Delta Airlines Embraer 175 Domestic First Class between Seattle-Tacoma and San Francisco

Having arrived at Seattle, my flight was headed to San Francisco as I was set to fly there later. However some last minute changes meant I was headed to Vancouver. As such I bought another ticket from San Francisco to Seattle. Which meant I flew from SEA-SFO and SFO-SEA on the same day.

Delta Connection Embraer
Delta Connection Embraer 175, note the Xiamen Airlines 787 in the background

DL4871 Seattle-Tacoma SEA – San Francisco SFO
STD-STA: 0930-1145
Actual: 1025-1215
Embraer 175 N241SY
Gate A1 Seat 3A

Being one of the last to board, there was no overhead space in this regional jet. That meant I had to gate check my luggage and that was kind of unexpected. I took my time to board the aircraft as I did not notice any crowds and there was no boarding announcement made while I was inside the Sky Club.

Bottled water
Bottled water on the seat

While the luggage space was abysmal, the seating arrangement onboard the Embraer 175 regional jet was optimal for a solo traveller with a 1-2 layout in Domestic First Class. Onboard the first officer came out to explain that delays were due to heavy southerly winds in San Francisco, and the runway wasn’t suited for today’s conditions, meaning there might be further delays. We actually stayed still by the gate for another 5-10 minutes before pulling back.

Embraer E175 Domestic First cabin
Embraer E175 Domestic First cabin onboard Delta

A clear weather in Seattle is uncommon during winter time and thus it was nice to be treated to the views of the bay surrounding Seattle-Tacoma on take-off. The morning sun made taking photos out of the window seat that much better!

Pullback from the gate
Pullback from the gate
Elliott Bay
Elliott Bay on take-off
Vashon Island
Sunrise reflections on Vashon Island

For breakfast, there was no choice on that day as the stewardess asked if I wanted to partake in the meal. They were serving a pretzel roll with eggs and ham. On the tray that arrived, there was a fruit bowl and a yoghurt on the side.

Breakfast panini
Pretzel roll with ham and cheese for breakfast

While I did have breakfast, there was several passengers who skipped and I can see why. This meal was lacking in any creativity and taste, though I did finish the fruit bowl at the very least. It was obviously inferior to the better Delta meals served during lunch and dinner time for the West Coast routes.

Besides the meal service, there was not much else happening since there was little else for the crew to attend to before we started our descent into San Francisco. The cloudy weather in San Francisco was definitely the usual during winter time but I think we had a direct approach and landed smoothly into the airport.

Descent into SFO
Descent into SFO, passing by the airport hotels of Millbrae on the left

In the end it was a quick taxi to the gate after landing in just half an hour behind schedule. No matter though since I will be taking my time to wait for the next incoming flight.

After disembarking from my SEA-SFO trip, I could have just flown back on the same plane if I did not have a check-in luggage. However, I had purchased tickets for the next flight and I had my international luggage which I had to claim from belt and re-check it. That meant I had to get out and back into security. Fortunately check-in was quick in less than 5 minutes and security had nearly no queues and took a painless 10 minutes. Well if flying was always this easy, I think I would enjoy it even more!

Baggage claim
Baggage claim at SFO

Since I still had that international flight coupon on Business, I was let into the Delta Sky Club. Reception was on the ground floor by the boarding gates though guests had to take the stairs or the elevators to the main lounge. I figure I would dedicate a post to write about this lounge for my return flight which is due to start out of this same airport.

Sky Club
Sky Club exterior facade

Back at the same gate for boarding, I was not able to catch a good shot of the plane, so no plane spotting opportunity today though I did get the registration later on.

Delta's terminal
Boarding gates for Delta flight in SFO

DL4876 San Francisco SFO – Seattle-Tacoma SEA
STD-STA: 1554-1815
Actual: 1612-1740
Embraer 175 N251SY
Gate 46 Seat 1A

A quick boarding and pullback today meant there was no welcome drink service, though there was a bottle of Dasani water by the armrest for passengers seated in the front. The Embraer jets have got a nifty pull-out cupholder that holds the bottle nicely. For this flight, I chose a seat on the bulkhead just to mix it up a bit though I still think I prefer seat 2A for all purposes.

Bulkhead seats
Bulkhead seats on the Embraer 175
Dasani water
Dasani bottled water

Full flight onboard a regional jet also meant lack of overhead luggage space, and there was repeat announcements by the flight crew on gate checking any luggage that could not fit into the overhead bins. Well it seems the airlines are just making it difficult at times with all those extra baggage fees.

Surprisingly, the crew asked passengers for lunch and beverage orders on the ground. Options that day were between hamburger sliders and a salad, and I chose the healthier salad choice since I already had something to eat in the Sky Club prior to boarding. We ended up behind an Emirates A380 during our taxi to the runway and it was already raining with lots of raindrops on the windows, making it harder for photo taking.

Emirates A380 at SFO
Emirates A380 at SFO
Take-off from SFO
Take-off from SFO

Post take-off with a view of San Francisco Airport terminal, the captain came online to give an estimated flight time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. Pamela, our flight attendant then handed out towels for passengers to freshen up before handing out drinks.

Towel service
Towel service

After beverages were handed out, Pamela took out the snack basket, and I got one snack mix. That was unexpected since I thought the meal would be served shortly.

Nuts and drinks
Nuts and drinks to start

Turns out there was a short wait and the nuts and drinks does make the wait more bearable before the meal trays are handed out to passengers up front. I had chosen the chicken breast as I had a pretty good one on a separate Delta flight from LAX to YVR. This time round, the chicken breast was somewhat dry and the salad lacking any freshness and taste. Thus I just nibbled a bit on the food, though I did keep the cookie for a future snack during my travels.

Chicken breast
Chicken breast with salad meal

When the meal was concluded it was now time to enjoy the sunset during the flight, before undergoing a bumpy descent into Seattle.

Sunset during the flight
Sunset during the flight

Fortunately it was a short duration of turbulence and nothing more serious happened. During this time I tested out the night shot mode of my Huawei P9 smartphone to take some abstract light streaks and it turned out quite well.

Fuzzy streaks
Fuzzy streaks on descent to SEA

This back-to-back flights was really about getting a cheaper flight overall since even with the additional ticket, it still ended up cheaper than just ending the trip to Seattle from Shanghai. In addition, it should grant me enough miles to re-qualify for Sky Team Elite Plus status. That makes it a mileage run. With the Sky Club access in San Francisco, I got a shower and a nice lunch and that freshened me up for the return flight to Seattle as I got my rental car to drive up north to Vancouver. All in all, I kind of enjoyed both flights, and I think Delta offers the best flights when travelling in the West Coast, partly because of their inflight meals. Even though they did not perform their best for both flights, they are still superior to the competition on the off days and that kind of closes the deal already.

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