I traveled to Atlanta on Delta this week, catching the first flight departing Reagan National. Those 6am flights always come early, and this one was no different. I’d checked in the day before on Delta.com, so no need to stop by the ticket counter. As this was a daytrip, there were no bags to check either. Security was remarkably uncrowded at 5am. There’s normally a bit of a back up, but I’ve noticed on my last two trips departing DCA that TSA has begun opening one lane prior to the mass security opening, usually at 5am. This appears to have helped alleviate back ups of passengers trying to catch those first flights.

In any event, my Medallion upgrade had cleared and I was seated in in the bulkhead row of First Class. The First Class cabin was full, but coach appeared pretty light. Not shocking for Tuesday morning at 6am, but rare nonetheless. Service was polite and professional when delivered, but the flight attendants disappeared after the first round of beverages, never to be seen until collecting cups and glasses before landing. I suppose I could’ve asked for a warm up of my coffee, but I don’t think I should have to.

Returning that night, I had some time to spare, so I visited the Delta Crown Room at the center of the A Concourse. I access the Delta Crown Rooms via my American Express Platinum Card. I’ve posted about this before, and will say it again now. If you fly American, Continental, Delta or Northwest, the Amex Platinum Card is one of the wisest investments in your sanity that you can make. You can access the private lounges of these four airlines when traveling on these airlines simply by presenting your Platinum Card and your boarding pass. Delta’s Crown Rooms are pretty standard with the added benefit of free booze, and some light snacks. They even have Nutella! Delta partners with T-Mobile for wi-fi services, so you have to pay or have a T-Mobile account. I believe Delta provides free access cards to those who are Crown Room members, but not to those who access via other methods such as Amex cards that offer the lounge benefit. Wi-fi aside, there are worse places to spend airport time, and I find the Crown Room staff to be almost universally helpful and friendly. The A Center club in ATL is spacious, and wasn’t that crowded this Tuesday evening. However, I prefer the T Concourse club in Atlanta. Admittedly, I haven’t visited the club on the E Concourse, which may be better than any given that it serves Delta’s departing international flights.

My flight home was on a Delta MD-88, which only has 14 First Class seats. My upgrade did not clear, but I did have an aisle seat on the exit row, which was very comfortable aside from the jerk sitting next to me who hogged the armrest and leaned at least a quarter of the way into my seat space for most of the flight! Seriously, if I’d been flying more than an hour I would’ve said something to the jerk.

We departed on-time and worked our way up to number three for take-off. Then I saw flight attendants approach a passenger, one of which was carrying an oxygen bottle. They administered oxygen to the passenger while the Captain got us out of the takeoff queue and taxied to an empty gate where we were met by paramedics. We were refueled and back out in line in a reasonable amount of time, but this still made us almost an hour late.

The inflight service was fine, and the flight attendants were frequently in the aisles and visible, the way its supposed to be. We made it back to DC in fine form, minus the delay. All in all, not a bad series of flights. Delta’s people were as friendly as they usually are, and it was a nice way to return to the road after a too-long hiatus.