[Trip Report] Home, The Exciting Way (DL NYC-YXE)

Background:
After a very successful couple of days in New York, it was time to head home. Here are some highlights:

  • A restaurant host being less than impressed with my Eau de airplane toilette scent from the inbound flight. I don’t blame the guy.
  • Being physically assaulted on the F train.
  • Eating enough food to give 6 grown men heart attacks.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to tell someone to call my insurance to get pre-approved for treatment before they call for an ambulance as I keel over with a massive cardiac episode. But I digress.

I didn’t write a report for my outbound trip as it was incredibly boring and there really wasn’t anything to write home about. The return journey was a little more exciting.

This guy sure was excited.
Leg 1 - DL 3390 VDB
Departure Airport: Newark Liberty International Airpot (EWR/KEWR)
Arrival Airport: Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP/KMSP)
Scheduled Departure: 11:30 EDT
Scheduled Arrival: 13:31 CDT
Actual Departure: N/A
Actual Arrival: N/A
Flight Time: N/A
Aircraft Scheduled: Bombardier CRJ-900
Aircraft Used: Bombardier CRJ-700

The Lyft driver dropped me off in front of terminal 2, where Delta was supposed to be. After searching for a little while, there was an obscured set of escalators I needed to go down before reaching the check-in desks.


Couldn’t find a sign to point me here, but it worked out.

After passing through the slowest security checkpoint I’ve ever seen (20 minutes to process 8 people, seriously?). I found a spot to settle in to wait for my flight.

AI 77W just across the tarmac.

Here’s my everyone else’s ride!

As I waited for boarding, the gate agent asked if there were anyone willing to volunteer their seats and be put on a later flight for a $400 Delta/Visa Gift Card. I considered it, but decided to wait until the offer got higher.

Big mistake, half the gate area jumped up and rushed the counter.

After a couple of minutes, the gate agent informed us that the flight has been downgraded from a CRJ-900 to a CRJ-700, so we need three volunteers at $400 to make sure the plane doesn’t go overweight. I jumped on that one as quickly as possible. I also hatched a plan so I don’t have to be crammed on the next CRJ. As much as I like Canadian products, this one I can do without. The conversation went something like this:

“I’d like to volunteer my seat”

“Alright, may I see your boarding pass please?”

“Okay, Mr. Danman, you have a connection to Saskatoon?”

“Yes, at 7PM. Is it possible for you to book me on DL 855 out of LaGuardia instead of the next available out of Newark?”

“Sure, let me just process that for you, can I have your email to process the gift card?”

“Here you go. Do I need to find my own way over to LGA?”

“No, we’ll put you in a taxi over to LGA. Make sure you have your email, and here’s everything you need. Take this taxi voucher to the dispatcher and they will get you on their way. Once you arrive at LGA, head on over to the check-in desks at LGA and they’ll have your boarding pass ready for you.”
I checked my email and confirmed with the kind agent that everything is in order. He handed me a stack of papers and I took off towards the taxi stand outside the terminal. Interestingly enough, there was no need for them to take my checked bag off the plane and take it over LaGuardia and put it on my new flight, apparently they don’t need Positive Bag Match on these flights.

It was nice knowing ya…

The magical piece of paper that will get me over to LGA.

After handing over the paper to the dispatcher, I was stuffed into an old Crown Victoria, handed a receipt stating that the $75.00 fare and $20.00 of tolls were paid for and I was responsible for the gratuity. Ah, they get you somewhere don’t they?

And we’re off!

An (very fast and terrifying) hour later, I threw what US cash I have left at the driver (20%+ thanks for not killing me money) and was dropped off in front of Terminal C at LaGuardia.

This is nice. I headed over to the help desk and had a boarding pass in my hand within 10 minutes. Time for my second “freedom search” of the day.

Leg 1 - DL 855
Departure Airport: New York - LaGuardia Airport (LGA/KLGA)
Arrival Airport: Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP/KMSP)
Scheduled Departure: 14:29 EDT
Scheduled Arrival: 16:24 CDT
Actual Departure: 15:05 EDT
Actual Arrival: 16:49 EDT
Flight Time: 02h44m
Aircraft Scheduled: Airbus A319
Aircraft Used: Airbus A319
Aircraft Configuration: J12Y114
Aircraft Registration: N315NB
Engine(s): 2x CFMI CFM56-5A5
Aircraft Age: 18.1 Years
After security, I was spat out into a dingy, low-ceilinged waiting room with some sort of restaurant filling 90% of the space.

$4 for Coke, what is this? Yankee Stadium?

Good, my plane is here.

I burned a couple of minutes by taking a walk and taking this unexpectedly moody picture:


After a couple of minutes, we were ready to board. Thankfully, there was no need for volunteers this time.

Grey day.

The cabin was spacious and airy. It is good to see Delta putting money into these old planes and providing a better customer experience.

Legroom was sufficient for my diminutive stature, tall people may have a harder time fitting into the seat.

Since I was stuck in a middle seat, there wasn’t a chance for pictures.

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We held at the end of Runway 13, the engines spooled up to full power, the brakes were released and we rocketed down the runway into the air and we lazily made our way to a cruising altitude of 36,000 feet. Flight time was announced at a leisurely 2 hours and 36 minutes.

A snack was distributed as we reached cruising altitude, the granola bar Delta offers is a massive improvement over the generic snacks airlines used to offer. It is good to see airlines differentiating on something other than price.

The flight attendants occasionally walked the cabin, offering more water to passengers. They were friendly and professional throughout the flight.

