After 4 nights in New York, it was time to move on to Boston. New York in mid-November wasn’t particularly cold (about 12 to 15 Celcius) but it was cloudy and drizzling during my stay there. It wasn’t so bad that it affected my movement. On my day to Boston however, it was all bright and sunny! (New York probably doesn’t like me).
During the 3 days we spent in New York City
On the day we were flying off
I boarded a taxi from outside my hotel (Residence Inn Times Square) located at the junction between 6th Avenue and 40th street. There were cabs waiting right outside the hotel and I immediately got onto one. The cab fare to JFK was flat at $52.50 (excluding tolls and gratuities). We arrived at about 12:00 pm (3 hours before our scheduled flight) as I was worried about a tighter security check (after Paris attack the day before).
The journey between Manhattan to JFK took approximately 45 minutes (with smooth traffic). Soon we arrived at Terminal 4. There was no First Class check in this time. Just like everyone else, we got to scan our passports for our paper boarding passes on the self-check in machine. Once done, we proceeded to the baggage drop counter to check in our luggage. There was no separate queue for First Class passengers, or at least I failed to notice one (nevertheless, it was empty and I did not need to wait).
Soon, we were on our way into the transit area and one of the advantages of First Class was the priority queue under Sky Priority.
Speed through security with exclusive expedited security lines at select airports. The Sky Priority expedited security lines are offered during peak times and can change locations. Be on the lookout for our Sky Priority signs to locate these lines or simply ask a Delta representative to direct you.
We got through the TSA security in about 15 to 20 minutes. As this was a domestic flight, we did not need to go through any customs check. After the security check, we proceeded to Wingtips Lounge (located at the same level as the security check). Domestic First does not include access to Delta Skyclub. For those traveling on Delta, only these pax have access to the Skyclub:
Customers traveling on a nonstop Delta First Class, Delta One or full Y-class ticket between New York-JFK and Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco.
Nevertheless, I had my Priority Pass Card and the only lounge available in Terminal 4 was the Wingtips. The other 2 lounges were located in Terminal 1 (Air France and KAL Lounge).
Wingtips also housed Business Class passengers from Singapore Airlines (i.e. SQ25) while Suites pax had access to Virgin Clubhouse. My apologies once again as I realized that I did not take a single picture of the Wingtips Lounge!
The lounge was simple and not exactly big. It was bright with good natural lighting, hence a good view of the tarmac (and for plane spotting). Food selection was very small and the only hot food available was a soup noodle. Beverage selection was OK with alcoholic beverages as well. We had our lunch in the lounge and left at about 2:00pm. We slowly made our way to our gate. We had to take one of the JFK Jitney to our gate. It was quite fun as you get to travel on the tarmac and we came close to many planes (again, it was good for plane spotting). Soon we arrived at our gate (B55). The waiting area was quite crowded as there was another flight departing JFK to Toronto as well.
Soon an announcement was made to say that DL4004 will be delayed slightly as the crew for DL4004 just deplaned in Terminal 2 and were rushing over to Gate B55. The crew arrived at the gate at about 2:50pm and boarding commenced at 3:00pm. There were 2 boarding zones, regular and Sky Priority.
As we made our way in, I was told that my Tumi Vapor was too big to bring on board, hence I had to gate check it. I dropped my bag just before entering the plane and I was issued a tag receipt (which I used it to reclaim my carryon when I deplaned).
Date: 14 November 2015
Plane: Bombardier CRJ-900 (originally a Boeing 717-200)
Photo taken: iPhone 6+
Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes (3:00pm to 4:40 pm)
CRJ-900 is a very small plane (would have preferred the original 717). It had a total of 76 seats (comprising 12 First class seats in a 1-2 configuration and 54 coach seats in 2-2 configuration). It had 12 Delta Comfort seats (slightly better pitch) which happened to be in the first 3 rows of coach. Not only was the plane small, the interior was low as well! I could not even stand straight at the aisle.
Very soon, we settled into our seats at 1C/1D. The First Class seats in CRJ-900 has a pitch of 37” with a width of 19.5” (about the size of an international premium economy seat). The advantage of 1A and 1C is that one can stretch their legs into the aisle. Each seat came with a small pillow and a thin piece of red blanket (similar to that offered on any international Economy Class). The disadvantage of row 1 however is that it was very close to the forward lavatory. However, this was not an issue for such a short flight. There were also no curtains separating the First Class and Coach cabins. The overhead compartment bin was indeed very small (it uses a sliding door on the port side and a more spacious lift up door on the starboard side).
Everyone quickly settled into their seats (as there were only 76 of us) and we were on the move shortly after. The crew apologized to the First Class passengers as they did not have enough time to offer any pre-departure drink service. He promised us that he will serve us once we are in the air. We slowly made our way to the runway and the plane took off at about 3:20pm.
Once the seatbelt sign came off, the crew immediately got to work and started offering us our choice of drinks and some snacks. Drinks and snacks were available for purchase in the coach section. Michael, the crew serving the front cabin was a middle aged gentleman with a friendly demeanor. He was neither aggressive nor assertive (unlike some that I have read about with regards to USA domestic flight attendants).
There were no on board entertainment but once above 10,000 feet, the Wi-Fi system will be turned on and one can either use the Wi-Fi to surf net (purchase of pass required) or log on into the online entertainment system (similar to that offered by Silkair).
The captain informed us that we will arrive at about 4:30pm (making the flight time at only about 1 hour). I decided that I would just use the in-flight system for flight map.
Due to its small size, the forward lavatory of CRJ-900 was extremely small and cramped, made worse by a low and tapering ceiling. I could hardly stand and ease my bladder in the lavatory! Nevertheless, the flight was pretty smooth (the lacked of clouds helped to ensure a smooth journey too).
Soon, announcement was made that we would be arriving in Boston soon. Preparations were then made for landing and we landed at about 4:30pm (10 minutes ahead of schedule). We taxied to our gate and soon after, we got off the plane. As I exited the plane, I collected my Tumi carryon and we proceeded to the luggage conveyer belt for our luggage. Our bags came out in less than 5 minutes from the moment the belt started turning and soon we were on our cab to our hotel.
What are the benefits of Domestic First Class?
- Skypriority for faster security check, priority boarding and deplaning
- Complimentary check in luggages – one is allowed up to 2 check in baggages (weighing up to 32 kg per piece). The luggage fee for coach is USD $25 for first piece of luggage and USD $35 for second piece (allowance of only 23 kg per piece)
Cost : SGD $233 per pax
Total distance flown : 300 km