Actually, I unpacked this morning. I got back to Puerto Rico last night after midnight…About an hour late.
This was the first time I had flown on Delta – at least the first time in a very long time because I really don’t remember having flown on that airline. It was an interesting experience, first because I had to get out of my comfort zone (flying with American I can put myself on auto-pilot) and second, it gave me a chance to compare American to another airline.
First, my comfort zone…I realized in the cab on the way to the airport that I would not be able to check in at the self-service machines and, horror of horrors, I might have to stand in a line! Thank goodness I was traveling to the airport with Gerry (son) and he has a smart phone and he looked up the record for me. Whew! Wouldn’t you know it – there was no line at Delta so it wouldn’t have been such a big deal after all.
Next, because I am Platinum on American, I almost always get upgraded to first class, which means I just don’t think about food when I am traveling, I get to board first, I don’t have to pay for checked luggage and who I sit next to isn’t a big deal since we have lots of room. On Delta, I was in coach and due to the restricted space, I actually got to meet people! The woman I flew next to from Milwaukee to Atlanta was not a happy flyer – hadn’t been on a plane since she was 12 and she was probably just a tad younger than I am. She was on her way to Colorado (poor thing had to take another flight!) to watch her son wrestle in the national championships for college wrestlers. I thought that was pretty exciting, so I will probably check the results to see how he does.
My comfort zone also involves flying in and out of the same airports all the time, so on this trip I not only had a layover in Atlanta (an airport I slept in one night not so long ago) but when we got to San Juan, all I could do was follow the other passengers because I don’t think I have ever gotten on or off a plane in that section of the airport. I was totally lost!
How does Delta compare with American? The first thing that struck me was the lack of communication. Not only were there no announcements about at what gate we would arrive, at what baggage claim our suitcases would be, and no apology for the late flight, but when I checked in at the self-service machine in the terminal, all it gave me was a piece of paper telling me to get my seat at the gate (no idea why). The machine did not give me a boarding pass for either of my flights, so I took it on faith that the agent at the gate would straighten me out. That turned out to be true, and she also gave me both boarding passes.
It seems that Delta does not care whether families sit together or not. On the first leg, the wrestling mom was traveling with 2 other family members and they were all in different rows. On the second leg, I gave up my window seat to a 7 year old girl who was in a middle seat two rows ahead of her mother who was seated next to me. Really? Seven years old and she’s expected to sit between two strangers for a 3+hour flight? I consequently gave up that seat too so that a husband and wife could sit together – they were separated by 10 rows.
On the plus side, the seats were comfortable and when I offered to check my bag at the gate – that was free (versus $25 charge) and I got to board immediately.
Basically though, I’ll stick to American, mostly to maintain my priority status. I picked this Delta flight based on both cost and convenience – American really disappointed me on that score for this trip.
Next up? Los Angeles on Wednesday.