Delta Airlines 737-900ER first class Atlanta to Orlando

Delta Airlines 737-900ER first class Atlanta to Orlando

Remember when Delta used to fly L-1011’s, 777’s, and 767’s (both -300’s and -400’s) between ATL and MCO? I sure do. These days it’s pretty much all comparatively-boring narrow bodies doing these runs on a much more frequent basis, which I suppose is a good thing for the average traveller. Smaller airplanes take less time to load and unload, and who can argue with a greater frequency of flight options? I suppose I’m turning into a grumpy old #avgeek or something, because I don’t care about any of that nonsense. Bring back the heavy metal and make flying interesting again!

Despite the lack of wide body options for my flight down to MCO today, I had been looking forward to to this flight primarily due to the fact that at the time of booking, it was showing as an A321 – a brand new aircraft type to Delta’s already well-diverse fleet. But the scheduling gods had frowned upon me several days before departure, cruelly swapping that flight to a less-interesting 737-900 instead. Oh well. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. At least I got to keep the same seat I had reserved.

Atlanta, GA (ATL) – Orlando, FL (MCO)
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Aircraft: 737-932/ER
Registration: N837DN
Seat: 5C (first class)

delta 737-900 side view
Delta Airlines 737-900/ER (N837DN) side view illustration by
ATL to MCO route map
Our route from ATL to MCO today: SMLTZ1 WALET OTK PIGLT4

It had been a while since the last time I flew through ATL, and if there’s one thing about that place that I like, it’s consistency. ATL has remained exactly the same (pretty much) as it was ever since I started flying in the late 90’s, so there’s never a need for me to worry or get stressed flying in and out of this airport. I know it like the back of my hand, so it it was good to get reunited with it once again, if only briefly.

delta flight information display atlanta airport
Gate A27 information board showing an on-time departure.
N837DN 737-900 ATL
Not a very flattering picture of N837DN, but this was all I could manage from the terminal windows.

The boarding process was about as uneventful as you could imagine for a short 737 flight such as this, and I only say that because it took me about two minutes of thinking of something interesting to write before I finally gave in and decided that it was ok to tell it like it was.

Hey – there’s nothing exciting about getting on a 737 in terminal A at ATL. First class or not, this is about as dull as flying gets!

atlanta airport gate A27
Just a few minutes to go before boarding gets underway here at A27.
atlanta airport jet bridge
Walking down the jet bridge and feeling that heat and humidity quickly reminded me that I was in Atlanta. In July.
delta airlines 737-900 parked at gate
A quick peek through the small window of the jet bridge before stepping onboard.

My mood started picking up once I got onboard and started to have a look around. This was my first time on a Delta 737-900, and I’m not going to lie – as much as I prefer larger (wide body) aircraft, this one was…really nice. I mean, like, really nice!

Compared to the old Delta domestic first class seats on the 767-300, this 739 was bright, comfortable, and very modern. And to top it off, it even had the “new plane smell”.

delta airlines 737-900 first class seat
Delta Airlines 737-900 first class seats. This is 5C and 5D – the window seat was mine.
delta 737-900 first class leg room
Delta Airlines 737-900 first class leg room. On par with other US airlines IMHO.
delta 737-900 first class leg room
Here’s a slightly wider angle view showing what the entire space is like.

The Boeing Sky Interior is something I’ve always been quite fond of (how can anyone not like colored LED mood lighting?), and combined with the large personal video screens, I quickly started to forget all about my disappointment over modern-day 737 dominance.

delta 737-900 first class personal video screen
Big and bright touch screen displays featuring Delta Studio

Speaking of the personal video screen, the overall experience of using Delta Studio was much better than what I had just experienced in the 767. The screen was large, very bright, and best of all – it responded immediately to my touch (sounds dirty, right?).

