I fly Delta a lot. Almost exclusively. Sure, I take an AA flight now and then because they are an outstanding (and cheap) use of my hundreds of thousands of BA Avios points from Chase. But that is not the point of today’s post. I want to talk about why I choose to fly Delta. There are pro’s and con’s with Delta just like any airline. Let’s take a look at my list.
First the good bits about Delta.
Amazing service i.e. the Delta people. As a mostly domestic flyer I have, from the Midwest, only 3 real airline choices. I have found Delta people, from front-line gate agents to flight attendants all to be simply amazing. Even when Delta sub contracts out to DGS (Delta Global Services) people they too tend to be really impressive. Delta connection partners, more often than not, are Delta-like even though they are only painted up to look like they really are Delta. Great people make Delta great and I see this day in and day out!
On time almost always. I know folks give Delta a hard time about padding schedules and while the company will not admit this, clearly they do. But you know what, I am just fine with that. Who ever gripes about landing early – not me that is for sure! I have booked dozens of flights next year and I simply expect them all to work and connect without major issues.
Consistent product. I fully admit that all of Delta’s offerings are not as good as other airlines. Having said that, they are consistent with what they do offer (a majority of the time). The seats are all similar and it is rare I am without power, wifi and entertainment (Delta Studio). This matters to me.
Reliable wifi. I must be connected. Always. On Delta it is the rare exception that I am not connected via Gogo. Sure it can be slow at times but they are working on that and working on gate to gate wifi as well. Nice.
Good (and consistent) food. There are few times Delta disappoints on the on-board meal offerings. Even items off the buy food menu are not bad. Yes, unless you are flying an airline with”real” 1st class you are not going to get amazing food but solid and consistently good food is something of value to me.
Nice IFE. Where there is an IFE screen, especially the news ones, they are very nice. Large, clear and simple controls. I can plug in my Bluetooth transmitter and enjoy loads of entertainment choices.
Solid elite benefits. Now I freely admit it is harder, starting next year, to earn top status with Delta (for most) but not really for me and I love the treatment as a Diamond Medallion. This, plus all the perks of the status, makes flying Delta a pure joy.
Partner network. Skyteam works for me. Sure they can be frustrating now and then, and are not as good as Delta, but they get me anywhere I want to go with reasonably consistent elite recognition.
Now on to the worst part of why you may want to not come over to Delta.
SkyMiles – It is “A” very difficult award program. OK, I am being kind. They are shameful at best. They treat members with utter disrespect by hiding the award charts, making endless no notice award changes and a hopelessly broken award booking site (you often have to call to get things booked). They over charge for connections but with no award charts to prove it how can you hold them to it. But Delta brags and calls the program “A” winner.
Honesty issues. For all the good above much of it can be blown out of the water by issues with honesty. One blatant example is all but claiming a win for SkyMiles recently when Alaska in fact won the top spot. Time and time again things are couched in “PR Speak” in Deltaland.
Seat change / schedule change issues. This is maddening. They change planes, seats and even set you up to miss your connection and most times say nothing until it is all but too late. The one thing that could fix it, access to Award Wallet, that too is blocked by Delta because it would be insanely useful and we can not have that when confusion is so much better?
Expensive. If you have not priced Delta flights recently you really should compare them to others. Yeah, Delta tends to be expensive but justifies the price because, well, they get from A-B on-time and consistently etc.
New Diamond Amex restrictions. This is a new nasty one. It used to be reasonably simple to avoid the spend requirement part of elite qualification – now – not so much.
So there you are. To me these are the best and worst of Delta. Are the good parts enough to offset the bad parts? It is for me as an elite. If I were focused on free award travel as my goal I would totally be looking at other airlines! – René