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In this continuing series inspired by the spirit of Peter Griffin from Family Guy, I’m covering “what really grinds my gears” i.e. what I don’t like about various travel providers. The first in this series was United Airlines (check that out here) and then I covered Marriott (read that here). The third installment focused on Hyatt (find that here). For this one, I’m focused on Delta Air Lines. The airline is headquartered in Atlanta, GA and operates over 5,400 flights daily. It serves 325 destinations in 52 countries on six continents.
5. Applying Upgrade Certificates
Delta offers Platinum and Diamond Medallion® members the option to choose Regional and Global Upgrade Certificates as some of their Choice Benefits (read more about that here). Until recently, you had to call in to apply one of these upgrades. You can now apply them online when booking a reservation. Flights with space are noted when booking. You cannot apply them to existing reservations. The process is also not as seamless as United as you need to wait for the reservation to update. I had to call the last time I applied them as they just didn’t seem to stick. This should be much simpler. United has it down. Delta please copy their ease of use.
4. First Class on a 757-200
I don’t like boarding and deplaning the 757-200s when seated in First Class. Similar to United’s 757-300s, passengers seated up front need to schlep through Comfort+ and then wait for those passengers and in my experience, a lot of Economy passengers to deplane. One of the benefits of sitting in First Class is the ease of getting on and off the plane. This is not the case with the 757.
3. Connecting in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Delta’s biggest hub sees quite a bit of me. Living in Tampa for the winter means that when I’m headed to many destinations that I will be passing through ATL. Coming from Chicago the rest of the year also has me in Atlanta quite a bit. There is nothing wrong with the airport. It’s just huge. I find myself schlepping from one end to the other and navigating packed terminals. The Sky Clubs® were also packed (this seems to have lessened some). A minor gripe, but I wish Delta would make routing through its NYC or DTW hubs less expensive or more frequent as choices.
2. Delta One® Seats on the 767
The seats on the Delta 767s seem dated and are not as comfortable as other carriers current offerings (or even those offered on Delta’s A330 or A350 aircraft). These planes are older and while they’re well maintained, the seats need to be updated to the latest Delta One® suites.
1. SkyMiles® Ever Shrinking Value
It’s no secret that Delta SkyMiles® have been continuously devalued over the years. Between the low value, lack of space on SkyTeam partners, and ridiculous rules that make booking a one-way award the same cost as a roundtrip, and the astronomical rates for redemptions (I’ve seen Delta One® awards that cost almost one million miles). The program doesn’t hold much value for me. I like flying Delta and it seems that is what it’s executives bank on. It’s easy to earn SkyMiles®, but you need a ton of them to redeem for anything good.
Anthony’s Take: I will continue to fly Delta and have actually been flying them much more after I became disgusted with United. Overall, the airline offers a premium experience with great SkyClubs® and in-flight service. The value of SkyMiles® is a sore spot, but one that I often overlook because of the actual flying experience.
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