Austin Texas Vacation: Delta 737-800 First Class and Delta A321 First Class Review

Earlier this month Val and I went out to Austin Texas to visit some friends and have a little vacation. Due to COVID we really haven’t traveled as much as before, but now that we’re vaccinated we’ve been venturing out more again. It’s been nice to see friends and family again. My best friend lives in Austin, for years we’ve gone to visit them, it’s time to bring that back after a 2020 pause.

Much like our Family vacation to Zion NP we were upgraded to domestic first class for both legs. It’s nothing crazy extravagant but it’s nicer than sitting in the back. I don’t think I’ve done a Delta A321 first class review before, but I’ve done several Delta 737-800s. No hotel on this trip, we’re staying with friends. Anyway, lets get into it.

In This Trip

1 :Austin Texas Vacation: Delta 737-800 First Class and Delta A321 First Class Review

     1.1: GSP Airport
     1.2: Delta 737-800 First Class
     1.3: ATL Airport Transfer and Skyclub
     1.4: Delta A321 First Class Review
     1.5: Final Thoughts

2: Austin Texas Vacation: Delta A321 Economy and Delta 737-800 First Class Flight Review

GSP Airport

Nice sunny afternoon here in South Carolina. I’m going to take a second to complain again about the parking situation here at GSP. Pre-Covid the rooftops of the garage previously were $8. I found this very reasonable because they were so close to the terminal. Now they are the same prices as the rest of the garage $16 and the long term lots are now $8. That long term lot is about a half mile walk. This isn’t an issue most of the time, but again, I’m always late to airports.

Into the terminal and security is very empty on this Friday afternoon.

How many times have I stood here and taking this picture. This airport really has come a long way since I first started flying from here back in 2011.

The sun is low in the sky tonight. I’ve flown from GSP hundreds of times, this is the latest flight I’ve ever flown. Lately Delta has added this extra flight to ATL. Previously the last flight of the day was 6:30ish, now there’s a 7:45 flight. That’s the one we’re on tonight. 

Got to see this BA 777 heading to LHR. This is a cargo only flight that has been flying during COVID. I have this small bit of optimism that BA might start selling passenger seats on this route, but I really doubt it.

Delta 737-800 First Class

Delta 737-800 waiting at the gate

Because we were in First Class and we’re only traveling with backpacks we boarded towards the end. No reason to have the entire plane walk by us. Lovely sunset this evening.

I like that Boeing has a name plate in the doorways. Douglas and McDonnell Douglass did this too but theirs showed the build date I liked that. Another *fun fact, the 737-832 is a Delta specific aircraft type. The -x32 denotes this plane was originally delivered to Delta. *(Kinda Boring definition of fun)

Delta 737-800 First Class Cabin

Onboard and settled into row 2.

Delta 737-800 First Class Entertainment

This is one of the refurbished Delta 737-800s. I have a review (in Comfort Plus) of the non-refurbished 737-800. The newer capacitive screes are very nice and you wouldn’t know this plane is 20 years old.

There’s power in each seat, 110v down here and then USB on the IFE screen. However we did learn something, Val’s backpack didn’t fit under the seat in front of her. We are in seats 2A/B. There appears to be a box, probably a IFE box, under the seat. Not sure I remember that in any of the other Delta 737-800 first class rows. 

We pushed back a little late, but we’re still showing as landing on time. I’m not worried anyway, we have a long layover anyway. The safety video was shown and it’s the newer one that’s been talked about online.

I like the Delta 737-800 first class, feels very old school because it kind is. No slim line seats here big, old, soft ones. Just upgraded with new IFE. 

The pilot then told us we need to wait here a few minutes before heading to the runway. Timing into ATL has returned. BC this was standard operating procedure. Nice for the industry to see it return, bummer we have to sit here. At least there’s entertainment and power for devices. 

After our pause, we soon headed for the runway. We’re taking off to the South East today. Always like to see that. There’s been quite a few 747 cargo flights into GSP these days.

Once airborne we got the standard announcements, but no service on this 28 minute flight. Little bumpy while we were climbing, but the view was beautiful. 

Very soon after we stopped our climb, we got the we’re descending announcement. Pretty boring stuff.

We were approaching the airport right around sunset. This made for some amazing views, little rough as summer nights tend to be, but very pretty. 

