitting in the gate area with our backs to the podium, so we couldn’t see what was happening at the gate door. The PA system was loud though, and we just planned to wait until our zone number was called to get up and move. The problem was that they seemed to be taking forever to board.

First they called for those needing a little extra time to board, and I kid you not that it took 15 minutes before they called for families with small children next. And then another 15 minutes before calling first class. What the heck?

It turns out that they were testing a self-boarding gate system, which requires each passenger to scan their own boarding pass before the doors would flap open and let them through. It seemed to be a difficult concept for most, as it was taking ages to board this aircraft.

Our on-time departure was turing into a delay, and all I could think about was our cat being mad at us for having to spend one more night in pet prison! In case you’ve ever wondered who the boss is at the SANspotter household, there you go.

boarding aircraft jet bridge
Finally on our way down the jet bridge. Let’s go already!
767-400 boarding door
It’s been a long time since I’ve stepped onto a 767-400, so I was quite looking forward to this.
Delta Air Lines 767-400 premium economy seats
Delta Air Lines 767-400 premium economy seats 17 F and G. As you can see, my window seat came dangerously close to not being a window seat at all.
delta 767-400 premium economy leg room
Delta Air Lines 767-400 Comfort Plus seat pitch. About the same as Delta 767-300 Comfort Plus (which isn’t a compliment, btw).
delta 767-400 premium economy seats
Not having a window directly in front of me made this seat seem a bit on the claustrophobic side.
delta 767-400 premium economy seats
Delta Air Lines 767-400 Comfort + seats. These things haven’t been updated in a while, and to prove it, be sure to check out my Delta A321 Comfort + review to see how badly out of date these are.
delta 767-400 video screen
Small video screens and yellowing plastic is a far cry from how I remembered these planes back in the early 2000’s. These 767-400 interiors are in dire need of a refresh!
delta 767-400 in seat power ports
At least there are power ports at every seat.
delta 767-400 main cabin
Forward bulkhead of the main cabin on this Delta Air Lines 767-400.

The first thing I noticed when sitting down was how cold it was. My multi-layers of wool shirts were not keeping me warm at all – I was literally shivering and miserable. An entire family wearing nothing but shorts and t-shirts looked perfectly content just a few rows over. WTF?

delta 767-400 main cabin
Dude, seriously? I was wearing three layers of clothing but still shivering uncontrollably from the cold. How were these people not dead already??
Delta 767-400 safety card
Care to have a look at the safety card? Here’s the front cover.
Delta 767-400 safety card
Delta Air Lines 767-400 safety card inner cover.
Delta 767-400 safety card
Delta Air Lines 767-400 safety card interior.

We pushed off the gate a good 45 minutes behind schedule, which still gave us enough time to rescue our cat in San Diego – assuming that we could take off and fly the entire distance without further delays. More crossed fingers as we rolled out to the runway.

ATL terminal E
Pushing off the gate. A little late, but it’s all good.
767-400 wing
I love that big 767-400 wing with the raked wingtips!
delta 767-400 pushback ATL
The faster the better, guys. We’ve got a cat to rescue!

Thankfully we rolled right past Delta’s amazing Tech Ops facility, which is always interesting enough to grab my attention and keep me from thinking of anything else until we roll past. My face is always pressed firmly to the window when passing Tech Ops. AvGeek heaven right there!

delta air lines tech ops
Always interesting things to see at Delta TechOps!
ATL takeoff delta 767-400
So long Atlanta!
ATL takeoff delta 767-400
Starting to see some glimpses of sunshine, which is a welcome relief.
ATL takeoff delta 767-400
There we go. Blue skies once again!

The entertainment system wasn’t working properly after takeoff, which required the flight attendants to reboot the system in hopes of getting all the bugs sorted out. That process took a full 15 minutes from shutdown to relaunch of the welcome screens, which seem so archaic in this day and age. 15 minutes to reboot a computer? Just like old times I guess.

Delta Studio reboot screen
Delta Studio reboot screen. Please have patience…
delta studio 767-400
Delta Studio finally back up and running! It just occurred to me as I uploaded this pic that the “Total Time” reads 72h 32m. Yikes. I assure you this flight wasn’t that long.

The snack basket made an appearance for Comfort + passengers roughly 15 minutes after departure, and drinks soon followed. One of the perks of Comfort + that I wasn’t aware of is free alcohol. I don’t normally drink on airplanes, but we were on the final segment home after a busy trip so I decided to order up a gin and tonic. That hit the spot.

