Introducing a New Guest Blogger, Delta Diva!

Hello there fine readers of Heels First!  This is Derrik, aka the Delta Diva, and I’ve asked (twisted arms, begged, cried, your choice) to guest blog!  I’ve noticed there is a preponderance of US Airways / United information, which is great if you love flying into and out of Charlotte.  And who doesn’t nowadays?

Myself, I tend to fly Delta and have made it a habit for several years.  It all started back at my previous job when I had to take numerous trans-continental flights.  I’ve read in a number of travel blogs that if you live in a hub city, then always take the airline that hosts the hub.  For me, I live in the Bay Area, which means that San Francisco’s hub of United would seem like the logical choice.  However, because I live in the Bay Area – EVERY airline competes for the transcon flights (LA is other transcon West Coast city).

This means I had my choice of not just United, but American, JetBlue, Virgin America, and of course Delta.  Additionally, I had to fly to Atlanta for work, which also helped with flying Delta.  Thirdly, looking at the airline benefits, of the major airlines, I think Delta stands out by far.  Fourthly, Delta has had a great partnership with Alaska Airlines (more on that later). And lastly, I chose Delta because the majority of folks in the Bay Area choose United first (being a longtime hub helps), Virgin America second (go hipsters!), and JetBlue third (ignorant hipsters!).  That means American and Delta get not much love for the Bay Area contingency, which results in my getting upgrades very frequently.  Score!

Once I began accruing miles with Delta, I fell in love with an airline that truly seemed to care about flying.  I’ve heard many horror stories about Delta.  They happen, sure, but they happen with every airline.  Why do I love Delta?

 -          The airline has class.  From the Red Jackets found everywhere to assist you to the flight attendant uniforms to the layouts of the plane with first class coats hung up in actual closets, to real glassware used in first class, and tiny bottled waters for each first class passenger – nothing is shabby.

-          And yet there is an underlying current of dry humor throughout the whole organization. I honestly think this is the best trait that came in with their merger with Northwest.  Nothing is forced like Southwest.  You can see it in their safety videos here.  Travel to their best hub – Minneapolis, a former Northwest hub.  Have a conversation with any of the gate agents or at the Sky Club and the wit and humor runs deep.  They even gave out boxes of chocolates and roses to passengers on Valentine’s Day.

-          The technology is better than anyone, save Virgin America.  Wi-Fi on EVERY plane.  Satellite television service on most planes.  Need I say more?

-          Their major code-share partners – KLM, Air France and Korean Air are wonderful on international flights (at least, so I’ve been told about Korean, I’m itching to fly them).

-          And Delta’s own international routes are also very nice.  The best international flight I’ve taken was sitting in business class on a Delta 777 to/from Johannesburg.  Hands down.  Nothing comes even close to that experience.  Food – amazing.  Wine – divine. Lie-flat seating – snoozzzzzzzze.Look, I’m not saying Delta is without their drawbacks.  For instance:

 

-          Their hubs (save for MSP and DTW) are horrible.  Atlanta is a clusterf—k (especially customs which supposedly has been updated), Memphis is cramped, Cincinnati reeks of an airport on life support, and Salt Lake City is still decorated in a festive ocean blue color reminiscent of the early 2000s.  And that brings us to JFK.

-          Terminals 2-4 at JFK.  ZOMG the worst hub ever.  This hub is centralized on the old decaying Pan-Am sky-hub that is Terminal 3.  Watch out for the birds flying around this hub – they poop!  Watch out for the falling concrete too.  And the neon – my eyes!  At least it’s better than Terminal 2, which is not a good representation of the modernist movement in architecture. Though I’m sure it tried to be.  And Terminal 4 they are moving into next year (CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH), is just business dull.  It’s like a beige Toyota Camry; you just feel your soul sucking out of you moving through T4. So JFK – bland, bad and condemned – a winning trio!

-          West coast is lame with Delta.  They certainly have the East Coast covered (seriously, Delta you do).  West Coast – I get my choice of puddle-leaping over to Salt Lake or down to LA if I need to get to anywhere up and down the West Coast.  Therefore the Bay Area to places like San Diego, Seattle, or Palm Springs requires some highly annoying routing.  The caveat to this – Alaska Airlines.  Alaska has many non-stop flights out of San Francisco and Oakland to West Coast destinations, which helps out.  And Delta’s relationship with them is almost like Delta owns Alaska – I get miles transferred, seat upgrades, club membership transferal privileges.  So it works out for the most part (San Diego is still a toughie to get to).

-          Airline selection.  Listen, it’s fun to ride around in different types of airline – I know I enjoy it as well.  But for Delta’s dollar’s spent in terms of maintenance, I’m fearful this will come back to bite them.  I swear they own every type of equipment out there.  I’ve been on Delta’s 777, 767, 757(they use the old TWA 757s for transcon flights), 737, 717, MD-80, MD-88, MD-90, A319, A320, A321, CRJ-900, CRJ-700, and yes their CRJ-200, which should be banned in the United States.  Bring back the L-1011 why don’t you (actually, yes please, I miss the old Tri-Stars)!

 

Ok so enough about my love affair with Delta.  Hopefully, I’m invited to come back speak more about my Delta knowledge and share with you my other travel experiences, including my favorite airports, favorite airline snacks, etc. Besides, something has to balance out the Spirit.

 

 

 

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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

 

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discuss this post

  • Delta is a decent airline to fly, other than the food.

    But the miles are the least valuable of any major US program’s currency.

    And the international upgrades at the most restrictive as well.

  • Delta Diva

    Excellent points Gary. My negative points were more focused on domestic hubs (haven’t even touched CDG yet), but my experience internationally has been primarily flying business. At the very least, given status, you should be upgraded to Economy Comfort for these trips. I’d also add as a negative their partnership with Amex, that has not been as fruitful as other airline bank cards.

  • I didn’t think about it before, but you’re right about the number of different types of planes potentially biting them in the butt with maintenance costs.

    We used to fly on Delta all the time (when we lived closer to Atlanta). Our biggest complaint was we were always given such a short connection time on the flight home through Atlanta that it was the rule (not the exception) that our bags never made it on and we would have to go back to the airport the next day to get them.

 
 

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