October 25, 2017

Why flying Delta is a terrible waste of your time

This is akin to the Carnival cruise story of 2012.

We left Denver on Friday evening on a Delta flight. We got to Detroit with half an hour to spare, before our next flight to Pittsburgh was supposed to leave. After 20 minutes of waiting, they told us the pilots were still in Indianapolis and we would have to wait for them to arrive. We were supposed to leave Detroit at 9:30ish pm, and we ended up leaving around midnight. We sat at the bar and I grabbed a bunch of the "complimentary" snacks and drinks that they brought out. Aside from the fact that I was a bit concerned we'd somehow miss this wedding, we didn't have another flight to catch, so we just talked to a fellow PSU graduate and enjoyed seeing all the people traveling back to PA for the PSU/Michigan game that was the following day.

So that was a bit of a jumbled trip to the east coast.

But then, on the way (attempting to get) back to Denver...

In Pittsburgh, we went to the Delta counter to get our boarding passes and check our bags. Bag checks are free for active duty military and it said this on our email receipts. We weren't asked in Denver; she just took our bags. In Pittsburgh (Larayne was her name), she took our bags and said it would be $50. Scott said it should be free since it was in Denver and he handed over his military i.d. She barely gave us that free "benefit" and took the bags. Just the fact that she didn't do it without us asking was annoying, as it was right on our receipt/in our file/whatever.

Going through security, our boarding passes wouldn't scan, and I heard the TSA agents mutter about the "Delta passes". The man in front of us was told he'd have to go BACK to the check-in desk to get a new one if it didn't work! It eventually did scan. Ours did too, thankfully.

Upon reaching the gate, we learned that our flight was delayed because of "weather" in Atlanta. We heard later, twice, that it was a mechanical issue. Another flight in Buffalo had the same issue so I think we can agree that any airline besides Delta might save you some time.

I wrote my sub plans on my phone, asked our doggy baby-sitter to please stay another night, and put in for a substitute. Scott finished his math/statistics/hydrology homework, took pictures of all 14 pages, and emailed it to his professor, along with a picture of our rebooked tickets.

Since the flight was delayed more than two hours, they rebooked us onto a morning flight out of Atlanta while we were still in Pittsburgh. My friend sent me a text that said Delta is an acronym for Doesn't Ever Leave The Airport. Makes sense.

They also don't run red-eyes, apparently? I don't know. We only ever took red-eyes out of Alaska and that was usually on United. United planes were always kind of crappy but we never missed a connection. Anyway...

When we finally got to Atlanta, it was 11pm, much later than the time we were originally supposed to land in Denver. We missed our connection by over an hour but some people missed theirs by 5 minutes. That would've been much more frustrating. And by some people, I mean the line of hundreds of people that were waiting to talk to the ONE Delta representative. There were flights delayed all over the east coast (yet, only Delta) and I felt bad for this lady...she eventually gave up and just stopped answering questions, started crying or whatever (she might be in the wrong line of work). They brought in two more people. After half an hour, we got new boarding passes printed and everyone was told that there were no more hotel rooms. I'm taking this to mean that there were no more literal paper vouchers to hand out. They gave us a number to call and ask for reimbursement later, instead. (Yes, I'm sure that will work out just fine.) People around us were swearing and complaining out loud but we figured that wouldn't get us anywhere. This wasn't a representatives' issue anyway; I feel like Delta is going to go bankrupt sooner, rather than later if this is regular for them.

Please don't mind the random people. There were so many people snapchatting that I figure one picture won't make a difference. Also, we were toward the very front of the line. 

We didn't have a hotel room, I had never even been to this airport, and we knew we had to be back at the airport by 5am. This wasn't a time to be picky and take chances. They assured us our bags would "meet us" in Denver.

We made our way to Ground Transportation, found the hotel shuttles, and got on the one that said they still had available rooms. We were able to get a room at the Ramada for $70. I really doubt we'll ever see that money again. We slept for 4 hours, and we were back at the airport by 5:30am. Security was easy this time but then we sat and waited for 3 hours for our flight to leave since it was departing at 8:30am.

