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N776AU
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Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:18 am

Trip with the Grandparents: ATL-IAD-Maine-IAD-ATL

Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:42 pm

This trip was over a year in the works. My grandparents are from Maine and are 86 and 80 years old and now live in northern Virginia near some other family of mine as well. Flying with them just doesn’t work. We’ve tried. My cousin (the same one who goes to races with me) is licensed to drive large vehicles, so he offered to drive a huge RV with everyone inside up to northern Maine for one last trip. I haven’t been to Maine myself in a very long time. If it puts it in to perspective I got there last time flying Northwest :old: Because the trip was originating in northern Virginia IAD was our airport destination of choice. I’m becoming a regular on the ATL-IAD route. I’ve flown it 5 times the last year and a half and on all 3 airlines that serve the route. The choice for this trip was Delta with a round trip fare of $159. Even with three fares that’s cheaper than driving not to mention infinitely faster.

Time frame – these flights were June 29th and July 12th.

My parents were among the group in on it so they rode to the airport and flew up with me because that makes the most sense. We waited for rush hour to dissipate before leaving which put us at the airport just before 10 am. We had plenty of time. Our flight wasn’t until 12:45. Thankfully my precheck yielded them precheck as well which was nice since it allowed them both to get through without hassle. They just wanted to get to the gate, so I took them and they got settled before I walked off exploring. Today we were at gate C34, pretty close to midpoint. Unfortunately all the windows at concourses A, B, and C are currently blocked with renovations. It definitely makes the concourses feel much tighter and more constricted. The end result is going to be fantastic though. I’m looking forward to tons of natural light with great ramp views and an open feel. It’s going to really look great and feel almost like a new airport.

I’m rambling now. Anyway I split and walked around just to watch some action outside.
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N701DN about to operate flight 295 to Tokyo. I see and photograph this flight almost every time I fly to remind myself that’s the huge goal for banking my Delta SkyMiles. It keeps reminding me of the promise I’ve made to myself.
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A330-300. I can’t remember if it was going to Honolulu or was about to be towed away before an evening flight to Europe/South America Beautiful.

Back in the magical world known as Concourse C our aircraft was arriving. It was coming in from Gulfport a little late which delayed our departure a bit as well, but not much. It wasn’t even enough to make our arrival “late” according to the schedule. Since there were no windows I didn’t get any exterior photos of the aircraft until we were in Washington.

Delta Air Lines Flight 12:30
ATL-IAD
Depart ATL – 12:46 pm (was actually 1:01)
Arrive IAD – 2:36 pm (was actually 2:30)
Boeing 717-200
N934AT

I should find it slightly wrong that flight 1230 departs at 12:45. Man they could have scored some points with corny puns at the gate with that. I knew I was going to enjoy this flight. I love flying the 717. It’s a little rocket and very comfortable.
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Was seated in seat 18A on the 2 side with my mother next to me. My dad loves exit row seating with the single seat, so I booked him back in row 20.
Before we pushed I was hoping to point the nose toward runway 8R. I’ve only taken that route twice that I’m aware of. The million times I’ve departed Atlanta to the east took me off runway 9L. Today was the perfect storm. First the airport was taking off to the east. That’s not rare or anything, but it’s definitely not the norm. Second I was flying to the north. Third I was departing from the north end of a concourse. Fourth since we were a tiny 717 we didn’t need all the space on 9L. Nope. When we pushed back the nose pointed south Image I guess when I fly and the airport it taking off to the east I should just go ahead and write in my notebook that I took off from runway 9L. It seems to be a guarantee for me. I’m rambling again.
https://youtu.be/AHL3pLPgG28
Takeoff didn’t disappoint. I figured it was going to be good and fast when we barely used any flap. Love these things.
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On the way up to 33,000 feet I spotted Sanford Stadium through a very brief hole in the clouds. Go Dawgs.
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It was a nice day out.
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We passed by the airport on the way in for runway 21L.
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We brought it in nice and fast. I’m not going to post the video I took of landing because there is a screaming baby ruining it.
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Passing some fun traffic on the way in to gate B74.
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N934AT turning around for Atlanta.
After a day hanging with the family we headed northward.
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Lots of room for everyone to move around while on the road. Much better than a car.
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I was supposed to be copilot for my cousin but then this little turd took over.
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This was a scenic overlook on I-95 north just past Millinocket.
We were on the way to Presque Isle and Portage, very far north. The few days up there we had plenty to do.
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The entire post office in Portage. Huge.
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A couple of classic Maine red hot dogs.
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And you have to get a lobster roll.
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St. Froid Lake. My grandparents lived there many, many moons ago.
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A few of us also hiked up Hedgehog Mountain near Portage. Nice views.
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We spent Independence Day on Portage Lake with a lot of our extended family. Portage was where we always traveled to as kids. I haven’t been since 2005. It was nice to go back. Lots of memories made on that lake.
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We took a boat ride to my grandparents’ old house. I spent lots of time here over my childhood summers.
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The owners weren’t home, but they did know we were in town and wanted to look around. This was just a quick look inside the back door.
After Presque Isle we went down to Bar Harbor. This was a first for me. I’ve never done the coast.
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Sunset on the first night
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Nobody else in my party wanted to take a scenic flight, but I did, so I got a nice lap around the island in a Cessna 172. Actually that’s a new aircraft type for me.
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We stayed at the Harborside Hotel which I saw from above.
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Beautiful views.
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And an obligatory airport shot.
https://youtu.be/xCrGMw0BaBI
Here’s a video of landing. Easy for me since I wasn’t the one in charge of flying it.
From Bar Harbor we went down to Freeport and spent a day there.
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Where I promptly loaded up on whoopie pies.
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LL Bean is in town among many others. After that we headed to Virginia and then flew home the day after we got back. We were booked on a flight leaving at 5:35 pm, but we went standby and got on a flight home at 6:30 am. The time difference was enough that the gate agent thought we were just stupid and showed up 12 hours early. Unfortunately he was wrong. It was on purpose. We all wanted to get home. Man it turned out to be the best decision of the day. Monday evening when we got home I pulled up Flight Aware just to see how our originally scheduled flight was doing. It was delayed. Then I opened Flight Radar 24 and saw a huge stack of aircraft waiting to takeoff. I dialed up the tower on Live ATC and listened to a whole situation unfold. Apparently there was a fire or something in Washington Center and no aircraft were allowed to takeoff from IAD, DCA, or BWI. I listened and followed this through the evening, breaking only to go bowling as I always do Monday evenings. I feel awful for everyone affected by it, but I must admit I found it entertaining to listen to all the airport towers and take it all in. My original flight was Delta flight 1093 to arrive in Atlanta at 7:48 pm. It actually arrived at 12:08 am. Oh man did we get lucky there. Again I’m rambling. I still written my flight home yet.

