#FAIL! – Is it just me or is Delta slipping a little this year?

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delta model 747

The nice thing about flying our airline often, for fun-work-mileage runs, is it keeps your finger on the pulse of the airline. Delta, according to the CEO, is likely to have its “most profitable year ever” (as Charisse Jones at USA today writes) in terms of income and value to investors of DAL stock. Great!

But is it just me or are more and more things slipping in the past year. Like what?

1) Phone app. I have gone from – LOVE IT – to almost #FAIL and not use it. I had a post about it a while back, some contact with the app team, but if you use Android and have more than say 1 or 2 reservations, just forget about it as it is so slow it makes you want to toss your phone out the window at 32,000 feet!

2) @DeltaAssist. A month does not go by that I don’t laud Delta’s help via twitter. But, as of late, they have not been able to do even simple things for me. Either the rules will not allow that or you have to call. Really? I think if I can book it on DELTA.dumb Delta Assist should be able to do it too? Why did Delta break my favorite Delta Assist this year?

3) “IT”. Most of us have given up on the notion that Delta will ever fix the award calendar. It’s busted, stinks, and Delta seems to like it that way. Recently “your upgrade has been confirmed” e-mails were not going out, but that at long last is working again MJ on Travel confirms. But what about so many other things? Like what? Have you noticed the source for reliable Delta information, Delta.com is lacking on many pages? For example, the Delta status challange page is almost a month expired information?

4) Dirty planes. Is it just me or is Delta being so proud of it’s 99.999999% on-time record (I jest a bit) that it is letting planes fly more and more dirty? Some days I feel like I need to bring my own wet wipes to clean my seat area before I sit down!

5) Pre Flight service. Again, maybe just me, but the consistency of this seems to be lacking more this year. I think it is because all the extra things FA’s need to do before a flight (not really faulting the FA’s more all they must get done, or is this wrong thinking on my part too)?

6) Food. I think Delta (no data at all to back this up) has been putting the hurt on the catering companies as what is being offered is slipping. There have been changes to what is there and they tend to run out of important things at times like “Woodford Reserve“.

Now I don’t want this to be an all bash Delta post; I still love my airline, but feel the focus has been slipping a bit this year. I mean they have been doing a ton right like upgrades to the fleet, baggage handling is doing very well, on-time is nice I must say and even the proactive free changes due to storms from the weather team at ATL has been tops as well as email and phone notifications when issues come up! I also think all the Delta “people” seem very happy and enjoying the company and all of us. The good does to me outweigh the bad and maybe I am alone in what I am seeing – or am I? You tell me – René

PS – btw, if you click on hashtag #delta on twitter
it takes you to the Delta complaint link! 🙂

if you click on delta on twitter you get this

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RESERVE/PLATINUM/GOLD
from American Express®
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32 comments

  1. Nope, you’re spot on. While I won’t bother listing a response to every item, there is one that stands out:
    The planes are gross. Dirty bathrooms, smudges all over windows, crumbs on floor etc..
    Only United’s seem worse.
    And don’t even bother with Delta.com. It’s to the point I am collecting Ultimate Rewards(to fly UAL’s dirty planes) in lieu of Pesos just to avoid Delta’s site.
    The difference in search engine is so big(and seemingly getting larger) that I much prefer United and the ability to see partners, dates, stopovers etc in an ACCURATE format.

  2. Sad to hear about Delta Assist. They have always been helpful to me! I have experienced the issues with upgrade emails not coming through. On the plus side, the Delta App for iPhone seems to be working just fine. 🙂

  3. @Elijah – I hear all is great in iPhone land and Delta tells me like 65% of all Delta app users are iPhone users. Guess that is why us Androids are kicked to the curb on support. Ugg! 🙁

  4. I agree 100%. Just last week received my first email on upgrade in a long time. I hate new delta app as it NEVER had connecting gate. I get that info once I deplane. Still love my Diamond status since I’ve been upgraded 110 out of 114 segments.

  5. Boarded a Delta flight from San Jose to Minneapolis last week. Everyone all buckled in ready to go when the flight attendant made the announcement that they were most embarrassed to report that the pilot had not showed up and that they couldn’t contact him. Delta was scrambling to find someone else to fly the plane. We all needed to deplane and reschedule our flight. Hmmmm kind of unusual to say the least.

  6. I’d add “delay-inciting favors” to the list of recent DL shenanigans. Just pushed away from gate on time, but a Y pax left his iphone at security. FAs and captains sympathized so decided to hold for 20min, radio TSA, have phone delivered to cockpit window. MDW-MSP, DL 5716. Now late! Thanks, random guy!

  7. I can’t speak to the Android app or @DeltaAssist, but I wonder how much the genuinely crappy weather we have had in Atlanta ALL summer has contributed to a few kinks in Dellta’s operations recently? Of course, that doesn’t fix the website. 🙂

  8. Just got off a DL flight from LIM to ATL about an hour ago. I’ve never, EVER had food as bad as this flight.

    I think I manage my expectations of airline food better than a lot of fliers, but this was the worst food I’ve had in the last year, easily. Especially after a 50-minute (economy) flight on LAN in which they gave us a box of tasty snacks akin to what Delta would normally have economy pay for on a domestic flight.

