I think it's fair to say that most people's expectations of airlines are pretty low these days. We pay more for less, but it's a necessary evil so you just sort of take it. Being in that mindset, I haven't really been thinking very critically about my airline experiences for the past few years. It gets me from point A to B, which is about all I ask at this point.
Even WITH those very low expectations, my experience this summer on Delta airlines was pretty poor. I typically fly Continental, Southwest or Virgin, so this was the first Delta flight I've taken in years. Here are the most notable points of my experience on our July flight:
Really Uncomfortable Seats. They were the old-school seats without a separate headrest portion - just one big flat slab for a back, done in that very uncomfortable pleather. Now I'm not asking for individual DirecTV monitors in every seat or even power outlets. Just something that one could reasonable expect to sit in for a 5 hour flight, without physical pain. Also, I couldn't recline my seat without literally crushing the poor gentleman behind me, as he as an averagely tall man.
Flight Attendants : Apathetic at Best with Some Highlights of Flat Out Rudeness. Especially considering we were traveling with a toddler (a very well behaved one, mind you), one would expect some slight modicum of courtesy, right? On my way to an urgent potty-break, with 3 year old in my arms, I politely ask the flight attendant if we can pass by the food cart when she gets a chance. She responds by rolling her eyes, huffing, and snapping *grumble* UGH, JUST A MINUTE *grumble*
Wait... seriously?! That's the best you can do? Did you just find out what your profession entails this very moment? It's all in the delivery, and even if she had needed to say no - it could've been done with a lot more grace and a lot less attitude.
There were several other instances of this gruff attitude, which I'll spare you. You get the gist. Being around people who appear to hate their job is such a buzzkill though, that much I will say.
Damaged Stroller at Gate-Check. I've been gate-checking strollers for nearly 4 years now, on a variety of airlines to a variety of destinations. Never once have we had any damaged gear. Delta however, managed to completely break one of the handles on our $300 stroller.
Poor Solutions for Resolving Problems/Claims. Because we were on a red-eye with a toddler, I chose not to attempt a go with the baggage claim folks at 5am regarding the broken stroller. Instead, on our return flight I brought it up with the airline staff. They were very nice and helpful in telling me that the damage had to be inspected in person, and they could do nothing other than note my file that I would be stopping in the baggage claim area to show them (ie. prove?) the damage. Well, again we were with a tired child and it was after 11pm at LAX --- but I still soldiered through in an attempt to go show my evidence. Couldn't find a counter or representative after 10 minutes of searching though, and gave up... eating the loss.
Inaudible, Unintelligible Pilot. During several points where we needed to hear relevant information, the pilot was mumbling and practically whispering, making us miss out on knowing why we were endlessly taxing to the gate, and on the return flight, whether we'd made up for our late time in-flight. The flight attendants were perfectly audible, so presuming it's the same audio system, I'm blaming the pilot.
Overall, it wasn't the worst flight experience of our lives, by a long shot. But it was pretty lame and I find it really sad that this type of experience is just the accepted norm in air travel today.
I typically avoid short hop flights, but I was pleased with my first experience with Delta Connection. Because I was flying to Louisville and was seeking an economical flight, I was forced to set aside my longstanding bias against these types of connections. Delta offered the best deal, but only if I connected through Memphis on the way in and Atlanta on the way out. Although on past short hops I have flown turboprop planes (hence my distaste), both of these legs were … more
Delta Air Lines, Inc. is a United States airline based and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Delta operates an extensive domestic and international network, spanning North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Australia. Delta began service to Sydney, Australia from Los Angeles in July 2009, which made it the only current American carrier to serve every continent except Antarctica. Delta and its subsidiaries fly to over 375 destinations in 88 countries (excluding codeshare), across 6 continents. Delta, as of November 2009 is the only major U.S. carrier that flies to Africa and operates the longest non-stop route of all U.S. carriers from Atlanta toJohannesburg on the Boeing 777-200LR.
Delta operates its largest hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and also maintains hubs at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and Salt Lake City International Airport. Delta's Atlanta hub is the busiest airline hub in the world.
On October 29, 2008, Delta completed its merger with Northwest Airlines to form the world's largest commercial carrier. In February 2009, the airline began consolidating gates and ticket counters at airports where both Delta and Northwest operate. The consolidation will be completed by February 2010. Delta carries more passengers across the Atlantic than any other carrier worldwide. As of October 2009, Delta expected to receive...