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REVIEW: Flying on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 777-200LR Domestically

Delta Boeing 777. Photo by Brandon Farris.

Delta Boeing 777-200LR in Atlanta. Notice the special signature on the nose. Photo by Brandon Farris.

I recently had the opportunity to fly from Atlanta (ATL) to Los Angeles (LAX) on Delta Air Lines flight 110, that was operated by a Boeing 777-232LR. Being the AvGeek that I am and having never flown on a 777 I just couldn’t turn this opportunity down.

I hopped on a red eye out of Seattle (SEA) that got into ATL at 05:30am giving me nearly 3 hours for my connection. I believe it literally took me maybe 20 minutes to get from where my SEA plane was parked in the B gates to gate F4 where I lay eyes on N708DN, a 2009 777-232LR that would be my ride back to the west coast. This aircraft is dedicated (with a special logo on the nose) to Delta’s former CEO David C. Garrett Jr who served for the airline from 1978-1987.

Being that I was at the airport so earl,y not many shops were open yet, so I mingled around the terminal where I saw a Boeing 767-432 arrive from Rio as DL60 and an Airbus A330-323 pushed back at 06:10am and depart as DL8860 to Saint Martin which was a surprise.

Delta configures their 777's in a 3-3-3 layout. Photo by Brandon Farris.

Delta configures their 777’s in a 3-3-3 layout. Photo by Brandon Farris.

Gate agents finally arrived around 07:00AM for our 08:10AM departure, at this point I was assigned 53E which is literally middle middle on this aircraft as it is a 3-3-3 configuration in the coach cabin.

It finally approached time to board, but were told that there was a slight delay with the cleaning crews onboard the aircraft and boarding would begin as soon as possible. Once boarding began I waited until the very end to get on since all I had was a backpack and wouldn’t require any overhead space.

Walking down the jetway the excitement began to settle in that I was about to step foot on my first ever 777 flight even if it was domestic, it is still a 777. By the time I boarded near the end, it didn’t take very long to get to my seat near the very back of the aircraft.

The time was now 0819 and our push-back began, only 9 minutes late so not too shabby. This was the part that I was most looking forward to; that howling growl start of those amazing General Electric GE-90’s as they spool up and come to life. I heard the first one start and it was like music to my hears. I know that I had the biggest and dorkiest smile/look on my face like a 5 year old.  Yes I am in love with that howl!

Delta's IFE. Photo by Brandon Farris.

Delta’s Economy in-flight entertainment. Photo by Brandon Farris.

Following the push-back, we begin our taxi out. The pilot came on the intercom and alerted us that we are number five for departure, 19 minutes after departing the gate the aircraft begins to turn on the runway. I was ready to feel the full 220,000lbs of thrust but since we were so light with only going to LAX the pilots really didn’t seem to throw the throttle that high. It didn’t seem very long for us to climb to our cruise altitude of FL400 as we headed west. I must admit that this was one of the quietest cabins I have flown on at cruise.

Now, I had the opportunity to check out the seats. They seemed very wide which I absolutely loved but at the same time each row is extremely narrow to where my knees were almost in the seat in front of me (I am 6’0″). I couldn’t imagine if someone had been sitting in front of me and reclining the seat. It would have crippled my space, in a long haul flight I definitely would consider upgrading to the front cabin if possible, but luckily this was a shorter flight.

The lack of leg space however was made up for with the ability to plug my phone in to charge and a seatback TV which had a very wide array of movies to choose from including ones that had just come out on DVD last week like Life of Pi, to classics like The Goonies.

I choose Lincoln, but since I was so tired, I fell asleep about 20 minutes into it and I actually took a nap for about 3 hours. When I woke up, the cabin crew was coming through with a final beverage service. As a part of the service, they offered three choices for snacks: pretzels, peanuts or the infamous biscoff cookies. This was a welcome change as I am just used to the standard AM or PM snack depending on when my flight was.

Flying on the 777. Photo by Brandon Farris.

Flying on the 777. Photo by Brandon Farris.

At this point we were now about 40 minutes out from LA so I decided to get up and stretch a little and see if I could find a window to peak out somewhere and at least get a couple of pictures and was lucky to find that the cabin doors all have windows and was able to snap away for a couple of minutes. I also took this opportunity to visit the lav to find it was surprisingly very spacious.

But now it was time for me to return to my seat as we began our descent into LAX and was a fairly smooth approach. We landed on 25L and the pilots brought us in very gently before I was able to hear the roar of that GE-90 as the thrust reversers were kicked in. Following a short taxi we parked at the gate at 0957, three minutes early even after the late push.

Deplaning was brief, only being about 15 minutes from the back of the plane. I had the opportunity to talk to the pilots and was invited to make a brief visit to the flight deck before finally leaving the aircraft.

Flight deck of the 777. Photo by Brandon Farris.

Flight deck of the 777. Photo by Brandon Farris.

Overall for this being my first time ever flying on Delta and the Boeing 777 I was extremely impressed on both fronts. The gate agents were extremely friendly which can be rare to find, especially at 0600 and 0700 in the morning. The inflight crew was great and was willing to answer any questions I had. It was nice to see such happy and helpful employees working for Delta after I have heard mixed reviews. Now to try and test out the 777 on a longer flight.

NOTE: Brandon covered the cost of this flight on his own and it was not paid for by Delta.