Right before landing in this direction, you can seen the Porsche proving grounds.

And on the ground here in Atlanta. I always love the “Fly Delta Jets” log

o. Just a classic old school sign, even when it has a Spirit A321 in front of it.

ATL Airport Transfer and Skyclub

We landed right on time here into the B concourse. Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of the B concourse Skyclub and we have a long 2 hour layover.

So we took the train over to the F concourse to enjoy the Skydeck.

Delta Skyclub Atlanta Skydeck

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all lounges should be outside. What did kinda suck is that the lounge hours are still truncated and the times listed on the Delta App are not correct. So after only an hour we were kicked out.

Our next flight was out of B so we headed that direction and then ended up the the B concourse skyclub anyway.

We got the boarding notification and headed to B14 right next to the Skyclub.

Delta A321 First Class Review

Delta A321 waiting at the gate in Atlanta

Our Delta A321 ride over to Austin this evening.

After our longer than comfortable layover, we boarded our plane. Again, not last, but towards the end, no reason not to. 

Delta A321 First Class leg room
Lots of leg room here in the 2nd row. We have switched from the left to the right side of the Delta A321, no real reason for that.

The overhead panel in the Airbus A321 is much more modern than the 737, but then again, this plane is 15 years newer.

Delta A321 First Class Power Outlets
Power again here in every seat.
Delta A321 First Class in seat entertainment

The door was closed right on time and we settled into our seats. Normal announcements from the flight attendant and pilots. Should be a smooth flight once where in cruise, maybe a few bumps during climb and decent. 

Not a great picture, but I liked the colors in this shot.

Climb out was relatively smooth while I enjoyed watching a little Parks and Rec.

Delta A321 First Class Mood lighting

The mood lights were on full display on the Delta A321 until the flight attendants started moving around a little bit. 

Flying over dark Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas isn’t particularly interesting, but that’s kinda the point. 

Delta A321 First Class Snack Service

The standard drink service was started. The flight attendant was great, really friendly. I ordered the old fashioned but she warned me they might be out as they are in high demand, my second choice was a Woodford. Fortunately they had the old fashioned.

About a half hour into the flight there was very bad news, “Is there a doctor on board? Could you make yourself known?” Fortunately the man in the aisle seat across from me quickly volunteered. 

I’ve been very sick on a plane before, to the point where I was asked if we need to land. We were flying over Russia at the time, I declined. Airlines take that sort of thing very seriously though, and I’m glad to see it.  

Delta A321 First Class Seat

The doctor who what’s seated near me soon returned, he said everything was ok. I guess everything was just fine. I’m glad. A quick note about these head rests, they are adjustable and can hold your head up while you sleep. A nice little touch.

Anyway, I enjoyed my old fashioned and almonds. Cheese-its would be better, but almonds are good too. The flight attendant then made a second pass asking about more drinks or snacks. I just got a water. 
I started my 3 episodes of parks and rec, started to get a little rough again and the seat belt sign came back on. 

While crossing over the boarder into Texas, the flight attendant made one more pass through the first class cabin. I declined anything, I’ve been enjoying this flight, not as much as our CLT-SLC, flight, but this is a great way to travel. 

The pilots then came on and told us we were descending into Austin. It’s a pretty late night for me, I’m a 10pm bed time type of person. This 1am shit is hard for me. 

The pilots then came on and told us we were descending into Austin. It’s a pretty late night for me, I’m a 10pm bed time type of person. This 1am shit is hard for me. 

Delta A321 First Class View

I’d also like to point out that whenever Val and I fly together, I sit in the aisle and Val gets the window. Unless it’s Delta One, then we both get window seats. Once we landed, unfortunately we had to wait for a gate to open. We landed about 15 minutes early and unfortunately had to wait 15 minutes for a gate. Bummer but not unusual. 

Final Thoughts

After our slight delay we entered the almost empty terminal.

This was a very pleasant set of flights. The upgrades to first obviously help. It was nice to compare the Delta 737-800 and Delta A321 back to back. I like them both, but if I had to pick on I’d probably choose the Airbus. It’s just a little bit more comfortable.

The service on the second flight was great, very attentive and pleasant crew. The first flight was too short to judge. This was a very nice way to come to Texas for the second time in 3 weeks.

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