View Full Version : Trip Report: JFK-PWM-JFK on Delta Connection

Matt Molnar
08-30-2007, 12:18 AM
As mentioned in a photography thread (http://nycaviation.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=7755), on August 1st I headed up to Maine for a brief vacation on the banks of Grand Lake. Including stops, the 550 mile drive up I-95 from Queens to near its northern terminus approaches 12 hours...a ride neither I nor my traveling partners were interested in. The alternative is to fly to Bangor or Portland, rent a car, and then drive the remaining 120-200 miles. The Bangor option saves about an hour of driving, but unfortunately the fare comparison couldn't justify this time savings... lowest fare round trip booked 3 weeks in advance: JFK-BGR was about $450 vs. $127 for JFK-PWM. Hello, Portland!

Date: Wednesday, August 1
Route: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)-Portland International Jetport (PWM)
Airline: Delta Connection (Comair)
Flight: 5378
Aircraft Type: Canadair CRJ-100
Aircraft Registration: N783CA
Scheduled Departure Time: 3:50pm
Actual Departure Time: 4:49pm
Scheduled Arrival Time: 4:38pm
Actual Arrival Time: 5:38pm

Got to Terminal 3 at JFK around 3pm via LIRR and AirTrain from Midtown. This was my first trip out of JFK on DL, and the signs in the AirTrain terminal and the elevator are not very clear on whether you should get off at the second or ground floor...I got off on the ground floor and followed the signs all the way up the narrow sidewalk beside the car ramp to the departures level. When I got there my friends were already about 5 minutes deep into the security line, so I ducked under the ropes and piggybacked onto the group.

I didn't want to check anything, so while we were waiting, I proceeded to assemble a carry-on package that, if I were a TSA agent, I would have called for a full cavity search of whoever put it through: a fairly large rolling Samsonite carry-on...resting on top and tied to the pull bar was my Tamrac camera case containing my full setup including my 100-400 lens...and shoved into the space where the bar retracts was my 6ft fishing pole (broken down to 3ft) in its own case. I plopped the whole contraption onto the x-ray conveyor...sure enough after it went through, a TSA lady pulled it out and said "we have to screen it again", but after that they let me go without making me open it or violating my dignity.

We trudged the 1/2 mile (or so it feels like) from security to gate 23 via a couple of "moving" walkways...not all of them were functioning. The gate area seemed awfully chaotic for a Wednesday afternoon, nearly every seat was taken and all the shops were crowded. My friend and I headed into the bar on the corner there (not Links, the other one which I don't recall the name of) and got a couple of beers. The barkeep offered us a special...get a shot of anything for $3 more! And so we washed down our Bud Lights with a couple of shots of Patron.

We began boarding just about on time, and proceeded through the doors. I had never seen the discombobulation that is Delta's outdoor RJ area. It was neat walking on the ramp for the first time, but basically you can get on any flight you want once you get past those doors! Our plane was at the very end of the walkway.

While we were walking out a Delta person tied a yellow tag to my carry-on. I wasn't sure what it was for, but when I climbed the steps of the plane I quickly discovered that my carry-on would not fit in the overhead bin. I went back to the front and the flight attendant, a 60-something year old man named Charlie, said he would take care of it.

I had the window seat at 4A. The seat width and pitch were better than Delta's full-size jets, and despite the interior looking a bit worn, it was fine for a 50 minute flight. My friends were in the row ahead of me, and an older woman named Rosemary sat in the aisle seat beside me and told me her whole life story. When my friend's dad made a joke asking Charlie "how many motors does this plane have?" Rosemary shot back a terse "it doesn't have any motors, it has ENGINES!" Yeah.

There was some confusion about a guy who was meant to be sitting with his mom and sister...apparently Delta had given his already assigned seat to a standby passenger. It took OVER 30 MINUTES for them to figure out what to do...for some reason they never considered bumping the standby passenger, and they only began offering compensation to a voluntary bumpee after we suggested it. They started with an offer of $100 Delta Dollars and a seat on the 7:15 flight, then kicked it up to $200 after no hands arose. We encouraged the guy to raise it to $500 and he'd have himself a deal, but finally two women bit at the $200 offer. Problem solved.

The view from 4A.


A private A319, G-NWAK, owned by a Kuwaiti company


We got into the takeoff queue which moved relatively quickly. We lifted off runway 13R a solid 59 minutes after our scheduled departure time, and almost immediately proceeded to make a sharp left turn to the north. We were soon cruising over Connecticut at 26,000 feet, where Charlie began serving us soft drinks and crackers.

For some reason northbound legs on this route take a very indirect route almost due north over Connecticut and Massachusetts and then make a right turn clipping southeastern Vermont and New Hampshire before descending into PWM.
http://map6.flightaware.com/flight_track_map.rvt?ident=COM1378;airports=KJFK+K PWM;key=65407f524e88eaf9590b2f83be4d954c35a20b52;k eytime=1188431807;height=340;width=400;departureti me=1186001340;arrivaltime=1186004280

On final to PWM.