Here’s a before and after shot of a Delta A320-series cabin. The before picture was from a flight in 2014, and the after picture was from this flight.

Spot the difference.
I had a free hour of in-flight internet thanks to my tourist plan with T-Mobile, it was snappy and I had no issues with a variety of tasks that spanned from responding to DMs and uploading video to social media. Gogo has come a long way since the ground station days where they can’t load a website to save their life.

After another 20 minutes or so, we started our descent and landed in Minneapolis after a couple of circles.

DL A330 on our way out.

Leg 2 - DL 4810
Departure Airport: Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP/KMSP)
Arrival Airport: Saskatoon - John G. Diefenbaker (YXE/CYXE)
Scheduled Departure: 19:45 CDT
Scheduled Arrival: 21:07 CST
Actual Departure: 20:01 CDT
Actual Arrival: 21:02 CST
Flight Time: 02h01m
Aircraft Scheduled: Bombardier CRJ-700
Aircraft Used: Bombardier CRJ-700
Aircraft Configuration: J9Y60
Aircraft Registration: N632SK
Engine(s): 2x GE CF34-8C5B1
Aircraft Age: 6.7 Years

After killing three hours by heading over to the Mall of America and picking up some dinner, I headed back to the airport. Security was fast and efficient and I was in front of the tram stop right out of security.

She was standing in the perfect spot for that photo.

Unfortunately, as all outbound flights at US airports are treated the same, there is no special treatment for our flight and we were sent out to the A/B concourse RJ farm.

It was a long walk, even with moving walkways helping us along most of the way.

TIL Kalamazoo is not a made-up place name.

At 18:55, N632SK pulled up to the gate. The ground crew immediately descended upon the aircraft to get it turned around for our flight.

Flights to YXE are interesting, since YXE serves as a gateway to the outside world for most of Northern and Central Saskatchewan, people often run into each other and know each other from somewhere. Today was no exception and soon enough, we had a scrum of 15 people standing around laughing away.

Pre-boarding was announced at 19:25. People who need extra time? Nope. Active military? Nope. Children? I was the youngest person on that plane and I’m not that young.
Everyone proceeded to mob the podium when SKY was announced, everyone was a frequent flyer save for perhaps 15 people on that flight. When the dust cleared, everyone else sauntered aboard.

The cabin was bright and clean, albeit cramped. Once again, people who are a little taller than me may struggle.

Handy signage for the ground crew. As we started to push, the people beside me did not stop talking and the FA called them out before starting the safety demonstration By asking all passengers to cease conversation. That was good fun as the plane immediately went silent for the rest of the flight. Or the engines drowned them out, probably the latter.

We took off at around 8 and set a northwest heading towards YXE. As we levelled out, there was some light chop as we dodged the prairie CBs that occasionally crop up here and there. Thankfully, it was not bumpy enough for the crew to suspend service.

Nothing special here, but it was a nice snack.

The flight attendant that served my section today was best described as bubbly. She was a golden ray of sunshine in the cramped CRJ cabin. That’s something you don’t see everyday. She walked through the cabin twice(!) during the short flight to offer more water. Well done to the flight attendant for making the most of the resources given to her on this flight.

We started our descent into Saskatoon just above Regina. We’re covered in haze from forest and grass fires today, climate change is wreaking havoc on weather patterns. Our spring showers have greatly decreased in frequency and is increasing the amount of grass and forest fires we have.

As we headed lower, the setting prairie sun lit the sky a fiery orange. Saskatchewan is truly the “land of living skies”.
We landed right on time, and I was out of the airport within 20 minutes. Small town airports are the best.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,
Danman
P.S. There are two continuity errors, see if you can spot them!

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Well presented, I always enjoy flying with Delta!

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Ah…getting assaulted on the subway I take to work.

Now that’s what you call #normal 😜

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Super detailed! Really enjoyed reading this :)

Dang, nice details, was fun to read!

Nope, they charge like $8

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I expected better, Dan.

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Hey, I don’t know if you remember MSP much but just wondering what you thought of the airport.
Was it nice and clean? How where the people?

Wasn’t it the former Vice President of the United States that said that LaGuardia was straight out of a third world country? What a true statement…

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Eh, it was a lady either on drugs or off her meds, she had a heck of a back foot. Though the most impressive part was the language the spewed out of her, I will not repost any part of it as I will be smited by the mods if I tried…

Thank you for your kind words.

Okay, don’t take me out to a ball game.

Oops. XD

It was great, much better than LGA, but not as good as some of the airports I’ve come across, HKG, SIN, NRT, YVR, YXE, YYZ are all better in terms of architecture, spotter-friendliness, and user-friendliness.

My doctor’s office has a better waiting room than LGA’s departure lounge, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

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This has to be the best written tripreport I’ve ever seen.
@Danman superb!

Welcome to New York where you get assaulted on subways, pay lots of money for things and eat lots of food. I don’t think this is the Canadian way of things but we Americans get used to in in the city.

1 continuity error: you are wearing different pants on the 2nd flight!

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Looks like you had some great flights! Thanks for coming to MSP my home airport!

I remember flying in the Delta A320 a year ago and it didn’t have IFE’s. I don’t think that the older models have them. Overall though, the trip repost was easy to follow and well organized! Thanks for sharing this with us! I too just flew on a Delta A320 yesterday and it was spectacular!

Thank you for your kind words.

I enjoyed it, it’s good to take on some of that New York edge once in a while.

Oh, uh, we have 3 continuity errors…

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