kabq737
Topic Author
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12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:29 am

Good morning all! I am currently on a trip to Ireland! In getting here I had to make some connecting flights and one of them sure took a turn for the worse! It should be noted that I am not writing this to complain or to bash an airline but I am instead writing this to simply share my unique experience. Unfortunately I had assumed that this would be a completely normal flight and therefore took few photos. Hope you enjoy this trip report!

My day started on a muggy Saturday morning in Albuquerque New Mexico. Yes Albuquerque was actually muggy. With temperatures around 75 degrees and rain it felt more like California than New Mexico. After a quick smoothie I caught the 6:30AM flight on Delta from Albuquerque to Atlanta on a very nice Boeing 737-900ER. The flight was uneventful and not noteworthy. Much like a first date with someone who used to be "just a friend." Exactly as expected.

After we arrived in Atlanta things began to get interesting. Immediately after turning my iPhone's airplane mode off I received a notification from Delta warning me that my next flight would be delayed by an hour. My next segment was supposed to be nonstop service from Atlanta to New York's La Guardia airport. That didn't quite work out. We were given the option to rebook to another flight however, given our large party of seven people we decided to just roll with the one hour delay. After a nice lunch in the Atlanta airport and some plane spotting our aircraft pulled up to the gate. The aircraft was an MD-90 with registration N924DN. 9DN is a 19 year old ex China Eastern MD-90. She looked good for her age. As we boarded I took a photo. Image

After boarding our captain announced to the cabin that we would have to hold on the ground in Atlanta. This was due to poor weather conditions in the New York City area. Although passengers were unhappy with the circumstances they remained calm and courteous. The crew members came around the cabin with water for passengers. I took a trip up to the cockpit (sorry I didn't take any photos) and had a chat with the flight crew. After a nice discussion about the aircraft and its unique traits I headed back to my seat where I waited for takeoff. Finally about two and a half hours late we began our pushback. As the IAE engines started the hair on the back of my neck stood up. "What a fantastic machine" I thought to myself! We taxied to the runway. It was time for takeoff.

As the engines spooled up the 9DN took to the sky like a rocket! Being seated near the back of the aircraft I could really hear the engines roar! We climbed to our cruising altitude and the cruise was uneventful. Beverages were served as well as the typical but delicious Delta Biscoff cookies. The descent was initiated and the crew cleaned up the cabin for landing. Part way through the descent we began to take multiple slightly steep left turns. It was recognized by many that we were in a holding pattern. Shortly after the captain announced to the cabin that we were holding due to the weather in New York. He stated that a diversion would become important and nessiscary if we spent more than 20 addiational minutes in the holding pattern. After about 20 minutes our captain informed us that a diversion was imminent and that Baltimore had been selected as a diversion airport. Being an av geek I was not worried or surprused as fuel stops are common and nothing to worry about. A smooth landing was made in Baltimore followed by a very quick roll out where a small "pop" was heard from behind. On the way to the gate the captain once again had bad news. Image

A large quantity of reverse thrust had been used on landing which as the pilot explained had caused a mechanical issue. Our stop in Baltimore would be for more than fuel. Upon arrival at the gate passengers disembarked. As I ate a sub sandwich from an airport restaurant I watched maintainance crew work on the number 2 engine of our Mad Dog. After about three hours in Baltimore passengers were welcomed on board again only to find out that no fuel had been added during maintenance (maybe this was because work was being done to the engine?) We waited approximately 30 minutes until we finally had fuel for takeoff and a flight to New York. A quick taxi to the runway was completed and it was time for another rocket like takeoff on 9DN! After taking to the skies the cabin was clam and dark. I had a nice conversation with the FA sitting next to me in her jump seat during the cruise. Passenegrs became bored as we began to make more left turns. The flight attendant explained to passengers that this was normal for LaGuardia and that we would likely be landing shortly. Sure enough we began an approach and descended into the low level fog. The aircraft began to bank left and right abnormally steeply. I origanally suspected that we were doing S turns on our approach however, soon after a large amount of power was added and we began to climb. After about 10 minutes we began to descend again. The aircraft remained stable and we continued to descend until we were just above the clouds. Before we entered the clouds a large amount of power was applied again and we began to climb. After about 5 minutes of climbing the captain informed his passengers of another problem with the aircraft. The equipment that follows the ILS had a fault. During the first approach the autopilot had been on. The previously mentioned steep banking had been caused by the autopilot following another system that tracks the ILS and had led the aircraft in the wrong directions. The second approach had been flown manually however, since the ILS system onboard was working improperly the pilots felt uncomfortable flying the aircraft into the poor weather. The captain explained that it would not be safe to land at an airport that did not have completely clear weather because a visual approach would be needed. Harrisburg Pennsylvania was our next stop on our trip to New York City.

