Delta just canceled my Christmas day flight. Ho ho ho!

Tomorrow I’m scheduled to return to the States from Germany, with a slight detour to Seattle on my way home (since I couldn’t find award availability to Tampa and figured I might as well try Delta on a transcon flight). As many of you probably know, I’m on a Delta business class award ticket. I was scheduled to fly from Frankfurt to Atlanta to Seattle tomorrow, though while trying to check in today got a message saying that my Atlanta to Seattle flight has been canceled. I’m not sure why a domestic flight would be canceled 36 hours in advance, given that the weather is fine, though that’s a different story.

Anyway, something that I do have to give Delta credit for is that the website displayed several reasonable alternatives that could be confirmed instantly online. No need to call them, and no being rebooked on a totally crappy routing. I actually had a few one-stop options, as follows:

  • The same Frankfurt to Atlanta flight in BusinessElite on Delta, and then Atlanta to Seattle on Alaska Airlines in first class after a near four hour layover
  • Frankfurt to Paris to Seattle on Air France in business class the whole way
  • Frankfurt to Detroit to Seattle in BusinessElite and first class on Delta, leaving Frankfurt 30 minutes later than my original routing and arriving in Seattle a few hours earlier

As much as I’ve wanted to try Alaska Airlines, I decided against option one because they don’t have power ports. My laptop has awful battery life, so even if the flight had wifi, I wouldn’t be able to connect for very long. Over four hours on Alaska without a laptop just doesn’t sound like fun.

Air France business class? Nah. I’ve done Air France first class before, and it took 45 minutes to get a pre-departure beverage. No way I’m doing business class on them.

Now, the last option didn’t sound particularly attractive, though Detroit to Seattle is operated by a 737 with audio video on demand, wifi, and power outlets. I always find the domestic flight after an international flight to be a drag, so that will at least keep me busy. At the same time, if you follow me on Twitter, you know that my outbound layover in Detroit was, well, less than stellar. Fortunately my layover in Detroit on the way back is only 1hr45min, probably not enough time for my blood pressure to rise too much.

At the same time I was really looking forward to flying through Atlanta since I wanted to give Delta a fair shake for my trip report. I always still assume that the service will be better through Atlanta (“true” Delta employees) than through Detroit (I assume largely ex-Northwest employees), or at least I hope so. The purser on the flight out (Detroit-based) was nothing short of abrasive. For example, he took meal orders before passengers even had time to settle in. The gentlemen in front of me was asked what he wanted for dinner before he could even take his seat. When the passenger said he wasn’t sure, the purser said something along the lines of “well you better hurry up, because I need to start cooking soon.”

I guess I’ll just cross my fingers for a better crew on the way back and be thankful that my travel time was cut by over four hours.

Comments

  1. @ greg — Admittedly I’m no weather expect, though based on weather.com, it looks fine, no?

    @ 4Health — Because I booked a separate ticket from Seattle to Tampa, so don’t want to miss out on the miles there!

  2. @ John — If anything, I’m complimenting Delta on how excellent their website is for rebookings. The service on the way out wasn’t stellar, plain and simple. I’ve had much worse on United at times, though.

    @ Jonathan — Yow! In that case I’m happy to be rerouted. I’ve seen enough snow the past couple of days.

  3. Just want to get this straight…Delta allowed you to rebook online (so much easier and nicer) and they cut your travel time by four hours and you are complaining? I guess I am confused.

  4. Any plans to sample the Alaska first class product any time soon? Am thinking of using one of my BofA $99 companion certificates for FC like Gary suggests and wondering if it is worth it.

  5. Mark wrote: “Delta allowed you to rebook online (so much easier and nicer) and they cut your travel time by four hours and you are complaining?”

    His post didn’t come off as a complaint to me. Sounded like he was prepared to complain, but was actually pleasantly surprised. Seemed positive, overall, imo.

  6. Well if you read his twitter, he didn’t have the greatest ground experience at DTW. As Lucky is under 21, the people at the Delta Sky Club refused him entry despite his having a BusinessElite ticket. I always knew that getting into lounges with Amex Plat/Centurion was always dicey for under-21 travelers, but I always assumed that Business Class passengers got in no matter what.

