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Delta operations just ROCKS in Detroit DTW! This is why I fly Delta Air Lines – You?

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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.

It has been almost two months since the mega switch where all of Delta moved in LAX over to T2 & T3 (as well as B i.e. the TBIT or Tom Bradley International Terminal). My good friend Chris did an opening week review but time for a follow-up to see what it really is like.


I decided to book a SkyMiles ticket as this was the cheapest option and I have plenty. For 36k I got coach out and first back. Being a holiday week I thought my upgrade chance would be reasonable as a Diamond with 25k AMEX card spend and the Delta AEMX Reserve card as well.

With only hours to go before flight I was looking good with me at #6 and 7 seats open (do notice an elite with a +1 above me). I did in fact clear but there was a major issue.

With the gate agent announcing that we would start boarding in just a few minutes we still did not have an FO or first officer to fly the jet. Not good. He arrived just before pre-boards.

While I was not privy to all the details of what happened next, the crew had to take time with the engines they said and we were delayed by half an hour into Detroit from Kalamazoo. Did I mention I had half an hour-ish (30 minutes is a “legal” connection in Detroit). Again, not good.

I got on Twitter and started tweeting to @Delta that I would have, per the Fly Delta App, 14 minutes to make my connection. Even with a Porsche ride gate to gate that would be hard to do with Delta bringing in the CRJ200s into the B/C terminal in DTW and all the larger jets into A.

Delta responded that they had contacted the airport and would hope for the best before we took off from AZO.

We landed and it looked all but hopeless. Then something amazing happened I have never ever seen before (on a CRJ200 that is). We pulled into A just a few gates down from my Delta mainline flight to LAX!


Now I am reasonably sure this was not all for me as there were a number of others who were also talking about flights to locations that also had connections in A but either way it just again showed that Delta operations can hit a home run when push comes to shove.

Lastly, once aboard my flight to LAX, the lead flight attendant came up to me with her GST and thanked me and the man behind me for being a million miler with Delta.

From 100% stress and almost a canceled trip to smiles and amazement. This is the second such stunning ridiculously good service I have had in and out of DTW. Thank you Delta – this is why I fly Delta. How about you? – Rene


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. Why do people with AMEX who get their status comped due to free MQMs get upgrades over someone with triple the MQD is beyond me. My buddy got the upgrade over me last week he was number 3 , I was number 7 for 5 seats . I have 19KMQD he has 6K and already Diamond for next year! Delta needs to fix that policy fast. I have perfect credit and was denied that care due to debt to income ratio (I don’t have any debt ). Either way. I don’t see how a Credit card earns Delta more money than cold hard spend.

    • @Matthew – Amex is one of Delta’s most valued pertners and there is nothing “to fix” as you say. I am sorry you can not get approved but that does not change the wisdom of the current reward system.

  2. That is totally awesome they pulled the 200 into A!!! However, leading up to that is what I have come to expect unfortunately this year. 100 segments down, and I can not remember a trip that has not had some sort of delay whether it be maintenance, rest issues, or something else unusual. I also haven’t seen Delta boasting too much about their on time performance as of late. I am not sure what is going on with them, but things just do not seem to be the same anymore since the massive week-long IT meltdown. Maybe I am unique and an unlucky guy, but a good friend who is DL only has experienced the same sort of issues this year. Any inside scoop on this?

  3. Totally agree, if you gotta get there, you can (generally) rely on Delta vs the other major US airlines. I just wish they would step it up on their lounges at hubs. And maybe move some more airlines into Tier 1 partnerships.

  4. I thought we flew Delta because of their ridiculously high fares and essentially worthless SkyMiles?

    (IAD to JFK on Delta ~30,oooo SkyPesos one way or $368. On a CRJ 200. Or JetBlue on an E190 for $75? )

  5. @Rene Diamond status is very crowded. Imagine how much more valuable it would be if they did not comp it for credit card members. So they COMP the status (I mean waiving the MQD requirement) and then ticking special priority to the comped member take someone like me and makes me want to spend elsewhere. American is now prioritizing upgrade based on YTD MQD. Now that’s how to value your biggest spenders. Instead of throwing them to the back of line because they don’t carry your CC.

