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GBNorman

Delta Airlines - Are They REALLY Better?

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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.

 

My bad, by international I mean Asia. But I'm notorious for evading 737s as well.

 

I'm not necessarily a points chaser but there's geographic reasons I fly AA as well. However, I still prefer motorcoach travel over air.

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I generally stick with DL, but it has more to do with a flexible SDC policy and what has generally been the most affordable domestic F a week or two out from travel than anything. Their partnership with Virgin Atlantic is also a big plus, and there are a number of reasonably affordable TCON lie-flat flights.

My limited experience with UA and AA actually gives the edge to UA on the balance of price and hard product (pulling a 787 LAX-IAH doesn't hurt, and neither does their partnership with Amtrak), though in some cases their hubs leave something to be desired (IAD in particular never thrills me). AA is just about the definition of "meh", with their only edges being that they're in-alliance with BA and they actually serve PHF (which is nice once in a while).

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What you get in any discussion like this is a view from our seats. That's what matters to, or has been experienced by, each of us. But that is very variable by the cities we live in, travel to/from, and fare class we choose. Looking at hard numbers like % of flights delayed or cancelled, % of bags mishandled, and fed complaint ratios. Financial results matter, since ultimately, the airline works for its investors, not us.

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I think in the 70s, 80s, and 90s that Delta was a superior carrier but not in the last decade.

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I believe that prior to deregulation, AA was one of, if not the top domestic carriers, with innovations like 'Astrovision', standup bars in both coach and first class Jumbo's, the first computerized reservation system (Sabre), etc. UAL, and TWA were up there, as well. Internationally, I believe PAA set the standard....

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Pan American World Airways did set the standard that the world followed. Supposedly their logo was the second most recognized American logo right after the coke company

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You get what you pay for.

On any given aircraft there are dozens if not hundreds of potential prices for each ticket in a given cabin. Does the passenger that paid four times as much receive four times the service? Not in my experience they don't. People often assume that the reason some passengers pay much more is because they booked shortly before departure and/or when the plane was already nearly full, but some of my cheapest flights were last minute trips on packed aircraft. Some of my most expensive flights were booked several months in advance on mostly empty aircraft. Some of my flights have been even cheaper than bus and shuttle van service. I'm sure there's a reason for all of these counterintuitive situations but if there is a lazy rule of thumb I would never apply to airfare "get what you pay for" would probably be it.

 

 

Internationally, I believe PAA set the standard....

&

Pan American World Airways did set the standard that the world followed.

Maybe it's apples and oranges but when it comes to lasting worldwide standards in aviation I'd put the FAA far above PAA.

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The FAA sets safety standards, and others. Pan American set trends as far as female stewardesses, the jet age style, and don't forget their biggest legacy the 747. Juan Tripe wanted it and Boeing made it happen. So the legacy of pan American is still out there.

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I have always found Delta to be pretty subpar. It doesn't even hold a candle to jetBlue, and I feel like even American has often been nicer. :wacko:

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I had to fly from Cincinnati back home Sunday and noted that the choices for meals included a breakfast sandwich.

 

Apparently Delta can still provide a hot item!

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Pan American set trends as far as female stewardesses, the jet age style, and don't forget their biggest legacy the 747. Juan Tripe wanted it and Boeing made it happen. So the legacy of pan American is still out there.

The world's first stewardess, was United Air Lines's Ellen Church, an RN., in 1930. Prior to that trend setting appointment, all stewards or purser's were male.

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It's funny CPotish the airline I dislike flying the most is American. I often find their staff surly.

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It's funny CPotish the airline I dislike flying the most is American. I often find their staff surly.

 

One time I took a photo of the airshow map when a suddenly enraged American Airlines flight attendant started shouting at me. She said I was not allowed to take any photos of the staff and that I had to delete the photo immediately. I calmly listened to her and then politely explained that my camera was pointed directly at the AVOD screen, that it wasn't aimed anywhere near the staff, and that the field of view couldn't see around the seat in front of me. I then showed her the photo of the map so she could see what I was talking about with her own two eyes. I honestly just assumed she'd quickly realize I hadn't run afoul of her rules and simply let it go. Instead she changed her story to claim that all photos were banned on all American Airlines flights no matter the situation. I knew this was not AA policy (at the time anyway), and it was clear that the flight attendant didn't have her facts straight, but it was equally clear she was itching for a fight. She said that if I didn't delete the photo and put my camera away for the rest of the flight she'd have me arrested and all possessions confiscated on arrival. That sounded completely ridiculous to me but it turns out that under US and international law there is very little in the way of practical legal recourse for passengers who are threatened with arrest by overbearing airline staff. They can ruin your trip simply by claiming they felt you were being unsafe or uncooperative and go about their business while you sit in a little windowless room begging for your freedom. That being said, I've witnessed similar experiences on all of the US legacies, so it's not just American Airlines that has surly staff looking for trouble.

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It's funny CPotish the airline I dislike flying the most is American. I often find their staff surly.

I don't like American either, but I've had consistently unpleasant experiences with Delta. YMMV.

Edited by cpotisch

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It's funny CPotish the airline I dislike flying the most is American. I often find their staff surly.

