The saying goes “what a difference a day makes”. I will change it to what a difference crew and catering makes. What I am talking about was my return flight from Los Angeles that I scored a sweet deal where I stacked not just my Delta Amex BOGO cert but also applied RU certs for a first class ride for my wife and I at half the cost (each) of a coach ticket.
After my visit to the LAX Amex Centurion club, a long walk and bus ride, and briefly popping in to the LAX T2 Sky Club (it was almost directly over my gate vs. visiting the new T3 LAX Sky Club) the fly Delta app notified me it was time to board. By the time I made it to the gate they were already boarding Comfort Plus seats.
One of the nicest parts about the old Delta 757’s fleet (average age over 24 years old) is that boarding is most times behind first class so you board and then turn left and you don’t have to have the rest of the passenger file past you during boarding.
This also gives the flight attendants in first class a much simpler time of providing service without having to navigate around those getting seated. The lead flight attendant on this flight was a senior flight attendant, Marianne.
She was simply amazing!
Not only did she have a warm kind smile on her face from the moment we boarded, but she was able to offer PFB or preflight beverage service to the entire cabin before takeoff as well as confirm everyone’s orders for lunch following FEBO, that is, due to the flight number taking requests from the front as were on an even numbered flight (Front Even Back Odd).
See Delta, it’s not that hard to “Strive for Five” and provide value for first class even before the boarding door has closed. It was the perfect start to what turned out to be a perfect flight.
It did not take long after takeoff to reach 10,000 feet and instantly popped up Marianne and another flight attendant to begin lunch prep and service to the first class cabin.
I had pre-ordered Jon & Vinny’s Marinara Braised Meatballs and let me tell you, as Chris shared in his review, they were nummy and filling. The salad was fresh and crisp and even the cookie was good, but not as good as the Dancing Deer ones they used to offer pre-pandemic.
My wife chose the Chicken Marsala and she said she very much enjoyed it and would order it again but wished the “braised kale” could be replaced with something better. The only thing that was again a great disappointment was the horrid canned wine experiment that Delta continues to push.
While you may not have noticed this on some Delta aircraft the flight attendant call button is offering you a drink (so there to those who say you can not press this button for a beverage request). With Marianne there was no need to even think of pressing the above button. For the entire flight either herself or another flight attendant was attentive to the first class cabin’s needs.
At the end of the flight I gave Marianne a “Job Well Done” cert and I was not the only was as a number of other passengers did the same. It was fun to see.
Bottom line Delta – if you want to demand a premium price for first class train your people to 1) follow the rules you have established, 2) keep working on meal choices as consistency and quality is nothing like pre-pandemic, 3) end the trend that seems to be developing that turbulence is being used as an excuse for poor service, 4) get rid of the disgusting canned wines and make me want to come back and experience value for what I paid again rather than question why I am continuing to fly Delta. – René
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I agree 100%. Thanks.
RENE! A “job well done!” cert for this review! Atlanta would be wise to read it which includes many positives, and also some very critical areas for improvement like the quality and quantity of the meals, and of course that canned wine ‘experiment’
@Greg – Thanks! The mothership does read the the blog but I fear more negative changes rather than positive are on the way soon.
Ok, I was going to keep my mouth SHUT AND NOT write Delta Airlines, as I was hoping to receive the “survey” after the flight which never came.
Here we go again, JFK–>ATL, a NYC based crew, approximately a 1 hour and 46 minute flight in the air. Platinum Medallion, was #1 of 34 on the upgrade list with 5 (FIVE) seats available. At 10 minutes minutes to board, the Gate Agent called for “Final Boarding”. Respectfully, I asked if she/he were going to “clear” the upgrades, to which, you could see their “angst” with the advice that if I didn’t board, I’d lose my seat.
As I could count the 5 seats, quickly a family with newborn twins and a child took 3 seats as they were so happy as they bought “Basic” Economy, followed by several Delta “Ramp” agents who started to “fist bump” the other 2 passengers who turned out to be “Non-Rev”, Non-Positive space travel passengers as confirmed by the Red Coat in Atlanta as I showed he/her the pictures. He/She advised to write Delta Corporate as the family with twins and a child is DEFINITELY authorized as a Gate Agent has that right but the “Non-Rev”, Non-Positive space was WRONG! FEARING a Rabbi Ginsberg situation, I decided to keep my mouth shut. Mind you, I haven’t seen a “complimentary” upgrade in 5+ years as a Platinum, I’m ATL based.
On the aircraft, Boeing 757-200, sitting in Comfort+, I asked the FA for a pair of headphones, which she gladly provided for $2.00! I said, “I thought that Comfort+” gets them for free, to which there was another look of disgust. After several minutes, I was given the “complimentary” headsets. During the ONLY drink service in an hour and 46 minutes, I had asked for a can of soda, a glass of ice, and two bottles of alcohol, to which I was told, “NO DOUBLES”!