    • @Matthew – Clearly you are not a $DAL shareholder as AMEX is tremendously valuable and Delta wisely rewards those who supports the partnership. BTW AA is really hurting with their card partnership so…

  6. For many of us who don’t live in (or have reason to travel to) Detroit we avoid Delta so we don’t have to even go to Detroit 🙂
    Sorry I couldn’t help it. Seriously though I do avoid Delta some in the Winter with Hubs in DTW, MSP and SLC = Snow. I know that’s unfair as in reality I would have more trouble connecting in January at DFW with a dusting of snow versus say Detroit with 12 inches but the gamble is worth it to me most of the time.
    Not to mention the “Legal” connection time.

  7. You lucked out on this one. I am glad the connection worked out. I know they do this sometimes at MSP also where you occasionally see a regional parked in G or F when they normally are restricted to A and B.

  8. i don’t fly DL because they have a thoroughly useless network for my particular travel needs. I’d much prefer nonstop over a Porsche tarmac transfer that’s still a time-wasting transfer to begin with.

  9. I have been told by gate agents that gate assignments are handled by the airport authorities, without much input from the airlines. I have departed/arrived on turboprops out of the A concourse in DTW. It may be that you got lucky, or maybe the gate agents give that passive explanation when asked.

  10. I’ve had several experiences with Delta in Detroit and it was terrible. To the point that I cancelled my Delta Amex Gold and cashed in all my Skypesos because I no longer in any way am willing to give business to these [people]. It’s really disappointing that to have a Delta gate or flight agent treat me like a human being I have to… [removed], even being a medallion member.

    • @Chris – Thanks for your first comment on the blog and sorry your Delta experience was not what I see almost every flight!

  11. Detroit is not my favorite connecting airport because I hate the tunnel. However I have to admit I’ve made some amazing connections in DTW. Yesterday thankfully my flight to Toronto was an hour late so I had no issues making the connection. I just seem to go to ATL more often.

  12. dotti m cahill Reply

    The DTW connections four me (the last three in the past 4 weeks )have been horrid and packed with delays of hours for ???mechanical or air traffic delays(esp to and from PHL)a nightmare… have had to get rebooked on later flights etc.

  13. You won the lottery on that one. I have had two experiences in DTW where I notified @Delta via Twitter of a tight connection and had the worst experience we all dread; looking at the plane still connected to the jetway and they wont let you board, and it has not pulled away yet. That one kills me every time. Particularly when you have notified them of their own delay and connection concerns. While I understand the rules (there must be a cut off time) it is tough to take. Also remove options for MNP for connections due to the distance between gates and the limited train service.

  14. I’m sticking with Delta. 127 Delta segments last year and 90 at this point in 2017. No missed any connections. But I have had countless surprises including Porsche rides and Red Coats & Sky Club agents who tracked my travel and came to my seat on board the aircraft just to say hello because my tight connection hadn’t allowed me to see them prior to boarding.

  15. DTW was my favourite airport to fly into from LHR (i just loved walking from one end of A to the the other just to stretch my legs), but as VS no longer flies there i returned to flying to/from JFK instead.

    Nothing against DL, but VS was my preferred airline of choice to get to the USA (when in the USA its DL) and losing them from DTW meant i went back to JFK.

  16. TJK from DTW Reply

    I fly Delta because, well…hub captive here. 🙂 When I fly for work, I usually want nonstops (unless the price is the same, and I want to milk the MQMs).

    Also, @DaninMCI – I have had nothing but winter ice/summer storm problems through DFW on AA, including cancellation and rebooking to Delta (back when they still had an interline agreement). DTW and MSP usually have good snow ops.

