It’s me again, flying from the Pacific Northwest to the east coast. On many occasions I have noticed that your Premium and Sky boarding zones are jam packed with people to the point it isn’t even a perk anymore to carry the prestige of these boarding calls. As your Medallions fight to the death to embark, and find that coveted overhead space for the bags, the mortals that aspire to become Silver and Gold Elites lose interest. Many on the line are already complaining about the way the Frequent Flyers (FF) are treated.
It’s a sad sight to witness those who paid for their First and Business class seats beg to board before the economy class elites who “fly this airline everyday of their lives” and therefore think they are a better class of passenger than the ones up front. American treats their First and Business class peeps like gods, separating then from the frugal passengers that are envious of their good fortune. I envy their treatment since, in essence, if we are all equal as Premium Zone citizens of the Deltaworld, the perk becomes meaningless. Who in their right mind wants to pay for a higher class of service when they aren’t even given the courtesy of boarding first?
I won’t ever again. Here’s why:
As a gift to my husband, I purchased my ticket as a first class fare to cash in on my Delta SkyMiles Reserve companion ticket. I paid $$$ to get to Chicago in style. The moment my boarding zone was called I had to wrestle 50 men, all claiming to be more important passengers than me, to get a spot to board the 757. I lost sight of my husband in the struggle. Separated and on my own, I was asking for permission to join the line and reunite with my loved one when one of the FF got into a shouting match with me because we were all Premium boarding and he couldn’t care less that I was trying to board, even with a paying First Class fare. To him, I was just another uneducated passenger that could not possibly understand how hard he paid to be a Diamond flying in the back of the bus and that the Prem on his boarding pass was a badge of honor to be respected. Thanks to the flying gods, a nice gentleman stepped in and saved my honor, offering to let me cut in line as he uttered the most infamous line in air travel: “We are all going to get there at the same time, sir. Just be nice and let her pass.”
When I finally got to my seat, the bins were full, in first class! We almost had to give up our bag and sadly, we weren’t the only ones in our cabin. The rest of the service was sketchy at best but there may have been other reasons for it, like the fact that we were traveling during the Memorial Day weekend rush. The flight attendants kept dropping my purse and the other front row passenger’s bag from bin height as she got her stuff out of the overhead compartment. I guess the plane didn’t provide crew storage. Since nothing inside broke, I rested a bit easier. The only redeeming quality of my flight was receiving confirmation that they did have an omelet for us and enough beer to drown our sorrows as we got closer to our destination. (Hey, it’s noon somewhere!) The MSP stopover went off smoothly and the 45 minute 717 plane ride to Chicago O’Hare was bearable, had ample bin space and friendly staff. Faith in humanity restored.
Fast forward 4 days and we are back at Chicago O’Hare. As we board DL2223 to MSP, we noticed that the First Class Cabin passengers and a few Diamonds had lined up, Berlin Wall style, to ensure no one got through, especially the people deplaning. Wow! The staff ignored them for the most part but had this been Europe, the wall would have been brought down swiftly by the crew. The gate announcer called for those needing assistance and children to board first but the FFs blocked their way! Needless to say that when the announcer skipped to First Class the hoard was already on the move. We almost got trampled and we were First Class too. In this 717, the overhead space wasn’t an issue. One small victory, but I’ll take it. The flight crew was a bit rushed but the quick turn around after a late plane arrival makes it more understandable. At least they are smiling.
Those smiles didn’t last long, as I spoke too soon. Just when I thought we were after leaving, rain starts to pour. After two hours of waiting on the tarmac for a thunderstorm to pass, we have officially missed our connecting flight through MSP to Seattle and have had to put in place an emergency plan for our dog whose 5 hour wait for us, after his nanny and dog walker left him for the day, is turning into 10 hrs if we can’t get home by 8pm PST. The Delta app keeps crashing and as we take off, I wonder if the next flight out of MSP will be available. Curse you ORD!! (Weather is not under your control but what happened next was.)
3 hours later…
Just my luck! My First Class fare was rebooked as economy plain, not even plus and the gate crew REFUSED to help. I had my First Class boarding pass and they pretty much told me to F’off. After 45 minutes on hold with the Medallion line, I was able to get help but since the flight was closed already they couldn’t give me the upgrade, or erm, my paid fare! The lady on the phone talked me off the ledge and offered a refund and a voucher to make me feel better. If it wasn’t for the fact that Zach needs me, I’d get thrown out of the airport. This has been one of the worst experiences ever! Oh, and to top it off companion ticket over here got sent to 16A and I was in 28A. What the *bleep*! (Agent lady played ball and at my behest changed me to 16B. For shame!)
If it wasn’t for the fact that my husband already bought out Xmas flights with Delta, I’d never use them again. My American Express card is going to die a swift death. Not worth it. At all.
Ex-aspiring Gold Medallion and ex-loyal customer since 2004.
PS. You can keep your A3XXs.