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When Delta is always so good – The bad flights really stand out! – My “Enter the Twilight Zone” Delta flight.

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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.

my last few hours at SXM RenesPoints blog

When you fly Delta as much as I do you get used to a number of things and, sad to say, start to take many of them for granted. Like what things you ask?

  • OUTSTANDING Delta people
  • PFB or Pre Flight Beverage service
  • Wifi everywhere (slow, but they are working on that)
  • IFE and power ports
  • Really good food choices
  • Ridiculous on-time performance
  • Always completing a flight

This is what a bulk of the time is just standard. Delta, for all it’s faults with the SkyMiles program, does the most important bits right (well most of the time that is). Sure, now and then something on this “list” may not be perfect but the rest tends to make up for it – and then you get the once in 200 flights Twilight Zone flight like I had on my way back from SXM.

one strange delta flight from phx to dtw renespoints blog (1)

Delta really is good about almost always presenting in business class a PFB or Pre Flight Beverage service. Sometimes I just want some OJ while other flights a Woodford can be quite nice. On this flight the FA all but barked at us “drink before we go” and it was when we were already rolling so it made it even more pressed for time. Apparently this FA did not want to work around those boarding to provide what normally is done.

spread out seatmate
Please, make yourself at home and spread out loud talker!

Oh and while all this was going on, with no fault to Delta here, my seat mate was a real princess. She pushed her nice new-ish large Westin blanket into “my space” and her belt and on top of that was a “loud talker” on her cell phone. I cannot wait for more of this flight.

one strange delta flight from phx to dtw renespoints blog (2)

one strange delta flight from phx to dtw renespoints blog (3)
Got IFE – really not so much!

Then we have the newly refreshed bird from Delta with the new wide overhead bins. Nice for space but they decided that IFE would be skipped in this remodel. I hate that. Sure I bring my own entertainment, and can use Delta Studio, but the IFE holds much more choices than either of these and is nice when eating lunch. Ah well.

renespoints stock delta cockpit photo
Captain – Please STOP talking now.

Then the captain started to talk. When I say started to talk, I mean he started to talk and really did not stop talking for most of the flight (I am exaggerating but not by much). He told us that the ride was brutal on the way down to Phoenix from Detroit and to expect severe turbulence on the way back. It would be so bad he wanted the FAs seated likely for most of the flight. Great. I agree, safety first for all of us including the Delta folks. But then he stared talking about the route and what we would see on the ground. Then, during the flight, he mentioned each of these features again and again and again (oh look, we are flying over a stop sign now). Had there been IFE the movie would have been interrupted 100x times so I guess I am happy we did not have it?

one strange delta flight from phx to dtw renespoints blog (4)
Cold – but NUM!

Guess what – the ride was one of the smoothest I have ever been on – almost perfectly calm. But that did not stop the FAs from hiding up front most of the flight. After a while, and many info bits about what was on the ground below us, the captain released the FAs and lunch started. FEBO did not come into play because there was only one choice. We were not told this it was just quickly handed to us with little else said.

The lunch, being the only choice, was cold but very nice. I would get it again! Pasta, prosciutto and cheese and much more. Num and the stock delta cheese, fruit and chocolate cake square. I was in happy land – if I had a drink to enjoy with it other than water.

fa call-button

Yep, the FA went a hid again for most of the rest of the flight other than coming to grab the trays and then turn and disappear. I waited 20 minutes to see if she would return for a refill to my wine. Nada. So I hit the ding for the first time in who knows how many flights. She was not pleased.

Then, as we were about to land, she came back and asked if I wanted a refill. I said no thank you I am good and she said to me:

“You might as well, I had to open another bottle just for you”

Really? Talk about your “Strive for Zero” attitude. All I could think of was maybe the other passengers would have had a glass had you come through the cabin more than once! Amazing.

one strange delta flight from phx to dtw renespoints blog (5)

Then to finish my Twilight Zone flight we landed on time but then had a immovable jet bridge that took so long to get going I thought I was going to miss my connecting flight. They did get it working in the end. Anyway, this was just such a strange and nothing like just about every other flight I ever take flying Delta and had to include it in the summery of this SXM run. It was just so bizarre it almost became funny.

