An interesting flight on Delta….

So I just flew TPA to JFK on Delta and had an interesting flight. It was uneventful for the most part, although there were a few things, both positive and negative, that make it worth mentioning. First the negative. Before boarding I decided to take my camera bag out of my carry-on because I knew I wanted to use it during the flight, and since I was in the bulkhead it made sense to me. I go to board and am down the jetway, when the gate agent chases me. She says “Sir, can you do me a favor?” I responded with “Let me guess, consolidate?” She said “yes, please do.” I realize she was only enforcing “FAA regulations,” but I nonetheless decided to explain to her that I just took it out of my bag a minute ago because I’m in the bulkhead and wanted to speed up boarding as we had a late departure. “Sorry sir, you’re limited to two carry-on bags,” she responded. She asked me to step to the side as I placed my camera back into my carry-on, and waited for her to “approve.” Eventually her colleague said “those are big carry-on bags, but I think you’ll be ok.” If any of you are going to chastise me, please don’t tell me they would get fined.

They were nice enough about it so I wasn’t really holding a grudge. And ultimately the outcome was good, unlike a flight I had a while back where my carry-on was legitimately too big but I didn’t want to check my bag, so I decided to “layer” my clothing (on me) to save carry-on space, if you know what I mean. I ultimately won, much to the agent’s chagrin.

Once onboard there were no pre-departure beverages due to the late departure, but the flight attendant in first class was exceptionally friendly. As the door was about to close there were still two empty first class seats. A lady came up from coach as the gate agent was about to close the door and indicated she was on the upgrade waitlist. The gate agent responded “first class is full.” Before the lady could respond the gate agent shut the door. Now that’s pathetic.

The most notable thing about the flight has to be the exceptionally obnoxious people around me. I had an empty seat next to me, which you’d think would translate to a pleasant, relaxing flight, but no. Seated across from me was a lady with a baby and she couldn’t care less about taking care of her. Not only that, but the baby decided to stink up the cabin shortly after takeoff while the seatbelt sign remained on for about 45 minutes. Absolutely deadly fumes. Wonderful. Seated diagonally from me were two people that wouldn’t shut up. And seated behind me was a lady that wouldn’t stop bugging her seatmate. The guy had the patience of a saint, pretending to be interested in every word she said. She was a rich Czech lady that loved all the “bargains” she could find in Tampa, like $300 jeans that would be $500 in Italy!

To top it all off, we got in about 30 minutes early. Well, I should say we made it to the apron 30 minutes early. Then we waited and waited and waited. Eventually we started moving and I thought we were in luck, but as it turned out we were just going to a remote gate. Seriously, a remote gate on a domestic flight? This is the first time in my life I’ve had to get on a bus in order to deplane a domestic flight.

Of course now things are looking up with Club World London City in a few hours…. 🙂

Comments

  1. Lucky — Wow.. what a crappy flight for you. It could have been worse, of course… that could have been your JFK-LCY flight!

    The thing that irks me the most is the lack of care by the FA for the first class waitlist person. That’s one thing I’ve seen UA do right. I’ve been pulled from coach a couple of times when someone in F didn’t show up. It seems like UA makes an effort in this regard.

  2. But they could get fined $30,000 by the FAA if they let you violate the 1+1 rule… or so UA gate agents claimed repeatedly at SFO last Friday in their announcements. Maybe it has changed, but a few months ago I looked for information on three-letter government agency (FAA, TSA, CIA, FBI, …) regulations for carry-ons and couldn’t find anything that would indicate that there is a government limit imposed on carry-ons or their size. Has that changed?

    Personally, I am all for consolidating. I don’t know how big your camera bag is, but the point of consolidating is so the agents don’t have to argue with each passenger about whether their three or four or five items are really two.

  3. Yeah…Delta is a huge fan of the hard stands at JFK. That’s what happens when you have a terminal built for 60s-era travel trying to operate in 2009. They’ve overloaded JFK with flights to try to grab the NYC market and their facilities cannot support it. But that doesn’t seem to be stopping them. Sad but true.

  4. @Oliver, only $30,000? I’ve heard them say $40,000 at SFO. I also tried to find out if it was an FAA rule, but could find nothing.

  5. The issue with JFK is that DL has no option, given the size & scope of their operations, but to continue to use mobile boarding. It’s similar to LHR. Not enough space (it’s a bit landlocked) and they have no option but to use their existing terminals unless they can kick other tenants out of their current facilities….