    On my way out to LIM (via MEX for the extra MQMs), we were delayed 90 minutes courtesy of a flight attendant who was running late. Things happen, but the big mistake was the gate agent not telling anyone what was happening until the 60-minute mark. It created unnecessary chaos at the gate, and did nothing to help the already slipping image of Delta.

    Being that I fly MSP and ATL often, Delta’s my airline of choice, but I’m becoming more and more disenchanted with every flight. That said, I did have some excellent help from my Fly Delta App and @DeltaAssist this week. Hat tip to *CS on their Twitter handle for some swift and friendly customer service.

  9. I am indeed making a calculated move to United right now. Not tons better but definitely better.

    It makes me ill that Delta can boast about their profits and continue to [edit] the customer. It says something about the state of American business these days when some [edit] CEO can makes tens of millions at our expense… these are not human beings, they are money-robots. The only way to deal with them is to stop giving them your money!

  10. Totally agree with you about @deltaassist. I used to use them all the time. Now they tell me they can’t do anything about xyz and I need to call. The one time they did “help” was during the weather fiasco in July. They re-booked me onto the late flight from ATL-MGM when there were seats available on an earlier flight. When I tried to change it in ATL, the (very unfriendly) desk agent at the Skyclub kept asking me why I would want to take the later flight when there was an earlier one. (She wasn’t listening at all!) Duh. Anyway, my bags didn’t show up in MGM because they were booked on the late flight which was ultimately cancelled AND I had to call in on my return flight because turns out since they booked me on TWO flights to MGM they had cancelled my trip home due to my being “still in Atlanta”. I have noticed that although there are multiple @deltaassist agents I get the same one every single time….

  11. During a flight delay yesterday, the FA repeatedly announced that you can check your connecting flight for free on the wifi enabled flight. Except I and no one around me could get onto delta.dumb. It just kept spinning and spinning!

    I am 4 for 5 on NOT getting a preflight beverage over the last month or so. That, by far, peeves me beyond anything else. How hard is it?

  12. I’d say more than anything, what has annoyed me as of late about Delta can be summed up with “Consistency.”

    I hated their same-day travel changes, but at least they started to swing back in the other direction. However, when you ask three agents about the policies, you can get three very different answers.

    Yesterday I was on an award ticket from CVG-DCA on a 7:15AM flight after a wedding (read: not going to make that flight). I was assured the day before I could SDC onto any flight where award seats were available (regardless of low/medium/high mileage required. I call at 12:01 to SDC and told I need to call within a three hour window. Hang up, call back, and am told it has to be a low level award ticket (like those exist day of).

    Finally standby for the flight, #1 on the list with 0 seats remaining. 1 no show – they release the ticket to someone else. I was told they were on the SDC list…not sure how that’s possible on a full flight, but i digress..

    To my original point, I simply wish Delta would be consistent and reliable and train their employees to be consistent on any policy changes – though I guess that’s what we all hope for from our airlines 🙂

  13. ALB/MSO based Platinum agrees, especially with regard to dirty planes.
    The disgustingly dirty planes and the lack of pre-flight service are more of an issue. How hard would it be to have 2-3 service people roll thru the plane and wipe down the seats and arm rests, so you don’t have to sit in sticky seats or brush the previous slob’s peanuts off your seat. I encounter a dirty, debris-ridden seat 50% of the time.
    I am most bent out of shape about the sky club changes, can we get a decent beer selection, please?!!! Its absurd not to have a “local” beer selection (i.e. ATL,TPA,MSP.)

  14. I am a silver medallion, leisure-only flyer with the potential to hit GM again this year (Thank you, DL Amex). All that said, the only reason I still bother with DL is that I love MSP/DTW instead of ORD to connect, and even with silver it makes the flying experience better just by getting access to better seats.

    Beyond that, as a points/miles enthusiast there is no other rational reason to still fly Delta. My United/Ultimate Rewards balance has had me looking at the United award engine more frequently. Delta’s is frustrating, at best, when you don’t spend much time looking at anyone else’s and is an embarrassment when you do.

    The IT complaint you listed above was really the only one that I related with. The rest don’t bother me terribly, though if I get a horrifically dirty seat I’ll have other things to say. My pre-flight drink is almost always water if I do get an upgrade anyway, and sometimes not being fed an airplane meal is better than getting one 🙂

  15. I fully agree with all your points above and just wanted to add that yesterday I spoke with an agent to change a return flight home this weekend. I was told that within a month or so Delta was going to ease the restrictions even further on SDC because so many medallions had complained about Delta’s current policy. Maybe they do listen at Delta and more of us should complain about these issues and changes. I think downgrading the Sky Club experience while they are making record profits is a poor move on their part!

