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GBNorman

Delta Airlines - Are They REALLY Better?

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I have seen much comment at rail sites (not everyone is THAT dyed in the wool) that Delta Airlines is the superior carrier amongst the "Big Four" (AA, DL, UA, WN).

 

I've flown 'em but darned if I remember when. With so little flying I do nowadays (YTD 2 flights; 2 more booked) and that they don't "hub" at ORD, they are simply "out of mind". United goes anywhere I have occasion to go, so why bother with any others, especially since I know my way around their Terminal 1 at ORD - and not too much anywhere else.

 

But enough here rave about Delta and United has had so many "PR" issues of late - especially involving "God's precious creature - dogs", I have to ask "what's so good about Delta"?

 

Really, for the past four years I have flown to Munich during August. I've always gone Nonstop on United in Business. So if there some reason for a trip this year, I should "put up with change at Atlanta" to have a better in-flight experience?

 

Just curious.

Edited by GBNorman

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I'd maybe do it if Delta was cheaper, but I'm not sure Delta is worth paying more for if you have to do a transfer anyways.

 

Here in MSP they're the major airline, so if you want the largest selection of non-stop destinations you're stuck with Delta. That's not always a bad thing, but I've rarely traveled with them as they charge a fair amount more than other airlines here at MSP due to their dominance in non-stop travel here. That said, I thought the trip I had to YVR on Delta was pretty easy. I'd probably go on them again, but I didn't like it enough to specifically seek them out.

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I have seen much comment at rail sites (not everyone is THAT dyed in the wool) that Delta Airlines is the superior carrier amongst the "Big Four" (AA, DL, UA, WN).

 

I've flown 'em but darned if I remember when. With so little flying I do nowadays (YTD 2 flights; 2 more booked) and that they don't "hub" at ORD, they are simply "out of mind". United goes anywhere I have occasion to go, so why bother with any others, especially since I know my way around their Terminal 1 at ORD -and not too much anywhere else.

 

But enough here rave about Delta and United has had so many "PR" issues of late - especially involving "my so precious animal - dogs", I have to ask "what's so good about Delta"?

 

Really, for the past four years I have flown to Munich during August. I've always gone Nonstop on United in Business. So is there some reason for a trip this year, I should "put up with change at Atlanta" to have a better in-flight experience?

 

Just curious.

I fly United and have no issues with them. I'm more active at FlyerTalk and let me tell you that there are plenty of Delta haters on there. On each of the board for the big 3, there are plenty of haters for one reason or another. Its only a matter of time before "PR" disaster hits the the other 2 plus Southwest. Personally, I'm not in love with United, just Star Alliance.

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This is just my experience with Delta and I'm sure it's not indicative of them as a whole, but I have had rotten customer service with them the times I've flown with them. The worst on any airline.

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In September I flew DL, and in January I flew AA (for the first time since 1988 I think) & UA. Previously, UA was my preferred airline, but now I like them less. My preference is for DL.

 

Of those 3, I like DL first, UA second and AA in a distant third.

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For me I live in the south so I have basically two choices. Delta or American. It's really a choice between airports Charlotte or Atlanta that I'm halfway between. Personally I prefer spirit to American.

 

Now when I go to the northwest then it's delta or Alaska because they are the dominant players.

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I flew enough last year to make gold on Delta. Nothing particularly great to write home about but I feel like they are the best bad option. Just like with Amtrak they have employees that go above and beyond and others that do the bare minimum. The only thing that really sets them apart, in my mind, is the fact that they fly mainline planes vice connection or express to more destinations than UA and AA. I’m a big guy and I greatly appreciate the extra leg room, seat width and shoulder room afforded by the bigger planes, meager as it may be.

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This is just my experience with Delta and I'm sure it's not indicative of them as a whole, but I have had rotten customer service with them the times I've flown with them. The worst on any airline.

Mine also. Got stuck in Atlanta on the way to Newfoundland -- Delta, once I finally got to customer service wanted to route me to Harrisburg and then terminating in Montreal. When I asked how I was going to get to St. John's from Montreal, the csr replied "aren't they close?"

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When I asked how I was going to get to St. John's from Montreal, the csr replied "aren't they close?"

Mr. Manning, I think all any of 'em know is what appears on their screen - airline notwithstanding.

