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Summertime in the States (10): LAX to GFK on DL B73J/CRJ200

 
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:55 pm    Post subject: Summertime in the States (10): LAX to GFK on DL B73J/CRJ200 Reply with quote

Rushing things a little bit now!
I'll put together the last two flight reports of my summer in the United States...the flights that actually take me to the city of university, Grand Forks.

So, my parents and I had just arrived in Los Angeles from San Francisco on a Delta Air Lines B717-200. I figured that a brand new B737-900ER (N842DN) fitted with Split Scimitar winglets would take us to Minneapolis. 3hr29min on this bird, this would be my longest narrow body flight.


Walk to Gate 51
wasn't too long


The walk wasn’t a long one, luckily. We found seats right in front of the gate. This was supposed to be my first flight on the Boeing 737-900ER, but then Jet Airways took that title earlier in the year (2015). This one though, had split scimitar winglets, Boeing’s Sky Interior, IFE PTVs, etc. All of this on a cross-country red eye - had this been a day flight, it would’ve been fun. However, this was in fact, a red eye. One for which I wanted to sleep in. I pulled out my jacket, knowing that some time in the 3.5+ hours on board, I would start feeling cold.




Shopping mall receipt.

The pretty strange boarding process began at the stroke of midnight. 15th of August 2015. Independence Day back home! Being seated towards the rear of the plane, we had to wait for boarding to resume. In the mean time, I checked planespotters for the plane’s details. 0.2 years old. 53 days in age, making this the second newest plane I’ve been on! She had come in from Guadalajara (Mexico), following a ATL-GDL-LAX-MSP rotation for the day.

People were falling asleep. While standing in the jet bridge, on their parents shoulders (just the kids, that is), which meant the lines took longer to move. Typical signs of a red eye flight Very Happy



Boarded the plane, crew were largely awake and welcoming us passengers onboard. The First Class seats looked wonderful and the cabin looked fresh with a light blue mood lighting. All seats had a bright red blanket on them for the comfort of all passengers on this red eye encounter. The cabin had a new plane smell, too. That is hard to describe. One thing that was prominent, was the fact that the cabin was HOT HOT HOT. And add to that, no sound of the air conditioner. This made for a very uncomfortable feel onboard. Took my seat 27A, Mum and Dad beside me. Boarding took its own time, but it was looking more and more like another on time departure.


Being dwarfed by the wide narrow body!


Obligatory winglet shot, and a comparison shot! Very Happy



0029 hours, pushback was on time. Richard Anderson came on the PTV screens before the safety demonstration. N842DN was pushed back, and then pulled to the end of the concourse which was when one of the two CFM56 engines was fired up. Had to wait for a DL B757 to depart in the meantime.

Start up and single engine taxi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzzQxGZw3R0



While taxiing took its time and crew did their final checks of the cabin, I had a look at the IFE. It was the same Android based system on board the Emirates A380, however, unlike the Emirates A380, the screen cannot be adjusted for angle, and neither was the content so vast. Most of the content was to be paid for, I stuck to the airshow and moving map. The best! Fired up the second CFM56 engine as we got closer to the runway. Took off from runway 25R, a typical powerful Boeing 737 take off. Leveled off rather slowly at our cruising altitude (a typical trait of the Boeing 737-900ER), the lights remained off….

Take off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEsosRrCgE0

I fell asleep. The cabin started to become a more bearable temperature. Flying time was going to be a nice 3hr07min. We were about twenty or thirty minutes into the flight when I woke up from my first round of sleep to see a lovely sight of many lights formed in a rather satisfying way. The light looked wonderful and went along the split scimitar winglet navigational light that itself looked wonderful in the night. It was surely a big city, not a small township or anything of sort. I switched on my TV screen and lo behold! Las Vegas, NV! It was a stunning sight.



I fell asleep once again, the next time to be awaken by the flight attendants for the one and only service for this cross-country flight. One word on the flight crew - all of them were quite old. Surely no young guns or anything. But hey, they were composed, did their job, had a couple of smiles and were courteous. Didn’t see much of them, since I slept for most of the flight.







When I woke up next, the sun was starting to rise and we were quite low. Descent had well and truly begun. We were getting closer and closer to the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.



