Last updated on March 6th, 2019
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Hey there Flyers!
Part of my blog is just a bit of storytelling, so today is as good a time as any to talk about my experience flying with Delta Airlines in Comfort+.
We just got through the holiday travel season, (whew!) but we are now rapidly approaching another major travel season: spring break! Many travelers begin planning their spring trips and booking flights around this time of year.
To help you make some important decisions, I’m sharing my experience flying on Delta Airlines as a non-frequent Delta flyer. This isn’t going to be a super objective “review,” but I do hope this is helpful in giving you a little bit of insight into the workings of Delta Airlines.
I want to preface this post by saying that this is just my personal adventure, so take it with a grain of salt. Quite a few things went wrong on this trip, and while they were inconveniences, I am not complaining like they ruined my trip. They definitely didn’t. Looking back, it’s actually a pretty funny story…
High expectations for “America’s most awarded airline”*
*Note- visit Delta.com to learn more.
In a recent post, I talked about how I hadn’t been on an out-of-state trip in years. So going into this, I was already a bit out of the loop when it came to travel. With no recent experience with any particular airline, and definitely no loyalties, our travel decision relied solely on who could give us a flight at the time we wanted, and for the best price.
We chose Delta flight DL1212, departing HNL at 10:31 PM on Wednesday, November 25. The flight was to arrive at LAX at 5:53 AM on Thursday, November 26. We scheduled the return flight (DL1149) for 6:45 PM on Monday, November 30, due to arrive at HNL at around 10:30 that evening. If you want to hear how that went, I talk about it here.
Maybe a last-minute booking in my world, but it really wasn’t
We booked our flights on 10/31, slightly less than a month before the trip. In our rush to confirm our Travelocity purchase so we didn’t lose our mediocre motel room, we completely skipped over checking out the seating map for our flight. And no, we did not select Comfort+.
It took a few days, but eventually I came to my senses and decided I needed to sort out our seating situation. I landed on Delta’s website ready to select two awesome seats. When I pulled up the seating map, well, I’m sure you can guess what I saw. All but four random middle seats in the main cabin were marked “Unavailable” on the map. But of course, the “premium”economy section, Comfort+, was wide open.
A predatory tactic to force fliers to purchase Comfort+?
I sighed, How much? $129 each. $258 for the two of us. The following represented my options. We could either sit in separate middle seats in the back of the plane, or pay $258 on top of the fare we already paid to sit together in the front of the plane.
It wasn’t exactly a no-brainer, but we decided to pay the extra so we would have an enjoyable flight. I knew I would be too pumped to sleep anyway, so I figured I’d totally take advantage of the “premium” in-flight entertainment and “premium” snacks.
The seating map for our return flight looked similar, as only a few crappy “free” seats were available. However, “Preferred” seats were available for an upgrade fee of $35. The different classifications of seats proved quite confusing. The last time I flew, two options existed- first class, and as I used to call it when I was younger, “back class.”
Unlike Comfort+, where extra amenities are included for the extra money, Preferred seats offer you nothing besides being an aisle or window seat near the front (ish) of the plane. We chose a Preferred window seat, and the adjacent middle seat, which did not come with a fee, (surprisingly.) Our extra charges for the return flight came out to $35. So that was that.
The DeltaFly app is great in theory
Being the obsessively prepared person that I am, I downloaded the Delta Fly app on my phone, and nagged John until he downloaded too. We checked in to our flight at 10:31 PM on the dot on November 24th, and assigned to Gate 21.
The next night, we headed to the airport about 4 hours before our flight, because I’ma nutty early bird. I mean, what if there was a super long line at security? (There was no line at all, but that’s not important.)
Once inside, (it’s now about 6:37,) we checked the Departures screen, found our flight, and confirmed that we were still assigned to gate 21. We ate Whoppers at Burger King, and sniffed every perfume in the duty free store. Again, not important, though nice for imagery.
For something so connected, updates don’t come as fast as they should
Boredom set in around 8:30 so we decided to go and leech some airport electricity near Gate 21. It was early, so we had our pick of the best lounge seats, right up close to the boarding door. Or so we thought.
According to our handy dandy Delta Fly app, our flight was to begin boarding at 9:50 from Gate 21. It insisted. But by the time 9:40 rolled around, the Gate 21 lounge was still practically empty. Something was not right. We checked the Departures screen again, and saw that the flight had been moved to Gate 22.
It was no big deal, as Gate 22 was right around the corner, but we figured that for something as time sensitive as airline travel, the app should have been updated quicker. I doubt the gate changed the minute we looked at the app.
We were at the airport with plenty of time to spare, not to mention this is HNL we’re taking about- it’s not the biggest place. We were able to easily pop over to the gate next door, so it wasn’t a problem for us. But for someone who just got off a delayed flight and has 8 minutes to make it to his connecting flight, an app that hasn’t been updated could mean the difference between him making the flight or missing it. Of course, he could stop and look at the screens, but who would do that when you should have accurate information right in the palm of your hand?
