Watch out Delta – 1st class “consistent product” is more than a CRJ900 seat!

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delta CEO Richard Anderson talks in FEB SKY Magazine about new jets replacing 50 seats crjs

I have been a long time vocal critic of the CRJ100/200 jets and don’t need to go into all the reasons for this. In this month’s SKY Magazine in the welcome from Delta CEO Richard Anderson, he talks about the “ongoing retirement of the small 50-seat aircraft”. This is and continues to be great news as the CRJ700/900 is a much better ride in both 1st class and coach. But I see a big problem on the horizon Delta had better address quickly – regional service!

delta crj900 jets in SLC Salt Lake Utah Delta Points blog

I have been spending quite a bit of time on CRJ900s in 1st class as of late and I like the seats. They are comfortable, leg room is OK and the tray table is good size. The overhead space is so-so but as long as you are inside the “Size Check” size you can get your bag into the overhead on the “C/D” side. The lack of AVOD or IFE is not a big deal, but would be nice to have power ports. But I have two big gripes.

delta regional jet breakfast lunch and dinner cold delta points blog

The first is every meal is cold. Breakfast, cold, lunch & dinner the same. The Mexican chicken salad is quite good, but the sandwich option is often a big disappointment and the breakfast is a complete pass! Now the biggest issue that our CEO has been talking about – consistent product! But I am not talking seats.

With Delta mainline a vast majority of the time the Delta people are the best. They work hard, they “strive for five” and I am often just amazed by the hard work and kindness. With the regionals, well, not so much. My trip home from Utah on Skywest Saturday was one of the worst ever! The FAs were just awful. To start, they had to take the passenger count 4 times. No pre-flight drink was offered. Dinner was reasonably quickly served (no linen was provided for tray table) but then the 1st class FA was pretty much gone the rest of the flight; no snack basket came around and I had to use the call button to get a water. Oh, and the two spent the whole flight up front LOUDLY chatting with each other (yeah sorta “like” last trip). Coats were forgotten until after landing so passengers had to grab them on the way out the door. If this was a “one off” event no problem, but bad regional 1st class service seems to be the norm to me.

The bottom line is if Delta is going to charge a premium price for a 1st class product the service had better match the seat. For me, I will be avoiding any CRJ700/900 flights that are longer than an hour or so and look for mainline products.

What do you think. I am the only one seeing a huge difference between regionals “bearing the Delta brand” and a mainline experience? – René

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