Book your flight on Delta here.
I haven't had any long Economy flights in some time.
However Delta convinced me with a $200 one-way fare from San Francisco to Lima, Peru just the day after the Thanksgiving weekend some weeks ago. This fare would also earn almost 6,000 miles (before any Elite Bonuses).
Here's what I learned during 'my day with Delta'.
Although I have been crisscrossing the United States often and had many international flights I had never been to Atlanta Hartfield Jackson Airport. It was great to finally see the worlds busiest airport. The good news – it works very efficiently. The hallways are somewhat wide and the food stores airy and very clean.
In fact it seems more like an Asian airport than an American one. It's separated in several concourses or mini-terminals which you are free to roam via the 'plane train' – no need to go through security again and again (yes take this LAX! or BOS!). In fact it seemed like a rather pleasant experience with lots of friendly staff genuinely helping people along the way.
Delta seems to have a leg up the competition in how well it runs its operations. My flights were (almost) on time and everyone including the pilot seemed to genuinely care about an efficient operation.
The plane from Atlanta to Lima is an old 767 that has no PTV and the old style recliner seats in business class. I understand that the yields may be low on this short 6 hour flight but it's like flying United in Economy – I thought Delta was a notch above that….
Delta and Starwood roll out Crossover rewards a while ago.
As a Starwood Platinum I should have gotten:
– priority check-in (I showed my Air France Skyteam Elite Plus as well)
– priority security lane (wasn't granted by the TSA person, I asked why and she said it's not part of the boarding pass and my Skyteam Elite Plus card also did not convince her, I did not bother fighting this one)
– Unlimited domestic upgrade – no upgrade for me to First Class – I did not see myself on the upgrade list in the iPhone app but I'm doubtful I'd have a chance given the 100% full flight
– first bag free (again I'm not sure if this was honored or because of my Flying Blue Gold status, or simply because it was an international flight)
In general it seems the Crossover Rewards aren't very well known to the Delta staff.
Delta runs a number of massive Skyclubs in Atlanta (Flyertlak thread). The one in concourse E I chose, filled up quickly as well – to a level that made that crowded food court seem like a lonely place. There were some simple (yet rather delicious) snacks and as far as I could see premium drinks were for charge only. The coffee maker spurred out badly bitter brews but the furniture was new and well arranged. The lounge also 'featured' ATT Wifi – a dead giveaway for super slow Wifi 🙁
Delta staff generally seems well informed and genuinely friendly. As you expect in this industry they also are quite bossy at the same time. However they are no doubt better organized and nicer than there United airlines brethren at SFO.
In all it was good day with Delta with about 11 hours in the air. I still value Delta miles since they can come in handy for several flights that I have planned. Since I paid $200 to begin with and 'earned back' $100 in miles – this was an almost free flight. Love this stuff.
Book your flight on Delta here.