This story written by…Brandon Farris, Correspondent. Brandon is an avid aviation geek based in Seattle. He got started in Photography and Reporting back in 2010. He loves to travel where ever he has to to cover the story and try to get the best darn shot possible.

@BrandonsBlog | RightStuffPhotography | Flickr

20 comments to REVIEW: Flying on a Delta Air Lines Boeing 777-200LR Domestically

  • Daryl-Atlanta

    An enjoyable read. I’m glad that you enjoyed the ride. Two points. The -200LR’s have a crew rest space/bunks in the crown of the aircraft above forward cabin near the flight deck. Did you see them? See picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/delta_airlines/3362783017/

    Also, you mentioned that you were surprised to see an A330-300(a non scheduled flight by the flight number) heading to SXM. Reason being is a few weeks ago, Delta flew nearly two dozen charter flights to SXM to ferry out some 4,000 stranded passengers off the crippled Carnival Cruise Lines mega-liner…apparently the aircraft you saw was one of these flights.

    • I did not actually notice it in the front, I did however see it in the back.

      And that is what I had heard, SXM got a nice boost of Delta wide body action, sadly I have yet to see a picture of the A333 arrival as I don’t believe any airline currently flies the A330 into SXM.

  • Jason

    No offense, but I stopped reading after “I’m an avgeek but I’ve never been on a 777.” I mean, that basically means you haven’t done much long-haul travel, so how suited are you to really “review” a plane?

    Kind of like a kid in a candy store.

    PS – nice jeans.

    • That is too bad you stopped reading Jason. There are many AvGeeks out there who do not fly very often. Sure, you can’t call yourself a frequent flyer or a mileage runner if you do not fly on all types of aircraft, but AvGeeks come in many different forms. I actually know a few who have maybe flown one or two airline flights in their life. Being an AvGeek is not about the miles or the number of aircraft you have been on, it is about the love of aviation!

      We all have to start somewhere and sometime.

      David

    • Alex

      My father was working for Delta Air Lines while I was growing up, so we got to do a ton of non-rev travel. Flew on an awful lot of L1011s, MD-11s, 767s, even a few 777s, yet I never flew on a 747 until I was an adult, and still only once at that. It’s not that I never did long haul, just that Delta never operated 747s when I had the chance to fly on them. His situation might be similar.

      • Honestly I mainly fly domestic, flew 147K miles last year, I do in fact work for an airline and all we have are 737’s to fly on, so not totally my fault ;). If you would like to discuss more feel free to shoot me an email- brandon@airlinereporter.com

        Would love to hear some of your MD-11 and L-1011 stories as I can only dream of flying on those types now!

  • Pago Flyer

    Doesn’t this jet continue to SYD?

  • R Lopaka

    At 6’0″ you should try Economy Plus seats.

  • E

    It is always great to hear about the great experiences on Delta…. We all know things happen sometimes… But the fact that the agents were friendly is always a must… Great job Brandon and Delta

    • That is my biggest thing is even if it is a fake smile and you honestly deep down don’t like your job, please just still be friendly, it is not always the pax/customers fault that you don’t like your job!

  • Dave

    I flew on a Delta 767-300 Atlanta to Salt Lake yesterday. First widebody domestic in a long time for me. I second the excellent attitude, humor, and service of the cabin crew (I was also in the aftmost cabin, this was a reschedule due to a missed connection). They were great.

    Unfortunately on the followon flight to SEA, (upgraded to first class) the flight attendant was ridiculously rude when I asked when the seat belt sign would be turned off, so I could use the lav (at this point, the third flight of the day.) Answer- ‘I don’t care what you do!’ me- ‘usually they dont want us up with the seatbelt sign on.’ Her- ‘you’re and adult, I don’t care.’

    my seatmate thought this was a pretty weird response.

  • Pago Flyer

    Dave…you should always notify DL when you get good and BAD service.
    Get names.

  • Matt

    Must have been on March 17th… As was mentioned above, the A333 to SXM was, along with several B763s and B764s, chartered by Carnival Cruise Lines to evac stranded passengers back to MCO after one of their ships took a dump and was stranded down there for a few days.

    As far as riding on a 772LR from ATL-LAX, I did that back in September while traveling from BNA to LAX for a few days of aviation photography (not ‘spotting’) and the final shuttle arrival. ‘Economy Comfort’ for the win there. Certainly not as nice as flying up front, but it sure beats a standard coach seat. As much as I would have loved a lie-flat bed on the 772 flight, I wasn’t about to give up the extra 20,000 miles they wanted for that upgrade – particularly on a 4-hour flight. I did, however, receive upgrades to F a few days later on the red-eye B763 back to ATL and the CRJ900 ATL-BNA. That’s really the only way to comfortably sleep on a red-eye…after a few free drinks, of course. :)

  • Gini Galvin

    It is my dream to fly on this particular plane because it is named for my Dad who recently died. But I could use some tips to schedule a trip on a particular airplane. Should I just contact Delta?

  • George

    On March 18th 2013, I flew to St. Thomas from Atlanta on Delta’s 757 with screens in the back of each passenger seat. This made my flying experience enjoyable, however on the return leg on March 22, 2013 St.Thomas to Atlanta the 757 lack screens in the back of each passenger seat. How can I findout which aircraft has screens in each passenger seat when I fly?

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