Seats

A week into Delta OFCMB (especially C+ seats) – service is as expected – hit & miss!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


delta onboard experience

Last week I was on a Delta jet every single day, Monday – Friday. This week I am again flying a number of segments. With that many regional and mainline flights I had a chance to ask a bunch of questions and observe how Delta was doing with their new “seats“. I say that in quotes because the seats themselves have NOT changed, just the leather covering them is or will be updated and the level of service in many sections has been enhanced.

As I talked about in a post a while back, Delta training had been nonexistent up to that point. I was, after that post, firmly chastised by someone at the mothership that the post made Delta look like they did not know what they were doing when it comes to training. Well, now we have the results of that training Delta has provided in the days leading up to the new “product“. Here is what I have seen as well been told by a BUNCH of readers:

What memo? Despite the fact that THIS info sheet is on top of every C+ snack basket, many flight attendants have missed the training memo (they get so many it is hard to keep up I was told). The results are as predicted.

No free drinks unless 900+ miles! It would seem many do not understand C+ seats get free alcoholic drinks (all they want) and some even are saying the free drinks are ONLY on the flights longer than 900 miles.

When to serve C+. The directions, if the FAs have seen the sheet, are very clear when and how. I have seen very inconsistent service. Some pass a basket once, some not at all (due to catering not putting it on-board so not really FAs fault). On some flights the “flight leader” is checking on C+ some flights not. Some flights they assign a coach FA to take that load.

Running out of EVERYTHING! This was a big one I was afraid of. Delta is going cheap on catering. Almost universally I am told Delta has NOT increased the amount of alcohol so back in coach you can expect they will have run out after C+ service. Oh, you better get two if you want two the first time they come around as advised before. Same thing goes for the snacks. You can take more than one and don’t expect there to be more if they bring it by another time.

Impact on 1st class. It is hard to judge the impact on 1st class but I did spend a great deal of time in 1st last week (I know #FirstWorldProblems). I had mixed results. The good crews did spend more time back in C+ but then were less visible in 1st class. Some flights I had the normal amazing service in 1st class but on one I had just about the WORST in two years of flying. No pre-flight drinks, over 1 hour before meal and drinks were served to me, C+ service was nonexistent and after dinner FA took a seat up in the galley for much of the rest of the flight.

Dedicated overhead space. I expected this to be more of a marketing spin than real implementation. The facts are somewhere in the middle. I have seen some crews CLOSE the bins so that only those in C+ can use them (folks tend to open them if sitting in that area). However, often times those in 1st class run out of room so C+ gets those bags. Then, at times, those on their way back to MAIN CABIN coach just pop bags into any open space (again as expected). If Delta is going to market this as Dedicated space the FAs should be told to police this rather than just be told to find space somewhere for those in C+. I guarantee you a “gate agent” will force a C+ flyer to check their bag if they are later arriving as all overhead space is GONE after zone 2 board (or sooner)! This is a major #FAIL of the “product” to me.

Regional jet crews. I asked them and many said they had seen the memo and were confused as to when and how to serve folks. When are drinks free? When should the basket be passed etc etc. Bottom line, as expected, regional crews are even MORE confused than the confused main line crews.

IAM union vote impact. I also asked if FAs thought that any of this extra work load would impact the IAM vote one way or the other. Almost all said NO and this really surprised me. However, the answer was the same from the good and bad crews so the good ones I think will be good no matter what Delta asks of them and the bad ones may not fully get all they should be doing.

cost to upgrade one way atl to lax to c+

You will start seeing in the airport and on the jets more and more “branding” of Delta ONE etc. as well as the sales push for this new “Onboard Experience“. Boy, it sure sounds great in the glossy advertising as well as in seat back monitors but Delta had better step up and fix what is broken in week one of the roll out. This is not to say Delta has not delivered for the most part, but if over time folks end up thinking of this in the same miserable light as the award calendar that is “hopelessly broken” it will not be valued in the long run (or worth the money to upgrade to). – René
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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

24 Comments

  1. FNT Delta Diamond Reply

    I’ll preface this by saying I didn’t go to business-school, but rather journalism-school. Still, I see this as a classic example of the best and worst case scenarios for a business.

    By that I mean a business has perfected its branding, its marketing and knows how to sells this to a consumer. Delta clearly excels at this.

    But then it has to confront the worst case scenario; namely, the business has lost control of its product. Delta can brand all it want, but it is 100% dependent on thousands of flight attendants, pilots and ground staff to ensure the actual product is, at the minimum, what is marketed.

    I’m sure business-school grads know exactly what I’m talking about here.

    No matter how well Delta does in its marketing it is 100% captive to its staff. Sure, there’s training. Sure, there are supervisors and, I’m guessing, periodic super-secret fliers who are reviewing flight crew and in-flight experiences. Still, there really is nothing Delta can do but cross their fingers and hope for the best once the doors to the plane close.

  2. Seems like the only thing Delta can do right the first time is pull the award charts. No hiccups on that one unlike C++ or is that C-?

  3. I flew C+ last week to Miami and I would give the service a F. I flew 1000 during lunch and no meal was offered, and I had to chase down a second round of snacks.

  4. I flew 4 segments in C+ last week and you’ve summed up my experience perfectly. The most entertaining bit was two rows of customers arguing with one FA (after drinks had been served by another FA) that premium drinks are only free on 900+ mile flights and she was sure that’s the new policy.

