Transit Adventures

An Easy Trip to LGA for a delayed Delta Flight to Atlanta, Making for an 19 hour day to Jackson Hole

Greetings from the UnitedClub in Atlanta where I shouldn’t be (I should be airborne for Salt Lake City)

Well I’m off on another Ski Trip using a Mountain Collective Pass that will see me going to Jackson Hole, followed by Alta Snowbird, the train to Squaw Valley and then flying home from San Francisco. What made this trip happen was finding a $420 Open Jaw Round-Trip ticket that could be booked to Jackson Hole and home from nearly any airport out west (a one-way ticket to Jackson would have been also $420, a round-trip at least $600). Open-Jaw tickets work in mysterious ways.

The trip starts right on time. The transit app says 4:55am. I got to the 181 Street Station at 4:52. The A train pulls in at 4:54, perfect timing for a 20 minute headway. Since I’m flying out of LaGuardia I get to 125 Street at 5:05.
I check the app when cell service returns as I walk up to the station mezzanine. An M60 is a couple stops away. No reason to rush! I head up to the street in the cold pre-dawn morning. I get my SBS receipts I realize it’s my first SBS LGA Airport ride. I haven’t flown since March.
The M60 pulls in at 5:10am and I relax. At Madison Avenue I notice a new M60 countdown clock.

  • 5:20 – At Lexington Avenue, the bus fills up.
  • 5:22 – On the Triborough
  • 5:27 – Already in Astoria, zoning out to music
  • 5:38 – The first airport garage stop where I normally get off and cross the road to the Central Terminal Area.

We get to the Delta Terminal at 5:40. The M60 stops on the outer roadway.
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I go through an empty baggage claim and find the escalator up to departes.
I’m picked for the preCheck Line. No shoes off. There doing this strange hand check for explosives on the non-Priority precheck line. I’m through at 5:52  and decide to walk to terminal C for some exercise. I haven’t flown Delta out of LGA since 2006 I think.  Terminal C feels a bit different than my US airways days flying to Syracuse. The design of very few regular seats. Instead all the seating is at bar stolls or chairs at tables. I also find the new Boston Delta Shuttle Gate and see the minor presence of US Airways with a clearly signed shuttle to the American Airlines Gates
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I walk back to the gate area and am at one of the middle gates and the end of the Short Stubby Terminal D. I see the WestJet Gate, the only gate in the terminal not used by Delta.

One gate agent makes a long sort of amusing announcement about gate checking baggage. I’m strangely zone 1. I think it’s because I switched from a middle seat to an exit row. There is first First Class followed by zone SKY. We’re next to a flight to Fort Lauderdale that flashes 68 empty seats. I’m sure Delta is keeping its schedule up to compete with Spirit on that route.
I’m strangely in zone 1. I think because I’m in an asile exit row seat. I board at about 6:30, quite early.
I can’t tell what’s happening at 6:58 on time but can’t see anything all the window shades are down around me.
7:05-They announce that were waiting for deicing
At 7:08 I think I feel us push back as the safety demonstration occurres and the lights dim.
I read as I realize my connection is in severe jeopardy since I only have 50 minutes in Atlanta. We’re still sitting at 7:43. Then again at 7:51. We’re told there is now a fueling issue.
We finally push back at 8:00am. Now for deicing. We’re told to use the Inflight wifi to check connections once were in the ar and connecting gate information since connecting to is always free.
8:11-Finally hear the joys of deicing scraping the plane from sitting overnight.
8:32-Please return to your seats, we will be taxing in two minutes
8:33-I hear the jets fuel up. The A/C comes back on as we gear up to finally head to the taxiway.
At 8:37 we’re finally moving again. At least I’ll be missing my connection by hours not minutes.
8:40-We’ve barely moved.
8:44-Finally! Flight attendants prepare for departure
8:45-The pilots say “Delta 1547 is ready now” I think it could be intentional pushing both the intercom and tower buttons. We finally keep taxiing but it’s start and stop out of slot.
We finally take up at 8:51 for our two hours wheels up to wheels down flight. The MD80s have distinctive noises with the rear mounted engines.
8:56-finally over 10,000 feet
9:20-I finally get water and Biscoff Cookies
I spend the flight first zoning out listening to the rest of the NPR Serial Podcast. I also keep reading a book on my new iPad (a Christmas Present). I connect to GoGo on my iPhone, the Delta App is able to refresh itself in flight and I’m informed first that I’ve been rebooked on the 2:00pm Delta Flight to SLC followed by the only flight on Delta I can make to Jackson Hole from 8:22pm to 9:30pm. There isn’t a flight between 1:20pm and 8:20pm
We land at 11:00 and I refresh my phone. I’m in Seat 4A from ATL to SLC. I think maybe just the bulckhead but refresh it again, and See First Class Confimed! At least I’ll get a meal on Delta during what will become a far too long travel day. We finally arrive at 11:04am (my scheduled connecting flight departing at 10:35 on time).
I head out to a crowded Delta Assist Area, I scan my old boarding pass and pick up a new one. I then wait in line to speak to an agent who actually says that I’m on the fastest itinerary possible with delta but she can check another carrier. I’m stunned and am offered American via DFW but still won’t arrive until 7:55 and decide to spend the extra hour and a half on my original Delta itinerary due to the First Class Segment.
I check my phone and find the concourse of the United Club, heading over there to relax for almost two hours on my AGR card where I rebook my shuttle, warn the hostel I’m going to be late and spend a bit more money pre-booking skis directly in Teton Village since I won’t have any time to rent skis in town and don’t desire to waste the morning running into town to rent.