Christmas in Germany: Tampa SkyClub, Tampa to Detroit in Delta First Class

Filed Under: Awards, Delta

Because I didn’t want to park at the airport for a week, my dad gave me a ride to the airport. Unfortunately there was a bit of a scheduling conflict, so I had to get to the airport a little over two hours before departure. That’s not the end of the world since there’s a SkyClub in Tampa, so I could get some work done.

My dad dropped me off on the blue side of the terminal, and I proceeded to Delta check-in. I got in the SkyPriority line. While I was the first person in line, I had to wait for 15 minutes. I presented the agent with my passport and said I was going to Detroit and then Frankfurt, and placed my bag on the scale. It weighed 72 pounds, two pounds above the 70 pound limit. Surprisingly enough the agent actually insisted I remove something, which I did, to bring it down to 70 pounds.

Delta SkyPriority check-in

I proceeded to the upper level and took the tram to the “E” concourse, and cleared security there in minutes. While we have a new priority security line as of a few weeks ago, there wasn’t any need for it today, as the line was non-existent. I didn’t get selected for the full body scanner, fortunately.

Tram entrance

Once through security I turned right towards the SkyClub.

“E” concourse

I took the elevator up a level to the SkyClub, where I presented the agent with my boarding passes. He requested a photo ID, which I provided, and I was promptly admitted. I didn’t get any sort of a “welcome” or anything from the agent, but he wasn’t rude either.

SkyClub entrance

The Tampa SkyClub is surprisingly big for an airport like TPA, and has plenty of seating along with workstations.




SkyClub work stations

I sat down in a corner and started to get some work done. I hadn’t eaten anything, so took a look at the snack selection. They had muffins, some sort of fig bars, biscoffs, and Nutella (not sure what exactly the Nutella is supposed to go with). I grabbed a little bit of everything and a glass of orange juice.

SkyClub breakfast snack selection

Boarding was scheduled to begin at 11AM, a full 40 minutes before departure, so at around 10:45AM I headed to the gate, E66. I had a look at Delta’s status monitors, which showed that only 12 of the 22 first class seats were occupied, with no one on the upgrade list. There was even a note saying that upgrades were available for $75, which seemed like a pretty decent deal to me. The monitor also showed the flight as being delayed until 12:15PM due a late arriving aircraft. Fair enough, so I headed back to SkyClub and asked the agent at what time the aircraft was actually scheduled to arrive. He said 11:35AM, so at 11:45AM I headed back down to the gate.

Gate E66

The agent announced that boarding would begin momentarily, though then we didn’t hear any updates for about 20 minutes. Eventually the agent announced that on the inbound flight the flight attendants had reported strange noises from the door, so they needed to make sure there wasn’t a broken seal and that the locking mechanism was up to snuff. At this point the flight was pushed back to 1:45PM, so I headed back to the SkyClub. The monitors didn’t show an updated departure time, so I asked the SkyClub agent if he could either let me know or make an announcement when boarding begins, which he agreed to.

At this point they had changed the snacks in the SkyClub to the lunch selection, consisting of nuts, cookies, crackers, hummus, olives, etc.

SkyClub lunch snack selection

I tried to get some more work done, though after about 20 minutes looked down towards the boarding area, only to see that boarding was almost complete. I ran downstairs. So much for the SkyClub agent letting me know when boarding begins! That’s pretty disappointing, in my opinion.

Delta 1892, TPA-DTW, 757-200
Monday, December 20
Depart: 11:40AM
Arrive: 2:20PM
Duration: 2hr40min
Seat: 3B (First Class)

Once onboard, I turned left into the rather tired looking ex-Northwest 757. While many of Delta’s 757s are pimped out with power outlets and audio video on demand, this particular aircraft had none of that good stuff.

The flight attendant at the door offered to hang my coat, and as usual, there was a bottle of water, pillow, and blanket at my seat. Since the load was so light I had an empty seat next to me, which was nice. Eventually the captain welcomed us aboard and informed us of the flight time of 2hr30min, estimating that we would arrive at 4PM.

