My return from Manila involved four separate flights with two of those flights, Seattle (SEA) – Salt Lake City (SLC) and SLC- Charlotte (CLT), being within the US.  The good thing is that even though I was travelling on an economy frequent flyer ticket, within the US as a Delta Diamond Medallion I’m entitled to a space-available upgrade to first class.

The upgrades on both of those segments cleared in advance.  The flight from SEA to SLC was on a 737-800.  There was an in-flight entertainment system (IFE) on board.  Not all Delta 737s have IFE.  The 737s with IFE have small screens and a limited menu of movies. This IFE, however, offers Dish satellite live TV which is not available on the IFE systems on international flights.

IFE screen for Delta 737-800

It is very convenient to be able to view live TV at 30,000 feet especially for sporting events and news programs.

Since this was a short flight the service consisted only of drinks and the Delta snack basket.  The highlight of the flight was the view on approach to SLC.  The upper elevations of the Wasatch range had received snow by late November.

The western slopes of the Wasatch range bordering Salt Lake City




SLC has been a Delta hub for a long time.  The Skyclub here must be one of the original clubs in the system.  The furniture and decor are very similar to the older Delta clubs in Atlanta and Cincinnati.  This club is located to the right as you face security between Concourses B and C.

Main seating area SLC Skyclub

This Skyclub lacks some of the updates like ubiquitous electrical outlets, showers and ergonomic seating that Delta has bestowed on other clubs.  This club can also be very crowded at times.  In this case it was fairly empty.  This club does have a the upgraded selection of snacks, salads and soup.

Snack selection
Soup and salads

Also, Delta is offering local craft beers without the premium drink upcharge.

Local craft beer is complementary


The flight from SLC to CLT departed at just after 5 p.m. local time.   The climb out offered a dusk view of a mountain range and a portion of the Great Salt Lake from the left side of the A320.

Takeoff from SLC and part of the Great Salt Lake

After reaching cruise altitude, the FAs served dinner.

The braised beef went well with a glass of red wine20151124_182257

The braised beef went well with a glass of Cabernet.   I find that the quality of airline food has improved in the last few years.  On both Delta and American, it is rare that an on-board meal is unappetizing.

After crossing the Rockies, we had a clear view of metropolitan Denver.


From Denver, we had about two hours until landing in Charlotte.  I slept for most of it.

To summarize, the trip to the Philippines had been an unqualified blast.  I flew upstairs in business on the 747, had a great time dancing in Manila and Boracay, enjoyed a wonderful hotel room right on the beach in Boracay, stayed for a night at The Manila Peninsula hotel, scored an upgrade to business class on the flight from Manila to Tokyo, and was also upgraded on the two flights within the US on the return home.

Some of the people I met in the Philippines have vowed to reunite at the festival next year and at some other festivals and congresses in Asia.  Hopefully we can make that happen.