Thursday, June 22, 2017

**REVIEW** Delta Airlines (and Delta Comfort)

I thought that I would use my experiences of this latest flight to review Delta Airlines for both their customer service and their Comfort seating offering.My itinerary was Anchorage (ANC) to Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) and to my final destination of Des Moines (DMS). Since this is a blended review, I will preface remarks with CS or DC when speaking about Customer Service or Delta Comfort.

The Anchorage counter staff was okay. Courteous and efficient, they didn't seem to have much to do since most passengers checked in electronically or via one of the consoles set up in the airport. I did (and always do) my check-in via a phone app. At the counter, I only had to hand in my luggage (pre-paid) and show I.D. to confirm my information. I even filled out and attached my own luggage tags.

Ted Stevens Airport (ANC) is pretty basic and I like that. Gates are called just that - "gates" - so that it's easy to locate and navigate where you need to be. With such diversity in the mix, simplicity and uniformity are important when traveling. That;s my opinion anyway. At Ted Stevens, gates and signs and walkways are easy to find and use.

That last point is going to come up later.

The flight crew on the ANC to DSM leg was kind of awesome. They were helpful but not overbearing. I wonder how many people realize that flight attendants are on board primarily to help out in the event of an emergency - not to just to serve and pamper passengers. I sometimes lose sight of that fact myself, but I appreciate an FA who makes the job look easy. There was just that kind of FA on my first flight. She was as nice to the "regular" passengers as she was to those in First Class.

Now. Here is where I have to talk about the worst part of this trip. It had nothing to do with the plane, the seats, or the onboard crew.

I'm not sure who to blame for the fact that when we landed in MSP we had to sit on the taxiway for about 20 minutes, but I'm going to blame the gate agents for not helping more once we docked and some of us had to race to make connecting flights.

This is where my trip went bad.

While taxiing, the pilot mentioned that we were going to dock at Gate F. My connecting flight was going to board at Gate C. I mentally ran through the letters - C, D, E, F - and thought, Eh, shouldn't be that bad.

Right. It shouldn't have been but... I did ask the agents standing on the jetway how far the C gates were. One was just robotically saying to each of us passengers, "We have carts waiting up front." So I assumed he was directing us to keep moving and we'd have some assistance making it to other gates. There are reasons that it's bad to make assumptions and, in this case, one of the reasons is that the gate agent was a liar. There were no carts waiting anywhere. I couldn't even find another gate agent to ask about this. Since it wasn't useful to just stand there being mad, I asked the first person I saw where to find the C gates and took off in that direction.

Here is where I hate the way things are labeled at MSP.  I saw nothing labeled directing passengers to gates. I did see lots of overhead signs indicating "concourse". A B C D Concourse. Because I was feeling stressed and worried about missing my connection, I really resented not having the assurance that C concourse actually meant C gates. Each time I passed someone wearing an airport badge, I asked if I was headed toward the correct gate. Just when my legs were getting stiff, I heard one of those carts coming up behind me. I practically carjacked the driver and demanded that he get me to the C15. If I'd had to keep hoofing it, there is no way I'd have made the boarding. As it was, I raced up to the gate agent and was waved through immediately.

So, yeah, I'm not too happy with that part of the trip.From what I could tell, C gates and F gates are nowhere in the same time zone. It would have been nice that, since our deplaning was delayed, if the Delta gate staff had been more helpful.

To sum up, I find that it is worth it on long trips to upgrade to Dela comfort. I've seen other reviews that opine the extra leg room doesn't make up for the narrow seating but, in my case, it helped. Tall people will definitely want to have the extra inches. Of course, I was lucky to have such lightly booked flights. (Although, it wasn't much of an advantage to have a row to myself when I couldn't raise the armrests!)

There is an older (and better) review done by The Points Guy.