Delta Airlines 767-300 first class Atlanta to San Diego

atlanta airport jet bridge

01. Introduction: Farewell to the domestic Delta Airlines 767-300
02. Delta Airlines 767-300 first class San Diego to Atlanta
03. Delta Airlines 737-900/ER first class Atlanta to Orlando
04. Delta Airlines A321 first class Orlando to Atlanta
05. Delta Airlines 767-300 first class Atlanta to San Diego

So this is it. This post is what this trip report is all about: my farewell ride on the Delta Airlines domestic (non-ER) 767-300. I can’t say for certain that I’ll NEVER get a ride on one of these airplanes again, but the latest rumor is that after this summer, there will only be 4 of these non-ER 767’s left within Delta’s fleet.

The specific routes for those remaining planes will be between ATL and LAX/LAS (with maybe some Hawaii flying thrown in as well), but the bottom line is that after many years of service, San Diego will no longer see the 767 in Delta colors. That is, of course, unless DL is feeling generous and decides to send in the 767-300ER (which has a proper business class product). Oh how I would love to see that happen!

atlanta airport ATL interior terminal A
A familiar sight to anyone who has traveled through ATL: the center of terminal A, which looks identical to the center of terminals B, C, and D as well.
atlanta airport gate seating area
I did manage to find this quiet spot to sit and wait for the flight though – with a nice view of my ride to SAN (N1402A).

Atlanta, GA (ATL) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Friday, July 8, 2016
Aircraft: 767-332
Registration: N1402A
Seat: 3D (first class)

delta 767-300 side view
Delta Airlines 767-300 (N1402A) side view illustration by
air route ATL to SAN
Our route to SAN today: NASSA1 VUZ Q30 SQS TXK J42 ABI J66 EWM J4 SSO GBN J2 IPL LYNDI4
delta 767-300 cargo loading ATL
Close up look at the old gal as they fill her up with containers stuffed with cargo.
delta 767-300 at gate ATL
And a close-up just for the heck of it.
delta airlines flight information display atlanta airport
DL1567 (AF2300) showing an on time departure to SAN.

Since my ride up to ATL from MCO this morning was on a brand new A321 with all the bells and whistles, I had to mentally prepare myself to take a step back in time before boarding this 767 bound for San Diego. I love these old wide bodies more than anything else currently flying, but I’m the first to admit that they aren’t the most comfortable and they lack a lot of the fancy technology that the newer airplanes feature. So yeah – getting in the right mindset (feeling nostalgic of travel days gone by) is the key to enjoying flights on these older birds.

gate A21 atlanta Hartsfield Jackson international airport
The boarding process getting underway here at gate A21.

The last time I flew from Atlanta to San Diego on a Delta 767-300 was back in January of 2014, and combined with all the times I’ve done it before, I pretty much knew what to expect before getting onboard. The anticipation of this flight was not because of the first class experience – it was because I wanted to enjoy this flight as much as I could knowing that these ATL-SAN flights are most likely going to be all 737’s soon. Boooorrrring!

atlanta airport jet bridge
I’m glad the airlines have figured out how to utilize the walls of the jet bridges – having something to look at while standing in line is nice.

The aircraft for today’s flight (N1402A) was the same one that I flew on from SAN to ATL one week prior. Not a big deal for most, but it was a bit of a bummer for me considering that I would have preferred to get a different one in order to make my flight log a bit more diverse. Oddly enough, the same thing happened to me on my recent trip to Chicago and back on the United Airlines 747-400. I had the same aircraft from SFO to ORD as I did from ORD to SFO even though the flights were two days apart. Oh well. First world problems, I know.

delta airlines 767-300 N1402A
We meet again N1402A!
Delta Airlines 767-300 first class cabin
Delta Airlines 767-300 first class cabin.
Delta Airlines 767-300 first class seat
Delta Airlines 767-300 first class seat.

The boarding process was nothing out of the ordinary, though my first impression of seat 3D was not a good one. Have you ever sat in an airplane seat that felt loose and wouldn’t stay fully upright? Yup – this one was one of those. Not only would the seat back not stay fully upright, the seat cushion felt pretty sloppy and loose with a lot of movement in it. Welcome to the world of old airplanes!

delta airlines 767-300 cabin
I didn’t shoot any video during this flight, but it would have been entertaining due to how much slop was in my seat.
delta airlines 767-300 first class seat pitch
Obligatory hairy kne…I mean, leg room pic.
delta studio 767-300
These personal video screens look tiny compared to what was in the A321 I just came off of!
delta 767-300 first class PTV
They were having problems getting Delta Studio loaded though, and they had to reset the entire system while on the ground.
delta airlines 767-300 first class cabin
Wide angle shot of the entire first class cabin.
delta 767-300 safety card front cover
While on the ground and waiting for pushback, I took the opportunity to snap a few pics of the safety card (just for the memories). Here’s the front cover.
Safety card inner flap
Safety card inner flap.
Safety card fully open
Safety card fully open.
Wi-Fi card front cover
There was a secondary pamphlet with instructions on how to use the Wi-Fi system. This is the front cover.
Interior or the Wi-Fi instructional card
Interior or the Wi-Fi instructional card. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t as easy as they describe. I was never able to connect.
rear cover of the Wi-Fi instructional card
The rear cover of the Wi-Fi instructional card. No space goes unused when it comes to marketing material!
exit row seating instructional card
And finally, instructions for sitting in an exit row. Odd that these were in every seat.