I am, admittedly, awful at flying. I get airsick,  can't read, can sometimes watch something, don't eat or drink, and just sit there and try to sleep. So while we did make it back to Denver, as did our bags, it wasn't any fun.

I understand that air travel troubles are literally a first world part-of-life problem and that's fine. My issue is that we've done a lot of cross-country flying....mostly Alaska- fill in the blank as a connection or two - east coast. We never had this happen before.

We had never flown Delta before because the best deals were always with American or United. We never had a problem. EVER. I couldn't even come up with something disgruntled to say about previous flying experiences aside from a general I don't like it. With the case of Delta, we had nothing but bad experiences. I can't say other airlines weren't affected by weather on Monday (ours was a mechanical issue so that doesn't count), but I will say that I've never been on a plane that "lost" their pilots.

Instead of complaining about terribleness of air travel, I'll just implore you to try another airline and let Delta put themselves out of business. I don't have a "big" voice, but I know we won't be using Delta anymore and we'll encourage others to avoid them as well, just like with Carnival.

You know how the airline always tells you at the end of a flight how they appreciate your business because they know you have a choice in your travel plans? You definitely do have a choice, so I would totally not choose Delta.


So that was MONDAY and TUESDAY. And now it's Wednesday and I've got a lot to do.

Be sure you're mailing out your Pumpkin Swap boxes soon! (uh, totally going to do that this week)


  1. I avoid Delta when flying as much as I can. Sorry you had such a sucky experience; Delta needs to up their game if they want to stay in business.

  2. I hate when I get screwed on the return. It's only happened to me once, and it was a weather issue.

    I do not fly Delta.

  3. Southwest or American all the way bc I know that they'll work with you to keep you happy if it comes to refunds etc. Im sure you got the wheels rolling on that!

  4. Ugh sorry that you had such a rough time with Delta. I've never personally had a bad experience with them but I know others like you that have.

  5. Actually all of the worst flying experiences of my life have been on airlines in the USA. So we tend to feel like US airlines in general are pretty not great...the worst was a United flight that was so delayed we missed our connection and we were asking the help lady for any and every available option to get back, even a rental car, because we had a family reunion the next day, and she would only say the only option she could see was a flight that didn't leave till the next day. I was on the phone with my grandpa and he was looking up flights and found one that left in an hour but arrived at a different local airport than the one we were originally supposed to arrive at--two airports less than an hour from each other. We went back with the flight info my grandpa had found and she was like, "Oh, yeah, I guess that'd work, wouldn't it?" and got us boarding passes and we ran for that flight but man...when a grandpa with internet access can find a flight but the person whose job it is can't find one...something is off.

  6. I've flown Delta twice. Once was what I call "a day trip to the Atlanta airport". I was headed to San Antonio for a work conference. Our flight was delayed out of our home airport and we missed our connecting in Atlanta. Because of heavy rain the day before, everything was sold out and overbooked. We ended up walking to the counter where the flight was going back home that night and returned home. Never made it to the conference. They did fully refund our tickets even though we flew without even asking. The only other was a connecting flight on a return from Orlando because the airline we flew directly with going down, stopped serving the airport in the middle of our trip. We knew that was the case, but so annoying. I don't like Atlanta's airport so I we drive 2-3 hours to take direct flights instead of the airport an hour away.

    I get airsick too and so the direct flights are best. If I had to be flown around the country I'd lose it. I won't eat either just because that makes the motion sickness feel worse if it happens.

  7. We flew Deltq YEARS ago when we went to Las Vegas. We showed up for our flight home and the flight time had been changed but we were never informed! (This was before smart phones, so I didn’t have any way to check email.) The good news is that we got on the next flight (which was leaving shortly after we had arrived) and they gave us first class seats at no additional charge.

  8. Yup, I always avoid Delta if I can help it! I haven't had a bad experience quite like that (ugh, no fun at all!), but there's always something here or there that makes the trip not run smoothly. I always go Southwest if I'm able!


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