Is on-time all that matters for Delta? At what point does #PaxEx matter more?

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From the Delta PR “News Hub” we have Delta bragging about setting history. The numbers are truly impressive. Having flown 6 Delta flights in the past few days I can tell you on-time “really” matters to everyone who works for Delta. This point clearly has been hammered home to everyone in Delta blue! But is this singular focus resulting in other bits suffering? Like what? Look at my flights the past few days for some examples to consider:

Problems with Delta 1st class flights seats power ife more (1)

Let’s start with my 737-900ER (a reasonably “new” bird) that I flew from DTW to LAX on Wednesday. I chose that seat on purpose because “sometimes” Delta FAs practice FEBO, that is, for meal service Front Even Back Odd numbers flights (this one was odd so my choice was last row for 1st choice). When I went to get my tray out, it was not there. Oh and FEBO was not observed so they ran out of meal choices the row before me! Sigh.

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So I got to eat my meal, that did require cutting, in my lap. But at least we were on-time. While we are talking about this 737-900, the bathroom “door” that went over the trash area was busted and would not stay closed making a super tiny lavatory even smaller to use. Ugh.

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Next we have my flight from LAX to MSP. On this one where I was wanting to see Satellite TV, that was not available. Ah well.

Problems with Delta 1st class flights seats power ife more (4)

On to our VERY old 757 that Delta has in service from MSP to ANC. I have to tell you, Alaska Airlines has nothing to fear from Delta when you see the inferior quality of the birds they are pushing on this market. I think “Lisa” in the latest safety demo is bubbly as always – that is, when we can see her. Safety first right Delta?

Problems with Delta 1st class flights seats power ife more (5)

coverage map gogo delta

At least I had Delta studio. Well, I sorta did for a while. You see over most of Canada GoGo, and Delta Studio, does not work so you had better buy or start a move before you fly too far into Canada so it can “buffer” up on your PC as it is your only chance to enjoy it. Clearly, I had no other IFE to enjoy! Deep sigh.

Problems with Delta 1st class flights seats power ife more (7)

Problems with Delta 1st class flights seats power ife more (6)

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Problems with Delta 1st class flights seats power ife more (9)

Then we have my last flight back to LAX from MSP that was, without me, continuing on to Hawaii. I will say we left on time, landed early, but then had to “drive around” LAX taxi-ways for half an hour because we did not have a gate. Oh, and how about this old bird? The foot rest had been removed. The power, was nonstandard and old and thus unusable, the window shade I had was jammed so I had to use a “safety card” to block the light to watch the working overhead IFE. But again, at least we departed on time and landed early before driving around the airport.

Anyway, I think you see where I am going with this. Delta right now is laser focused on being on-time. They are doing that really well. Now how about you fix some of the old (and new) birds you are flying around in such a timely manner! – Rene




  1. Hasn’t anybody noticed that the reason DL is usually on time is because they’ve padded their flight times to allow for delays?

  2. @dlflyer yeah i’ve noticed that too. Leave an half hour late we arrive on time. Leave on time and we arrive a half hour early. Now whether a gate is ready on arrival is a whole other story…

  3. Don’t worry, Rene. Richard Anderson and the folks at Delta always have your back. And as Dickie says, “Daltuh people are thuh the best at whut they dooo!” When it comes to crappy, dirty aircraft, they’re trying to the best and even out-do the ranks of an Allegiant.

  4. One reason they’re on time is they’re not taking the time to fix things. Twice lately I’ve boarded planes with mechanics on board trying frantically to fix the seat I was suppose to be sitting in. Both on flights coming back from CDG. once was a seat belt issue, the other time a recline issue. Both times successful, thankfully. The mechanic said he doesn’t get the time he needs to fix the plane properly. There was a row of seats across from me that didn’t get their recline fixed. A whole family of adults went the 8+ hour flight with seats that didn’t recline. The FA’s tried to get them to switch seats with the family in front of them who had 3 small children and didn’t really need the recline but they were convinced they were doing the right thing by keeping their seats and dealing with the issue themselves instead of passing off bad seats to someone else.

  5. When I have options, I do choose my seats considering the FEBO rule (or custom) because having a choice in my meal is important to me. So, the first thing I do when I get to my seat is speak to the lead flight attendant in First, and say something like: told me that since this was an odd numbered flight, you are going to take meal orders from back to front. I hope that’s what you are going to do because I chose my seat on that basis. This works most of the time and in the times the FA is determined on doing it their way, they tell me not to worry, that they will come take my order first, even though they are starting at the other end.

  6. RENE!

    You raise some very interesting points here which show the operation stretching past its limits.

    Forgetting about SkyMiles, I think Delta ‘peaked’ in terms of having a uniquely good passenger experience about two years ago.

  7. I find this rather amusing as my Delta flight from Juneau to Seattle is over seven hours late right now, and no plane yet in sight here…. at least they were kind enough to bring out water and a snack basket.

  8. Rene’, I am sure the statistics are for mainline only as I was on a DL Connection flight -well, SCHEDULED for DL Connection flight on 14 September. The plance was arriving late so DL moved to KLM. It was a bonus for me since it was a non-stop DFW-AMS instead of DFW-DTW-AMS.

  9. All of this is so true and is frustrating.

    MYR-ATL the WiFi didn’t work so n Friday. I took screen shots and Gogo gave me a $25 credit.

    My connection was to SYR and AGAIN the WiFi didn’t work. The reason was that the power was out in the galley and it had been that way ALL DAY for the crew. I complained to Gogo and they gave me another credit. Their message was “What is going on with this. Twice in a day? We’re so sorry.”

    As for the ancient 757’s… How does a free drink on 4 hour flight with no power or ife qualify as a “first class” experience?

  10. An airline can pad your flight schedule as much as they like, but I think of a plane departing on time as leaving the gate when scheduled. Games and trickery might make your flights appear to arrive on time regardless of delays, but if the plane leaves when it was supposed to leave, I don’t have to worry about how much of a buffer was built in for my connection.

  11. With all the decimation of the SkyMiles program, I have to agree with René that the experience of flying Delta is still generally good, and sometimes exceptional.

    In fact, on a recent flight from ATL to PHL, I had an amazing interaction with a flight attendant which I wrote about in our newsletter, which is sent to over 20,000 people each week.

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