After about 20 minutes flight we had an uneventful approach and landing into the dark Harrisburg Pennsylvania airport. By this time it was about 1:00AM. Yes, you read that right. It had taken us 12 hours to travel from Atlanta to Harrisburg. All of Delta's gates were taken so we borrowed one from Allegiant. Disembarking seemed to take a long time and we found out why. The gate had broken down a foot away from the aircraft. No joke. Allegiant's gate broke down (I'm sure the Allegiant jokes below will be flowing like a river.) The captain explained over the PA system that the MD-90 had one last trick up its sleeve. We would be exiting the aircraft through the rear airstairs! Av geeks are very simple and easy to make happy. I was happy to have such a unique experience as most carriers do not use the aft air stairs on their MD aircraft anymore. After the stairs were lowered we disembarked. The lowered airstairs can kind of be seen in the following photos.
Image
Image
Image
After we entered the airport things really started to go downhill. Since it was nearing 2AM the airport was unstaffed and it took hours to get our bags. Unfortunately the staff at the airport was incredibly rude and condescending. Our air crew had dealt with the situation perfectly and had kept everyone calm, content, and safe while the staff in Harrisburg had made the problem far worse. One Delta staff member on the ground caused a passenger to begin crying after demeaning her in front of the other passengers in the terminal. Delta is lucky the news didn't pick that one up. The same ground staff member then blamed the pilots for the delay in getting the baggage. Yeah you read that right. She blamed the pilots stating that they "didn't leave us any electricity or something." Last time I check the cargo door on the MD-90 doesn't require power to open but I am willing to be corrected. It was announced that passengers would be able to take a bus to New York that was not expected to arrive in Harrisburg for many more hours (even though by this point it was 3A.M.) or they could wait until morning and take a flight on the same aircraft expected to depart at noon. After being told that Delta would not pay for a hotel (again it was 3 A.M. This seemed kind of unreasonable) my family decided to go get our own hotel and just rent a car and drive to New York the next day which worked out fine for us. The next afternoon we received $150 travel vouchers for each passenger. Although this was a nice gesture paying for hotels would've been much preferred.

At the end of the day no matter how you look at it this flight was far from good however, the cabin and cockpit crew really deserves credit for striving to make the experience as painless and friendly as possible. The ground staff in Harrisburg was rude, unhelpful and downright insulting. Without the poor experience on the ground this flight would have been much better and more forgiveable. I am a big Delta fan and try to fly them as often as possible however, I think it will be difficult to get my mother to get onboard one of their aircraft again any time soon. Thanks for reading! Any input is appreciated!
320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 739 738, 744, 752, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, TRIM, MD88
 
jetwet1
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Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:14 pm

Well that was one heck of an adventure.
 
kabq737
Topic Author
Posts: 345
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:06 am

Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:17 pm

jetwet1 wrote:
Well that was one heck of an adventure.

I sure felt it the next day when I got up! I fell asleep at 4 AM and woke up at 11 AM to start driving to New York!
320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 739 738, 744, 752, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, TRIM, MD88
 
jeffrey1970
Posts: 1335
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2001 1:41 am

Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:15 pm

I hope something like that does not happen to you again, but if it does negotiate with the airline before you accept their vouchers. You might have been able to get at least some of your money back.
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
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res77W
Posts: 169
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Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:03 pm

It's nice to hear that your crew was professional and pleasant through the ordeal. I experienced a diversion on DL last year, and the one bright spot was the fantastic crew. What a trip though.


