Delta Airlines 737-800 first class Minneapolis to Salt Lake City

Delta Airlines 737-800 first class Minneapolis to Salt Lake City

Quick note: this is an old / archived review! Be sure to check out my latest Delta 737-800 first class review if you want to see what has changed since the time that I originally published this. There are some significant differences…

I consider myself to be somewhat of a seasoned veteran when it comes to Delta Airlines domestic first class, as they are usually the airline I take on my annual trips to Florida and back to visit family. I was also a bit of a SkyMiles addict up until a few years ago, so more often than not I’d find myself in Delta first class whenever traveling around the US.

That being said, it should come as no big surprise that I wasn’t particularly excited about these two front-cabin jaunts I had with them today which would take me all the way home to San Diego.

Minneapolis, MN (MSP) – Salt Lake City, UT (SLC)
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Aircraft: 737-800
Seat: 4D (first class)

delta 737-800 side view drawing
Delta Airlines 737-800 (N3748Y) side view illustration by
MSP to SLC air route
Our route from MSP to SLC today: DWN6 ABR J158 DDY NORDK3

You’re probably asking why I chose an itinerary with a connection through Salt Lake City as opposed to one of the many nonstop flights out of MSP. Well, it all came down to timing. This particular itinerary was the most convenient in terms of departure and arrival times, so the connection didn’t really matter at all.

And besides – it’s been a long time since I’ve last transited through SLC, so I thought it would be fun to make a quick connection. Yes, only a true aviation geek could think of a connection as being fun!

We arrived at MSP with plenty of time to spare, which made dropping off the rental car and checking in a stress-free experience. I’m particularly fond of the “downstairs” check in counters that are located in the underground tunnel between the tram station and the the escalators up to the main terminal. It’s usually not so crowded, and I’ve never had to wait in line to check in here.

delta airlines check in MSP
The downstairs Delta check in counters here at MSP are very convenient
sky priority check in MSP
Check in is always a breeze with the Sky Priority lanes!

By the time we finished doing a little shopping, grabbing a quick bite to eat, and walking to our gate, we only had to wait about 15 minutes before they started boarding. Our timing was perfect today!

No doubt because I knew ahead of time that that getting through this airport quickly isn’t all that difficult. As long as you familiarize yourself with the layout of the terminals, short layovers in Minnapolis are definitely ok.

N3748Y delta 737-800
N3748Y sitting patiently here at gate G11
gate G11 Minneapolis airport
Standing room only just moments before they initiated the boarding process – a common occurrence at these particular gates, as they recently removed much of the seating in favor of adding more tables for an adjacent restaurant. Captive audience marketing at it’s finest!

It was a pretty gloomy outside when we boarded the aircraft, and the mood in my head turned a bit gloomy as well when I saw that this particular 737-800 had not been updated with the new first class seats yet. I’ve only flown one Delta aircraft with those new seats (an MD-88 from PBI to ATL last year), and they were quite good.

I haven’t really been paying attention to their upgrade schedule, but I naturally assumed that most of the fleet would be updated by now. Oh well. Just as I said in my recent review about the old Delta One business class product, I don’t mind reviewing the old premium cabins because it’s good to document for historical purposes down the road.

These seats will definitely be gone in the coming year or so, and it’ll be fun to look back and see how their domestic first class product has evolved over the years.

delta airlines 737 first class seats
These are the old (outgoing) Delta first class seats
delta first class leg room
There isn’t a whole lot of leg room up here, so getting situated is always a bit of an ordeal.
delta 737-800 first class leg room
Here’s a better pic of what the leg room is actually like up here. No, this is not a crotch shot, I swear…
delta airlines 737-800 first class cabin
A slightly different perspective showing the leg room
wide arm rest delta first class seats
The center arm rest between the seats with basic audio controls and a large platform for beverages.
Power ports at every seat
Power ports at every seat
worn first class delta 737-800
Saggy seat back pockets and worn leather give hints to the age of this particular first class cabin.
delta airlines 737-800 first class
Wide angle shot of the entire first class cabin

We rolled out to 30L under a gloomy (and snowy) winter Minnesota sky, and were up and on our way without any delay.

Delta Airlines ground crew MSP
The Delta Airlines ground crew earning every cent of their paycheck today. It’s cold out there!
ready to depart MSP
All loaded up and just about ready to push back
30L-12R MSP
Creeping up to the threshold of 30L
runway 30L MSP airport
Ready to rock n’ roll on 30L!
snowy minnesota
Views like this take me back to my time growing up in Michigan. I miss it at times, but I’ll never live in a cold weather climate again.
departing MSP in winter
I feel cold just looking at this pic…

The cloud layer was pretty thick though and it took a while to break through and get our first glimpse of blue sky and warm sunshine.

delta 737-800 climb out
Finally! Sunshine, with the added bonus of our shadow surrounded by a rainbow.
snowy northern plains from the air
It’s not very often I get to see the northern plains covered in snow, so my nose was glued to the window for the first portion of the flight.

All in all this ended up being a very routine (and bland) short haul flight. There was no meal service offered due to the fact it was only about two hours long, but the flight attendant came around with the snack basket several times and told us to “take all we want” each time. I wasn’t really hungry though, so a single bag of pretzels and a banana was all it took to satisfy me.

delta airlines first class snack
Banana and pretzels in-flight snack (from the snack basket)
delta 737-800 first class cabin in flight
The scenery outside was beautiful, but most of the other passengers preferred closed window shades.
delta studio flight information screen
One of my favorite things about Delta Studio is the fact that the ship number is listed on the flight information screen. Pretty cool stuff for nerds like me.

The terrain grew rugged and downright beautiful the further we pushed west, and I was crossing my fingers for a sunny and clear approach into SLC. For those of you not familiar with Salt Lake City, I have two words for you: mountains and snow!

It’s definitely one of my favorite cities in the US due to how rugged and beautiful it is. I spent a weekend here in 2005 just to have a look around, and I was really impressed with what I saw. I want to go back someday – preferably in the winter time to do a little skiing up in the mountains.

The start of the descent
The start of the descent into SLC
Bear Lake Utah
Overflying Bear Lake just outside of Salt Lake City
SLC approach delta 737-800
Mountains, snow, and deep blue skies – doesn’t get much better than this!
The Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake
salt lake city mountains
Is that beautiful or what? It’s exactly the kind of scenery I wanted to get for my Delta A220 review, but…Mother Nature had a stick up her butt.

Thankfully, since the descent and approach into SLC was clear and sunny as could be, and I ended up recording a short video of the landing sequence:

Upon touchdown, it was a short taxi over to our gate and we were unloaded in minutes.

salt lake city airport
Docked at the gate and ready to deplane

Another completely routine (and completely predictable) Delta Airlines first class flight complete! There was no time to relax however, as our connection was going to be tight and there wouldn’t be much time to have a look around the airport. I know – minimum connection times at SLC are nothing to worry about, but still. I worry. A lot.

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