I also decided to purchase one of those same chicken wraps that I bought on the SAN-ATL segment last week. This one didn’t seem to be as tasty as the other, but it certainly wasn’t bad.

delta premium economy meal
Gin and Tonic + a chicken wrap. Meal of champions.
delta premium economy complimentary alcohol
My wife went straight for the Baileys.

The annoyingly cold breeze flowing through the cabin sort of killed the experience for me though, and I wasn’t really having much fun. It was miserably cold for the entire flight and nothing seemed to help. I do appreciate the flight attendant finding a blanket for me though.

There I sat, bundled up like I was sitting on a frozen lake in the arctic, while the shorts and t-shirt-wearing family next to us seemed to be perfectly relaxed and content.

delta premium economy blanket
It’s been a long time since I’ve been this cold on an airplane! Huge props to the FA who found this blanket for me.
delta 767-400 economy cabin
How other passengers could be wearing shorts (and looking perfectly comfortable) was beyond me.
767-400 wing
Pushing further and further west.
delta 767-400 lavatory
I think we were somewhere over the panhandle of Texas when I rustled up enough courage to step out from under the warmth of my blanket and make the trek to the lavatory.
delta studio map display
Just crossing over the Arizona / New Mexico state line. One more state to go!

They brought out the snack basket again with just over an hour of flying time remaining, and it was funny to watch the guy in 15G grab handfuls of the stuff before the FA told him firmly but politely to save some for everyone else.

It was nice that she went back to him after everyone was served to ask if he wanted more. Also nice was the fact that one of the FA’s remembered that my wife asked for an energy bar when the snack basket came around (but they didn’t have any left). 5 minutes later, that same FA returned with an energy bar she found up in first class. How nice is that?

delta air lines coffee cup
My wife’s coffee from the second beverage service. I don’t drink the stuff, but she says it was pretty good.
blue winter skies
Amazing deep blue winter skies as we enter into Southern California.
flying over southern California
I remember the first time I flew into Southern California – it looked like planet Mars to me then, but now, it’s the familiar sight of home.
flying over southern California
It’s a race against the sunset now. Will we land before the sun disappears?

Interestingly enough, according to the moving map display in Delta Studio, we flew no higher than 28,000 feet for nearly the entire distance of the flight today. That seemed really odd to me, especially since it didn’t seem like we were flying low. I just had a look at to confirm, and it somewhat agreed with a stated 32,000 ft cruising altitude. Very low!

SAN approach sunset
I can see the ocean! And it’s almost as if I could hear our cat saying “you guys better come and pick me up tonight…or else.”
SAN approach
Crossing over the 805 and 15 freeways in Farimont Park.
flying over balboa park
That’s Balboa Park down there.
san diego airport approach
Making the low pass over the I-5 freeway on short final to runway 27 at SAN.
san diego airport arrival
Welcome back to San Diego!
san diego airport
Taxiing to the far side of Terminal 2 west.
gate 48 san diego airport
Home at last! Pulling up to gate 48 just as the sun was about to disappear for the day.

It was a beautifully clear winter evening in San Diego as we arrived at SAN, and we both hit the ground running to baggage claim in order to get our bags and head directly to the pet hotel. And wouldn’t you know it, our bags were one of the last ones off the plane. Oh well – I guess I had to expect it since we were in such a hurry.

san diego airport jet bridge
It felt so good to see this familiar black and white jet bridge. We’re home.
san diego airport gate 48
One last look at N834MH peeking through the windows here at gate 48. Thanks for getting us here safely!
Delta Air Lines baggage claim san diego airport
Delta Air Lines baggage claim here at Terminal 2 West. Unfortunately we were the first to arrive and the last to leave this evening.

And finally, the good news is that we were able to get our cat before the pet hotel closed – so she wasn’t completely mad at us.

Thanks for following along! I realize that this was a fairly boring (and somewhat repetitive) trip report on a route I’ve done so many times before, but I promise you’re gonna like the next one. It involves several A380’s, plush business class cabins, and traveling to lands where tall white guys like me look funny standing in a crowd…

Comments (7)

  1. Luke Garner

    February 20, 2017
    • SANspotter

      February 20, 2017
  2. Isaac

    November 13, 2017
    • SANspotter

      November 14, 2017
  3. Smith. John Smith.

    December 23, 2017
  4. Rashad Khan

    June 7, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      June 8, 2022

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