Despite our pilot's promise to "shove the throttles as far as they'll go" since "we have some extra fuel on board" to make up for the takeoff delay, we landed on runway 29 exactly one hour late. We deplaned onto the ramp, where I took this shot of our bird: http://jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=6034504. I gathered my now checked carry-on from the side of the aircraft and off we went.

Date: Saturday, August 4
Route: PWM-JFK
Airline: Delta Connection (Comair)
Flight: 5123
Aircraft Type: Canadair CRJ-100
Aircraft Registration: N594SW (in new Delta livery)
Scheduled Departure Time: 5:55pm
Actual Departure Time: 6:10pm
Scheduled Arrival Time: 7:29pm
Actual Arrival Time: 7:30pm

After our 4 1/2 hour drive south from Danforth, ME and returning our car to Enterprise, we arrived at PWM about an hour before our flight. We checked in using the kiosks and proceeded up the escalator to security. After TSA had checked my ID and signed my boarding pass and I stood in line for a minute, I came to the scary realization that I had left my camera (which I had been carrying in my hand) on the side of the kiosk! I got out of the line and ran down the escalator and thankfully found my camera still sitting there unmolested. I put it back in my camera bag and arranged a contraption similar to the one I left with. After returning to security, despite removing all the metal from my pockets, I kept beeping when I went through the metal detector. The female agent manning the machine called for a male agent over for further inspection of my person, which involved taking me into a separate glass booth, sitting me in a chair, going over me with a wand and giving me a full patdown. The culprit: the snaps on my cargo shorts.

Our ride home wears new Delta colors. A much nicer shot of this bird by our friend Brian Futterman can be seen here: http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1246258/L/

A couple of FedEx 727s and a DHL DC-9 hang out on the fringe of the airport.

We boarded and I sat in 3A this time, with my friends in the row behind me. We pushed back about 15 minutes late, and then after taxiing toward the active runway 11, the captain informed us that there'd be a ground hold for JFK flights (despite perfect weather) and we'd get a time shortly. We took off after a few minutes parked in a holding area.

The southbound leg headed south along the coast, over Boston, then toward the southwest over Providence. We crossed Long Island just a bit west of Montauk, then headed mostly west with a few zigs and zags on our way to runway 22L.
http://map6.flightaware.com/flight_track_map.rvt?ident=COM123;airports=KPWM+KJ FK;key=2e43590ac707fca666ff8e7c9dcb438801963816;ke ytime=1188433479;height=340;width=400;departuretim e=1186265400;arrivaltime=1186268040

Boston Logan

Theodore Francis Green State Airport (Providence - PVD)

We landed around 6:55, but because our scheduled arrival wasn't until 7:29, we had to wait for a gate. We taxied all the way to the west end of the airport to what seemed like a special Delta holding pen since there were already two DL jets parked there, and we got in line behind them. I know in the grand scheme of things and in a world where a 4 hour delay on the tarmac is almost routine, but sitting within sight of the terminal for 30 minutes was quite annoying.

AA 757 beginning its takeoff roll off of JFK 31R

One of our neighbors in the holding pen

Only benefit of the wait: got to see this beautiful bird.

Delta Rant: On a route like this where you don't have to battle for gate or slot space at the departure airport, why not just schedule the flight to leave 30 minutes later for a time when you have space at the destination airport?

TSA Rant: Three weeks later I wore the same shorts through security at JFK without any problem. I know many say that checks at small airports are often more thorough than those at large ones, and Portland is actually where Mohammed Atta first boarded on his infamous journey on 9/11/01, but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

08-30-2007, 07:38 AM
Great report Matt! You're route going home looks as if the pilot enjoyed some of that Patron as well. You're part about the overhead made me laugh, because I'm such a prick that each time I fly and see that I'm mumbling to myself "what an *******." LOLOLOL

08-30-2007, 09:12 AM
Excellent trip report Matt. Nice suspense in that you almost lost your camera. :shock:

08-30-2007, 04:40 PM
Very entertaining trip report, Matt. Thank you for sharing!

08-30-2007, 08:01 PM
Nice TR Matt and nice pics to boot!

hiss srq
08-31-2007, 02:18 PM
Great report Matt. Did you enjoy the loud thud or bang that CRJ's make wben they drop the gear? That is one of my favorite parts about flying the CRJ because the window level sure as crap is not up there. Sharp looking bird in new colors too.

08-31-2007, 07:21 PM
Hiss, I heard that thud myself after you told me. The pilots were talking about it, too, actually.

Matt Molnar
09-02-2007, 01:02 PM
Great report Matt. Did you enjoy the loud thud or bang that CRJ's make wben they drop the gear? That is one of my favorite parts about flying the CRJ because the window level sure as crap is not up there. Sharp looking bird in new colors too.

It was pretty loud...the flight attendant on our northbound flight warned us about it, but the southbound flight had no warning.

hiss srq
09-02-2007, 11:18 PM
I always get a kick out of it on the CRJ. I always start looking for the most likely suspect to get a chuckle out of when I fly on a CRJ.