What are the things Delta just does right & hits the mark.

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With the countdown clock to #DOS, or Destruction of Skymiles, ticking ever closer (see clock right side of the blog) it is very easy to be hard on Delta. But Delta does a bunch right or no one would fly them. Well maybe that is not completely true as if you are a HUB captive and want to go from A-B many times Delta is the only game in town so even if they were “bad” folks would still fly them. But on to something more positive today.

From my perspective this is what Delta does a very good to well above average job on and should be commended for (and a reason to choose the airline as your preferred carrier for 2015). Anyone who has to fly often, to me, these are the things you are looking for in an airline. Take a look.

  • Very much on-time. I know everyone can toss up some example where your flight was off (and that could go for any of these examples) but Delta REALLY is good at this. This year has been impressive and I can not tell you any of my 100+ segments that I missed the flight due to a late arrival that was not weather or mechanical related.
  • They always complete a flight. Again, they do cancel now and then, but I have seen at the Atlanta Delta OCC and in first hand experience they just about always fly even if it means a big delay. I appreciate this and their research shows most of “us” like it too.
  • Consistent product. You know what to expect with Delta. They don’t have radically different products and have a consistent feel. The only caveat here is the new seats often have fantastic Panasonic video screens. That will, with time, also be consistent on most jets that are not short hop flights.
  • Consistent service. Delta people have this down pat. They smile. They welcome you. They are there to take care of you. There has not been one time I have complained to Delta about the Delta people and only once in two years have I in a not so nice tone said to an FA “I guess this crew is not “Striving for Five today“. Expect good service flying Delta.
  • Consistently good food. As I have talked about in my rookie post about food, Delta food is just good. No joke. I like most of it and some of it really is VERY good. The only complaint I have is the “snack basket” in 1st class. It is a great disappointment.
  • Consistently breaks the rules for elites. Delta, like all airlines, have a TON of rules. Most are designed to extract a fee from you if you want to do anything other than fly what you purchased. Delta is very good about bending these rules for elites. Sometimes you have to ask “nice” or ask again, but they often agree in the end.
  • Great wifi availability. There are few times or jets that are not GoGo equipped. We can talk about the speed of GoGo, but aside from that having reliable access flight after flight is a big deal and soon you expect the same on the international fleet as well.
  • Luggage service. Expect your bag to arrive with you. If you are an elite, expect it to be one of the first off the belts. They have, over the years, done such a good job with this part of the travel experience. The only thing I can complain about is Delta is a bit hard on bags but so are all airlines.
  • Schedule change flexibility. This is one of the best things about Delta. When things go wrong with schedules they WANT to help you. They WANT to fix it. They want to make you happy and not charge you a fee. This builds confidence when you are booking / buying tickets.
  • Flexibility with weather issues. Just like the scheduled change, if weather pops up, Delta is very happy to work with you on changes. If you get stuck in the middle of something you may be in a hard way as they tend to NOT oversell flights to get you home; many times you have to wait for an open seat. The key thing here is change BEFORE the event fee FREE.
  • Regional and Global upgrade certificates. This was brand new this year and I have found them, while not SUPER simple to use, compared to the old ones they are amazing. If you are flexible, and book far enough out, you should be able to apply them right away. Last minute it is great to move to the top of the food chain for upgrade.

I really could keep going on and on but as you can see, Delta is a very well run airline. They do a bunch RIGHT and take care of you pre and during travel. Expect a bunch good as a frequent flyer. Now as to the frequent flyer program… (let’s just not go there for now 😉 )! – René

PS – I will have limited time to answer questions for the next few days on the blog and via e-mail!

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  1. This is sad. They are doing the minimum they are legally obligated to do — such as getting out on time, reacting to weather delays, not stealing your bag — and that’s considered a reason to book them above all others?

    Their employees DO smile a lot more than other airline/airport employees, but this is southern culture, and I am sorry to say the smiles don’t mean they answer questions correctly a higher percent of the time.

    It may be that the only thing Delta does better is a few select routes, such as nonstop ATL-JNB, and if that’s the case, better to praise those particular routes and don’t try to pretend the airline as a whole is particularly wonderful. Because it’s damning with faint praise to say that an airline gets its flights out on time pretty often and mostly re-unites you with your checked bags…but maybe that’s your point and it zoomed over my head, who knows.

  2. Delta is good lobbying the Atlanta city government, so they can maintain their monopolistic dominance over the Atlanta airport. They are really really good.

  3. I actually think the ‘rules’ they break aren’t rules. They make us think they’re rules, but in actual reality they are just marketing statements. Think about it. If an airline agent tells you the rules are being broken just for you, you’re going to feel special and more inclined to patronize the airline again.

  4. I love the safety videos they’ve introduced the last few years. They are always good for a chuckle. The humor, and the fact that they change periodically, encourages me to pay attention when I’d otherwise find something else to do!

  5. In 2013, I flew Delta into DCA 10 times. On each occasion, baggage claim was slow and my luggage featured a new ding. This past weekend, I flew Delta into DCA for the first time this year. Baggage claim was extremely quick. I counted exactly 10 minutes from the opening of the cargo hold of the aircraft to the appearance of my priority bag on the carousel. Moreover, the exterior of my suitcase was unmolested. I submitted praise to Delta corporate because of the improvement. Let’s hope it’s a trend.

  6. Well , they do bend the rules if you are an Elite.
    My wife no status (yet) , and I, a PM, were traveling
    back home on the weekend after thanksgiving
    and arrived at our connection in ATL with 2 hours to kill.
    We went to the gate and found an outbound to our
    home was just boarding on the flight we were not
    booked on. Asked the GA if we could standby, he
    said yes for me but $50 for my wife. Then he waived
    the fee and got us both EC seats! Score! home 2 hours early!

  7. i agree Rene. They do do a
    Lot very well. At this point, I am torn between staying with my PM in 2015 or doing a status match and moving to AA. Decisions decisions

    On a flight last night from MSP to SNA, I was 29 on the upgrade list. That is amazing to me that there were 28 other DM’s and PM’s ahead of me – plus the ones already in 1st class.

    Maybe a thinking of the herd this year will be a great thing for those that stay loyal to Delta…

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