Delta and I have a bipolar relationship. Sometimes it goes well. Sometimes it ends at 3 AM in a small Central American country. Such is the nature of any relationship, really. I last flew Delta economy on December 26th, from Akron to San Jose, Costa Rica.
The early morning check-in went well enough. I was flying without checked-bags, and thus managed to avoid the horrendous line at the counter. I went to the security line and waited. And waited. (This was prior to my approval for PreCheck) After a rough 45 minutes in line I made it the ticket verification stage, and passed onwards to the next line. After being thoroughly patted-down by one of three agents on duty, I made my way to the gate about 50 yards away.
Lounges are a foreign concept at that airport; so don’t even bother wondering about them. Besides, the cheap seats are more fun, right? Discomfort builds character as some used to say. I sat down and waited for the sun to rise and the pilots to arrive.
After staring out a dark window and examining the cracks in the ceiling, boarding began. All us zombies shuffled our way onboard with little conflict and settled into our backbreaking seats for the flight to Detroit. Yes, I typed that correctly. Detroit. The takeoff was bumpy, as the plane was a small regional jet. I slept a little and awoke to our bumpy descent into Detroit half an hour later.
After a nerve-wracking tiny-plane landing, I made my out into the Detroit Terminal to wait out my three hour sentence in Motor City. Looking for something to do, I did what any other highly logical person would do. I rode the terminal train back and forth multiple times. It was a flashback from my childhood, when the train was still painted in Northwe(or)st livery.
I finally got bored after 15 minutes and went to look for food. I had heard tell of a McDonald’s that made a mean McBiscuit 15 or so gates down from the Pandora. I followed my nose and was cruelly led to a Cinnabon. So much for that sense. This time, I followed the signs and found it. The line was long, so I settled in to a new review of the Etihad Residence from everyone’s favorite travel blogger. The opulence on that plane was astounding. Too bad Delta can’t deliver a product like that.
After wandering around for a few more hours, I finally boarded my plane to JFK. I know, right, still not heading that far south like I should be. The flight was uneventful. Drinks and Biscotti cookies were served without much fanfare. The landing was good, and all were happy to be safely out of Detroit.
JFK doesn’t have the same kind of convenience to kill time on the train, so I just took it over to the terminal where my final flight would be. I wandered around for an hour or so, before settling into the waiting area. The seats were hard and uncomfortable, but that is to be expected in waiting areas. After a few hours staring at my computer, I decided to go get food. A knock-off Shake Shack was directly behind me, so I went for that. It was passable. I talked to a few people around about Christmas and how it went for them, until the boarding for my flight was almost completed.
I had an aisle seat in normal coach, about two-thirds of the way back in the plane. The entertainment screen had sufficient options, so I started watching a subpar Adam Sandler comedy. Highbrow no, but I was tired. Don’t judge me. We waited. And waited. Finally, the pilot got on the intercom and told us that the co-pilot hadn’t shown up and that they were waiting for a new one who was totally on his way right now. We waited some more, and then were ordered to disembark in order to keep the clock from hitting three hours of wait time. Back out in the terminal we milled around some more. Delta bought us pizza as a bribe not to tweet mean things about how their pilots don’t even show up to fly.
A few hours after our scheduled takeoff time, we finally boarded the plane. Boarding went quickly, as did the taxi. We took off for Costa Rica soon after. The seat was new, a bit on the smaller side of life, though. Legroom was practically non existent. There was enough overhead bin space for all. Drink and snack service went smoothly. I received my third round of Biscotti cookies that day. The cabin was darkened for the next few hours. The lights came back on as customs forms were distributed.
The landing was smooth. The deplaning process was slow. The families on board had problems with strollers and overhead bins. After about 20 minutes I made it off, and headed towards customs only three and a half hours after I expected. I made it through and exited into the tropical night where my girlfriend was waiting.
Conclusion: The Delta flight routing was curious. Why fly north, then east, to go southwest. A routing through Atlanta would likely have made more sense. Despite the delays, Delta staff were polite, they bought the whole flight pizza, and the pilot was upbeat throughout the whole ordeal. The seats are small in economy, but that is to be expected. I hope I never have to see another Biscotti again. Delta’s economy product is solid, and perfectly bearable for shorter flights.
Disclaimer: Delta was in no way involved in this review. I was not compensated for my time, flight, or emotional distress in any way.