We were out the door at 3:55 am in our attempt to make the 6:30 flight, and make it we did. Even better all 3 of us were on the exit row.
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Taking us home was N905DL, ollllllllllllllllllllllllld bird. It’s pretty rare at this point for me to fly an aircraft older than me, but it’s older than me by 2.5 years, being delivered very early in 1987. If my research is correct it’s the second-oldest aircraft in Delta’s fleet. It was showing its age too. More on that in a minute.

Delta Air Lines Flight 1520
IAD-ATL
Depart IAD – 6:30 am
Arrive ATL – 8:05 am
McDonnell-Douglas MD-88
N905DL

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Row 24 was a nice row. Outside was N377DA going to Salt Lake City a little later.
I got treated to a new experience this morning. Outside was a huffer cart which I didn’t really notice or pay attention to until I heard the engine starting up and was surprised by it. I suppose that meant that the APU wasn’t working. Can that be attributed to aircraft age?

Once we pushed and started the other engine we headed to runway 30 with about a 5-7 minute delay. I’m not sure if that was for slotting in Atlanta or more troubleshooting with the aircraft.
https://youtu.be/ExYO-TxxhC0
I’ll preface this takeoff video with my opinion that the sound on it is fantastic. That’s about where it stops. Takeoff was weak and very slow. If my referencing is correct we used a little over 7000 feet of runway and I know we didn’t pitch it up nearly as much as I’ve experienced on my many MD-80 flights in the past. I guess again the old girl showing her age.
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On the way up to 34,000 feet.
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The breakfast of champions (and my notebook).
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There were clouds for most of the flight. Also a bit of a mangy wing, not that that really matters. Everything was routine and easy once we got out of IAD, and I really didn’t make many notes. I would have seen my hometown if not for clouds, but instead I saw gray haze outside as we passed there.
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We passed ATL for runway 8L.
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Little bit of sun poking through the clouds looking at the city.
https://youtu.be/l2ro4GfQSEE
Landing video. Again I think the sound is fantastic. Maybe someone can tell me if I read this or if I’m just making it up, but I think somewhere some years ago I read that the overwing exits on the MD-80 tend to not really close all the way until pressurized. Is there truth to that or am I just a big liar? In my own brain it seemed to be the case. I could hear everything clear as day and it sounded great. Probably the highlight of the flight really.
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We pulled in to gate A17 next to N318DX going to BOS.

What a great trip. My grandparents really enjoyed it. It’s kind of a long story why they ended up moving to Virginia, but when they did in 2006 I really thought I’d never visit Maine ever again. It was great to do it one more time. I love seeing that side of my family and hey the availability of cheap flight to see them doesn’t hurt either.

I wrote this over the course of an afternoon the day after returning. I hope my lapses in proofreading were kept to a minimum. Thanks for reading Image
Careful, doors are closing, will not reopen. Please wait for the next train.
 
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Super80Fan
Posts: 513
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:14 am

Re: Trip with the Grandparents: ATL-IAD-Maine-IAD-ATL

Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:14 pm

Great trip report! Although I don't think a broken APU has to do with aircraft age, I was flying a one month old American A321 that had a broken APU.
RIP McDonnell Douglas
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
Posts: 314
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:37 am

Re: Trip with the Grandparents: ATL-IAD-Maine-IAD-ATL

Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:01 am

Your pix from Maine remind me of Scandinavia... Thanks for sharing a wonderful domestic experience! Although I don't care much for Atlanta, at least you living there allows you to have a great network of DL flights! And although UA's network is superior overall, DL is clearly the best of the US3 in terms of soft product... Thanks again!
 
flymia
Posts: 7008
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 6:33 am

Re: Trip with the Grandparents: ATL-IAD-Maine-IAD-ATL

Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:56 pm

Great report. I was in Bar Harbor on July 3rd. Ate right there by the water where you took the picture of. Great town, my third time there. Saw the Cessna airplanes and other types flying around, the day I was there it was a perfect day for flying.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)

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