Delta hasn’t asked me to write this, paid me or given me anything at all for this post. It’s just that recent travel on Delta has been so amazingly different I wanted to point out what a solid airline is like.
Let’s start the with the flight attendants. The San Francisco-based crew on my flight from SFO to ATL was remarkable for its friendliness, professionalism and the calm, customer-centered way they handled a two-hour delay. Their kindness, consideration and professionalism –and that of the gate agents–was contagious. There was no passenger bitching, no complaints, nothing. We all just flowed with the situation.
Once on board, the crew was—nice. On every Delta flight. They were nice. If, like me, you fly a lot, you know that most flight attendants on domestic flights in the U.S. are a surly lot, more concerned with telling passengers what they CAN’T do rather than what they CAN. But Delta employees are different. They make flying –dare I say it— almost a pleasure.
The airport gates that belong to Delta are also remarkable. They feature charging stations with both USB and electrical outlets, so we can charge up our devices easily and conveniently. No more searching the terminal for an outlet, then competing with hundreds of others for the paltry few. Many Delta gates also have workstations. That’s right: you can plug in a laptop or anything else and have a place to sit and a desktop to work on.
Now, let me admit, Delta wasn’t 100% perfect. One of the Delta gate agents at C-52 in Atlanta probably should be working for one of the other airlines. She was the one wearing her Sunday hat. I mean, seriously, how many gate agents wear hats? Anyway, she was very taken with her power over passengers, didn’t crack a smile and offered barely perceptible courtesy, including when talking to an elderly woman who was a little confused.
And I was surprised to see some seriously physically unfit flight attendants (“we are here for your safety”) on my ATL-SJC flight, one of whom sat in the gate area across from me pre-flight, crying and wiping her eyes with a napkin to another seriously unfit FA. One, ok. Two? Gotta wonder about safety. Sorry, that’s how I feel. My ass may be that big, too, but my job’s not saving passengers from a burning airplane. Also, when a flight attendant cries in public, her state of mind is in question, not to mention her professionalism.
Still, on balance, Delta is notable for its customer-centric objectives and they largely succeed. Including sending me surveys after every flight. I also hear that they will NOT be allowing cellphone calls on their flights. YES! That, if nothing else, would convince a frequent traveler to fly Delta.
Now, I’m a lifetime Gold on American airlines (because I’ve flown a million miles on it) and a second-level Premier flyer on United. I haven’t flown Delta anywhere near as much.
But after this Delta trip, and another last year, let me tell you: I plan to fly Delta as much as I possibly can. If I have a choice? It’s Delta all the way.
Now, let’s talk about who can take a page from Delta: airport internet access providers.
Most airport internet connections—whether free or paid—are ungodly slow. Super-slow. Maybe it’s all the users, I don’t know. But it sure would be nice if Delta taught them a thing or two about meeting customer needs.