 

I had to make a "quickie" reroute last September when on United I learned the Express Jet puddle jumper ORD-HPN was CX'D account "no crew". I figured it would be best to reroute to LGA and rent the auto I was otherwise going to rent at HPN so I could get to Greenwich "more or less" on time for a family gathering. A very nice young girl at United ORD Customer Service booked me on a "real United" A-320 to LGA for no additional fare. Then she said "you're on your own to get to White Plains". I said "Greenwich is where I'm going and it's about the same distance from La Guardia as it is from White Plains".

 

For all this girl knew, I could have been going to Greenwich UK and not CT/USA.

 

But she was very nice and competent with the computer. When I saw the line for "General Population" security stretched out, I quickly said "Dear, how much for an upgrade"? "$125", "Girl, you're on". I was through First Class security as fast as I could walk through it.

 

"Buck and a quarter" well spent.

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Is today's DL better than today's AA & UA? Yes, at least in the case of service standards and operational performance. In the case of WN (Southwest) it depends. If you need to fly P2P and/or last minute full fare then WN wins. Otherwise DL wins. Is DL as good as or better than AS (Alaska)? No. That being said, if I was flying to MUC I'd probably choose LH over any US carrier. Most intercontinental flights on US legacies are full of old and cranky freight attendants who wouldn't know friendly service if it bit them in the aft galley.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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This is just my experience with Delta and I'm sure it's not indicative of them as a whole, but I have had rotten customer service with them the times I've flown with them. The worst on any airline.

Mine also. Got stuck in Atlanta on the way to Newfoundland -- Delta, once I finally got to customer service wanted to route me to Harrisburg and then terminating in Montreal. When I asked how I was going to get to St. John's from Montreal, the csr replied "aren't they close?"

 

She was reading your mind and knew that you really really wanted to take the Via Ocean. ;)

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I usually fly with Delta because of my location. I could go to Boise to get better selection of airlines but not good in the winter- driving 2 hours in bad weather. I think there is nothing special to write about Delta, just an ordinary airline.

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When I was with the MILW, 1970-81, the in-house travel desk had a United ticket printer. But I think more transportation was issued by Northwest, and when I had occasion to fly on the MILW dime, it was on NW - and oh to such exciting places as BIL, GTF, BTM, and SPK (the occasional seminar in places like MCO or SAN, as well as an annual trip I had to LGA, well that of course was UA).

 

If one wanted a twenty year advance look into the future of air transport, flying that sorry outfit was an accurate way to do so. Their labor strife was often permeated into the cabin with their cadre of disgruntled Attendants - and with the paying passengers on the wrong end of such.

 

But, judging from the favorable comments here about the Delta travel experience, apparently they were able to bail out that sinking ship - or, of course some will say, the entire industry "sank" to NW's level of ground and inflight service.

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Despite the fact that I live near a Delta hub, I prefer to fly AA (out of the big 3, SW is my 1st choice). Most of my flying is to northeast Iowa, and AA serves that area best... so I'm kind of invested in their rewards (actually BA's rewards.....)

 

As a budget traveler, their usually cheaper & you usually get a wee bit more amenities wise when in economy/basic coach. Additionally when booking the lowest fare, on AA you can still upgrade; whereas on DL you S.O.L. (I don't fly UA enough to know their policy). I've got no problem flying UA, they just don't go where I need to go usually. Spirit isn't to bad, but I'm flying on a buddy pass when flying with them so I get an elevated level of service, the down side is that I'm flying stand-by.

 

peter

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When flying standby, you tend to overlook whatever shortcomings your carrier may have.... ;)

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When flying standby, you tend to overlook whatever shortcomings your carrier may have.... ;)

Similar to taking MATS Flights back in my Military Days!😁😄

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When flying standby, you tend to overlook whatever shortcomings your carrier may have.... ;)

Similar to taking MATS Flights back in my Military Days!

 

There you go... :)

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This is just my experience with Delta and I'm sure it's not indicative of them as a whole, but I have had rotten customer service with them the times I've flown with them. The worst on any airline.

Mine also. Got stuck in Atlanta on the way to Newfoundland -- Delta, once I finally got to customer service wanted to route me to Harrisburg and then terminating in Montreal. When I asked how I was going to get to St. John's from Montreal, the csr replied "aren't they close?"