-Rowen
 
kabq737
Topic Author
Posts: 345
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:06 am

Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:28 pm

jeffrey1970 wrote:
I hope something like that does not happen to you again, but if it does negotiate with the airline before you accept their vouchers. You might have been able to get at least some of your money back.

We were sent emails the morning after without a choice to accept or reject the vouchers. Do you think that there is a chance at getting money back if we write them a kind but explanatory letter?

On another note are the photos working for everyone?
320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 739 738, 744, 752, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, TRIM, MD88
 
jeffrey1970
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Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:50 pm

kabq737 wrote:
jeffrey1970 wrote:
I hope something like that does not happen to you again, but if it does negotiate with the airline before you accept their vouchers. You might have been able to get at least some of your money back.

We were sent emails the morning after without a choice to accept or reject the vouchers. Do you think that there is a chance at getting money back if we write them a kind but explanatory letter?

On another note are the photos working for everyone?




I think it is worth the effort. The worst they can say is no, and you still have vouchers you can use. The pictures were great.
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
kabq737
Topic Author
Posts: 345
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:06 am

Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:58 pm

jeffrey1970 wrote:
kabq737 wrote:
jeffrey1970 wrote:
I hope something like that does not happen to you again, but if it does negotiate with the airline before you accept their vouchers. You might have been able to get at least some of your money back.

We were sent emails the morning after without a choice to accept or reject the vouchers. Do you think that there is a chance at getting money back if we write them a kind but explanatory letter?

On another note are the photos working for everyone?




I think it is worth the effort. The worst they can say is no, and you still have vouchers you can use. The pictures were great.

Glad to hear they worked. Thanks for your help!
320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 739 738, 744, 752, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, TRIM, MD88
 
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AAlaxfan
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Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:30 pm

Pictures didn't work for me.
Grumpy. Not a dwarf, not an attitude. It's a lifestyle.
 
kabq737
Topic Author
Posts: 345
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:06 am

Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:11 pm

AAlaxfan wrote:
Pictures didn't work for me.

What browser are you using? I had issues in Safari but some others are claiming no issues.
320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 739 738, 744, 752, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, TRIM, MD88
 
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AAlaxfan
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Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:13 am

kabq737 wrote:
AAlaxfan wrote:
Pictures didn't work for me.

What browser are you using? I had issues in Safari but some others are claiming no issues.

Firefox and safari
Grumpy. Not a dwarf, not an attitude. It's a lifestyle.
 
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AAlaxfan
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Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:51 am

AAlaxfan wrote:
kabq737 wrote:
AAlaxfan wrote:
Pictures didn't work for me.

What browser are you using? I had issues in Safari but some others are claiming no issues.

Firefox and safari

Finally got to see images by right clicking and opening in separate tab.
Grumpy. Not a dwarf, not an attitude. It's a lifestyle.
 
kabq737
Topic Author
Posts: 345
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:06 am

Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:35 am

AAlaxfan wrote:
AAlaxfan wrote:
kabq737 wrote:
What browser are you using? I had issues in Safari but some others are claiming no issues.

Firefox and safari

Finally got to see images by right clicking and opening in separate tab.

Interesting...thanks for the info.
320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 739 738, 744, 752, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, TRIM, MD88
 
debonair
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Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:53 pm

kabq737 wrote:
On another note are the photos working for everyone?


Nope, can't see the pictures either...
 
kabq737
Topic Author
Posts: 345
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:06 am

Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:02 pm

debonair wrote:
kabq737 wrote:
On another note are the photos working for everyone?


Nope, can't see the pictures either...

