An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Positioning to LAX the start city

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An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: The planning of the MEGADelta run – Part 1
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Positioning to LAX the start city – Part 2
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: A review of the SPG Sheraton LAX – Part 3
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Skyteam Lounge hopping in LAX – Korean Air lounge LAX & more? – Part 4
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: The run to Sweden & embracing Delta coach travel – Part 5
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: The KLM coach experience & the run from Sweden – Part 6
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Alaska Boardroom LAX vs Delta Skyclub & flight from LAX home – Part 7
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Final thoughts, cost & more – Part 8

my flex perks card

Let the fun begin. The first thing I did (I have to start putting a reminder for myself in my phone about this – worst case know you can do the charge on the way back as well) is get my FlexPerks card to buy a $50 Delta e-Gift cert as I can get $25 back by calling US Bank after the trip for my incidentals charge. With that done, time to drive to GRR or Grand Rapids Michigan (since my A/C is dead in my old car, Lisa ran me up in the van with A/C).

I also took the time to look up on the TSA site GRR and was pleased to see that they already have TSA PreCheck. Not having to take liquids out or my laptop out or get a nude-O-scope or man massage is always a great way to start a trip.

GRR airport from viewing area MEGADeltaMR Delta Points blog

Not having been to GRR I followed my GPS that happened to take me to what must have been, in days gone by, the old entrance to the airport. It was now a very kool lookout point for an #AVgeek to enjoy watching planes takeoff and land from GRR. I got there early so after a short moment of plane spotting I was off to the terminal across the tarmac.

GRR airport entrance MEGADeltaMR Delta Points blog

My ride down to ATL was an A320 and I had cleared at the 6 day mark. This was the only flight that had cleared at this point and I was feeling kinda antsy after my recent post about how often medallions clear to first class.

Rene and Matt in Skyclub MEGADeltaMR Delta Points blog

I had time between flights to pop into the E-SkyPub and happened to run into blog reader Matt! Hi Matt, it was great to meet you and hope your run went well and I can fly with ya some time. I have to say it is still is kinda strange for folks to come up and say “are you Rene” but I guess with a million+ views a year on the blog I should get used to it now. It is so fun to meet readers so please do say “Hi” if you see me!

NASTY new SkyGrub Delta Skyclubs MEGADeltaMR Delta Points blog

I also had a chance to peek at and test some of the new SkyGrub. I really don’t know what planet flyers have been on for the past month as I tested the chicken and the pickled mushrooms and all I can say is – YUCK! Delta seemed to say that SkyPub members input were used to pick what was used. Really? I think the mothership picked the cheapest & nastiest crud they could find to justify the shameful $29 upcharges for your +1’s. I am beyond disappointed. #TotalFAIL IMO! But on to my next flight

One of my major issues was my second flight from ATL to LAX. You see, the flight I was on was a domestic 767-300. If you have not been on one, they happen to have the worst business class product Delta flies Yes, they have a very nice coach seat in 26B&F, with both a tray table in front of you as well as one in the arm rest (yeah, there is that much space), but seat wise it is a joke. The perks are wifi and good (but small) IFE. Still, any business seat is better than coach, but there was only 1 seat open the day before and I had, even as a Diamond, a less than remote chance for an upgrade. Not good. Time for drastic measures.

What I did was check all the flight changes (there were a ton) and call up the Diamond line and was able to, due to all these schedule changes, get switched to the next flight, a 777 international bird, with 15 open business class seats. So, about 40 minutes before departure, I did clear into business class. Since I was in the Skyclub at the time and had my new boarding pass printed on the spot.

photo weather in ATL MEGADeltaMR Delta Points blog

All was looking just peachy until I took a gander at the weather! Ground stop-ish time. The delays started “rolling” as seasoned flyers know this is not a good sign. The positive change with Delta is they rarely cancel now and I would rather be late than never.

my delta 777 ride atl-lax delta points  blog

However, my friend Lars-Erik flying with me to Sweden was now arriving WAY before me and had no Skyclub access. I attempted to text a copy of my digital Skyclub card and mention I was delayed and could they let him in as my guest but there was nothing doing. Ah well.

777 BE seats ATL-LAX MEGADeltaMR Delta Points blog

On to my flight that at last got underway. On the plus side I cleared in the 5th slot with 10 seats open on the large internationally configured 777. I picked the back mini-cabin windows side seat. I have to say, while clearly better than coach, this herringbone configuration is the worst of the Delta new-ish BE (business elite) seats. They really feel tight and have little shoulder room. If you have a choice I would avoid these on long flights; the 767-400 or A300 with the new seats are much better to me. However, the service from Liz (both of them, there were two) was tops and what I have come to expect from the outstanding Delta FA’s.

chicken dinner ATL-LAX domestic Delta on  international 777 delta points blog

I continue to be impressed with the quality of the food on Delta flights. They have really done a good job. I have had very few things that are not either good or just fine. This chicken was one more example!

I at last, many hours late, landed and Lars-Erik and I made our way to the Sheraton shuttle. Some have complained they do not run often enough but we did not have a long wait. More about the hotel up next!- René

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.


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  1. I do agree with you on the herringbone configuration of the 777s. I spent 15 and 14 hours in them to and from SYD and the reverse herringbone on the reconfigured A330s is much more comfortable and seems more roomy. I recently flew the A330 from ATL to FCO and BCN to ATL. It is much better designed than the 777s. The TV faces out rather than in so you can continue watching TV during landing. The Seat feels a lot more private. The seat is a lot more comfortable. I will always choose the A330s and 747s over the 777s until they install upgraded seats anytime I have a choice. As for the 767s, they are the lowest on my list. I even chose the new 737-900ER instead of the 767s for my flight from ATL-SFO next week because I was told that it was a much better product up front for domestic travel.

  2. Hi Rene. I’m Diamond too and am attempting, probably for the last time, to reach Diamond in 2015, so I’ve booked a few mileage runs from LAX to Omaha and Chicago. I found that, while the short flights cleared well beforehand, the long flights did not — and in one case F was sold out days in advance. I had success with SDC, but would prefer not to have to use it.

    While SDC is a good backup, it only works if there are lots of seats left in coach due to the new rule this year that space must be available in the same fare bucket, in my case V. Often planes show many seats in F, but very few in coach, and it seems they are never available for SDC.

    It looks like you are finding too that automatic upgrades days in advance are getting rarer. I suspect that, for popular flights like LAX-ATL, the computer won’t upgrade very cheap tickets until the boarding gate, and that first class cabins are being filled by last minute ticket buyers. In fact, for LAX-ATL and ATL-LAX the days prior to my flights, the difference between the cheapest coach ticket and FC ticket was less than $100. It’s no wonder those seats are going so fast.

  3. Nice to meet you too, Rene! I had a great time in Hong Kong over the weekend; but the travel both ways in coach (economy comfort) was brutal. I’ll definitely try your trick on my next intl flight.

  4. I visited the MSP Mall SkyClub over the weekend for the first time. I had the chicken salad for lunch and found it delectable. I can’t account for your poor experience with club food.

    Nice job on the 777 international configuration, by the way!

  5. I told you it was extra mediocre. Even the end of day brisket at centurion had more life and pizzazz. It’s really just what is the bare minimum. I eat it because it free when I’m rushing. But the SkyClub offering is no longer a draw. And again where is the Tillamook.

    Priority Pass is in for more of a workout than ever.

    Lastly, my first full flats were on the 74 in the penthouse. It is the best so far imo. But at least the 76 flats seemed more couple friendly.

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