  17. I fly Delta because I trust that should anything go wrong, they will sort things out for me. That confidence that I’ll get through by phone (haven’t jumped on the twitter wagon yet) no matter which country I’m in, is invaluable.

    It is worth it to me to take that extra hop as well as buying other Skyteam flights on whenever possible because of the above, even if it means a few dollars more. I see it as a cheap insurance policy.
    Cannot wait for the Korean air details to be hashed out and active.

    I’ve been caught in snowstorms where JFK has been shut down for a few days and managed to get re-routed from France during New Years. And was supposed to be in Bangkok right after the summer bombing and they were willing to make an exception on a reward flight. And many satisfactory outcomes on schedule changes with Skyteam partners, most recently with Alitalia (never again!)…where the agent went to bat for me and got me out of their flights and onto KLM.

    I always feel like they’ve got my back. I cannot say that when calling other airlines. That is why I haven’t flown Air Canada for years. And seeing how a friend of mine had no luck getting a hold of Aeroplan for 4 days trying to change his flight out of Kathmandu last fall, cemented my decision.

  18. Rene: I posted a couple of days ago about getting the “operational upgrade” on July 4th from LAX to DCA as DL was out of coach seats and took care of the GMs who won’t be on the upgrade list for Delta One service. That was a great treat and when I get my 1st class upgrade, I really like the FAs greeting me by my last name and asking me how I am doing. Co-workers and friends who have flew other airlines have had horrible experiences all over trying to catch flights when connections have been tight. Last year, I’d a tight connection through JFK and the pilot got in touch with flight ops to let them know we’re running late (1/2 the plane was connecting) so that people won’t missed the last flight out from JFK. Because of my DL status (GM), I was able to help one of my friends get on a flight due to her flight being cancelled through DTW. We’re going from BHM airport and DTW was her connection for Louisville, KY. I was traveling through ATL and was able to work with the red coat at my ATL gate to get her on the flight so she won’t have to drive almost nine hours home. Guess other airlines may do that for their elite members but I’m proof positive that DL has done that for me.

    Had a bad experience with front counter staff in SFO when I was traveling with my family. Won’t let her bag go free on the ATL flight that I was initially confirmed on but changed to get my first class upgrade. One time I’d to call the medallion line on a gate agent in ATL when she won’t confirm my seat on the flight back to DCA. One phone call and I not only got on the flight but got my 1st class upgrade to boot. Gate agent was very mad and said not so nice words to me. But, she had to put me on the flight or DL would’ve had to pay me denied boarding compensation. Even with the bad experiences, I’ve had more good than anything else. Like someone stated earlier, wished I could get the credit card but I can’t and I modify my travel plans to help me get a better chance of upgrade since I’m not a high-level elite. Early saturday mornings, tuesday and day of major holidays I get my upgrades.

  19. I fly AZO-DTW pretty often and it departs and arrives at A gates a few times. It wasn’t a once in a lifetime thing.

    • @Justin – In a CRJ200 or a CRJ700? The CRJ7/9’s go to A yes. The CRJ200s, in literately hundreds of flights – never ever.

  20. This past Monday, we had “blue good” leaking from the bathroom on a MD 88 from ATL to MYR and the plane was grounded due to contamination.

    The ATL ground crew and flight ops team got us a new plane in less than 30 minutes. We landed in MYR only 18 minutes behind schedule.

    That’s why I fly Delta.

  21. I fly almost exclusively Delta because more times than not they make the connections work. I had two very short connections this past weekend in Detroit. My flight from ATL on Friday was delayed 2 hours. The FA on the flight was very concerned I would not make the connection in DTW to CIU and for some reason Delta delayed the CIU flight long enough for me to tram & tunnel from A to C and board as the last passenger. Yay!
    On the return flight Sunday my layover was 30 minutes and again from C to A. This time I had the Porsche ride. Very Cool indeed.
    Thanks Delta and Thanks Rene for all your hard work.

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