The Horrors of Delta Airlines

I hate Delta Airlines. Yes, I used the four letter word. H-A-T-E. There are not many things in the world that actually call for that word, but Delta Airlines is one of them. Every once in a while I have to fly Delta. It’s not by choice. They’re a partner of Alaska Airlines which means we earn miles on our flights, so if we can’t fly Alaska, we are forced (and I do mean forced) to fly Delta. Honestly, it’s airlines like Delta that really make me appreciate the service I get with Alaska. Every time I’ve had to fly Delta, they manage to do something that sets me off. But today was really terrible. Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I don’t know. Why don’t I describe my flight and let you be the judge?

Bright and early in the morning (5am to be exact), we arrive at the airport blurry-eyed and packed with three suitcases and a ski bag, on our way to Utah to support our students at National Championships and add a day of skiing. Except… my trip must begin with Delta. Lovely Delta. With their confused mass of check-in kiosks that never seem to work but are only populated with one worker, since (of course) it’s early in the morning which means no one is at the airport except for all the people collected at every single kiosk there and the ones piled up in the “Special Services” line which is so special that no one actually knows what it’s about. Anyway.

My MVP Gold number does not show up under Delta’s program. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know. That means I get a crappy seat. Again. What else is new? Not like there are many good seats on Delta airplanes. But some are worse than others. So Simeon and I couldn’t sit together, which is fine, I can handle that. We just had to sit front and back to each other. Fine. Now that we have our seats, we have to move our suitcases across the busy walkway of the airport to where we drop off the bags, which is a crowded and packed little area where there is hardly enough room to actually maneuver the suitcases through. We can’t put our ski bag down without it being in somebody’s way, and neither can anybody else. It ends up being an extremely cramped affair.

And the best part? They can’t actually check or change seats for us. In fact, those behind the second – yes second – desk we’ve come to actually do nothing except tape sticky luggage tags together. Wow. And they get their own desks for that. Cool. Oh wait, except we’re not done yet. We have to go to yet a third location to drop off our skis. And it was as we were walking toward the ski drop-off that we saw the MVP check-in. It’s a tiny little counter hidden away in the shadows of the corner, with no visible sign. Yeah. What else is new?

Ok, security is a breeze as it always is. Remember, Simeon and I travel more than 100,000 miles a year. We know how to go through security. We have it down to a science. We spirit through, cast a wistful glance at the Starbucks stand on the way to the tram, and quickly make our ways to the gate. Luckily the MVP lane is clear, so we give them our tickets and go on through. Except a lady at the gate stops me to inform me that my carry-on is too big. Too big? Yeah effing right! I travel with that bag everywhere! EVERYWHERE!! Including on all of the European budget airlines, where the size is 12” by 20”, not 14” by 22”. I inform her of this point. She promises me it will not fit. I assure her I have fit many times before, and it will fit again. She asks me (the genius!!), “Have you ever flown on Delta before?” I respond, “Yes, on this model of plane, no less, and it fits just fine.” She repeats, “No it won’t. Get your medication out and we will check the bag.” I can think of a gazillion names to call that woman but I think I should stay PC. Anyway, I have to take my ballgown out because there is no way I’m going to check a $2000 ballgown, sling it over my shoulder, accept my baggage claim ticket, and traipse into the plane. There, I ask the attendant if she could please hang my ballgown in the closet, since I was forced to check my acceptably sized bag. She tells me there is no space in her half-empty closet. And I say, “Are you sure.” She says, “Yes, see? I have no space.”I glance into the closet and see the four coats hanging and the rest of the hangers waiting for an article. Hmm. Looks like plenty of space to me. Oh well. I’m already pissed, hungry, and grouchy. I hike up my garment bag and head to my seat.

Yes, I have to fold my $2000 ballgown into a tiny little ball in order to fit it in the airplane’s tiny overhead compartment. As I do so, the man sitting in the aisle says to me, “Did that woman out there make you check your bag?” I nod my head. He points to the woman in front of me. “I think her bag is bigger than yours.” And, truth be told, it is. So why did the woman in front of me get to skip on in with a bag larger than the size allowed while my appropriately sized bag housing my $2000 ballgown have to be checked? Delta, response?

