I'll admit it, this is a rant. But I think I'm on to something here, and maybe others will see it too.
A little background: in a former life I routinely flew over 100,000 miles a year and was a Medallion level Frequent Flyer. On 9/11 I was on a plane, second in line for take-off, when we went back to the terminal.
Delta explained nothing. They didn't even announce that all further flights were cancelled. Typical.
But before 9/11 and the various financial crises that followed it, flying was a lot more pleasant. You got treated like a human. On meal flights you got hot food and special diets were accommodated. The whole process was flexible; miss a flight, hop on another. Checking in took just a few minutes, and live people were available to help if there was a problem. And you didn't pay to check bags.
Of course, there were problems. Ticket prices out of Cincinnati were highest or second-highest in the nation, because Delta had a lock on the terminal. I used to drive to Dayton, fly from there to Cinci, and get on the exact same flight, say to North Carolina, for $300 less. I would do this because even though my clients were paying the fare, I couldn't see screwing them for Delta's sake.
Anyway, such issues aside, Delta used to be friendly, helpful, flexible, convenient, and fairly reliable.
Flash forward to last week.
We flew to Hawaii from Cincinnati. Outbound, we flew to Salt Lake (3 hours). No food. Bad coffee. We grabbed a sandwich in the SLC terminal. From Salt Lake to Maui (5 hours), food was available for purchase. But when we broke down and asked for some, none was left. The food on offer was cold sandwiches, or "snacks", or a cheese tray containing processed cheeses.
Delta's strategy is to gouge every nickel in "extras," reduce the number of flights so every flight is jammed, offer as few amenities as possible. The latest one is "cashless flights" which means you can't pay for a drink or a sandwich in cash.
I would love to get a legal opinion on this move. I'm holding a dollar bill in my hands, and it says "this note is legal tender for all debts public and private." Unless I'm wrong, they HAVE to take it. If you're like a lot of people flying back from Maui, the LAST thing you want to do is add anything more to a credit card! But according to Delta, if you want service, it's credit card or zilch.
This cashless business is obviously easier for Delta than making change. So there you go -- it's all about Delta, and NOT about the customers. But now the flight attendants spend a flight joking, reading magazines, and hanging out in the back of the plane instead of working to serve the passengers. I'm not kidding --- I've seen this repeatedly.
So, in sum, surcharges, baggage fees, high prices, jammed planes, mechanized check-ins, bad food or no food, all the TSA security crap (another post coming on that one), incredibly labyrinthine rules for seating assignments and upgrades, a frequent flyer program that lets you fly on midnight flights on 4th thursdays only (or so it seems), and a generally surly attitude.
What a surprise I hate Delta. What a surprise everybody I know hates to fly these days. Because Delta isn't the only culprit.