Have you ever had one of these crazy flights on Delta? – René

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.


  1. yup… have been there a few times (but fortunately not many).

    Of your list my biggest peeve is the incessant talking but the pilot and FAs while I’m trying to watch something on the IFE. I’m not talking about Safety things and basic info, but chatter and trivia. And on an international flight in 2 (and every now and then 3) languages. Pretty much better be done watching the IFE 90 minutes out of an international run!

  2. I’ve had FAs in business tell me two different things related to PFB –

    1. Must finish beverage before takeoff and they remove glass.

    2. I can keep beverage if I hold onto it physically.

    Which is accurate and has anyone else experienced these different rules?

  3. I’m not a fan of IFE for that reason. Too much interruption. I just want to tune everything out.

  4. The FA griping about opening a bottle of wine “just for you”? Cry me a river. Just cork the thing and serve it on the return. I’d prefer to give the wine a chance to breathe anyway. I can’t imagine a Delta FA acting like that, esp in D1/F.
    As for IFE, agree with Nathan. Listening/watching my own stuff(with Bose noise cancelers) is the way to go.

  5. Richard Weed Reply

    Sounds like a typical Delta flight to me (except for the first class part). 255,000 MQM’s last year and a Delta reserve card and I get upgraded 25% of the time (at best). I decided that’s it, got status matched at Alaska Air and now sit up front every time- go away Delta- greedy corporate monster…

  6. Tom -Maine Big Daddy Reply

    What I find confusing is on the PFB, they want their plastic cups back, I get that they don’t want them spilling or flying around the cabin, but if I bring on my own, they don’t care.

  7. Sitting on a em175 in first and wasn’t even offered PFB. Been sitting here for twenty minutes. Lazy stewardesses drive me nuts. And delta studio is horrible. They haven’t updated it in months. I don’t want to buy movies or shows either.

  8. My worst Delta flight experience was mainly a result of the staff….one a regional partner.

    For starters, we had a broken AC in July…it was brutal, and I was shocked they let us fly. Everyone was sweating, the air was crazy thick, etc. It was literally awful, but that was not the worst part.

    We were delayed quite a bit with literally no communication from the pilot and no communication or action by the FA. Seriously for like 45ish mins. A situation finally happened in this exact timeline: guy presses call button to ask about delay, captain immediately makes a vague announcement, flight attendant walks back to passenger who asks about delay and says the lack of information is frustrating, FA literally says, “Well you heard the announcement he just made.”

    Finally, the FA bitterly started handing out water (some hour into our tarmac delay with no AC, mind you), but we were cleared to take off, so only half the plane got water.

    The FA did not get up the entire flight. It was a small CRJ, so we could see him and his less-than-thrilled scowl the whole flight. He actually was fighting dozing off…his eyes were literally closing (prob because it was so hot). Halfway through the very short flight, we get an announcement that we are being diverted to a city literally in the opposite direction beyond the original city we left from with no further explanation or apology. No action from the FA. To your point, Rene…it was comical. Maddening, by comical at this point.

    When we landed, they let us out into the jet bridge only (for an hour), and the real Delta folks on the ground rolled out the red carpet and kindly engaged with us. I told them about the experience and the frustration which they acknowledge and apologized for. Their providing food and water was like manna from Heaven in that moment. Thank you real Delta.

    We eventually made it to our destination with the same dismal experience on board.

    The FA’s indifference and evident frustration with his job along with the lack of info were inexcusable. I wrote Delta, telling them about the whole issue. Their response was basically defending the crew saying that passengers often don’t know the whole of the situation and that communications are sometimes impossible. They really failed to address the FA’a actions (or lack thereof), but they did give me a $75 gift card. I honestly didn’t want it. I wanted a good experience on a comfortable plan with a smile.