Pushback was right on time, and we were up in the air without delay – which is always something worth noting when flying out of an airport as busy as ATL. I’ve experienced ridiculously long wait times at this airport over the years, so I always have a bit of dread as we creep out to the runway at this place. But this time it was fast and smooth and we were on our way and headed west in no time at all.

As we were climbing out, the various chimes and dings were starting to make me feel nostalgic. This is hard to describe with words, but the way the sound of the chimes “echo” through the cabin on these old wide body airplanes takes me all the way back to the late 90’s when I first started flying around the world on a regular basis. That echo is also prevalent on the 747, but I’ve never noticed it on modern wide body aircraft like the A330, 777, 787, etc. Does anyone else know what I’m talking about? I’m calling it an echo, but another way to describe it is the various chimes located throughout the cabin being slightly out of sync.

The flight attendants began taking dinner orders shortly after departure, starting from the rear of the cabin first. This didn’t really matter to me since I was seated in the middle row of the cabin (equal distance from both the front and back), so at least I knew that I’d get my first choice of dinner options. Speaking of dinner options, the choices for this afternoon’s flight were beef tenderloin or poached halibut. It seems the fish was the less popular option today, as that was all that was left by the time they got to the first row.

Hot towels were distributed at the same time the dinner orders were being taken, and the snack basket made an appearance right after that.

delta airlines pretzels package
Is everyone getting tired of seeing me eat nothing but pretzels as an in-flight snack? Sorry, I can’t help it – I love these things!

Drinks soon followed, and I killed some time while waiting for dinner by trying to connect my iPhone to Delta Studio via WiFi – but the connection was too slow and it took ages to get a single page to load. What is it with airplane WiFi performance? I’ve never had any luck with it, probably because my attention span equals that of a house fly and I hate waiting for things that shouldn’t require waiting for.

delta airlines first class beverage service
Orange juice, straight up, on the rocks.
delta airlines domestic first class meal
Dinner was served immediately after the drink service. This is the poached fish that nobody else seemed to want. I thought it was pretty good!

I eventually tried playing with Delta Studio on the personal video screen, but screen performance was abysmal and I couldn’t even get it to respond to any input. Starting to notice a pattern here? The broken seat, unusable WiFi, and a crappy touch screen may seem like I was having a miserable experience up until this point, but that was not the case at all. I was a perfectly happy avgeek flying across the US in a vintage 767-300.

I eventually succumbed to feeling miserable though. Later on in the flight there was another passenger in the first class cabin (somewhere behind me, to the left) was watching a movie on their laptop without headphones and it was highly annoying. Especially since it sounded like a high-engery kid’s cartoon with lots of yelling and crashing and clinking and banging with explosions and farts and screams and…and…and…ugh. I found it hard to believe that nobody else complained about it.

On top of that, there were some other passengers in the row in front of me (to the left) that talked loudly for the entire flight. They just didn’t shut up. They even got up and stood in the aisles for a bit, talking all the while, oblivious to everyone around them.

Luckily I was very tired from my time in Florida over the past week and I was exhausted enough that I was able to sleep for the last two hours of the flight. I assume the movie kept playing and the people kept talking during all that time, but thankfully I wouldn’t know. How I managed to sleep through all that noise is a mystery to me…

sleeping in first class delta airlines
Some of the other passengers had the right idea: sleep!
red delta airlines blanket
All tucked in for a good nap.

I woke up as we were well into our descent into SAN, the movie still blasting behind me, and feeling bummed that I wasn’t able to enjoy the quiet and relaxing ambiance of first class in what I assumed would be my last Delta 767 flight into San Diego. But then I remembered something I learned long ago, and that is how important it is to “just roll with it” when it comes to dealing with problems while traveling. No matter how much fun and exciting it is, there’s no doubt that travel can be stressful at times so just dealing with things as they come (and brushing them aside) always makes the process easier to deal with. Trying to make everything perfect is a recipe for disaster!

airplane lavatory selfie
And of course I had to find time to do a lavatory selfie considering this was likely my last ride on a Delta 767 into SAN.
delta studio moving map
Just 16 more minutes…
san diego airport jet bridge
I never noticed the black and white walls of the jet bridges at SAN before. Looks kind of cool!
delta airlines 767-300 at SAN
One last look at N1402A parked here at gate 48. On a side note, I spy A350-900 markings on the ground. A sign of things to come?

It was a beautiful summer evening at SAN upon arrival, and I made a quick detour to Phil’s Barbecue located at the end of terminal 2 west to pick up some bbq chicken to take home for dinner. From there, I retrieved the box I checked from baggage claim, and then grabbed a taxi for the ride home.

walking through san diego airport
Walking over to Phil’s BBQ for takeout before I leave the airport.
san diego airport arrivals level
Such a beautiful afternoon – felt great to be back home in San Diego!
san diego downtown
Downtown San Diego, as seen from the taxi window.
san diego monkey building downtown
We were stopped here for a minute waiting for some trains to go by, and I had my camera ready and waiting to get pics of an incoming aircraft as it flew in from behind this building. Sadly, it didn’t happen this time. I’m determined to get this shot but I’ve never been lucky enough to time it right.
san diego taxi
Cruising up I-5 in the taxi at a leisurely 81mph. Almost home!

Thanks again to Delta for another series of great flights, and farewell to the DL 767 at SAN. It was fun while it lasted!

Stay tuned for the next trip report, which begins in 10 days…

Comments (4)

  1. James

    February 24, 2017
    • SANspotter

      February 24, 2017
  2. Connor R

    March 17, 2017
    • SANspotter

      March 18, 2017

Give a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.