Sunday, November 1, 2009

Home from Dublin

Yesterday: Last day in Dublin

(Warning: there is virtually no beer-related information in this article.)

Hey, Delta! You suck.

Friday morning, 24 hours before our 8:20am Saturday flight, I printed our boarding passes. Exit row seats from Dublin to JFK. First class upgrade from JFK to Cincinnati. Exit row seats from Cincinnati to Omaha. Not perfect, but comfortable.

Saturday morning, checking in at the Dublin airport, the Delta agent handed us new boarding passes, saying that there had been equipment changes on the first two legs. No more exit row to JFK. No more first class to CVG. They didn't have Paris and me sitting next to each other anymore. And she said she couldn't do anything about that; we'd have to wait until we got to JFK.

We got to JFK not long before our next flight was supposed to be boarding. The agent there said there was nothing he could do. This did not sit well with Paris, who has flown 150,000 miles with Delta this year, and whose so-called "Elite" status entitles her to better treatment. After some discussion, two adjacent seats magically became available.

We boarded, a bit later than scheduled. The plane was full except for one seat. We sat at the gate for twenty minutes. We were told that we were waiting for a Delta crew member to arrive from LaGuardia, who needed to be on this flight to commute to another flight. We waited another twenty minutes. We were told that the commuting Delta crew member wasn't coming after all. We backed away from the gate.

Let me emphasize this: they held a flight full of paying customers for a Delta employee, who never actually arrived.

The airport was operating on only one runway because of high winds, and we were fifteenth in line. After thirty minutes, we reached the number one position. The pilot announced that ATC had closed our departure corridor, so we had to pull out of line and wait five or ten minutes for it to reopen. We finally took off about an hour and a half behind schedule.

Arriving in Cincinnati, we — and everybody else on the flight — found that we had missed our connection to Omaha by twenty minutes.

Let me emphasize this: they held a flight full of paying customers for a Delta employee, but they did not hold the connecting flights for those same paying customers.

Delta put us up in a hotel and gave us each $21 in meal vouchers. The gate agent was friendly and apologetic, and she told us we could go relax in the Crown Room Lounge before heading the the hotel. Upon entering the Crown Room Lounge, a phenomenally snotty woman told us that we had "no authority to be here", and she would have to track down the person who had supposedly given us that authority. After a few minutes of her attitude, we said the hell with it and went to the hotel. Besides, all they had was industrial yellow beer.

They rebooked us to Omaha via Atlanta first thing Sunday morning. Those flights ran a little late (and they didn't even bother to tell us about the available first-class upgrades) but we did make it home in the end.

Look, I understand weather delays and equipment delays. But it's damned irresponsible and insulting for them to delay the flight for one of their own, and not offer the same courtesy to us who pay the bills. And the incompetence and arrogance with which they handled the situation is inexcusable.

I'll have to look back through my past travel notes, but I don't remember Northwest ever treating us this poorly. If this is the service we can expect from "the new Delta", I'm going to have to find some other way to get around.

Hey, Delta! You suck. Thanks for fucking up our first wedding anniversary.

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