Looking for an honest Delta Airlines review? Read on for more about my experiences with this airline.
I’d like to preface this review by saying that I’m a longtime Delta SkyMiles member and Delta American Express credit card holder. I have redeemed award flights with Delta and fly with them at least a dozen times a year.
That said, I have a love/hate relationship Delta Airlines.
I’m not one to bash airlines. Despite a 24-hour delay in Venice and the calling of police to prevent a riot in the airport, I wrote a glowing review about Air Transat when their exceptional customer service team acted quickly to make amends after the fact.
Frankly, I don’t care much which airline I fly. My priority is to find cheap flights. It doesn’t matter to me if that flight is on Delta, Spirit or Alaska Air. I’m looking for the best deal to get to where I need to go.
Where the differentiators come in, however, and where these reviews are born are in the headaches often caused by travel.
Let’s be honest — actually getting to a destination is the least enjoyable part of a trip. The point in taking a flight is to minimize the amount of time you spend in transit. If it weren’t for the ease of crossing thousands of miles in a matter of hours, most of us would opt out of the hostage situation otherwise known as flying in the economy cabin.
The situation is so bad that the European Union has enacted strict rules about compensation in the event of flight delays, lost luggage or getting bumped off a flight.
Unfortunately, the U.S. has no such rules and U.S.-based airlines like Delta can be shameless in pushing the boundaries of what they can get away with.
This post will explore the pros and cons of flying with Delta and include some of my personal experiences as a frequent traveler.
Where is Delta Airlines based out of?
Delta is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, meaning the ATL airport is a “hub” for Delta flights. You’ll find hundreds of routes departing from there daily, to destinations around the world.
Their airline partners include Air France, Alitalia, China Eastern, KLM, LATAM, Virgin Atlantic and more.
This means you can redeem Delta points for flights on partner airlines even if Delta doesn’t service your intended destination.
What are the different cabins and classes?
Delta has various options depending on your budget and the duration of a flight.
For those wanting to spend the bare minimum they have Basic Economy. Everything here is an add-on fee, from luggage to priority boarding and there are no changes allowed to your ticket.
The next step up from that is main cabin, with some flexibility to make changes and food and entertainment on board.
After that, it’s Delta Comfort+. They have more spacious seats, expedited boarding and a dedicated overhead bin. They’re seated right behind the partition of First Class.
After that there is First Class, the premier domestic service with food and drinks, a wider seat and expedited boarding.
If you’re taking an international flight things can get fancy with Premium Select and Delta One on certain routes, including a seat that spans out into a flat bed.
Delta Airlines Baggage Policy
Economy flyers and related tickets are limited to 50 pounds for checked baggage, first class gets 70 pounds.
Delta charges $30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second.
Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members and American Express card holders get their first checked bag free.
For carry-on bags there is no maximum weight but the dimensions of the bag cannot exceed 22” x 14” x 9”.
Food and Beverage
Delta offers complimentary snacks on every flight over 250 miles. One thing Delta has going for it is its collaboration with Kind bars, so that you get your choice of gingerbread cookies or a Kind bar when you’re on board (occasionally they’ll throw in Cheez-its too).
I usually keep the bar with me as my go-to snack for whenever I land in a new destination, since you never know what the food situation will look like and I like to have backups.
For flights over 900 miles long, they offer a menu with items for purchase.
I have had unfortunate incidents with Delta Airlines’ customer service team. In my experience, the most responsive method of contacting them and resolving an issue is through Twitter.
The first issue I had was lost baggage on both routes of my Central Asia trip.
I filed a lost luggage report at the airport, was told it would be delivered within 24 hours and when it wasn’t, called in and was notified the lost luggage report was never filed. Despite me having a copy of the paper claim in my hand.
The next issue I has was with a tarmac delay. It’s against the law to hold passengers on an aircraft that is sitting on a tarmac for more than 2 hours without food and beverage, and for more than 3 hours without allowing customers to deplane.
Once, I was held on the tarmac by Delta for FOUR hours. The flight attendants and pilots were all apologetic, insisting that we contact Delta and complain because the situation was truly egregious. I did just that.
Nearly a month later I received a reply from the customer service agent. The only reason I even got a reply within that time was because I simultaneously filed a Better Business Bureau complaint.
Delta denied that we were ever on the tarmac and insisted we deplaned after two hours, despite time-stamped pictures and messages on my end.
It was then that I took to Twitter. We were supposed to take off at 3:59pm. We were held on the tarmac until 8:01pm. No food. No water. Very limited bathroom use.
Shout-out to the Twitter agent who issued me $100 in a flight credit as compensation. While minimal it at least showed an effort to right a wrong and didn’t fabricate times of departure.
The third issue I had with Delta was regarding one of my carry-on bags.
I was going back to Florida after Christmas and had my brand new roller bag in hand. At the gate they suspected the flight would be full so they started asking for volunteers to gate check their bags.
As I was in line to board, another announcement went off: “The overhead bin space is getting full and we’re still looking for people to check their bags.” One second later I went to scan my boarding pass when the agent tells me the bin space was full and I had no choice but to check my bag.
Between the announcement that the plane was “getting full” and the scanning of my boarding pass, not a single person had boarded the plane. So naturally, I was flummoxed as to how we went from “getting full” to “full” in an instant.
I just about lost it when I boarded to find no less than 20 overhead bins still open with space.
In my experience, Delta’s customer service leaves much to be desired.
During the pandemic, Delta has stood out by being one of the last remaining airlines to keep the middle seat open in an attempt to observe social distancing protocols.
If you have points or miles from a travel credit card, Delta can get you to a lot of places for reasonable prices. I flew from Bangkok to Miami for $80 using Delta miles.
The wonderful thing about commercial markets is that there is plenty of competition. You have options when choosing who to fly.
If you fly Delta, make sure you’re holding on to your luggage and have a Twitter account, just in case.
Till next time, safe travels!