 

One time I took a photo of the airshow map when a suddenly enraged American Airlines flight attendant started shouting at me. She said I was not allowed to take any photos of the staff and that I had to delete the photo immediately. I calmly listened to her and then politely explained that my camera was pointed directly at the AVOD screen, that it wasn't aimed anywhere near the staff, and that the field of view couldn't see around the seat in front of me. I then showed her the photo of the map so she could see what I was talking about with her own two eyes. I honestly just assumed she'd quickly realize I hadn't run afoul of her rules and simply let it go. Instead she changed her story to claim that all photos were banned on all American Airlines flights no matter the situation. I knew this was not AA policy (at the time anyway), and it was clear that the flight attendant didn't have her facts straight, but it was equally clear she was itching for a fight. She said that if I didn't delete the photo and put my camera away for the rest of the flight she'd have me arrested and all possessions confiscated on arrival. That sounded completely ridiculous to me but it turns out that under US and international law there is very little in the way of practical legal recourse for passengers who are threatened with arrest by overbearing airline staff. They can ruin your trip simply by claiming they felt you were being unsafe or uncooperative and go about their business while you sit in a little windowless room begging for your freedom. That being said, I've witnessed similar experiences on all of the US legacies, so it's not just American Airlines that has surly staff looking for trouble.

 

Yikes. That is patently absurd and pretty infuriating.

Edited by cpotisch

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That was sort of the point I made a while ago. Each of us tends to look at an airline colored by our own experiences. Delta has a bunch of old planes, including lots of legacy NW domestic aircraft that were pretty spartan, and used 717 and MD-90 they have acquired (actually, a 717 is a big step up from an RJ). On the other hand, their very new A-321 (about 45 in service) are set up pretty nicely with 4 lavs (FC, mid cabin, 2 rear) decnt IFE and both 31 and 34" coach pitch offerings) The old Pan-Am Terminal (T-3) was a dump, but they spent a ton extending T-4 and are renovating T-2 and have billion dollar project underway at LaGuardia and close to a 2 billion dollar project at LAX. But like the other majors, many of the flights under their brand (especially to smaller cities or non focus markets) are actually flown by regional affiliates or contract carriers.

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When I mentioned AA, I was talking about it, back before deregulation, a whole different company, from what you have today....but then so were all the other's.... ;)

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When I mentioned AA, I was talking about it, back before deregulation, a whole different company, from what you have today....but then so were all the other's.... ;)

Ah, the sweet era of deregulation, when airlines had to get permission to fly nonstop interstate routers, there were far fewer routes and flights, actually much less competition (despite the number of carriers being higher), and fares were many times as expensive as they are today. But at least folks got a free microwave TV dinner, amirite?

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When I mentioned AA, I was talking about it, back before deregulation, a whole different company, from what you have today....but then so were all the other's.... ;)

Ah, the sweet era of deregulation, when airlines had to get permission to fly nonstop interstate routers, there were far fewer routes and flights, actually much less competition (despite the number of carriers being higher), and fares were many times as expensive as they are today. But at least folks got a free microwave TV dinner, amirite?

 

I guess you meant to say in the era of regulation...I agree with a lot of what you pointed out, but having enjoyed flying back in that era, all I can say is ....it worked for me. :)

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Indeed, meant regulation, not deregulation.

Or pre-deregulation as the case may be, since even now there are regulations, but much much less onerous than they used to be pre-deregulation.

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I'm sure my former neighbor "bids away" from any flight I'd be on - even though all she can presently hold is Coach, and I fly Business.

 

But somehow I think she "tips them off" when I go, for I have always had exemplary service flying to Munich on United - the elderly gentleman in 6A is addressed by name.

 

Lest we forget, all airlines, like railroads, work on a seniority system; so not very likely "the girl next door" who hired on yesterday will be on an International flight (oh, maybe if she is on Reserve and gets lucky). Lufthansa has been around as long as has United, so likely their Attendants' age demographic will be similar.

 

Now possibly the "younger airlines" have a different demographic. My Sister, who has been to Australia twice in as many years (my Niece, her Daughter, lives down there), once on Qantas, and once on American/Virgin Australia. She noted to me the Attendants on Virgin appeared much younger than those on Qantas. She is off again next January - on who I don't know. Maybe she will decide it's time to "fly US" and go on either Delta or United.

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Having flown since the 50s when "Stews" ( right out of "Madmen")were Stepford Wifed,I much prefer to be served by Expierenced,Mature Vets instead of the "Gold Digger/Party Girls" of the 60s and 70s looking for a Rich Sugar Daddy or Husband!(Sexist that I am!😁)

 

Good Customer Service is the name of the Game. YMMV

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Having flown since the 50s when "Stews" ( right out of "Madmen")were Stepford Wifed,I much prefer to be served by Expierenced,Mature Vets instead of the "Gold Digger/Party Girls" of the 60s and 70s looking for a Rich Sugar Daddy or Husband!(Sexist that I am!)

 

Good Customer Service is the name of the Game. YMMV

I don’t worry about the age. The tendency towards not so good customer service on the US carriers even when compared to the likes of LH bugs me. Of late I notice some are trying to fix that, but culture once screwed up, takes time to fix.

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Having flown since the 50s when "Stews" ( right out of "Madmen")were Stepford Wifed,I much prefer to be served by Expierenced,Mature Vets instead of the "Gold Digger/Party Girls" of the 60s and 70s looking for a Rich Sugar Daddy or Husband!(Sexist that I am!)

 

Good Customer Service is the name of the Game. YMMV

Ahhh....I pine for the "Coffee, Tea, or Me" days....used to have a "crush" on AA poster girl, Patty Poulsen....

Sorry if my "neanderthal" attitude is politically incorrect, and I don't mean to offend anyone...

 

That said, they were 'eye-candy', and yet provided superb customer service at the same time, serving full meals to all in coach on a two hour flight... :cool::)

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