Weird. Anyone got any tips?
320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 739 738, 744, 752, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, TRIM, MD88
 
wingsofman72
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 9:57 am

Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:34 pm

Great report, sounds typical of a diversion however, the diversion station rarely is prepared or staffed to handle a load of folks no matter what the airline. The only good one I had among diversions on EA to GSP/ MX to VER/ CO-to PHL (777 to LGW from IAH) and PA to IAD en-route to JFK was the PAN AM flight.
This was during the controller strike and I had flown MIA-NAS in the morning (non-rev as PA did not fly domestic in the US then, and this was a cheap way to do it). From NAS we boarded taxied out and missed the slot, so took another hour delay and finally got airborne at about 5p on the 707-321. The flight was rough all the way up to NY and then we were put in a hold over Jersey for about an hour and a half (with a drunk English Ruby team singing "What a way to die" every time we bounced)! The poor couple next to me were young and have never flown before the trip to NAS on their honeymoon...she was terrified and sick the whole way.
Finally, we diverted to IAD, which took almost another hour (in still rough skies). However once there, we got off right way, buses were waiting to the Washington Hilton. Once there we were given rooms and food vouchers, and set to leave at 9A for the bus back to IAD, All that went like clockwork and we rode the same plane and crew to JFK in the AM without incident.
These days with outsourcing to handlers,and low staffing levels there is just no way to do this many times at small stations, folks do the best that can but are limited in what they can do for a large group.
 
kabq737
Topic Author
Posts: 345
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Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:47 pm

wingsofman72 wrote:
Great report, sounds typical of a diversion however, the diversion station rarely is prepared or staffed to handle a load of folks no matter what the airline. The only good one I had among diversions on EA to GSP/ MX to VER/ CO-to PHL (777 to LGW from IAH) and PA to IAD en-route to JFK was the PAN AM flight.
This was during the controller strike and I had flown MIA-NAS in the morning (non-rev as PA did not fly domestic in the US then, and this was a cheap way to do it). From NAS we boarded taxied out and missed the slot, so took another hour delay and finally got airborne at about 5p on the 707-321. The flight was rough all the way up to NY and then we were put in a hold over Jersey for about an hour and a half (with a drunk English Ruby team singing "What a way to die" every time we bounced)! The poor couple next to me were young and have never flown before the trip to NAS on their honeymoon...she was terrified and sick the whole way.
Finally, we diverted to IAD, which took almost another hour (in still rough skies). However once there, we got off right way, buses were waiting to the Washington Hilton. Once there we were given rooms and food vouchers, and set to leave at 9A for the bus back to IAD, All that went like clockwork and we rode the same plane and crew to JFK in the AM without incident.
These days with outsourcing to handlers,and low staffing levels there is just no way to do this many times at small stations, folks do the best that can but are limited in what they can do for a large group.


Yes I generally agree with you that the small outstations are simply unable to effectively deal with these diversions. Most haven't been given the tools to. I was understanding of the situation until the ground staff became straight up rude and made a mother cry. At that point I began to run out of tolerance...
320, 321, 333, 733, 73G, 739 738, 744, 752, 789, C208, CR7, CR9, BE20, TRIM, MD88
 
jeffrey1970
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2001 1:41 am

Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:21 pm

kabq737 wrote:
jeffrey1970 wrote:
kabq737 wrote:
We were sent emails the morning after without a choice to accept or reject the vouchers. Do you think that there is a chance at getting money back if we write them a kind but explanatory letter?

On another note are the photos working for everyone?




I think it is worth the effort. The worst they can say is no, and you still have vouchers you can use. The pictures were great.

Glad to hear they worked. Thanks for your help!




You are welcome.
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
Newbiepilot
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Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:16 am

I am sorry for your terrible experience. I would contact Delta with a copy of your hotel bill and ask for reimbursement. The plane had a mechanical problem causing the diversion to Harrisburg. Failure of the ILS equipment is within control of the airline since it isn't the weathers fault if other planes were landing at LGA. Often when there are weather problems all issues can get grouped into the weather delay, but if there is also a mechanical issue causing a 2nd diversion, then you should get hotel accommodations.
 
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Super80Fan
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Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:48 am

Yep I can definitely vouch for having fantastic flight attendants/pilots but downright rude, incapable, and inexperienced ground crew people who ruin the experience and make you pay out of pocket for the airline's problems. That's where the airlines here in the US fail. You can have fantastic in-flight crew but once the outsourced minimum wage employees takeover it turns from a regular trip into a nightmare. Thanks for your trip-report and hope Delta pays you back for the hotel/car.
 
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LamboAston
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Re: 12 Hours From Atlanta to Harrisburg on the Mad Dog

Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:14 am

No pics for me in safari
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