Alaska Airlines released their plan for Virgin America on their blog, and while a lot of changes are promising, Virgin’s amazing First Class hard product will be missed.
There was confirmation that you can use your Alaska Airlines companion certificate on Virgin America routes, which is a surprisingly smooth integration of systems (not going to lie… I was not expecting it to go that well between their IT departments!). I have this card and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of it!
Massive LAX changes with Delta moving from T5 and T6 to T2 and T3, displacing pretty much everyone else. I usually avoid LAX simply because I spend more time on the tarmac than in the SkyClub, but this could make things interesting.
The Centurion Lounge in SEA-TAC was undergoing expansion earlier this year, and it has finally completed! I’ve been known to fly through there from time to time and I am very excited to go back.
One of the biggest changes to Delta was announced by René – you can now be upgraded even after boarding. It’s only a pilot program right now, but I truly hope it will be adopted system-wide.
To maintain my status with Delta, I like to plan creative routes when traveling. For my trip to Sacramento this week, I opted to fly from Raleigh to Atlanta, Atlanta to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Sacramento (instead of to Salt Lake, and from there directly, for example… or directly from Atlanta… or many other options).
737-900 First Class
My first flight of the day was on one of Delta’s 737-900s. Though the seats are quite comfortable, and the in-flight entertainment console is crisp, the air-flow in the cabin is horrendous. Older 757s and even 717s have much more directed air pressure, allowing you to remain cooler. Extremely important when you’re in the South!
757-200 Thrust Reversal
My second flight, the longest leg, was on a 757-200. Unfortunately I didn’t get upgraded on this leg (I didn’t really expect to, since I was flying out of Atlanta). The nice thing about this was my seat was immediately in front of the engine. This allowed me to capture the thrust-reversal upon landing in LAX!
All 757-200s use one of two engines (one of which has two variants):
According to the Delta Museum, and using FlightRadar24 to cross-check the tail-number based on flight number, I confirmed that my 757-200 was using the PW2037.
Now for some background on thrust reversal! The purpose of thrust reversal is to take some of the engine’s thrust and direct it forward instead of backwards. This allows for shorter landing distances, less wear on brakes, and make for an all around safer flying experience. If you listen after landing, you will hear a loud woosh – that is the thrust reversal process. The Wikipedia article above identifies three types of thrust reversal mechanisms available for jet engines:
Purdue released a very helpful visual guide to differentiate between the three, as well as an explanation of where the thrust actually goes! Since the PW2000 series is a high by-pass engine, the cold stream type is what we would expect, and as you can see it is indeed what is happening:
Arizona Meteor Crater
And now, a brief reprieve from AvGeekery. 😉 Very brief.
En route to Los Angeles, we crossed just south of the Barringer Crater! You can see it up and to the left of the engine intake, below.
Upon Arrival at LAX, I made my way to the SkyClub in the middle of Terminal 5. From one of the seats along the window, I was able to see planes arrive and depart. Given LAX’s traffic, I got to see quite a few wide-bodies, as well as one of Alaska’s 737-900ERs! Lucky, on his blog “One Mile at a Time”, has a very nice guide on differentiating between different variants of wide-body aircraft. Simply put, it largely comes down to the number of wheels, engines, or doors they have. 😉
I tried to find the right version of their seat map on SeatGuru, and have provided links to those, as well. If you find something amiss, please let me know!
After an hour and a half, because the inbound flight was a little late in arriving, I was on my way to Sacramento. It’s not a true visit to LAX without catching a glimpse of the Theme Building!