Today I was lucky enough to take part of the Delta Rangers Fan Flight. This flight was for fans attending the Rangers vs Devils game and would be departing from LGA airport and landing in EWR airport. This promotion sounds pretty crazy and cool at the same time. Crazy because it would be faster for me to go to the game on my own but cool because something like this has only been done once before.
I arrived at the Marine Air Terminal in LaGuardia Airport at 9:25 AM, 5 minutes before they were to close boarding. My ticket was already waiting for me at the check-in counter, along with several others. I think I was probably the last person to arrive so the other boarding passes at the check-in counter were probably no-shows. Getting through security was quick and easy because that terminal doesn’t get a lot of passengers. As I was putting on my shoes I could hear them doing a trivia giveaway game at the gate.
When I got to the gate, I was given a New York Rangers t-shirt (pictures above) and some pins (two Rangers and one Delta wings). There were also water and snacks for the passengers that showed up on time (at 8:30 AM). The boarding area was decorated with New York Rangers paraphernalia. Everyone from the Delta employees to the New York Rangers employees and the other passengers was in good spirits. Pretty soon everyone was getting ready to board. New York Rangers alumni Ron Duguay and Rod Gilbert were at the front posing for pictures and meeting with fans.
It was open seating on the plane but I was towards the back of the line so I ended up with a seat in the back. The equipment used was an Airbus A319. At the seats, there were gift bags with New York Rangers and Delta swag. The plane was pretty full with almost all the seats taken. I’d say there was little over 100 people on the flight. The inside the cabin was also decorated with New York Rangers paraphernalia. As we were getting ready to take off, Ron Duguay and Rod Gilbert came around the cabin to meet the fans and give autographs.
We took off from LaGuardia at about 10:16 AM. We didn’t really get that up that high up. We flew over Northern Manhattan and once we crossed the Hudson River, the flight attendants said we were going to land in about 5 minutes. We landed in Newark at 10:24 AM. Someone keeping track of time said the total flight time was 7 minutes 7 seconds. This was the shortest flight of my life (and one of the coolest). If you’re curious, there was no beverage service on the flight but they did go through the safety announcements in the beginning of the flight.
When we landed in Newark people hung out right outside the plane to talk and take pictures. There were buses on the tarmac ready to take us to the Prudential Center. We didn’t even pass through the airport interior. When everyone was ready, we boarded the buses and made our way to the Prudential Center. I’d say the bus ride from the airport was longer than the actual flight time. We arrived to Prudential Center around 11:20 AM.
Since we arrived so early, I had time to kill before meeting my friend. The Championship Plaza in front of the Prudential Center was pretty full. There were a good number of Rangers fans around but I didn’t see any hostile behavior from any fans.
Overall I was impressed with how well this promotion was pulled off and I am glad to have taken part in something so crazy.
For those of you that care about the game, this game was defense focused and scoreless going into the third period. The Rangers broke through with 3 goals in the last period to take a 2-1 series lead.
Added 5/20/12: BlueshirtsUnited.com posted a short video of the trip.