  16. I agree with all your points. We haven’t didn’t get meals on our last 4 1st class flights that were 350 miles or more. We had one flight delayed 3 hours after 1 terminal change, 6 gate changes, and a defective plane change without any compensation.

  17. Long time delta flier and medallion member. The thing that is irritating me the most is the premium being charged on flights. Flights that on the high end back in the fuel surcharge days were 400, are now 800 and climbing. I can fly to Singapore or Russia for cheaper than I can get from the northwest to the southeast.

    I did just recently fly united, and it was great. Both flights I had aisle seats without paying for them, and also had the seats next to me empty. I can’t recall this year or last year having an empty seat on delta.

    I’ve got 400,000 plus miles sitting in my sky miles account and can never reasonably use them.

  18. I agree, especially with the food. The the pizza I received on a recent ATL-SFO flight was inedible. The crust in the center 50% was raw. Not cold, but raw. I asked the FA for something else and he said all he could do was heat it up or sell me something from the coach menu.

  19. Agreed, Twitter responses aren’t what they used to be, the award site [edit] really really badly, flights have been increasingly dirty and the food straight up [edit]. If I can handle it, I’d rather have 3 cans of Pringles than one of those horrible, soggy but somehow dry at the same time and flavorless sandwiches. That’s the funny thing to me. I’d be rather just pay for a meal in flight instead of in the terminal if it didn’t [edit] so bad. I’d rather have a sandwich from the 7-Eleven than the one’s offered in-flight…..like the one’s NWA had before the merger.

  20. One more to add would be their misleading us about the types of seats they have on planes in Asia. They still list the business seats to Guam as generously reclinng seats. They are actually worse than first class seats found on US flights.Be careful when flying their 757’s in Asia, food and seats are both uncomfortable.

  21. John, I was on that ATL-SFO flight last week & ordered pizza – mine was not raw but rubbery from overcooking! I’m also 100% in agreement on #4- dirty planes. I routinely clean seats, arm-rests, etc irregardless of cabin. Most recently on my DTW-LGA flight; the small lip of a shelf on the arm rest didn’t adequately hold my tea cup and my seat mate’s red wine so I flipped out the tray. URG, GROSS!! disgusting food bits left from a previous flyer. I held my hot tea. BTW, the tea is still on par but lemon is getting scarce 🙁

  22. Being forced onto a Delta flight to JFK a couple weeks back, I discovered that to use the boarding pass function of the Android app apparently requires you to either keep the boarding pass screen up, or have a data connection to pull it up after you’ve checked in online and and standing in line. Fortunately, I had a printed copy in my bag as a backup. Unless I did something wrong, why wouldn’t they make the boarding passes download and accessible from the home screen?

  23. @Kevin – the fix for that is do a screen shot of the boarding pass then you can always bring that up 😉 (oh and turn the screen brightness on HIGH for best results for scanning)

  24. I had a few flights delayed last week. As soon as the delay was noted on my app, my boarding passes disappeared. Thankfully I had taken screenshots…

  25. Also add in their recent devaluation of the lounge experience. Yes, it’s s spiral downhill. They are trying as hard as they can to increase profits and the stock price short-term. But long term, it’s a disaster waiting to happen as their best customers will go elsewhere. Meanwhile the CEO will be long gone having taken his generous compensation exit package and the mess will be left for the next one to clean up.

  26. I had three legs of a Delta flight from MSP to LIH. Then two legs back. The viewing monitors were not functional on all five flights. The screens were fading in and out or had constant static. Some of the screens were not fully secure in their mounts. It made the appearance of the interior of the aircraft seem cheap.

    It’s likely the last Delta flights I will use as I am leaving Skymiles for other mileage sources. The award calendar is just awful so using the miles we accumulate doesn’t fit in our flight plans.

    It’s not a decision we wanted to make as Delta is the largest carrier out of MSP. It will mean longer flights.

  27. I’ve avoided “upgrading” the phone app, and it still works reasonably well – the “fixes” are what seem to cause the most dissatisfaction with phone apps. You’re absolutely right on the plane cleanliness (or lack thereof); this still amazes me. The one item I’ve not seen anyone comment on (or I’ve overlooked) is the pretense of needing the flight attendants to remain in their seats. I think Delta’s figured out the correlation between flight attendants’ time vertical and the cost of the drinks/snacks dispensed, and they’re purposefully keeping them buckled in much longer than necessary. Of course I would not wish anyone harm, and if safety is a legitimate concern, I stand corrected; however, based upon my >1MM miles and decade+ of flying, I am calling it until proven otherwise.

  28. Just to point out, that the Android app isn’t really anything more that a wrap-around the Delta mobile web, so it’s like browsing the website which is painfully slow.

    If the people at Delta are listening, they should FIX THE [BEEEEP] WEBSITE, hire more “web guys”, it’s simple.

  29. I totally agree with the dirty and old planes as we go to atl almost weekly and the delays lately from mechanical stuff has been very bad. OLD PlANES

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