Trip Report: Delta Airlines (B717-200) Domestic First ORD-ATL

The Details

  • Flight: DL1216
  • Aircraft: B717-200
  • Class: Domestic First
  • Seat: 2A
  • Route: Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)-Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)
  • Distance: 641 miles
  • Flight time: 1hr 29min
  • Departure: 8:05AM
  • Arrival: 10:56AM

The Preflight

In my effort to fly the B717-200 before Delta retired this aircraft type due to COVID-19, I bought an indirect routing ticket to Seattle which had me flying from Chicago to Atlanta to Seattle instead of a direct flight from ORD-SEA. Delta Airlines currently runs four daily B717-200 flights between O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson and I was booked on the second flight of the day.

I arrived at the airport at 6:30AM an hour before the scheduled boarding time of 7:30AM. In addition to being the first time onboard a B717-200, this was also my first time departing Terminal 2 at O’Hare. I made my way to the Sky Priority lane which had just a few passengers this morning.

Thanks to my AMEX Green card, I had a CLEAR membership which helped me through the TSA Precheck lane without having to remove my mask. I was airside within two minutes of getting my boarding pass printed. CLEAR was also distributing passenger packs which included a face mask and sanitizing gel packet.

I made my way to the Delta Sky Club which I had access to thanks to my AMEX Platinum card.

There was a good amount of comfortable seating with individual power ports and great views of the apron. There were two main rooms and the first room contained an island with food and coffee machines.

The food offerings on the island included breakfast pastries, self-serve oatmeal, Nature Valley bars, and Cheez-its. There was also a self-serve espresso machine with Starbucks coffee and a variety of syrups.

Pass the first room was a small circular room with the bar and more food offerings.

Hot options included biscuit sandwiches and there was some fresh fruit as well as cold yoghurt or parfaits.

Alcohol was also available from a bartender from behind a plexiglass divider.

I grabbed a surprisingly good sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit sandwich, chia seed coconut pudding, and Americano for breakfast.

With 10 minutes until boarding, I headed toward the gate area. I passed by one of Delta’s newest A220-100s which just look so sleek.

The flight today was departing from gate E17 which was at the very end of the concourse.

Our B717-200, registration N944AT, was delivered to AirTran Airways back in October 1999. After flying with AirTran for almost 15 years, she was stored in December 2014 when Southwest completed their merger with AirTran.

She was then given a new life with Delta Airlines when Southwest leased all of the old AirTran B717-200s to DL in September 2015. N944AT has been flying for DL ever since.

Boarding began promptly at 7:30AM and was done with Delta’s COVID-19 boarding process from back to front. Delta elites and First class passengers were invited to board at anytime.

The Flight

Delta Airlines offers a total of 12 First class, 20 Comfort+, and 78 economy seats onboard their B717s. The First class seats are arranged in a 2-2 configuration with economy in a 2-3 configuration.

I was seated in 2A in the second row of the first class cabin. The seats are similar to the Zodiac 6810 model recliner seats found aboard most other domestic DL aircraft. Each seat was 19.6″ wide and offered 37″ of pitch.

As part of their Delta Care Standard due to COVID-19, Delta Airlines is the last remaining domestic carrier to block seats in their cabins and have cabin capacity restrictions. In first class, the adjacent seats are blocked which guaranteed me the entire row.

While Delta Airlines offers seatback entertainment screens on virtually all of their aircraft in all cabins, the B717-200 is one of the exceptions. There were no IFE screens and all streaming options were via a personal device.

The legroom was fairly generous, especially since I did not have a seatmate adjacent to me.

In between each seat was a small cocktail table.

Below this was two 110V outlets and USB ports.

The bi-fold tray table was stored in the center armrest.

It was not the biggest tray table and was slightly unstable when fully opened.

The recline button was located in the left armrest.

Upon boarding, each passenger was given a small sanitizing wipe.

At 8:05AM the doors were closed and the captain announced that de-icing would commence, taking about 10 minutes at the gate.

We pushed back at 8:15AM and had a nine minute taxi to runway 10L.

At 8:26AM we rotated off 10L and had a very smooth climb out of O’Hare.

Once in the air, I opened up the Delta inflight entertainment selection on my tablet. Unfortunately, there was no inflight map available.

Due to COVID-19, Delta has cut-back on their inflight services. On flights over 350 miles, Delta offers each passenger a snack bag and small water bottle. No other beverages are available in any cabin. First class passengers on flight over 500 miles have the option of having beer or wine as well (but no hard liquor). This service cut was probably the most severe and worst of any other US airline (such as American, United, or Alaska).

Contents of the snack bag included Goldfish, a Cliff Bar, water bottle, and sanitizing wipe.

The flight attendant also came by an asked if I would like a beer or wine. Beer options included Miller Lite, Heineken, Sweet Water IPA, or Sweet Water 420. I had a delicious Sweet Water IPA.

We had a very smooth flight at 37,000 feet. Flight attendants made two more passes through the cabin during the flight, collecting trash and offering additional water bottles.

As we neared Atlanta, I used the forward lavatory which was basic. There was Delta branded soap and Malin+Goetz hand lotion.

Flight attendants prepped the cabin for landing about 15 minutes before touching down in Atlanta. We began our final approach into 8L with cloudy skies and landed at 10:49AM local time.

The taxi to gate B34 took about seven minutes and deplaning was done in an orderly fashion by cabin. Thanks for the ride N944AT!

On my way to the Sky Club, I passed by quite a few other DL B717-200s.

I thought this was a very enjoyable flight with Delta Airlines, especially since it was my first time aboard the B717-200 type aircraft. While their service has been cut-back the most during COVID-19, I appreciate how Delta continues to block adjacent seats which ensured that I was not sitting next to a stranger. The Sky Club food offerings made up for the lack of good inflight snacks and I did enjoy the IPA that I had.

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