My, these are “interesting” times. Delta has announced massive changes to both the Medallion program for 2024 (that we will qualify for flying during 2023) as well as both new generous and nearly worthless Million Miler rewards for crossing each achievement in flying with Delta and SkyTeam (as well as any MQMs earned from Delta Platinum and Reserve Amex card spending).
But beyond that, we have Delta pilots yelling and voting to strike and a push to have Delta flight attendants join a union. We shall see, as Delta fliers, what impact both of these events will have on us all over the next many months and years.
As regular readers will remember I was able to stack some amazing Delta perks for this trip to visit my fellow blogger, Chris in LA. First up I booked coach or “main cabin” seats using an Amex BOGO cert or Buy One Get One Free-ish (you have to pay taxes on seat two) and then also instantly apply RU certs or Regional Upgrade certificates to move into first class from coach both to and from LA. Beyond that I had used a number of old flight credits to stack and pay for my part of the ticket from old canceled COVID era flights I could not take. Overall it was an excellent value for Delta First class seats!
I have to tell you watching the upgrade list (not that it impacted me but out of curiosity) it was nearly sold out before the Diamond upgrade window opened up for elites and by the time of check-in it was 100% full with 40+ on the upgrade list. One would think with that much demand and that kind of price being charged Delta would provide an amazing experience in first class travel.
One couple expected a lot. They paid for the somewhat secret service you can pay for and choose to have a gate agent escort you to the gate and let you board when the very first people are called for boarding (that is, those who require additional assistance in boarding). More on this in a bit later on.
My wife and I boarded when first class was called and while Delta has reinstituted the PFB or preflight beverage service for first class the young lead Delta Flight attendant only got half way though the cabin before takeoff (there was time, she just chose not to complete this part of the first class experience). I have found that really impressive first class flight attendants buy out the time, not just for a PFB service, but to also take and confirm meal orders before departure to expedite service once in the air.
Next up the captain said there would be turbulence and flight attendants would likely have to stay in their jump seats for a while after takeoff. Now I get and agree that safety is first place, but there was simply no real turbulence for a long time after takeoff and I have been on any number of flights when the lead or head purser has chosen to service the first class cabin when they personally deemed it was safe to do so – really not so much on this flight!
Next the meal service.
Delta flight attendants are directed by the airline to follow FEBO, that is, service meal requests from the front on even flights and from the back on odd numbered flights. Our flight was an odd numbered flight and yet she started with row one for meal requests not the back row of first class as she should have done (we had pre-ordered but I would have been upset had I picked a back seat to get first request).
This next part of the adventure was not the flight crew’s issue, it was mine. Well it was my fault for pre-ordering the disgusting meal you see above. It was a “pulled beef” that the flight attendant kept calling a burger.
It was simply nasty, slimy and disgusting.
Part of the issue may have been how long it was in the warmer (again due to non turbulence and seated flight attendants a long time after takeoff) but the bottom was soggy mush while the top bun was rock hard. The side of cold green beans was just odd compared to say potato salad or even chips? Oh and pair this on a mid-con 4+ hour flight and only that utterly disappointing cheap and nasty canned wines made this one of the worst ever meals I have ever had in first class on any airline.
Just wait – it gets worse.
After meal service the flight attendants mostly went up and “hid” in the galley and had their lunch and did not come back to check on the first class cabin till shortly before landing with snacks and additional drink service.
Now before anyone jumps all over me that I am too demanding, keep in mind this was a mostly sold out first class flight from a major Delta hub of Detroit to another featured hub Los Angeles with high premium prices – one would expect home run service and top notch food and beverage options.
Well… One would expect that anyway. 🙁
I really feel sorry for the couple who paid for “enhanced” service from Delta on this flight as I would be asking for my money back and re-considering choosing Delta First class for my next mid-con first class flight.
Next up my review of the flight home from LAX with a very senior crew – would it be “Strive for Five” worthy or another #KeepDescending flight? – René
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