Landing video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3zsopMdewE

A rather smooth touchdown was made at 0548 hours as the sun rose rapidly. This was my longest flight on a narrow body plane! Taxiing to Concourse F was a bit long, but hey we had just over 3 hours to kill. Take your time plane, that’s what I thought Smile The Minneapolis based crew thanked us for choosing Delta (well because we had no choice Rolling Eyes ) Doors disarmed, we took our time to disembarked. Some more songs played, which were actually just adverts. The plane would be there for a few hours before another cross-country adventure, to Seattle.




There I was in Minneapolis. Just one more flight to end all of this madness. Was quite a long walk to Concourse A. But what honestly surprised me the most was the sheer size of Minneapolis! Well, to begin with, I didn’t know what to expect of Minneapolis itself. But with 7 concourses, 2 of them dedicated for CRJs and E-jets, this was no small airport. No wonder Delta absolutely owned this place! Had it not been for the merger, most of my flights would’ve been on a certain Northwest Airlines….

Anyway, long walk to Concourse A was on a golf cart, followed by yet another surprise - a tram! Such is the size of MSP airport, a tram is required to get from one concourse to another. This mostly connects all concourses to the CRJ/E-jet concourses A and B. Reached by gate A8, where there were quite a few nosy CRJs peeping in to the concourse. I found a nice corner in the gate, and just lay flat. It was the best hour and a half of sleep I had, even if it was on the pretty dirty carpets of an airport…..


Waiting for the MSP tram from concourse C (the big one) to the CRJ/ERJ concourses A and B.

This was going to be my second flight on the CRJ200 (or a CRJ itself), the first being a quick hop from Kolkata to Bhubaneswar in May 2010, on Jetlite's ex-Air Sahara VT-SAQ. I remember Mum waking me up every morning before school, asking me to get up for school. She did this one last time (till December at least…) at Minneapolis Airport, Gate A10. ‘Hey, wake up….the plane’s here..’ she said. As any school going kid would say -‘ why did you have to wake me up?! I don’t want to go to school!’, I nearly said - ‘why did you have to wake me up?! There’s still some time for departure!’. Instead, I said ‘come on, give me five minutes....' I woke up anyway. It was perhaps some of the best sleep I've ever had in some of the most uncomfortable positions. The CRJ200 had just come in from Rhinelander, Wisconsin. It was in desperate need of a paint job. N685BR was the 12.8 years old plane owned by SkyWest that would be taking me to Grand Forks. Grand Forks….. home for the next 4 years… A pretty strange feel.



Dominated by the sight of Delta Air Lines CRJs, it wasn’t as bad as seeing the many IndiGo A320s, but equally boring I guess. No variety whatsoever.





That's our plane. N685BR operated by SkyWest Airlines for Delta Connection, a 12.7 year old veteran.


Yeah, veteran...

Seeing a couple of international students and University of North Dakota laniards, I knew the MSP-GFK-MSP flights caters mostly to international students connecting to/from Grand Forks and their home country, with MSP being pretty well connected to the rest of the world. MSP-GFK-MSP standalone is quite expensive because of the the monopoly Delta have. Anyway, boarding began more or less on time, again, the 50 seater CRJ being divided into two zones. Like seriously now Rolling Eyes






My seat was 12A, but my parents were further ahead, so they got to board first. I waited for a bit more, no harm done. Boarded, the lovely flight attendant Jenny would serve us for the 44 minute hop to Grand Forks, ND. It was going to be a hot hot day in Grand Forks, a warm 33C. The flight was full.


Pushback was more or less on time as we started a very long taxi to the runway. The CRJ rocketed down the runway into the sunny skies of Minneapolis. We cruised into a pretty low altitude of 23000 feet.


If this was India.... Many IndiGo A320s would be there!






Obligatory winglet shot...one last time!!

Usual stuff, the flight attendant Jenny went about giving out the usual American flight snacks…so be it a short 45 minute hop on the CRJ, or a 3.5 hour cross-country marathon on a B73J (or even a B763!), the snack remains the same. A pretty uneventful flight over the state of Minnesota, we began descent while getting pretty close to Grand Forks. While descending, all I saw was the flat land…all the agricultural stuff. I said to myself - all of that would be covered in snow, a few months later!









A smooth touchdown on to Runway 35L, we taxied to Gate 2. Believe it or not, this was a very busy time for Grand Forks airport - both gates were occupied! Gate 1 had an Allegiant Airbus A319, presumably the flight to Phoenix-Mesa.


