Wednesday, July 23, 2014

First World Problems: A bad redeye in first class

I sometimes travel first class, as an upgrade.  On Delta, I get upgraded sometimes.

But for the trip back from LAX to Raleigh, I actually paid for first class.  And had a remarkable experience.  Rather than rant, let me just hit the bullet points...

1.  We arrived at LAS, and had to wait 25 minutes 50 yards from the gate, because they didn't have a ground crew.  Really?  No one knew we were coming?  They could have borrowed my cellphone, if they needed to call ahead.  Then at RDU, getting in at 5:50 am after a long flight, again we had to wait 20 minutes.  I timed it.  Delta is notorious for its indifference to customer service, but this was amazing.  If you fly Southwest, you'll notice that they have the door open and people filing out within two minutes of landing.  Delta wants to show you who's boss.  They are.  Apparently, this happens a lot.  I actually missed a flight once, because we waited 30 minutes to get a ground crew.  Got there with just enough time, but couldn't get off the place to go those last 50 yards.

2.  The head stewardess played video games on her cell phone the whole trip from LAS to RDU.  Never once, not once offered snacks or drinks, except when we first got on the plane.

3.  When I got up and asked for some water, she was indignant.  "How was I supposed to know you wanted a drink"?  Well, I don't know...Mental telepathy?  Or perhaps stop playing Tetris on your cell phone and get up and walk through first class and see if anyone ASKS for a drink?

4.  Never offered snacks.  Not once.  On a 4 hour flight.  Amazing.  I mean, the snacks aren't that great, even in first class.  But she never even offered.  Yes, I likely would have said "no."  But gosh.

5.  My tray table was broken. Actually broken.  The hinge was splintered, and the table kept falling down.

6.  My seat was broken, and would not recline.  Four hour overnight redeye, and the seat won't recline.  You may think that's not a big deal.  It's a pretty big deal.

7.  My air vent was broken.  Literally broken, smashed up into the plastic, like it had been hit with a fist.  Completely non-functional.  And it was very hot, the whole trip.

8.  At the end of the flight, the head stewardess actually said, "That was the easiest I've ever had a flight.  No one wanted anything the whole trip!"  Completely oblivious.  She had no way of knowing whether anyone wanted anything, because she never entered the first class cabin to check.  The passengers in first class talked to each other about this.  "Do you believe how bad she is?"  "Wow, this is terrible."  We had, in fact, wanted at least some water on that long trip.  But she never stood up from her smart phone games and even asked.

A note:  It is fair to say, "Oh, poor baby.  That's a first world problem.  No snacks in first class...Awww."  I hear you.  But this was the first time I had ever actually paid for first class.  It is not a mistake I will make again.  At least, not on Delta.

9 comments:

LoneSnark said...

They do install little buttons near the seats, often with little pictures of stewardesses on them, that summon the stewardess. I use them. People often seem shocked they exist, but they do.

Mungowitz said...

Yes, yes, they do. It was the middle of the night, and they make a pretty loud noise.

Further, the whole point of first class is that you shouldn't have to ask. I have flown first class, as an upgrade, perhaps 40 times. I've never seen anyone use the stewardess call button. Not. Once. They usually are solicitous.

Now, as I note, it is quite fair to say "Stop whining, you spoiled idiot!" I accept that. I'm just saying that it's dumb to pay for first class, then. And perhaps that's the right conclusion, one that everyone else had already reached...

Simon Spero said...

This would never have happened under the CAB.

Being able to afford 1st class, that is.

(Also, can't tenured faculty use The Voice to command people to subconsciously turn of cellphones?)

Anonymous said...

richard dot anderson at delta dot come

Anonymous said...

Same to me with Delta about 10 years ago. 3 hours parked in between terminal buildings at Hartsfield. I was platinum at the time travelling on business every week. They said gate agent would meet us when we finally got off, but all that was there was a Captain. I asked if he was the gate agent. Long story short, in about 2 minutes I goaded him to where he looked ready to take a swing at me (mentioned his newly approved union pay package). Wish I had pushed him further, but I backed off and went on with my day. If he had hit me, I could see a law suit with settlement of life time flying.

Anonymous said...

I know folks in the South hate Delta, but for me, flying out of Detroit, it is such an improvement over the old Northwest. They're official slogan was "We Hate You." They once tried to sell us snacks when we were stuck on the tarmac in NYC. But the worst service I experience on a regular basis is United.

BR said...

I like Delta better than US Air. Both fvck up virtually every flight, but Delta customer service will pretend to care if you complain. I once had a US Air stewardess who was so fat that the seats compressed her ass as she walked down the aisle. It was like reverse-molestation for aisle seat passengers. She was rude, borderline worthless (though she did manage to provide drinks), and had her union rep badge proudly displayed via lanyard. I thought not-being-a-fatass was a stewardess BFOQ.

Seth said...

I believe the custom in 1st class is to request almost anything you'd like and you shall receive. I think the problem may be that you are applying coach customs to 1st class.

Natalie said...

I flew Helsinki to NYC first class once due to being bumped. That was utterly amazing. My coat was pressed and clean when I left the plane after eating a delicious meal en route with appropriate booze for each course. I can't imagine how much such a ticket would cost on its own.