    I always found this policy strange, especially in lounges where all the alcohol (even if it is free) is kept behind bars (such as most President’s Clubs) but I bet its a lot cheaper insurance/liquor license wise to simply restrict entry to unaccompanied people under-21. Sometimes we forget that although not everyone uses airport lounges that way, in the eyes of the government and insurance companies, they are nothing more than glorified bars.

  7. @ mark — Not ticked off at all. After two substantial delays on the way out, my first reaction was “oh great, not again.” So at first I was ticked. Now that I see the weather in Atlanta, I’m appreciative of them being so proactive, actually. And I’m amazed at how easy rebooking was!

    My concerns are twofold, though:
    1) The 1hr45min connection in Detroit isn’t something I would have chosen, especially since it’s winter and the weather here isn’t great. Now that I see the inbound aircraft is due to arrive early I feel better about the situation, though it still does worry me a bit, since I’d hate to be stranded overnight in Detroit.
    2) As @chasgoose mentioned, the situation is pretty ironic in that the supervisor at Detroit told me that if I didn’t like the alcohol policy at the Detroit SkyClub, I should fly through a different airport. I swore to myself I would, but now I’m involuntarily ending up in Detroit again. Bummer!

  8. Ben, I can only assume DL’s compensation policy is not as generous as UA’s. But wouldn’t it stand to reason that you’re due something for being denied SC access? Shouldn’t some other standard amenity be in place for underage pax who are otherwise eligible for access? Liquor is certainly not the only amenity there. It’s different than not being able to legally drink in the air. That would be like getting booted from BE and relegated to coach because you were underage!

  9. The issue is that DTW is self-serve alcohol. As such, they can not allow someone under 21 in because they could just serve themselves drinks and potentially cost them their liquor licence.

  10. This whole “Under-21” policy stinks…. At least, you should be able to access the JAL Sakura lounge in FRA on day of departure, which is better than any of the SkyClubs.

    If you want to use the internet in the Sakura lounge you have to use an ethernet cable, which is better than WIFI anyway, so ask for one at the front desk.

    My FRA-DTW flight [12/14] was not that good, but I hope that won’t be the case for you.

    Avoid ordering the beef filet, I was not impressed…. My ATL-LHR “beef filet” was real steak, but on the DTW flight it was regular beef. I would probably recommend the chicken…

  11. Lucky – it is all weather for DL. Although AirTran has only cancelled two so far the weather reports are not looking good for ATL. I would try and avoid anywhere that you don’t have to go through otherwise be prepared to be ‘stuck’ somewhere for awhile.

    As far as the AS F product – it’s pretty decent. Good value for the $99 certificate too!

  12. @David – Hardly (I’m an MVP Gold, so I would know) the best. The seats are ridiculously uncomfortable, there is no pre-departure beverage, there are no pillows or blankets, there is no power, and the IFE is non-existant unless you are on a midcon+. The FAs never do nothing about Y coming up to F to use the lav, and on any flight shorter than 5 hours, don’t expect anything more than a small snack with no choice. It’s the best economy plus product in the States by far, but that’s it.

  13. @1K Agree with your review of Alaska F product. There is hardly any seat recline, and no lumbar support, and feels like less legroom than UA Economy Plus.

    @Lucky – almost any international business class is superior to domestic F, so I’m surprised you wouldn’t have wanted the AF C-class direct to SEA, avoiding DTW altogether.

  14. @Carl – I’m sure lucky didn’t want to fly AF because they really aren’t that great in business class, and his previous experiences have been poor with AF. Also, isn’t CDG having snow problems? Might be risky connecting through an airport that has to evacuate a terminal because of a possible roof collapse due to snow… 😉

  15. Detroit is a great airport to make a stop in. Great facilities, unless its late at night, most things are closed. I got stranded there overnight once, DTW-LAX flight was cancelled. But they put us up in a pretty nice hotel.

    I do have to agree, the ‘original’ DL employees are different than the ex-NWA employees. I think its the whole still getting used to a different company thing, not sure.

    Good luck, Delta is a great airline!

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