Seats with blankets, pillows, and water


Soon enough the door closed and we took off towards the north. The in-flight lead, Nicole, took meal orders shortly after takeoff – “I have a chicken salad or roast beef sandwich, what do you want?”

I went with the chicken salad and also ordered a Diet Coke with lime, as usual. The aisle first class flight attendant delivered my Diet Coke, though it had no lime. I asked the purser for some lime as she passed through the cabin, and she responded with “that’s the other flight attendant’s job, but I’ll let her know.” Moments later the other flight attendant brought me a glass of wine. I mentioned I wanted lime and not wine, at which point she huffed away with the glass.

Hot towels and tablecloths (though it was plastic, so I’m not sure what you’d call it) were then distributed.

Table liner

The chicken salad, while not a huge portion, was perfectly acceptable and tasteful. It was served with wonton strips. A soup was served along with the salad. I’ve actually grown to really like soup on airplanes. United’s corn bisque and minestrone soup are quite tasty, so I expected something similar. Unfortunately this was the most disgusting soup I’ve ever had. It tasted like a combination of battery acid and toilet water, if I had to guess (not that I’ve had experience with either). Then for dessert was a packaged peanut butter brownie.


Thanks to Google, wireless internet was free. While my laptop wasn’t charged enough to have any sort of useful battery life, I was able to spend most of the flight on my iPhone. When there’s no other form of entertainment, it sure helps to pass the time. There was quite a bit of turbulence throughout the flight, so the seatbelt sign stayed on for most of the flight. At around 3:30PM we began our descent, only to touch down at 4PM sharp.

Unfortunately taxiing in Detroit can be a real pain, since the terminal is so long and is perpendicular to the runway we landed on. As a result, it took probably 10 minutes till we reached our gate, and then we had to wait another few minutes while the ground crew got set up.

We finally made it to the gate at around 4:12PM. Overall it was a pleasant enough though unmemorable flight.

  1. Why were you surprised that they asked you to remove an item so that your baggage can be under the 70 lb free allowance?

  2. Welcome to my wife’s world. DL decided to print boarding time at -40 when it actually is still 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure. I’m speculating that some “very smart person” came up with that to speed boarding. She now believes that one must be waiting 45 minutes prior to the flight.

    This is a DL enhancement intended to create more of a gate lice atmosphere.

  3. @ Helixcardinal — Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I’ve had plenty of overweight bags and have never been asked to remove anything.

  4. I’m curious why your bag was so heavy? Lots of gifts?

    I don’t think I’ve ever had one weigh more than 30 lbs. Years ago returning from London (business trip) a co worker was struggling with his bag (full of gifts) and when it was put on the scale it was 55-60 lbs, I sure wouldn’t want to haul a 70lb bag around.

  5. Domestically on a US carrier I am not surprised you had to shift the weight around in your bags. I flew LH in First from SEA to FRA and was asked virtually the same thing… to move a pound or two from one carry on to another to even them out. And those were both carry ons.

  6. Lucky – Is SkyClub complimentary for first/business passengers or even for them it has to be purchased?

  7. @ Darren — I definitely don’t hold it against them. Just a few weeks ago mom flew Lufty F, and her bag was nearly 15 pounds overweight. They let it slide. Shocked they made you move carry-ons around! I’ve had probably 50 pound carry-ons on Lufthansa, and they’ve never said anything.

    @ Other Ben — It’s complimentary if you’re an international premium cabin passenger.

  8. @opushomes – the 40 minutes is a vestige from Northwest, who had it in their AFA contract that boarding should start at T-40 if everything was ready. Given that flights might be operated with PMDL crew one day and PMNW the next, the decision was made to standardize everything to T-40 during the union elections and the (current) post-election laboratory conditions while AFA contests the results.

  9. While I understand lounges not offering boarding announcements for normal flights, I do feel they should make announcements during irregular operations and delayed departures. But overall, I have noticed the legacy domestic lounges are rapidly diminishing in quality and customer service. That can’t be said for the lounges of Asian carriers and certain other international carriers, whose lounges actually get better over time and make their customers feel welcome.

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