Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Riding the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 with Delta

As an avid frequent flyer and aviation fan I try to ride on as many different types of aircraft as possible. With this in mind I recently needed to get from Las Vegas to Vancouver and one of the options was Delta Airlines via Salt Lake City with a ride in the McDonnell Douglas MD-90. The MD-90 is an upgraded version of the older MD-80 with more modern IAE V2500 engines (like those found on the Airbus A320) and a longer fuselage. The aircraft was not a huge success and according to Wikipedia there is just 74 aircraft in airline service as of 2011. The majority of which fly with Delta, with Japan Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines as other operators with several in the fleet. So for this reason I was excited to be able to book a flight on the MD90, it's not likely to happen again any time soon.

As a Flying Blue platinum member I had some status with Skyteam carrier Delta but there is no lounge for Skyteam at Las Vegas, so I stopped by Burger King for a croissan'wich breakfast. Today's flight DL790 is the second flight of the day to Salt Lake and was due to depart at 7.55am.


Breakfast!

Arriving at Gate D41 I was pleased to see the scheduled equipment parked at the gate. The aircraft for today was N927DN, a 12 year old MD-90 which was initially operated by China Eastern airlines. It was sold to Delta and joined them in July 2010.

N927DN Delta MD-90 at the gate
Boarding was called slightly late due to the crew waiting for the aircraft to cool down. Boarding was by zone number and as a Flying Blue platinum I was able to access priority boarding. Once on board I found my seat in the forward part of the economy cabin. I was impressed with the newness of the seating, obviously Delta had put new seats in when they took ownership of the aircraft. It was also fitted with inflight wi-fi, although there was no other entertainment and no tv screens at all.

Looking across from my seat during boarding

Looking across at a company Boeing 767-300 I believe it was bound for Atlanta
The aircraft is in a 2x3 configuration and leg room was tight. The flight was quite full so soon enough the seat beside me was occupied.

Leg Room

MD-90 overhead controls

MD-90 Cabin with Blue leather seating

Seatback contents

Overhead bins showing that wifi was available
Boarding was very slow with people stopping in the aisles stowing their baggage and a very full flight. Eventually doors were closed and we pushed back. The crew performed a manual safety demo with the forward crew member demonstrating each action to first class and then moving forward to the economy section to repeat the same action. The weather in Las Vegas was generally clear for the departure.

Taxi to the runway we see the dominant carrier at LAS - Southwest airlines

Making a right turn shortly after takeoff - love this scenery

climbing through some cloud
The takeoff was short and powerful and the MD-90 climbed steeply with a quick right hand turn to set course for Salt Lake City. The ride felt really stable and I enjoyed my view of the engine-less wings. Flight time was just 1 hour to Salt Lake so the crew quickly sprung into action and commenced service. Drinks were limited to either juice or coffee. I was surprised that a full range of soft drinks was not available like on United. They did offer a Delta biscuit to go with the half glass of juice I was handed. I noticed the lady opposite me asked for a tea which the crew did get for her from the galley despite it not being on the trolley.

Juice and Biscuit - the biscuit has the Delta logo on it too
It wasn't long before we were on descent and were being treated to some pretty fantastic views!

Mountains on descent to Salt Lake

Some kind of mine near Salt Lake
The approach took us along the coast of the lake before making a couple of right turns and approaching the airport from the north. The landing was super smooth and we docked at the gate about 10 minutes behind schedule.
On the ground at Delta Hub - Salt Lake city

Parking next to a Delta connection CRJ900

I am not likely to ride an MD-90 again any time soon but it was great to tick it off the 'types flown on' list. The Delta service was typical USA airline service, not bad but not particularly good. They got me their efficiently and basically on time.... my next sector was to Vancouver, I'll report on that next.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting photos over the desert, with the engines at the back, the cabin noise level must be quite low. Keep Flying !

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  2. I JUST LOVE ALL THE JET PLANES AND ALL THE MCDONNELL MCDOUGLAS PLANES THAT EVERY AIRLINE HAS I MEAN THEY ARE SO COOL AND THEY HAVE SOME PRETTY COOL SOUNDS I TELL YOU AND I LOVE THE SOUNDS THEY MAKE WHEN THEY GET READY TO TAKEOFF AND LAND FROM AIRPORT TO AIRPORT AND I LOVE THEM ALL MONICA GERBER

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