Anyway, as I carefully shove my ballgown into the overhead compartment, one of the attendants shoves past me and very kindly plops my boob into that nice gentleman’s face. I’m sure the gentleman didn’t mind, and that doesn’t bother me, per se, but the attendant didn’t even excuse herself. Really? You’d think… but no. The man and I share a glance. We’re thinking the same thing. Yeah. Delta.

I get the middle seat. Whatever, I’m small. Except that in Delta airplanes, the seats are more closely packed than on any other airplane. Added to the fact that those smushed in the middle get to share their foot space with a huge box attached to the underside for the little TVs. Nice. Pack us in even more. Thanks.

And their coffee sucks. A tall at Starbucks is 12oz. The cups at Delta must be about 3oz. I should be having a cocktail with that amount. And food? Nope. Not even the option to buy anything. We get to starve.

So thanks Delta. Thanks for yet another great flight. I’ll be crying as I return to my Alaska Airlines, though probably not for the reasons you are hoping for.

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About korastoynova

With my husband, Simeon Stoynov, I travel the world in pursuit of our dreams, of which we have many. And, thankfully, all of our dreams are within our reach. We have made sure of it. From our lives as competitive ballroom dancers, a life which has taken us around the world and back, to my struggles to becoming an author, to Simeon's love of business, we have learned what it means to sacrifice, to apply ourselves with discipline, and to enjoy the journey to success. Our lives truly are made of the stuff of dreams.
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6 Responses to The Horrors of Delta Airlines

  1. happypoppeye says:

    Ahhh,ha,huhuhhhh… I travel alot also and I would have ripped that lady a new one honestly. If it is regulation size, than it is, and thats it, no matter who says what at the airport (I know, not that easy). I usually travel with a carry-on only and never had a problem, but waiting for one…

    Any american based airline sucks. I find continental the best of the worst. Delta is just plain horrible. I would say …don’t fly them. You say you have too, but no you don’t. I can understand the mile thing, but hey, if you are flying them for miles than you can’t complain.

    I feel your pain though. Personally, I think all american airlines should just cease operations and let foreign airlines take it because US airlines do not get it…

    Good post, John

  2. Jeffrey Chen says:

    Should’ve flown Virgin America. *sigh* I always travel with an oversized carry-on and it makes it through everytime. Not to mention Stealth Puppy.

  3. korastoynova says:

    Yeah, I was just about to lay into that lady when my lovely husband urged me to just accept it and move on. Gah….. Delta is for sure the worst of the worst. I don’t like any other American based airline except for Alaska Airlines, which I find is a great airline! They are not very well known, but their hub is in Seattle, and as we are based in Seattle, we naturally use Alaska a lot. European airlines are not much better, really. I tried walking onto an Air France flight in Paris a couple of months ago and was told to throw out my half-finished coffee before boarding because hot drinks are not allowed on Air France during take off. But seriously, it’s not the point that I have to fly Delta in order to gain miles. I mean, it’s the principle of the matter. No company anywhere should treat any customer like that, no matter who they are. I mean, what if I was a frequent Delta flyer? That kind of business practice is really unacceptable.

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. happypoppeye says:

    You should try “Eastern Asia” based airlines if you get the chance. I should actually say non-western world airlines. Thai, Emirates, Cathay, Malaysian, Jet… You would not believe the difference. The stewards/stewardesses are actually smiling, nice and accomodating. The food is good. The overall mentality of workers and passengers is just so much nicer and enjoyable. After flying all the above, as an american, all american airlines deserve to be out of business. I even had to argue a few times that I DIDN’T want to take my checked bag as a carry on (although now I just take a carry on to avoid the confusion). It’s almost unbelievable how much better they are.

  5. korastoynova says:

    You know, I’ve heard that. Though we travel extensively throughout America and Europe, we have yet to go to Asia. We will go to South Korea for the first time this October, so I guess we’ll get to have our experiences then! But yes, I’ve heard many times that the Eastern airlines are without comparison.

  6. Pingback: Searching for Coffee in “Mormon-Town” « The Starbucks Project

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