She was reading your mind and knew that you really really wanted to take the Via Ocean. ;)
While I really want to take the Ocean ( almost managed it last year), as we all know Halifax still isn't all that close to St. John ( although it is closer than Montreal!). I've had more glitches on Delta since then, but do agree that disruptions can happen on any of the big carriers. It's a crap shoot each time you gird up for the TSA shuffle. Edited by the_traveler
Corrected quoting code

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I exclusively fly AA due to my location (RNO/PHX/ILM) and preference for the A321. Plus, they have Premium Economy on international flights and a good Business Class from what I've heard.

 

WN is no use because they don't fly international (and have no international rewards).

 

UA doesn't have Premium Economy and their international Polaris campaign has been a debacle; new 787-9s still have the old seats. They're also not useful geographically at all.

 

DL not really useful geographically and their rewards program is probably even worse. Also, the planes that they'll have with Premium Economy won't have Economy+ (or whatever they call it) and wouldn't let mid-tier elites choose complimentary because Premium Economy is a separate class.

 

So overall I'm going to stick with AA and their A321s.

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I exclusively fly AA due to my location (RNO/PHX/ILM) and preference for the A321. Plus, they have Premium Economy on international flights and a good Business Class from what I've heard.

 

WN is no use because they don't fly international (and have no international rewards).

 

UA doesn't have Premium Economy and their international Polaris campaign has been a debacle; new 787-9s still have the old seats. They're also not useful geographically at all.

 

DL not really useful geographically and their rewards program is probably even worse. Also, the planes that they'll have with Premium Economy won't have Economy+ (or whatever they call it) and wouldn't let mid-tier elites choose complimentary because Premium Economy is a separate class.

 

So overall I'm going to stick with AA and their A321s.

Me too. Being in Phoenix, AA is the best choice for me for all the above reasons. I will fly others but prefer AA. Domestically, Southwest is an option but I'm not a huge fan ( unless I need to take more than 1 suitcase). And to get "back on track", I'd take Amtrak if they'd ever come back to the Valley ( and no, Maricopa is not part of Metro Phoenix).

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Delta seems the most "put together" of the major airlines-they apparently have the lowest delay rate (in spite of having the oldest fleet-go figure), their app is better than anyone else's, and their overbook strategy is nice-they have you "bid" on being bumped at checkin if they think there's a chance of the flight being overbooked rather than waiting for the gate. In practice, most of my air travel is on Southwest as something like half of the flights out of my airport are by them. JetBlue is probably the best domestic airline I've flown on-more legroom!-but they don't go many places on west coast. They amusingly fly out of my airport's gate B6, which the airport confirmed on Twitter was intentional.

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Spirit isn't to bad...

In what way? The cramped seat pitch, the nickel and dime pricing schemes, or the lousy service standards? Spirit is a joke of an airline and I'm glad they were sent packing from my home airport. Normally I'm a fan of competition but in the case of Spirit all I can say is good riddance.

 

 

WN is no use because they don't fly international (and have no international rewards).

Southwest has been flying internationally for a few years now. I flew them nonstop to Mexico last year without incident. Shaved at least three hours off the next fastest airline. They're mainly focused on Caribbean travel but Europe may be in the cards at some point. Alternatively they may simply resume international connections and/or code sharing with another foreign carrier some day.

 

 

DL not really useful geographically and their rewards program is probably even worse. Also, the planes that they'll have with Premium Economy won't have Economy+ (or whatever they call it) and wouldn't let mid-tier elites choose complimentary because Premium Economy is a separate class. So overall I'm going to stick with AA and their A321s.

What points chasers hate about Delta is part of what I enjoy about them. Namely, that they appreciate my cold hard cash a lot more than a bunch of silly monkey points. Good for revenue travelers but bad for bargain hunting loyalists.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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Spirit isn't to bad...

In what way? The cramped seat pitch, the nickel and dime pricing schemes, or the lousy service standards? Spirit is a joke of an airline and I'm glad they were sent packing from my home airport. Normally I'm a fan of competition but in the case of Spirit all I can say is good riddance.

 

In the fact that I have to pay hardly anything ($25) on a buddy pass (aka I have a friend who works for them & get me cheap cheap flights) and being on said pass you get better service than on any mainline airline coach, no nickel & dimeing (still have to pay for alcohol, but that's it; even free checked bags). The 2 big down sides I see have is that fact that you are flying standby & they don't really fly anywhere I regularly fly to.

 

peter

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I too don't mind Spirit. You get what you pay for. As long as you keep that in mind you'll not have a problem. I've flown ATL-LAX-PDX with them all on one plane. Wasn't bad.

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