A pair of service omissions didn’t exactly ruin a recent Delta One experience. But for how much Delta talks up its premier product, one would think the airline would maybe be a little more on top of some small things that make a difference.
Thoughts and Prayers
This blog discusses travel, loyalty programs, credit card rewards, lifestyle, and related subjects. We talk about airline flights, cruises, hotel stays, cooked meals, tasty cocktails, credit card annual fees, and other First World topics. Honestly, I’m one of the luckiest people I know.
We’re well aware there are wars, gun violence problems, and baby formula shortages. But we don’t write about those subjects in general. They’re off-theme. We leave those to people who write about news in general or politics.
So, trigger warning: I’m going to criticize a major airline. In fact, it’s one I frequently enjoy. I understand it’s trivial and probably petty. I’m in on the joke.
But it’s also my job to fairly review products.
Some people don’t seem to realize that but it’s the truth.
Still, please feel free to leave the usual “thoughts and prayers” or other smart-aleck remarks. 😉
Delta One, Part One: JFK to LAX
I flew home last week after attending the big celebration and media preview of Delta Air Lines’ new Terminal C at New York-LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and the Delta Sky Club.
There are no nonstops from LGA to anywhere in Los Angeles, so I opted to fly Delta from Kennedy (JFK) to LAX. (My alternative airport was Newark on a different airline if I wanted nonstop.)
I used a combination of vouchers to pay about $770 to pay for a Main Cabin round trip fare. (I upgraded to Comfort+ on the way to JFK. Those were Delta’s Premium Select seats on a 767-400 — which I greatly enjoyed and will soon review.)
I’m burning through SkyMiles right now because most international business class redemptions on Delta and partner airlines are crazy expensive. So, I lit another 79,000 SkyMiles on fire — and treated myself to Delta One for the six-hour flight home. I scored a nice amount of MQM and MQD because Delta award tickets earn elite status credit. (This was a C fare, for those interested.)
In addition to a nice seat and a chance to try a new inflight meal, two aspects of flying Delta One particularly interested me:
- This flight took place on June 2 — the day pre-flight beverages were scheduled to return. Coincidentally, that’s the day Delta flight attendants (finally) started getting paid for boarding time.
- I’d finally get a chance to sample one of Delta’s new amenity kits.
You already know where this is going.
No Amenity Kits
A small bottle of water and a wonderful blanket awaited us lucky Delta One passengers.
What was missing? Delta’s brand-spankin’-new sustainable amenity kits.
When I asked a flight attendant if there were any available, he said, no. The JFK staff didn’t provide our flight with any. Even he seemed surprised by the SNAFU.
SPOILER ALERT: People survived the flight just fine without their amenity kits. Still, if Delta’s going to promote them, one would think they’d be offered.
No Pre-Departure Beverages
I wrote in another post that our flight was delayed because of thunderstorms. Our flight attendants were also delayed getting to our plane, presumably because of the weather. (“They’re here in New York,” the gate agent told us a couple of times. “We’re just waiting for them.”)
So, I understand they might’ve been a bit hurried once on board.
As I mentioned, small bottles of Delta-branded water awaited us as per usual in Delta’s First Class and Delta One service.
But no pre-departure beverages were served. Not even a tray of sparkling wine and orange juice refreshments was offered.
It’s not like there wasn’t time, either. The flight attendants enjoyed plenty of time in the galley sharing stories and laughing with each other. That was prior to our taxi to the runway — (which took longer than my LIRR ride from Penn Station to Jamaica. (Although, I’m not sure if the cabin crew was apprised of how long the taxi would take.)
Don’t worry: there no were casualties as a result of no pre-flight beverages.
I must say the lead flight attendant and every other cabin crew member were very warm, personable, and offered great service once we were in the air (and away from those pesky thunderstorms).
I was a little disappointed in some aspects of this particular Delta One experience.
I was surprised the sustainable amenity kits of which Delta seems so proud weren’t available. And pre-departure beverages not being offered when they were due to return didn’t scream “premium product.” (Especially on the day flight attendants started getting paid for boarding time; I hope they actually did.)
I know these gripes aren’t actual problems that affect the world. I still enjoyed the flight (and wished it could’ve been longer!). But if Delta wants to keep pushing Delta One as a premium, privileged experience, it needs to make sure service is consistent from boarding to deplaning.
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Delta is getting real bad.
Two days ago, gate agents refused to upgrade passengers even though 5 seats were empty and 10 passengers were on the list. They even refused when the lead flight attendant asked them to fill the seats.