  5. Flew Thursday lax to smf never offered and I asked for a drink aging not a thing maybe to early for real insite

  6. Delta updated the beer, wine, spirits a couple of weeks ago. It’s only for flights over 250 miles. Snacks is still over 900 miles.

  7. Rene, can you get the Delta memo and post online so we can “help” the FA do their jobs correctly?

    On LGA-DTW last week in EC+. I was told only pretzels if under 900 miles.

    Regarding the FA jibber-jabber, it drives me crazy too. They are paid to work the flight, not discuss their work schedule and personal matters.

  8. Corbett Kroehler Reply

    Clearly, the person at corporate who told you that your posts made Delta look bad doesn’t fly C+. Oh, the temerity!

    For my part, I haven’t flown C+ yet because I typically prefer the exit row. However, I have observed C+ service. It is comparable to the details shared here, mixed. Luckily, I’m not a big drinker.

  9. @Rene-per the Delta website it’s alcohol only on flights over 250 miles…there’s a little #2 next to it and when you scroll to the bottom you will see it

    BTW…that’s not what they said when they announced the changes!

    • @Deborah – I will trust – and have printed – the FA sheet. I will NOT ever again be paying for drinks in C+ 😉

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  11. @Rene-I also printed the FA sheet for future use (so glad you published it)…plus I’m flying tomorrow

  12. Husband has flown eight segments since March 1st, upgraded on two of the eight, C+ on the other six. No basket was offered on any of the six flights. He doesn’t drink when flying so didn’t get to try that one. He’s never had a problem with overhead bin space because he gets to board early enough to not have to worry about having space. But, delta had a survey request emailed to him virtually before he got off the flight but the survey never asks questions like, “did you receive the service we’ve been touting as new and improved?”

  13. The Wife and I flew MR to Sweden over the weekend. Eight flights in all, the two long-hauls were in business class (thanks to GUC). On the C+ flights we got drinks (and you’re right, you get only one, they’re not coming back by for a refill) regardless of the mileage, but no snack basket. Gotta admit that for a 250 mile trip it’s lucky that they even bring out the drink cart, so it’s not a big deal to me. I will print the FA sheet for reference in case they try any funny stuff. But, by and large the Delta FAs are the most accommodating and friendly people in the skies. I bet that if I asked for a second beer I would get it.

  14. @Rene — Trust the FA sheet all you like, but @Deborah is correct: flights shorter than 250 miles (LGA-BOS/DCA Shuttles excluded) do not offer any beverage or snack service outside of first class. You won’t be asked to pay for drinks in Comfort+ because you won’t be offered any.

  15. I flew ATL-LAS on March 1st and was in comfort plus. The attendants seemed to know everything that was supposed to happen. I requested alcoholic beverages on both drink services and was offered the snack basket both times. I then flew LAS-ATL on March 5th in comfort plus and had the same experience. So all seems to be well on those longer trips. On March 5th I continued onto MIA. Was a little disturbed about not getting upgraded as a platinum when I was number 2 on the upgrade list and know for sure that non-revs ended up upfront. Thanks to a flight attendant speaking to one asking her if she worked for Delta and her telling the attendant that her son worked for Delta as I sat right in the first row of comfort plus behind first class. On this flight alcohol was free with the beverage service. One flight attendant brought the snack basket back from first class and was about to offer it to comfort plus but another flight attendant quickly intervened and stopped her. This was the correct thing to do since this flight was less than 900 miles by a long shot. I flew MIA-ATL on Monday night and once again ended up in comfort plus and had no issues. The guy sitting next to me asked and has given an alcoholic beverage with no issue. I did not want any alcohol. As for the dedicated overhead space that is a definite no. It just seems impossible for the flight attendants to police those seats being that it is not a separate cabin. They may be able to do it for the first row but cannot much further back than that.

  16. @Rupert — Just because the passenger worked for Delta does not mean that she was a non-rev.

  17. charles white Reply

    Rene; I flew the march 4th flight#1223 with you and I was sitting in the first row of comfort plus. You came back out of first class and talked with me about the poor service on the flight and also about the fact that I have 45,000 miles logged this year and still haven’t obtained silver status due to the fact that I am short of the $3,000.00 spending threshold now required. You told me to let you know how the service in comfort plus was on future flights. On my flight back from LA the FA did not know about the snack basket until I pointed it out and then served it with no problem. We received a drink on the initial service but had to find and ask them for a second drink with about 45 minutes left in the flight. On flight #3955 from DTW to MKE Sandy the FA refused to serve a drink when asked saying she didn’t have to serve a drink on the shorter flight. When I told her that the FA on the previous flight served us drinks in Comfort Plus she got snippy and said “good for you but your not getting one on this flight”. I then asked another FA named Andrea a couple of minutes later and she said that she would gladly get us one. Once again showing the difference in competency among the FA”s in understanding the new service.

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  19. Spot on Rene. Flew C+ LAX-MSP and then IND. On both flights baskets and drinks were offered once. FA served 2 drinks stating sorry not sure what we will have left over after first service. No second service offered. In both flights I was 11A and boarded with Sky Zone as a DM only to find that as the first coach passenger down the aisle that the FA bags were in the overhead space already. Since I was with the Business One boarding group it wasn’t their bags either.

    Then I observed passengers stashing their bags in the open space in the bulkhead space as they walked on by with the FA just watching. Total mess as both flights were 100% full and those that boarded late for C+ were out of luck.

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