Comfort+ immediately started off on the wrong foot
We arrived at Gate 22 just in time to hear the gate agent announce, “We apologize, but the in-flight entertainment system will not be available on this flight. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience.” After plunking down $258 for our upgraded seats, we were looking forward to the upgraded amenities to say the least. I didn’t know what, I was sure I’d watch something. So much for that.
When boarding time nears, I tend to transform into one of those annoying people that posters on airline forums describe as, “gate lice.” Being one of the first on the plane means you get first dibs at the overhead bin space, a hot commodity now that checked luggage costs an extra fee. It also offers protection against seat poachers.
You know them, those people who decide they want your assigned seat, and that if they can beat you to it, then it’s theirs. Um, no, seats are assigned for a reason. Basically, I just don’t want to have to deal with the big, burly a-hole who thinks he is that special snowflake who gets to disregard the laws of seat selection. When I get to the seat first, the issue is obliterated.
Gotta beat those seat poachers, or not
When they called our boarding group, I was practically first in line. Amazingly, the boarding passes on our phones worked without a hitch. My anxiety nagged me about that one.
I was feeling good as we rolled our carry-ons down the jetway. No one’s gonna poach this girl’s carefully chosen seat!” I thought. Yeah, well…
It’s beyond me how this woman beat me to my seat. But there she was, absorbing my seat’s refreshing coolness.
“Excuse me, ma’am, but I believe you are in my seat.” “Oh, no, this is my seat,” she says, and turns away.
By this point I’m looking for the flight attendant to come and fix this. From the horror stories I’ve read in the darkest corners of the internet, there is no use in arguing with a seat poacher.
John, bless him, politely asks her to check her boarding pass, to which she replies, “Yes, see, 18F,” pointing to the spot as if we’re two blind bats.
“Um, ma’am, this is row 19. Row 18 is over there,” as he gestures to the row in front.
Finally convinced, and she got up and moved to her correct seat, but not before backing up the entire flight into the jetway, and ruining the sanctity of my seat.
Ms. Seat Poacher should have slipped my mind at this point, but that wasn’t the case
The next little annoyance is not the fault of Delta, but it did make our flight experience rather unpleasant. I could smell (figuratively,) what I was in for when I plucked a long, greasy strand of blonde hair off my headrest as I sat down. I’m pretty grossness-intolerant, and so I was on high alert after discovering the hair. I wrinkled my nose. I instinctively sniffed my own armpits.. “What is that smell?”
No kidding, she smelled like underpants– week old underpants
We couldn’t do anything without sounding like complete jerks, so we resorted to the passive aggressive method. Conveniently, John, (who doesn’t typically wear cologne,) requested I pack a few samples from Sephora orders, etc.
Maybe a premonition inundated him, or maybe he was just feeling fancy, but either way, I’m glad he brought them. We did the old, “Who sprayed that? …It wasn’t me,” trick.
We aimed our personal air nozzles at her head to try to blow the stench away from us. (Don’t judge us- I promise, we’re nice people.) Perhaps it helped, but we still had no choice but to remain diplomatic about it for the entire flight.
I wouldn’t call the snacks “premium,” but at least they existed
Moving on from the unresolvable, we decided to indulge in some of the “unlimited premium snacks” Delta promised. There were snacks, yes, but I wouldn’t call them premium, and they were definitely not unlimited in the way that you think unlimited means.
The flight attendants passed around a little basket filled with bananas, Delta branded pretzels and wafer cookies, and a some bags of Planters brand nut mix. I might have packed a Whopper if I knew Delta’s definition of “premium snacks.” I hoped for Oreos and Skittles at least, and perhaps some cheese would have been lovely…
Pitting the Comfort+ promises against what Delta actually delivered
For the upgrade price of $129*, Delta Comfort+ promises Sky Priority boarding, 4 inches of extra legroom, dedicated overhead bin space, premium entertainment, 50% more seat recline, premium snacks, and complementary alcoholic beverages.
*Price changes based on when you book, among other factors.
Sky Priority boarding? Yes.
Four inches extra legroom? Well, I didn’t get out my tape measure, but I’d say so.
Dedicated overhead space? We didn’t have a problem since we were on board early, but it became a free-for-all once the areas behind Comfort+ began filling up. The flight attendants did not enforce “Comfort+ only” bins. A Comfort+ plus passenger boarding late would be out of luck. So I’d say not really.
Premium entertainment? No, all the screens were dead.
50% more recline? Not a noticeable difference, but then again, measuring wasn’t a priority.
Premium snacks? If you call bananas, pretzels, and Delta’s usual Biscoff cookies premium, then sure.
Complementary alcoholic beverages? Yes.
Of course, we arrived in Los Angeles safely, and that’s the main thing. We arrived in a timely manner, which is more than I can say for our return flight. But seriously, I didn’t have a terrible experience, and I’m not boycotting Delta over it.
That’s all for today!
I have a whole other post on the return flight saga! Check that out here >> Delta Airlines Comfort+ Storytime Review (Part 2)
If you find this post interesting, informative, or just plain entertaining, tell me about it in the comments below. And don’t forget, sharing is caring. Share this post! Till next time. ♥︎
Till next time ♥︎
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FTC- Not sponsored by any brands mentioned. I purchase all products myself. All opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliated.