An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: The planning of the MEGADelta run – Part 1
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Positioning to LAX the start city – Part 2
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: A review of the SPG Sheraton LAX – Part 3
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Skyteam Lounge hopping in LAX – Korean Air lounge LAX & more? – Part 4
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: The run to Sweden & embracing Delta coach travel – Part 5
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: The KLM coach experience & the run from Sweden – Part 6
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Alaska Boardroom LAX vs Delta Skyclub & flight from LAX home – Part 7
An 18,000+ point Delta Mileage Run: Final thoughts, cost & more – Part 8
After a quick 48 hours in Sweden it was already time to head home since this was after all “mostly” a mileage run. Things were not looking good for me, that is it was looking like an all coach experience all the way home (and I am clearly not a fan of long coach travel)! I popped into a local cafe for a bite and then,
reader David was kind enough to offer me a ride to the airport that was much appreciated. It is always fun to get to see you, David and hear about your travels both good and bad!
I also have to say the more I interact with Delta & KLM IT (ie as a team) the less impressed I am. To say that Skyteam is a seamless experience is the same as saying that water and oil will mix; sure you can shake them and they look mixed, but if you just wait a few seconds and you will see the fact of the matter. From something as simple as seats & frequent flyer numbers to elite status recognition – nothing remotely works as it should or as advertized. Expect bad things to happened when you venture outside Delta.com.
When I printed my boarding pass at home at my cousin’s, I was at least able to, in GOT, first get switched from a bad seat to an exit row all to myself on the City Hopper KLM regional down to AMS. Oh that and get my status changed from base Skymiles member to having my Diamond status printed on my boarding pass. Why should that matter? Well, when it comes to over booked flights Delta & KLM tend to move from coach to business those who are elites (so you see why that matters).
The KLM partner lounge in GOT (not run by KLM but a 3rd party lounge) is a familiar friend to me. I know the best spot to go to find a power outlet (there are very few to be found) and the food choices have even been upgraded.
I was able to get online and both work a bit, tweet a bit and even Skype my Lisa with no problems whatsoever. My only gripe, that is a common one in most lounges, was the house red wine was one step above horrid. Drinkable, but just barely. Maybe a minor issue but matters to me.
At last my jet arrived and it was time to begin the run home. This was going to be a VERY long day as I got up at 9:PM California time the day before and would land at midnight thus staying up for the better part of 27 hours. Now that was not going to happen, but one step at a time.
Like the inbound, the exit row on the E190 City Hopper is one of the best seats on the jet. The seats in front of you do not recline and you have a ton of leg room. Next something amazing happened. The steward Stephen was amazing.
He took the time, in coach, to add this little touch to the very cheap and down right nasty bottle of red wine and presented it in a kind and courteous way that I mostly only see in 1st class (and often times not even there). I fly over 100 segments each year and I have to say his service was one of the best this year (other that some of the Lufthansa crews that is). KLM needs to move this man to FA training! Seriously, he knows how to make a flyer feel welcome and appreciated. #Stunning and a great start to my trip.
Then on to my KLM 777 experience. I have to tell you, the front row of EC is very nice. If you are a couple and can pick the 2 seats you will be pleased. A ton of leg room, good recline and in seat fold up entertainment. The middle 3 seats have the same space but unfortunately flyers tend to cross over in front of your feet – yes there is THAT much space. On my flight the FA s put up the child bassinets to try to combat this but people still squeezed past most of the flight.
Then on to the coach experience. I asked about an OPUP or an operational upgrade when coach is oversold, but that did not happen this time. Ah well. I have to say, to me anyway, Delta cares much more about their elites than KLM does and no upgrades on intra- European flights is just one example of this. I feel very sorry for KLM platinums as well as the lower ranks.
Then on to the food service. I have had over the years more coach food than I care to admit to, but this was a step up from dog food and most of it was inedible. I mean the chicken was slimy and nasty. The fruit salad was under ripe. The coach South African Shiraz mix is horrid cheap swill wine oh and the bread was rock hard and finally an inedible salad. The dessert was the only ½ palatable item. If you ever have to fly coach on KLM please bring your own food – you will thank me!
The service was just OK but don’t even think of asking for anything special, even in EC. Once again, by the book, you are just a tourist in coach and you better like it. Skyteam elite – so what – next time buy a business class ticket. I am not kidding here – it is bad. At least with Delta a medallion is appreciated even if just by attitude – not so much on KLM.
So after enduring almost 9 hours of this we landed more or less on time in ATL. Thanks to Global Entry I was able to buzz through customs in no time and with all carry-on, I was on my way to my next flight that was delayed by over an hour so I really had no rush.
I went right up to the “F” Skyclub and they said they were overbooked and I had no shot at an upgrade. Do keep in mind this flight was departing almost 24hrs after I got up in Sweden. Clearly, I would sleep on the flight but more quality coach time and only a few hours of sleep at the Sheraton LAX did not look all that appealing. I headed right to the gate and was the first one on the bump list, but the GA said it looked full but not over.
It ended up over by 1! I said great take me and was offered a $600 voucher, a night at the Hilton and a Y class rebook for the AM flight for a better shot at an upgrade. Sold and off to a real bed and 5-ish solid hours of much needed sleep.
The next morning, since I have no Hilton status anymore it was off to the The Club at ATL to see if their breakfast was any better than the SkyGrub. For once the Skyclub would have been a better choice. Good to know.
Then off to the gate. No chance for bump and #2 and the upgrade list ended up 112 deep. OY! I ended up #2 on the list with zero seats open on a FULL Y class. Clearly Monday AM flights are not the best for upgrades. However, this was the ONLY upgrade I missed that I was eligible for on the run as all my positioning flights cleared so 5 of 6 or 84% as a Diamond on X & V class tickets. I was deep in coach but at least not a middle seat; then my middle seatmate was a rather large dude. Ruh-Roh. I need not fear as my aisle armrest could fold up and I could slide that way. Plus, the guy, as well as a bunch of flyers around me were non-revs going to Hawaii and were a blast. It was one of the most fun times I have had in coach ever and time “flew” by I have to say.
We landed in LAX early and with plenty of time to start my positioning flight home. That is up next! – René