I normally avoid U.S. carriers at all costs flying internationally for many reasons. Foremost is that service is quite bad, baggage allowances are skimpy and the interactions with staff on many levels are poor.
I found myself taking a transatlantic Delta flight just recently because I needed to complete a few miles to get gold with them which brings added perks in their One World network which includes several good carriers.
What I witnessed from them impressed me quite a bit. It wasn’t just that their service and attitude was better than their U.S. competition, but that they have really made strides to improve the airline in light of their global competition.
I had both a domestic and an international segment on my flight with them and both caught my attention. The first impression I had at Miami International was how their check in counters were designed with a new look. A staff member was putting fresh flowers on each counter, check in agents were alert, smiling and smartly dressed.
Just next to me a group of Italians were having a hard time with a missed connection (the fault of a completely different airline) I offered to help translate and I was sincerely impressed when I saw the agent named Norbert make their dilemma his personal task. He was diligent and helpful even though it was not Delta’s fault whatsoever.
The domestic leg from Miami to New York was a comfortable flight with nice seating and in a new aircraft. A truly welcome perk Delta is offering is free messaging across all the major texting platforms throughout the flight. It worked in the beginning of the International flight as well until we were out over the ocean.
On my route from New York to Barcelona I saw the service factor really begin to shine. There were three meal services offered during the flight and the quality of the food, complimentary drinks (both alcoholic and non) and generosity of the staff were evident and reminded me of the other carriers I normally choose to fly. The quality and creativity of the food was gourmet, with little intentional details on the menu, in the presentation, that again show there’s and intentional reform underway here.
The experience I had with Delta was a complete turnaround from the nickle and diming attitude I have seen develop over the years where U.S. airlines give almost nothing (or something of terrible quality) and charge for everything else that’s equally bad. I would have no problem flying with them again and its about time someone among the major U.S. carriers started stepping up the customer experience.