Thanked the FA Jenny for the flight and her services onboard. And there I was. In Grand Forks. And end to all the flying around, but importantly, the beginning of my next chapter in life. The terminal is, as you’d expect, tiny. Heck, even Ranchi is perhaps larger Very Happy

That's going to be my last flight for the next few months!!!


Sup Allegiant? Guess its time to fly on one of these soon!




Some replicas inside the terminal!

Baggage came out more or less on time, and thankfully, free luggage carts! At the table was a lovely couple, whom I’d get very close to over the course of time. With them was my peer mentor who had offered to pick me up. She drove to my dormitory, as I saw Grand Forks for the first time.


Owing to the hot day, I was basically wet (due to sweat) head to toe in my dorm.





Went back to the airport to rent a car a few days later, and so few arrivals area view:







As the days passed by and orientation went on, it was countdown to the start of college. I bid an emotional goodbye to my parents. Nope, it wasn’t easy. However, I had three letters that always played in my mind that got me excited: KLM, KLM, KLM.

And with that, I conclude my trip from Colombo to Grand Forks, with a lot in between...

Goodbye for now!
Regards
Jishnu
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A beautiful concluding part...no, it did not feel rushed, at all. I apologise for my late reply: I have been on the Internet in a sparse manner, though I got to read this lovely report, in detail. As usual, in point form:
- The smell-new BSI B739-ER with Split Scimitar winglets: an experience I was waiting to read about, even if it was a red-eye. Lovely pictures to go with it: while I am now familiar with the BSI part, the lights on the wing, the illuminated Split Scimitar looked wonderful, more so in the type of darkness one gets around a red-eye, and the morning light. And yes, a lovely comparison with the winglet on the Delta B763!
- The pictures and descriptions of MSP brought back many memories for me: 1977, 1978 and 2007. Nice!
- Poignant description of the sleep before setting out for `school', in US lingo. You are really lucky to have your parents take you to/through this ritual.
- Lovely winglet shot, again!
- A question: I have never been on a CR1/2 before. How did it feel, is it that much more cramped, and uncomfortable? I have only been on the CR7 `masked bandits', which are relatively decent, as far as the ride goes.
- I find it rather ironical that you mention a comparison of GFK with IXR: a city I was in (briefly), three days after you posted this, and an airport I got to experience land-side, with its lovely new terminal building, for the first time (I have seen IXR air-side before, in 2012, on a DEL-IXR-PAT flight on IT). IXR is a much better experience than what I have heard of, before. I will write about it (in due course of time Sad )
- Lovely pictures of an introduction to `(grad) school' life!
Thank you Sir, for taking the time, to post this lovely trip report.
I look forward to more, given that you have given me a heads-up on some exciting flights that have come your way!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so much for your reply, Sumantra sir!

As we did discuss in our meet a few weeks ago, no denying that we have similar memories of Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. I have more reports in the pipeline that might help you identify the airport a bit more Very Happy

I have so far had 4 flights on the CRJ200, and one of the CRJ900. I can tell you that the short length of the aircraft itself, and its short cabin height makes the CRJ200 experience very cramped. Luckily, all those four flights were less than an hour long! The CRJ900 on the other hand, was lovely!

The reason I compare it with Ranchi is because my family and I usually poke a bit of fun at this city - both my parents have spent some part of their childhood growing up there! Very Happy

Regards
Jishnu
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stealthpilot
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A great ending + sorry for the late reply. I haven't read any TRs in a while Shocked
I had the same thought starting my first year of college .... looking at the landscape during descent and knowing it would be completely white in a few months hehehehe.
I liked MSP altho I often confuse the terminal with DTW (which was much nicer with the skytrain) and better views of NW 744s. I guess DL 744 would look equally nice Smile
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
A great ending + sorry for the late reply. I haven't read any TRs in a while Shocked
I had the same thought starting my first year of college .... looking at the landscape during descent and knowing it would be completely white in a few months hehehehe.
I liked MSP altho I often confuse the terminal with DTW (which was much nicer with the skytrain) and better views of NW 744s. I guess DL 744 would look equally nice Smile

Talk about late replies, LOL Laughing

I have very snowy pictures coming up, too. Stay tuned for those! Very Happy

I haven't been to DTW yet, but being a DL hub, I would imagine it to be quite similar to MSP. And yes, the DL B744s are based out of DTW and DTW only. The days are numbered Sad MSP only gets the A330s to Europe, and B777s to NRT/SIN, in addition to the ERJs/CRJs/Airbus/Boeing narrow bodies.

Regards
Jish
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