Typically, I'm not one to hype up regional jets. Well, no one would hype up a regional jet. The "RJ" has a pretty crappy stigma at the moment. North American airlines continue to abuse the flexibility of the RJ, putting ERJs and CRJs on near transcontinental flights. Of course you wouldn't want to take an ERJ-145 on a three hour flight but, are they really all that bad anymore? I'd personally say, "no, they're getting better". I recently had the opportunity to fly in one of Delta's recently refurbished GoJet CRJ-900s, the largest CRJ in Delta's fleet. The first class and main cabin seat upholstery was actually pretty posh. The cabin lighting was refreshing, the service matched that of the service offered on mainline flights, wi-fi was offered, Delta Studio was on-board, and power outlets were featured at every seat in first class. This was actually my first positive experience on-board Delta Air Lines so I've decided to give you a peek at Delta's CRJ-900.
Delta Air Lines DL6263 [d.b.a GoJet/G76263)]
Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to New York-Kennedy (JFK)
Departure/Arrival: 10:32am (actual: 11:44am)/1:47pm (actual: 2:30pm)
Class of Service: First
Aircraft: Bombardier CRJ-900 (N185GJ)
I had arrived from St. Louis on a flight operated by American so I did have to change terminals. At most airports, that would be a time consuming mess luckily, Chicago O'Hare features a small walkway between Terminals 2 and 3. I did exit the secure area to check-in at one of Delta's kiosks located just adjacent to Terminal 3. To my surprise, the Delta check-in area was fairly busy. I had planned on using the SkyPriority lane however, the queue for the next available agent exceeded the length of the ropes sectioning off SkyPriority from main cabin. So, I strolled over to the last available kiosk and printed off my boarding pass. From there I entered the TSAPre lane which was fairly short and made my way through security. From there I walked back to Terminal 3 where I visited American's Flagship Lounge. My flight to New York was delayed roughly an hour so I had quite a bit of time to spare. After about an hour and half long visit to the Flagship Lounge I made my way back to Terminal 2 where I settled in at gate E7. E7 is one of the gates Delta uses for its Delta Shuttle flights. Because of this Delta provided complimentary coffee, snacks, and newspapers around the gate area. One thing I really love about Delta (as well as United) is how thorough they are with their gate information. One one monitor, flight information is provided however, one a second monitor Delta provides a detailed list of upgrades, stand-bys, and various other details about the flight. American provides only lists without detailed information or a summary of available seats.
Finally, boarding began. Oddly enough, Delta pre-boards parents with young children ahead of First Class (something neither American nor United does). Oddly enough again, Delta never invited uniformed military which as a frequent flyer on American, I've been accustomed to hearing in boarding announcements. Again, oddly enough, there was a single gate agent for a plane-full of over 70 passengers which I've never seen in all my years of flying. Odd-stuff aside, boarding went fairly smooth with the exception of the hour+ delay.
I was pleasantly surprised upon boarding to discover that I would be flying to New York in one of Delta's refurbished CRJ-900s. The seat upholstery was brand new, featuring the signature Delta First Class seating pattern and Delta logo stitched into the headrest. The bulkhead also featured the new Delta pattern. In addition to Delta's modifications, the CRJ-900 itself appeared to be a NextGen version as well giving it a very modern and refreshing feel throughout the cabin. Of course, NextGen or not, the overhead bins were very tiny luckily I was roller-board free so I didn't have to gate check my bag.
Amenities were fairly limited however, I wasn't expecting much. I was aware that lunch would be served on-board the flight. As is the norm (or so I thought), there are usually two options on-board each and every flight catered with full meal service. One meal tends to have meat, chicken, or fish and the other tends to be vegetarian. This was not the case and only one (fairly unappealing) meal option was offered; salmon and rice salad with a packaged brownie. I passed on the meal simply because I wasn't feeling fishy at the moment. I'm glad I made the decision to stick to the snack basket as the salmon looked like some artificial-rubbery stress ball. Eh. I can't believe I was the only one to pass on it. As for the snack basket, it was the norm. Slightly less appealing than American's and Virgin's but it still hit the spot. Wi-Fi was offered (for a fee as always) and Delta Studio came free of charge. I started "Angie Tribeca" which featured every single episode from the first season. It's absolutely hilarious and I recommend it to anyone that likes or hates CSI type dramas.
Except for the hourish delay, the flight was fairly enjoyable. The crew was fantastic and the aircraft was quite comfortable. I'm still not a huge fan of Delta though, it's likely because every single time I fly with Delta, the services Delta's known for are either non-existent or they are nothing special. The flight was an impressive value and I got to JFK with time to spare and that's all I can ask for. As for Delta's C Concourse at JFK; get rid of it--it feels third world.
Trip Reports pulled straight off the aircraft. Follow my flights, experiences, and other journeys right here.
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