Winter is once again upon us and we all know what that means — delays! I took advantage of just such an occasion to chat with a Delta FA about some of her major concerns when it comes to our airline.
So have you always been with Delta or were you formerly with NWA?
I am a former NWA and must tell you, I was happier then in many ways!
Really? How so?
Northwest really took care of us, especially in situations like this. I am stuck here in DTW after waiting first for de-icing, then waiting for take-off, then as a result of that wait, another de-icing, then another truck when the one servicing us ran out of fluid until finally the flight was canceled. All of that time was “off the clock” since we weren’t in the air. Once back at the gate I had to wait to see if I would be needed for another flight, more time “off the clock” until finally I was given the all clear to stay overnight but by then all the hotels were full so I had to pull more strings to get myself a room for the night. Under Northwest I would have been booked into a room immediately on the cancellation of the scheduled flight and gone with it the next day.
That sounds very trying! Don’t they update you via an online system or is the employee computer as hopeless as Delta.com is for us flyers?
I really miss the NWA system each and every day. We used to be able to log in and check our schedules for changes well in advance so as to adjust any conflicts, etc. With the Delta system the information is frequently not updated accurately or in a timely fashion and just gives us far less to work with. Most often we have to call to find out and that takes a lot more time.
So when it comes to helping passengers what are your highs and lows?
The most difficult thing these days is electronics. I try to be nice and ask the passengers to please finish the call as quickly as possible. These are not my rules, but it is my job to enforce them. I’m not looking for an argument, just doing my job. To be honest though, there are many more highs to my job. I love seeing people excited to be traveling and being able to soothe the nervous ones. I became an FA because I like to work with people and when I can really be a help to my passengers it makes my day.
It really shows when you enjoy what you do. Is DTW your base or …?
I am considered based in DTW, but I live in a regional city. That’s part of the difficulty I had with this layover. Since I’m based here I am essentially on call here even though I don’t live here. There are so many of us who are in this situation and we have to rely on available seats to commute to our base in order to go to work, and then the reverse to get home. You could be on a DTW-AMS flight, for example, with a “Detroit based crew” who could have converged from Miami, Kansas City, Indianapolis, San Antonio or any other regional city. It’s all just a matter of coordinating who is available for what and then getting them there.
This was a unique experience and gave me so real incite into the life as a Delta FA. I have chatted with some of my crews on that route and discovered they were from all over the US, but I never thought of where they were based and the commute requirements. It was really a pleasure to have a chance to get to know this FA and if you are reading this – thanks for the education. – René