    This situation proves how much experience matters. I am almost 100% loyal to SW now, but that is after a couple years of 100% Delta loyalty and Silver Medallion status. I know enough about Delta to understand that this experience was incredibly out of the ordinary; however, it was only one of two Delta experiences I have had in the last two years. It doesn’t encourage me to come back to Delta.

    And what if it had been the first time I had flown Delta???

    #experiencematters #regionalcarrierexperiencematters

  9. Nothing more annoying than “inconveniencing” a flight attendant by asking one to do his/her job. Especially in first class, I can never understand how a FA can possibly think it’s okay to just hide in the galley and not do anything. I’d get fired if I just went to another room, hid, and did nothing all day at work.

  10. Rene, did you say WiFi improving??? When will this happen?

    It feels like if there are more than 5 people on the system, it just won’t work. I spent 5+ hours from SFO-ATL and I couldn’t even get to the log in page for GoGo. I had major work to do and contracts to submit while on the flight that I never was able to access or finish.

    When I called GoGo, (because they never responded to me via twitter) I was offered a partial refund which was nice. But, when I ask how and why this happened, the agent told me I had too many apps open and tried to blame me. I asked him, How is this my fault when I can’t even get to the log in screen? To say I was irate is an understatement.

    While on the plane, the FA said the WiFi never works when the plane is full and they get complaints all the time of the service being too slow.

    I am getting sick of pay $50/mo for a connection that is slower than dial-up! It is getting tiresome of having to complain about the service 40% of the time because it doesn’t work or the speed was too slow in order to even check my email.

  11. My return flight from SXM was wonderful! IFE, newish metal and a wonderful crew. Oh and HOT meals too! You just took the wrong route… LOL but my time in customs more that erased the return flight experience. I have never seen ATL such a disaster with international arrivals. They pretended that they did not allow usage of the Mobile Passport app, made rechecking bags as difficult as possible and had nobody minding the queues for going thru the metal detectors. Even in the SkyPriority lane it was like a third world country with people cutting in line and ignoring the queue. I’m lucky I made it thru without a fistfight.

    • @Graydon – I should have been more specific, it was not the SXM-JFK flight it was part of the total run ie the PHX-DTW flight. My flight from SXM was just perfect 🙂

  12. Sorry but these posts sounds like First World problems, boys and girls. FA have bad days and hard days too. Can we all take a step back?

  13. I’ve shared an experience with Rene privately, but had two borderline racist FAs bully me during a flight and not let me use the bathroom. Then when I asked for their names, they threatened to report me for trying to access the cockpit and have me arrested upon landing. I complained to Delta afterwards and they gave me $200 in credits to go away. So that wasn’t fun.

    But I’m on a PBI-DTW-SLC trip as I write this and I’m shocked how consistently outdated Delta’s planes are. I’m a Diamond and got upgraded on the PBI-DTW leg. No IFE (only newly upholstered seats), no PFB, and since I fell asleep before snacks were served, the FA wouldn’t bring me the tray and only barked “what do ya want?!”.

    Now I’m on the DTW-SLC leg but tired from the sprint from A24 to A74 with the 25 min connection time (was 35 min but we were late getting in). These seats aren’t even re-upholstered so forget about IFE or even AC ports. This A320 is honestly ancient (can’t remember the last time I saw ashtrays on the arm rests).

    I don’t know why I stick with Delta. The planes are outdated, the service is bad, and the availability of upgrades as a Diamond is pathetic. I’m keeping a log of it this year and so far, I’m 3 for 16. If I had another choice in SLC, I’d switch in a heartbeat.

  14. Geez Kenny that stinks. I fly DL out of SLC also and have had good service and success with upgrades as a GM. But I’m probably flying shorter regional routes. Hub/hub not a chance for me. You’re right not a lot of options out of SLC. Used to fly SW a lot more.

  15. I flew a first class trip on AA recently. Better boarding, service, food and legroom. Plane was cleaner. Scotch was better. If I wasn’t a hub captive I would switch today.

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