Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why Delta is not Alpha

First, they take my facewash. And this wasn’t just any ordinary facewash. It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill bar of 99 cent Dove soap. This was my $8.99 Clean and Clear foaming facial Acne Cleanser. And to make matters worse, they hadn’t said jack to me at JFK. No, I had gotten through security just fine there. Here in Pittsburgh, not only did they scan my backpack twice, they then singled out my duffle bag and completely unpacked it, only to apprehend and detain my dangerous 7 oz. facewash.

Then they delay the flight—not once, but twice. The first delay is fifteen minutes. Fine; I have no problem with a fifteen-minute delay, because I understand that things happen. But then it’s another half-an-hour before the plane even shows up, and as soon as its passengers debark, the crew is hustling us on, telling us we had better hurry if we want to “make it in time.” We had better hurry? We have been sitting in the airport for forty-five minutes!

Thirty minutes later, after sitting motionless on the runway, an announcement came on, rousing me from my Pittsburgh-to-JFK slumber. In this announcement, the flight attendant informed passengers that we must debark, because this plane will not be departing for JFK now until six o’clock. Apparently a crew member had timed out and will need to be replaced before the plane can take off again, and so our flight will now be delayed until 6p.m.

We all file off, with important-looking businessmen already on their phones with their travel agents, everyone waiting for their non-checked, stored-under-the-plane baggage (since Delta now charges $15 per checked bag). Everyone with connecting flights lines up at the counter, and I take my seat. Six o’clock rolls around, and we all get back onto the plane. Twenty minutes later, after a suspicious silence from the engines and no movement from the crew, the captain comes over the loudspeaker and informs us that he has some very unfortunate news. Apparently due to a runway issue at JFK, there is an air traffic delay that will be causing yet another stewardess to time out, and so we will have to once again debark the plane. They have no further information at this time. They are very sorry.

We get off the plane and pick up our luggage again. Now the businessmen are louder and redder as they spit into their cell phones. “Unacceptable” and “ridiculous” are the buzzwords of the day.

No sooner have we deboarded and lined up in front of the counter, when the airport attendant comes over the loudspeaker to apologize for the delay and informs us that a new flight attendant has been located and we will be re-boarding the plane as soon as she is ready. We all stand clustered around the entryway grumbling and wondering how legitimate this claim is for another thirty minutes before getting back on the plane. It is now 7:15 p.m. The plane is finally in the air at 7:35 p.m.—over four hours after it was scheduled to depart.

I am officially irate. My flight coming to Pittsburgh was delayed by more than an hour both in the airport and on the runway. All that, and now a crew member who couldn’t manage her schedule? If anything deserves a letter of complaint, it is certainly this. Delta management, you will be hearing from me.


Joel said...

TSA probably stole your face wash, not Delta. They took my toothpaste.

They sent me the cap in the mail with a ransom note.

K said...

You don't fly that often, do you? Delta has nothing to do with taking your face wash. TSA would have taken it no matter what airline you flew on.

There are ALWAYS delays going in/out of NYC airports. In fact, they factor in the delay time to the total flight time. However, that was way worse than usual.

Also, I highly doubt it was the crew member's fault for the scheduling problems. Blame the unions.

agoldste said...


Yeah, I knew it was TSA, I just wanted to gripe.

And as for delays, the flight only lasts 1 hour but they flight times they posted for me were 1 hour 45 minutes, so that must be what you're talking about.

Lastly, the one crew member said she had volunteered to come back to get the plane off the ground, and THEN she timed out. That just sounds like bad planning on everyone's part....