Every time I have tried to same-day change within the last month NOTHING is available even though Delta is selling tickets for various routes. I could buy a seat but not same-day change. These have been paid first-class tickets. Delta used to allow you to change to any flight with an empty first-class seat. They appear to have quietly changed that policy.
Terrible, and they complain (Delta) that why so many people complain and complain for the same…. sheesh
i think you mean “premier” product as in “flagship” rather than “never before seen”…
I think you’re right. Thanks for the heads-up.
Chris, Thank You for your site. YES there are real and awful problems in the world, and there are other sites to talk about it.
I think what people don’t understand is if Delta or any company advertises and even charges for a specific product, then does Not provide the product, that’s an issue.
Your post and others at times highlights this and people should br aware.
Perhaps that “sustainable” amenity was not so sustainable and as such could not make the flight. Bring back Tumi and Rimowa not a fan of these off brands.
PS. Never apologize for doing what you love. A trigger warning for a product review is ridiculous.
I too flew D1 domestically and did not get drinks before take off with a 40 minute delay inside the plane nor did I get an amenity kit. You pay more for flights and get less. Service is friendly but product isn’t as promised. Our flight was so cold and still no pillow or blanket service since Covid started.
Last week I got PDB and an amenity kit!!!Nice Delta but then there was the meal selection…another story to many vegan/veggie options vs meat??
We flew internationally on June 3 to AMS and we’re also delayed over an hour after we boarded. No pre departure drink either. We’re in D1 suites and was less than impressed.
Thanx for update. I am also concerned with all the hoopla about the great new services and amenities and oops there are none. You notice the flights didn’t get cheaper but the product declined ! We are flying 1st to Calgary in a month ,wonder if anything will improve ! At least we don’t have to wear the masks !
Ummmm….. I was trying to book a flight from FLL to JFK as of last 10 days ago…. the flight was in the morning just b4 lunch time to arrival at 2:30 ish…. I figure id make the same reservations the following week (business class) and the price hike of $200+ was Absurd….. I called delta after few attempts to talk to a live agent finally was able to do so….I had a quote via the app of approximate of $825 rt which I checked 3 days ago when I was quoted 10 days ago $600 rt…. I figure id wait since my trip to ny is in 3 months, prices would come down. I had a voucher plus a credit which I used both to lower the price of my flight to NY……. sheesh these prices are still insane…… IT IS WHAT IT IS…. AIRLINES PLS DONT CRY IF YOUR LOAD OF PEOPLE DONT TRAVEL
WITH THOSE CRAZY PRICES….. NOT GOOD!!!!
All these complaints on the lack of an amenity kit and missing out on a PDB. All of this amounts to maybe 10 bucks of your “overpriced” ticket, and the amenity kit is eventually going to wind up in the trash at the end of the trip.
You should get what they advertise unless it is a safety issue. Everyone. Think if you ordered a burger and the menu said it comes with fries and you get nothing. Your going to complain.
Delta needs to give customers what they advertise or compensate them
Please stop apologizing to the outrage mob for doing your job. The mob will NEVER be satisfied.
Anybody that comes here to read your posts expecting anything but reviews of travel, have no one to blame but themselves. There are literally hundreds of outlets to get a daily dose of awful news. I come here for a bit of escape from the endless bad news…..and yes, with Delta & all airlines, we are now paying much more for less.
(“Thoughts & Prayers,” I see you working.)
Thanks for the comment. 🙂 I don’t think I apologized (nor should I). The trigger warning was facetious (at least, that was my hope). Some people come here looking to burn off some steam — and when it’s clever and not rude, I actually kind of enjoy it.
So if the flight is running late, you’d rather get your predeparture drink and delay things even more rather than get in the air before you get your fix? Sorry, to me that’s common sense on the part of Delta regardless what class you’re flying. It’s happened to me as well while flying Delta One and didn’t bother me in the least. Once in the air they make good every time. Amenity kit for a 6 hour flight to me is superfluous anyway, it’s ok my 6 hours not a long haul. I agree they should be consistent but I think there’s a difference between flying merely 6 hours vs international long haul and the service level is and should be different. Just another opinion which really doesn’t matter.
Things carry different value to each person. Who am I to say that looking forward to an amenity kit on a flight is silly? I don’t think there’s space on this blog to list all the things to which I assign value that other people would roll their eyes at. I’ll echo Chris’ thesis and what others have said: if you pay for a product or service, it’s reasonable to expect to get 100% of what you thought you were paying for.