  6. Couple of comments:
    Was this tpa-jfk flight on DL or NW metal?
    There has been recent discussion of FT in the merged DL/NW section regarding the discrepencies in the pre-flight beverage service between DL and NW. The concensus seems to be that DL is far more consistent in offering the pre-flight beverage compared to NW. Some have even quipped that the NW FAs seem to think that the pax should be satisfied with the water bottles that are placed at F pax seats, ala DL SOP.
    As for the GA that replied that F was full with still 2 plainly visible open seats, an email should be sent to DL/NW to report the GA. One of the Medallion benefits is complimentary domestic upgrades. It’s one of the benefits that attracted me to move my UA relationship (Prem. Exec for 5+ years) to DL. If I were #1 or 2 on the upgrade list and saw that there were 2 empty seats up front as GA was closing the door, I too be upset with the GA too, This lack of attention, some would claim laziness, on the part of the GA needs to be reported and, again, there is discussion over on FT with regards to a increasing sense that GAs are not following through on published upgrade policy. There is some conjecture that DL is trying to improve its on-time departure figures resulting in GAs not having time to perform last minute gate upgrades, among other theories. From my perspective, there has only been 1 segment in the 60+ upgrade eligible segments that I have flown this year where I thought I had been passed over for an upgrade.

  7. I can not understand, why airlines do not have an AGE limit for first/biz class. If I have spent $3-6,000 for a ticket, I do not want a cry’er for 6-9 hours over the pond.

    I had a CVG-DTW flight and had a kid, Madeline, jumping in the seat in front of me and “playing” with kid sister for the whole flight. She was most unhappy for 8.5 of the 9 hr flight and mommy just kept saying be good now Madeline every few hours (i think they were kids of some tennis pro and he slept 4 seats away from all the noise).

    Would anyone else welcome 18+ only in front of the curtain?

  8. DeltaGold — why do you think the kid is sitting in first class? Because they paid. Or upgraded with miles. Or have a higher elite status than you (yes, some kids fly a lot). Either way, they’re entitled to their seat just as much as you are.

    Kids are people too. They can sometimes be obnoxious, but so are some adults. The reason kids sit up front is because they bring revenue to the airline.

    P.S. How did you manage to get a 9-hour flight CVG–DTW? That’s enough time to drive there and back!

  9. On a different note — a few months ago I was pulled out of coach to first class on a Delta flight. It was a SLC–ATL flight that was delayed by more than an hour which created a total mess, as some passengers left to look for other connections while others, from a later flight that was also delayed, scrambled for the seats that opened up (I was one of those). When I boarded I was told first class was full, but shortly before the gate closed they came up to my seat and pulled me up front. Maybe they needed the coach seat.

    (When I took my seat in the front cabin, the man next to me asked in a disappointed tone about the whereabouts of the girl [his term] who had sat there before; I replied that she probably took a different connection. Sorry…)

  10. @Ron. (sorry that should have been CDG-DTW)

    As for kids – I am sure they paid for the seats or used points or whatever. My point is, you don’t let kids into a bar. They must be 18 or 21 depending on the state or the country. It should be that way in first/biz class!

    I would bet an airline could gain MORE cash by offering 18+ only upfront. I know I would pay more to know Madeline and ‘fam would be in coach!

  11. DeltaGold, I really don’t understand the bar analogy. The laws that prohibit kids from bars are intended to protect the kids, not the other patrons. Likewise with certain movies, and various forms of adult entertainment. But banning them just because other people don’t like kids would be discriminatory (against the children and their adult travel companions). Most children are well behaved. Some adults are not. Children are part of society, just like rich Czech ladies are.

    If it were practical, I would support a “quiet cabin” like the quiet cars that exist on some trains, where people agree not to engage in certain disruptive behaviors. I don’t think it’s easy to implement this on a packed plane with limited possibility for changing seats.

    I don’t believe the premium some people would pay for a child-free cabin would offset the lost revenue from selling tickets to families with children, but neither you nor I have the numbers to support our conjectures.

    Transportation is a necessity, and public transportation is open to all — including obnoxious children and adults. If it bothers you that much, there are alternatives: Delta (and other carriers as well) will gladly provide you with a small, private jet where you can hand-pick who gets onboard. You will pay accordingly.

  12. @DeltaGoldFlyer: How much more would you pay for a 18+ F cabin? Give us a number. Some families might be willing to switch to coach if you gave them three Y seats for each F one (e.g., 1 $1000 F tix = 3 $333 Y tix).

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