My view on Delta has never been favorable, so needless to say I was not exactly looking forward to my flight to France. Even with some negative feelings going into the flight, I wanted to give Delta a chance to redeem themselves. It has been many years since my problems with, time to give them the chance to show that they have changed for the better.
Starting out with a hired car ride to the airport, I’m unsure my driver knew that the gas can be pressed in a steady fashion… or really that highways go from my home to the airport. Riding in the car was like riding a bronco as he pulsed the gas; accelerate and back off, accelerate and back off… not a great ride.
Arriving at Newark Airport terminal B, I stopped by the priority pass lounge call Art and Lounge. Oddly this lounge is located outside of security, but more on the lounge in a separate dedicated article. After heading to the lounge, next up was security, there was no dedicated TSA Precheck lane, but there were very few people in line and the clearing it went quickly.
Entering Newark terminal B is an underwhelming experience. The airport is dated to put it mildly. It's been more than 10 years since I've passed through EWR, but I remember the terminal being much nicer than it ultimately ended up being… maybe I am remembering a different terminal.
Boarding was the oddest experience I've ever had at an airport. My passport was checked by a gate agent, then my boarding pass was scanned and I started down the jetway, there I was directed to a TSA agent, who once again checked my boarding pass and passport, then I was sent down the jetway to be stopped by another TSA agent who questioned me on why I was going and one more time checked my passport. This wasn't just me either, this was everyone boarding who was treated this way… it was a very weird experience.
On board the 767, I walked to my seat in 29B and settled in. First thing that I noticed, the seats on this 767-300 were hard as a rock. These seats definitely take the cake for the worst seats I have ever had to sit on. My butt was hurting me before we even made it to the runway… not ok Delta. Remaining passengers boarded, took their seats and we taxied to the runway. Our takeoff roll was long and eventually we took to the sky
Climbing and heading out to sea, I turned to the in flight entertainment system that Delta uses, credit where credit is due, the entertainment system is good. Touchscreens were very responsive, the selection was huge. There was some issues though, the screen does not tilt, so if someone reclines their seat in front of you, it becomes a little off angle. Also, the business class cabin system froze and resetting their cabin did not fix the issue. The next thing that was attempted, resetting the entire plane’s entertainment system… this resulted in the loss of the entertainment system for the entirety of dinner service. It did come back though and all was right with the world again.
Dinner service was interesting, and in a good way. Since becoming a vegetarian, I've flown a number of international flights with vegetarian/vegan meals, and this one was on par with the best I've had to date. This is not to say it was a great meal, but it was good for an economy meal.
After the meal showed up covered in aluminum foil, I unwrapped the main course to see a thing… not sure I had words to describe what is was at the time, now I'd describe it as a veggie fritter or a meatless meatball, maybe a bean cake kind of item. Really what needs to be praised here is an attempt to actually do something different. So many people's idea of a vegetarian or vegan meal is to plop vegetables on a platter and say done! A masterpiece has been made! That’s not what I eat, I eat vegetarian sushi, chickpea fritters, black bean salad with lime dressing, not a pile of carrots. To have Delta attempt something other than beans and rice is much appreciated. With that said, it was a bit bland. Carrots were good, salad was boring but tasty. The bean cake or whatever, was slightly under seasoned, the spinach plop next to it was bland as can be. Mixing the spinach and bean cake thing just succeed in making the cake bland. A for effort Delta, but a C+ on execution.
In between the first meal after takeoff and their “continental breakfast” that was given before landing, nothing of note happened. Continental breakfast was a much different story to the meal before it. Up front I have to say that right now I eat vegan, eventually I will transition back to vegetarian, but I still restrict milk products and I’ve never liked eggs so those will likely never make it back into my diet in any measure. Being that I eat vegan, when a meal is requested, I expect the provided meal to be as such. There is nothing that frustrates me more than ordering a meal months in advance and being given food on the plane and call it vegetarian.
Let me clear something up here, when I say I ordered a vegetarian meal to a flight attendant, I say this because that is how a vegan meal is labeled and marketed by almost every airline. Easier to make one meal that covers vegetarian and vegan rather than two separate options. This also means that even when a regular menu item is vegetarian, it doesn’t necessarily (or rather almost ever) cover vegan as well. So handing me a regular breakfast, and then also giving me a special meal (no it wasn’t my requested meal as it wasn’t labeled correctly for vegetarian meal), that contain the same thing, is not a good start.
The meal had yogurt in it (milk based) and also cream cheese (milk based). So I’m left with no good option. Further, when this happens to me, it does make me question how closely their regular meals stick to what they are supposed to be. As I’ve written about before, I’ve had parmesan cheese put on a vegan meal, that doesn’t give me confidence in the actual ingredients for the rest of the meal. Same thing here, while I likely could have eaten the bagel.. I don’t know that it was vegan, since nothing else in breakfast was. So I didn’t eat either one, and it’s unfortunate to see the food be put to waste too.
This meal was not a good way to conclude a flight. I’m disappointed in the way they ended my flight, since up until that point, Delta had one back some points with me, and in some way still has. They will likely not become my preferred carrier unless something changes dramatically with American Airlines, but they are an alternative that I can live with if I had too, just that I prefer not to have to live with them. I am hoping the food on the return flight from Amsterdam is a bit better, at least the pre-arrival food.