I didn’t realize how bad the 767 system was until I started using this one. It was as smooth and responsive as any latest-generation smartphone, which was very unexpected and so refreshing. I guess all those years of bad touchscreen displays on airplanes have taught me not to set my expectations so high, so this was a nice (and very unexpected) little perk.

delta studio touch screen interface
The performance of these touch-screen displays was really impressive!
delta 737-900 first class power ports
Power and audio ports built right into the display bezel was a nice touch. Note that there are also power ports located between the seats.
delta USB power 737-900 first class
Charging up my iPhone in flight = happy SANspotter.
delta inflight advertising
The only annoying thing about those large video screens is the fact that the pre-flight advertisements are right in your face. Brilliant from a marketing point of view, annoying for everyone else!
delta 737-900 at the gate prior to pushback
Are we there yet?

We pushed off the gate right on time, and took a runway 27R takeoff to the west. The only thing worth noting about the takeoff was the fact that we pretty much used all of the runway on our way out. Hot air temperature plus a heavy aircraft will tend to make that sort of thing happen I suppose.

taxiing to runway
On our way out to departure. I was hoping for a north-side departure, as it’s always fun to see what’s going on at Delta Tech Ops (the on-site maintenance facility here at ATL). As you can see, it wasn’t meant to be today.
runway 27R ATL
Looking straight down runway 27R.
atlanta airport terminals
Barreling down the runway with a nice view of the terminals along the way.
departing runway 27R ATL
Look how far down the runway we were before we lifted off! Nice view of the Atlanta skyline in the distance though.
Climbing out of ATL.
Climbing out of ATL.
atlanta airport construction
I wonder what they are building here? Looks like more parking IMHO.
departing out of atlanta airport
Despite how hot and muggy it was out there, it sure was a nice day for flying.

The flight time down to Orlando was about an hour, and it wasn’t all that interesting given the fact that the weather was clear most of the way there and the inflight service was short and abbreviated with only a quick beverage service and some snacks from the snack basket.

FYI, they do serve full meals on flights longer than 2.5 hours. To see what that is like, do be sure to read my review of Delta 737-800 first class

delta in-flight snack
Delta-branded pretzels from the snack basket.
cruising above the clouds
We passed thick pockets of clouds along the way, but generally things were smooth and quiet all the way down.
delta airlines 737-900 first class cabin
Here’s a wide angle view of the entire first class cabin as we made our way down to MCO.
flying over florida
Still looking nice out there over northern Florida.

Things did get a bit more interesting as we approached MCO, however. The closer we got, the worse the weather looked. There was a lot of twisting and turning as we made our way down, so much so that I was starting to get disorientated and unclear as to which direction we were actually pointed. There was a lot of nasty weather out there to dodge, so props to the pilots for weeding us through that mess.

descending into clouds
The clouds came out of nowhere, and appeared suddenly as we were descending.
flying into storm orlando airport
Looking behind us, things looked nice (and not so bad).
flying into a storm
But this was the view looking forward. Yikes!
flying in heavy rain orlando airport
Thankfully the ride was still pretty smooth as we flew into all that rain.
flying into orlando airport
Sure looks gloomy out there.
approaching orlando airport MCO
Just a few moments until touch down.
orlando airport approach
I had a 1.5hr drive to do right after arriving, so I was a bit bummed to see that I’d be driving in heavy rain. Hey – we don’t have this kind of rain in southern California!
taxiing at orlando airport delta 737-900
It’s worth noting that I saw exactly NOTHING on our taxi into the gate. This was the view from this side of the aircraft from touchdown all the way until we reached the gate.
delta airlines 717 MCO airport
This cool little 717 pulled up as we were waiting for the boarding door to open. Did you know that Delta flies a 717 daily from SAN to LAX? I didn’t either until I saw it this morning as I was waiting to board my flight to ATL.

Arriving in a full downpour was interesting (and a bit butt-clenching), but thankfully the taxi to the gate was short and I was off and into the main terminal within minutes. And speaking of the main terminal at MCO: wow! This was my first time in this airport and I guess I was surprised at how chaotic and busy it was inside. Yikes!

Comments (8)

  1. Josh Walton

    July 21, 2016
    • SANspotter

      July 21, 2016
  2. SJCSpotter

    August 19, 2016
    • SANspotter

      August 19, 2016
  3. Tim

    September 19, 2016
    • SANspotter

      September 19, 2016
  4. Anny

    June 1, 2017
    • SANspotter

      June 1, 2017

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