This is NOT a WFBF situation, this is a BASIC problem that I’m seeing more and more since the restart of service. It isn’t “Hit or Miss”, its, Miss, Miss, Miss, Miss, and maybe a Hit once in a “Blue” moon. There isn’t any continuity of cabin service.
So, Rene, I don’t want to hear about Covid, I don’t want to hear about massive retirements, I don’t want to hear that you have to “cut them” slack, as I asked the Red Coat(s), Could someone PLEASE just tell me the rules, the policy BEFORE I choose to purchase my ticket on Delta. Why keep chasing status, when the rules change and you don’t know who they’re going benefit.
@Bridge – Next time don’t hold back and tell us how you really feel! 😉
This comment by a Platinum status is more helpful than the common blogs and vlogs seen these days. DL is better than UA, AA, etc. Given that UA, AA, and other U.S.-based airlines set a low bar, DL doesn’t have to do much to yet be considered the best U.S. airline. I also have witnessed flight staff who take care of themselves, favored co-workers, and favored friends, first; before giving even the minimal customer service to actual paying passengers, let alone status passengers, who very well may be leisure travelers as I, who actually pay out-of-pocket and not a corporate account. The complaints by many “experts” tend to be ridiculous complaints like the brand of champagne or the distance to the toilet or the lack of of footrest for short people (when most of us have our knees jammed into our torso.) I have Medallion Gold but the service is more often a “miss” than a “hit.” I don’t have these problems with NH, AF, KL, EK, or QR. I’m thinking of letting my Gold Medallion status lapse and settling for Silver.
Agree with your sentiment exactly. I’d rather hear from the rank and file flyers than the bloggers who clearly have a connection with an airline none of us could hope to have. And if I read one more review of the first class meal on a domestic flight….let’s just say I don’t need to read any more of those. Ever.
Bottom line is status is barely worth it and the entire experience from a diamond to the basic economy customer is being turned into some dystopian “be happy with what little you get” experience.
@Roland – Anyone who knows me (who wrote this post) knows I do not pull any punches with Delta and never have since I stated blogging over 10 years ago. As to food reviews, readers like to be able to see what is being offered and the quality or lack there of.
By the way, I noticed one beverage pass in First/Business class as well. WHY pay a “Premium” for such service? I’m Platinum next year as well, but “Free Agency” is coming and they can have their AMEX Reserve and Platinum cards as well.
Rabbi Ginsberg has me scared [bleep], so I’ve have to watch it.
Of 135 segments this year, I’ve been in domestic first-class or Delta One business-class for all but three flights. Granted a good number were CRJ-200s but in that situation I’m always in the first row, which is treated as comfort-plus.
My biggest issue besides subpar to downright inedible meals out of DTW, DEN, IAH, LAS, MIA and SLC has been pre-departure beverages. Since they were returned as a service requirement, they’re only being done about 50% of the time.
My second complaint is flight attendants not taking (or confirming) meal or drink orders before departure. Sometimes it’s 20-30 minutes after take-off before they come around. The newer flight attendants seem to do it before departure. It’s like the newer Delta mainline flight attendants are trained to do that. The same for Delta Connection flights operated by Endeavor Air and Republic. SkyWest flight attendants, like most of the older Delta cabin crew, never do that. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing comfort-plus get drinks before first-class.
Another complaint is the “snack basket” is also not regularly passed out to first-class.
As for the wine, I think the canned wine is beyond tacky. But I don’t think the chardonnay is that bad. It’s legitimately a $15 bottle retail. That’s much better than the wine serving during most of the pandemic. They were fake brands that don’t even exist. At one point, the white was so cheap that the grapes were bought in South Africa and then produced in France. It was a chenin blanc-chardonnay blend. I can’t speak for the canned red. The prosecco (not champagne!) is horrible.
And if you think Delta’s wine is bad. Try KLM. Air France has good wine, both in the lounge and on the plane, but the Dutch sister airline has the cheapest international business-class wines of any major airline. Their lounge wines are pretty awful too.
Delta could basically buy a large California winery for an exclusive supply. There’s really no excuse that Delta can’t serve a proper champagne method sparkling wine in domestic Delta One or domestic first-class.
P.S. The designer call button seems to be a management/labor issue. On top ten world airlines, the staff is so pro-active that I never need to use the button. On mediocre airlines, I have seen ill-mannered Asian businessmen abuse the button and treat the female staff like slaves. It’s a cultural issue. I was raised in a culture where the call button only is used 1. if asked by staff to self-identify, or 2. a TMZ video – worthy emergency. I’m guessing that management is using the Great Reset to alter this culture of decorum to reduce staff to slavery. The dystopian future is now. Just my two cents worth.