Trip Report: Delta Airlines 757-200 first class San Diego to Atlanta

Trip Report: Delta Airlines 757-200 first class San Diego to Atlanta

01. Introduction: Delta Airlines first class San Diego to West Palm beach via Atlanta
02. Delta Airlines 757-200 first class San Diego to Atlanta
03. Delta Airlines 757-200 first class Atlanta to West Palm Beach
04. Delta Airlines MD-88 first class West Palm Beach to Atlanta
05. Delta Airlines 757-200 first class Atlanta to San Diego

What can I say about starting yet another trip on Delta Airlines out of San Diego? This trip to West Palm Beach (via Atlanta) is my third first class Delta trip this year, which is a lot considering that I don’t have any allegiance to them at all. Ever since they (and all the other airlines) completely devalued their frequent flyer programs, I’m not loyal to anyone anymore – I purchase my tickets based on convenience alone.

Normally we start our trips to Florida very early with a flight leaving SAN no later than 7:30am, but this time we chose an 11am departure due to the fact that we needed to board our cat and didn’t want to take her in the night before. She hates being away from home – and she’s usually really grumpy when we return, so the less time she has to think about how much she hates us the better! Lol…

We arrived at the airport at about 9:45, and strolled right up to the Sky Priority check in counters without any waiting. I think this is what I like about first class airline travel the most – it’s not the bigger seat, or the fancy(ish) meal…it’s the short (or non existent) lines that cuts so much of the stress. We dropped our bags off and had our boarding passes in minutes, and from there it was off to yet another short line at the security checkpoint. As a matter of fact, this might have been the quickest I’ve ever went through security at SAN – I don’t have PreCheck, but they sent us through that line anyway and we were through in seconds. Nice!

departures level terminal 2 west san diego
Outside terminal 2 west at SAN
ticket counters at SAN
Delta Airlines check in counter
walking towards the security checkpoint
The entrance to the security checkpoint is to the left of the DL counters, beyond the stairs.
SAN terminal 2 west food court
We took a quick stroll through the food court to see if anything looked interesting…
approaching gate 48
…and from there we headed down to our departure gate (48)
gate 48
Waiting at gate 48

San Diego, CA (SAN) – Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Tuesday December 23 2014
Aircraft: 757-200
Seat: 4A (First)

delta side profile illustration
Delta 757-200 N666DN side view illustration
our route via flightaware
Our route for today’s fight: POGGI3 IPL J18 GBN J50 SSO ELP J50 INK ACT SWB MEI WARRR1

I can’t say that my first glimpse of our aircraft sitting at gate 48 left me feeling comfortable. Sure, it looked like a completely airworthy craft, but…that registration. N666DN. Yikes! I’m not superstitious or anything, but that one made me do a double-take. But I quickly let it go, reasurring myself that this aircraft has been flying for 20 years (at least) without incident. As a matter of fact, a quick search on just now reveals that this aircraft first flew in 1991. So, it’s been 23 years to be exact! Anyway, on with the flight…

Delta 757-200 N666DN
Our aircraft (N666DN) being prepped at gate 48

There was a pretty thick crowd building at the gate door just before boarding was called, and (as usual), we had to fight our way through it when they announced boarding for first class. It was about this time that I was starting to wonder what first class configuration this particular 757 would have – there are many different seat types in the first class cabin on these Delta 757’s, so it’s always a guess as to what we’re going to get.

Boarding the Delta 757
A quick look at this 757 before passing through the boarding door

What we did get was what I call the “square” config. I call it this because of the squared-off arm rests and center console between the seats, but I’m sure there’s a proper name for it. I don’t particularly care what the proper name is (or how it ranks in terms of newness), but all I do know is that it’s my least favorite of them all. Oh well.

Delta airlines 757-200 first class seats
Seats 4A and 4B on this 757-200
Delta Airlines 757-200 first class seat arm rest
These sharp edges on the armrests is the reason why I call this the “square” config. Highly technical, I know…
delta airlines 757-200 first class seat pitch
Leg room is about as tight as it can get in first class
complimentary first class water bottles
Little bottles of complimentary water for each passenger in first class
first class boarding pass
My crumpled boarding pass for today’s flight

Push back was right on time, and since I was seated on the right side of the aircraft, I was able to get a nice view of the Delta A330 and United 747-400 charters that were in town for the college bowl games. Unfortunately, my iPhone did a lousy job of getting nice pics.

Pushing back from the gate
Pushing back from the gate
American Eagle ERJ at SAN
American Eagle ERJ waiting patiently for us to roll past
Delta Airlines A330 and United Airlines 747-400 at SAN
Sorry for the bad quality pic, but here’s a rare sight for San Diego: a Delta Airlines A330 and United Airlines 747-400 on the ground at the same time!

The departure off runway 27 was as good as it ever is in San Diego, and we were treated to some pretty nice views of the surrounding area as we turned east and headed for ATL.

runway 27 san diego
Looking straight down the barrel of runway 27
terminal 2 san diego
Nice overview of terminal 2 as we depart
turning east over the Pacific
Beautiful blue water of the Pacific Ocean as we turn east headed for Atlanta
san diego as viewed from the air
As you can see, it was a stunningly beautiful winter day here in San Diego
overflying san diego
One last look at San Diego as we fly east

As usual with Delta domestic first class service, hot towels were distributed before drink orders were taken. Snacks quickly followed, along with lunch orders.

first class drinks and snacks
Drinks and snacks preceded the lunch service

The lunch options on today’s flight consisted of a salmon salad or hamburger. Although the hamburger did sound tempting, I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy meal and opted for the salad instead. It was quite tasty, though I do admit that the hamburger actually looked better. Oh well – perhaps I’ll get my chance later in the week on our return trip?

Salmon salad lunch entree in first class
Salmon salad lunch entree

The remainder of the flight was completely uneventful, and as much as I tried to sleep, I just couldn’t. I also wasn’t willing to pay the exhorbantant rates for in-flight wifi, so time didn’t pass all that quickly. But I took some time to play with my GoPro camera for a bit – and the weather did get a bit interesting the closer we got to Atlanta, which made for some decent pics as well.

flying to Atlanta from San Diego
Somewhere between San Diego and Atlanta (that narrows it down quite a bit, eh?)
wide angle shot of the first class cabin
Delta Airlines 757-200 first class cabin
boeing 757 overhead panel
Overhead panel – nothing high tech here!
building cloud layer
The clouds began to build the closer we got to Atlanta
descending into the clouds
Moments before dropping into the clouds

It’s amazing how quickly it got dark once we descended below the thick cloud layer. It was so thick that I honestly don’t even know what runway we landed on – which is saying a lot considering how well I know ATL. It was foggy and dark, and we taxied around the airport for a good 15 minutes before I got my bearings and saw that we were approaching the T gates from the north. I couldn’t see any terminal buildings during our taxi in, which was really spooky – it was like we landed on plant Mars or something. Did we come in on the north side and taxi around? Or perhaps the south side? I honestly have no idea!

just landed at ATL
Are you sure we landed at ATL? I couldn’t see a thing out there…

So that was that. A typically good Delta first class trans con experience. But I have to wonder…why doesn’t Delta put a true premium product on this route instead of watered-down domestic first class? With as much lift as they have out of San Diego, I can’t believe they aren’t tempted to try.

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