Now with my first two flights behind me as a Delta Gold Medallion member I have some takeaways on what Delta does well and does not do well. Where they could improve and the areas many domestic airlines could learn for Delta.
The first thing that you may see or use when it comes to flying with Delta is their mobile app. I personally use the airline apps now to check in and board flights domestically. Occasionally I’ll use them internationally if it is allowed as well.
Delta has a pretty good app, but it isn’t perfect. After taking my first flight and landing. I was immediately met with an app that had logged me out. Only noticing this while waiting to be checked in to the Delta Sky Club lounge, I had to back out of line and re-sign into the app. Since then I have found the app saves your information, so you can sign back in easier, but I found this a little weird. We’ll see if this continues to happen every time the phone goes into airplane mode.
One feature I really liked with the Delta app was the notifications for boarding. The app will send you a push notification to your phone when the agent at the desk starts the boarding process. I will keep this in mind for the future. This allows me to not actually be present at the gate to know when boarding starts. Since children and handicapped people get priority before first class and elites board, this allows me to mingle within a short walk of the gate without being there. When the app lets me know boarding started, I can walk right over and probably still be there before my seats are available for entering the plane.
I mentioned this before, but most if not all of Delta’s planes have power outlets. This is something lacking on American’s fleet. Since they have brought the US Airways planes into the fold, those planes have yet to be completely upgraded to American’s aircraft standards. That means a good portion of the American Airlines fleet lacks power and in some cases even wifi.
While Delta self proclaims the company to be the “On Time Machine” I have actually found this to be fairly true. So far, all my flights have left not just on time, but early. Somehow, Delta manages to nail the timing of boarding and ground services, they do move like a well oiled machine. There is obviously a reason they started the first 6+ months of this year without a single cancelled flight.
As for the service, well that is where Delta does not deliver anything special. Not to say service was bad, but it wasn’t great either, something of an in flight service purgatory. The people are mostly friendly but a little rough around the edges. Alaska Airlines, while pretty sparce on the East Coast, has set a great standard of friendlyness and service for me domestically. More service like Alaska Airlines would be great.
Sky Club Lounge
Lounges with Delta have often be described to me as much better than American. I’d have to say they are mixed, winning on some points but failing on others.
Walking into the lounge and checking in is a slightly better experience with Delta. I walked up to the desk to check in, and the agent sat there not really saying anything, not a great start. American Airlines employees are much better at greeting customers. Once I figured out she wanted me to scan my boarding pass (completely had to deduce this from her comepletely ignoring me), I placed my phone on the scanner. Here is where Delta won me over. She said hello to me by name, told me my gate number for the next flight and said welcome.
I was slightly confused as I was readying my credit card to show the desk so i could gain access to the lounge. She said they didn’t need it, the card was already linked to my Delta account and she had it on file. The agent didn’t need to see it to know I had free access rights to the lounge. Simple and stright forward. American Airlines requires the credit card be scanned every time you enter a lounge so that it can be checked against the American computer system. Delta sped up the check in significantly with one little feature.
Once upstairs in the lounge I have to say the view was pretty good. I sat right by the window and looked out at the planes for the entire time I was working on my tablet. However, I like the decor of American Airlines lounges better. American Airlines lounges tend to be warmer, and that feels more inviting to me. The Delta Sky Club outside of gate B25 in Atlanta was very similar to what I have seen at Heathrow, a very European stark white, minimalist appraoch. While I do like the style sometimes, it does feel less inviting to me.
Beyond decor, the food was run of the mill. Not better or worse than American, the food was on par with most domestic lounges I’ve been at. Not a deep selection, but it is able to put something in your stomach if you are hungry.
At the end of the day, the experience with Delta has been a good one. I think Delta edges out American in many categories but not by a whole lot. I think so far this move has not been a bad one, but time will tell how Delta will manage their loyalty program.1