View Full Version : Trip Report - PBI-ATL-DKR-JNB - Delta

03-23-2008, 12:23 PM
Delta - DL 622 PBI-ATL 2/28/08 - B757-200 N669DL

We checked in early for the flight because of having the international connection later in the day. Once all the passports were checked, got our boarding passes and headed down to security to maybe get something to eat before getting on the plane. When we saw the security line at terminal C, we decided to just go straight through – there were about 100 people waiting in the line. It took a little while to get through, but down to gate C1 where our flight was to depart from, the previous flight to BDL had not yet departed, so a little light adult refreshment was needed to celebrate the start of the vacation trip. Didn’t get a chance to do any photography – but that was ok. Not long after the BDL flight departed, N669DL arrived at the gate and not long after that, the flight was being called. We took our seat – with 4 of us – it was easier to do 2 in a row and 2 in the next row (29A/B and 30A/B). Pushback was a couple of minutes early and after being number 2 in line for take off, rolled down runway 9L and headed out to sea on the standard Palm Beach departure. Flight was smooth and good – cruising was FL370. Standard service of drinks and the choice of snacks. Arrival into ATL was uneventful and the landing and taxi into terminal B got us in 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

Delta - DL34 ATL-DKR-JNB – B767-400 N825MH

After arriving from PBI, we thought we had plenty of time to get to the gate, so we stopped for a drink and to give my son a little break from sitting on the plane before the long flight to JNB. This turned out to be a little lapse in judgement. Got to the gate at 3:15pm (this was a 4:00pm departure) and already the agents were making the final boarding call. We were then rushed onto the plane and headed towards our seats. First thing of course is that the overheads were all full already – I don’t know when they started boarding the flight, but of course everyone with 2 – 3 carryons (3 I did see when the person got off in JNB) that had to be overhead left us very little space to put things and a lot of stuff ended on the floor under my son’s seat. After all this rushing and DL ground staff insisting that they loaded the plane early to get an on time departure, we still left the gate 10 minutes late at 4:10pm. There was one thing that did impress me with the IFE – it was already turned on while we were still at the gate. In coach, there was a huge amount to choose from – pretty much an AVOD system with 12 movies, 6 different TV selections, games, in flight map, etc – and everything controlled from the IFE system (there is a little rant later on).
After the pushback and taxi, we were off in no time at all after being only number 2 for take off. The route out of Atlanta over CHS was pretty calm – no bad weather. About 30 mins after take off, around came the bar service – the next nice thing about this flight – everything was free – that doesn’t happen too often on US airlines. The food came around after that – a choice of chicken or beef. I had the beef, others in the family had chicken – the general consensus – the food was pretty good. Flight level all the way to Dakar was 35,000’. At one point it looked as through we were going to get into Dakar over an hour early with tail winds of 145mph – but that calmed down not too long after and we ended up landing in Dakar 15 minutes early. After dinner, the duty free trolley came around and then it was lights out – there was only another 5 hours to DKR. This is where I have my little rant. After dinner, my son was playing a game on the IFE system and the game hung – stopped functioning – the whole IFE was inop and the overhead light was on. I spoke to the crew – they said they would reboot it. Over 30 minutes later, I am trying to now get my son to sleep, the IFE hasn’t been rebooted, and the overhead light is shining down on him. Eventually, for the next 45 minutes, I am holding a pillow over the overhead light to block it out, crew are walking up and down, no one reboots the IFE for my sons seat until I eventually ask a crew member – am I going to have to hold this all night or can something be done. A lot of excuses – 10 minutes later- it is finally resolved. I found it terrible that for an hour – nothing was done.
The next event is the landing in DKR. Landing was smooth and uneventful. Taxiing in, there are some new sightings – Royal Air Maroc B737-800, a white IL76 with no markings, two Air Mιditerranιe A321s, Ceiba Cargo A300, Air Senegal B733, a white unmarked Antonov An 12, a DHL ATR42 and a SAA A343. After some passengers comes the security check. This involves every passenger pointing out their individual carry-on barrage and then having to stand up so that the Senegalese security people can check under each individual seat – why – I have no idea – my guess is that is makes them feel important – but – having to pick up a very fast asleep 3 year old was a pain. Eventually, after a gas refuel, new food and a crew change, it was a backtrack taxi down the active and a take off into the now sun-rising sky.
Immediately after take off, the captain advised of some possible bad weather and flight track changes due to the weather. He was right! Crusing at FL 350, the cloud tops were well above us, and there was a great deal of lightening. The rest of the day part of the flight was pretty uneventful except for one thing. All passengers on airlines that stop in Dakar say the same thing – the food out of Dakar is terrible. Breakfast was an omelet that was incredibly rubbery. The snack later in the afternoon was supposed to be ham and cheese that was not exactly distinguishable as ham and cheese. It really was that bad – it’s not Delta’s fault – there is one service company in Dakar and all airlines that go through there have the same problem.
At top of descent from FL 370 into Johannesburg, we were running about 25 minutes early until the usual Johannesburg late afternoon storms arrived. This put us in a holding pattern for 20 minutes due to storms over the field. Eventually, we got cleared in and a very nice landing after 8h 45min, 10 minute taxi and parking at the gate ended what was really a pretty good trip. Immigration into South Africa was the usual very slow thing and baggage took ages to get off the plane, but that is the handling agents in Johannesburg – they are very slow.
On the whole, there is really nothing to fault Delta for except the light issue – the flight was very comfortable and we arrived in South Africa not tired – ready to enjoy the evening with family.

03-23-2008, 02:10 PM
Hey Mark - great trip reports so far! I really enjoyed reading them, especially about your LCC experience in SA. Looking forward to your return trip and some pictures!

03-23-2008, 05:57 PM
Hi Mark, welcome home! A nice read; I'm particularly interested in the Senegalese stop over...pretty cool in my opinion. I'll be heading to Cape Town in July after spending 2 days in London, and would've much preferred to stop in Dakar! I love seeing new places, new planes, and of course acquiring new bragging rights (to say that you've seen Senegal...barely!!). As my trip approaches, except some PMs! :wink: Glad you enjoyed your holiday.

- jMay

03-23-2008, 06:30 PM
Certainly Josh - just let me know - I have info on spotting locations in Cape Town for you - and can give you a lot of info on the city - apart from jsut being there - I lived there for over 15 years!! :) Just shout when you need info!

03-24-2008, 11:42 AM
Mark nice read, very detailed without being drawn out. Sounded like a comfortable flight.

03-26-2008, 08:11 PM
Nice trip report there Mark.

One note, re: IFE, this also happened on TNs 343, a half dozen times. 6 reset during...a 12 hour segment.

Anyway,I know who to talk to if I get down there.

Actually, I've met 2 South Africans who've told me to AVOID South Africa for fear of violence and muggings. I don;t listen to advice well. As someone who's been there, any real advice?

I mean looks like your 3 year old enjoyed it immensely!