I needed a flight to get to Portland, Oregon from Washington D.C. after attending the Freddie Awards. Unfortunately, all the non-stop flights from Washington Dulles to Portland leave in the evening, and I needed to be in Portland before dinner for a wedding rehearsal. So, I booked a Delta flight leaving Washington Dulles at 7am, connecting in Salt Lake City, and arriving in Portland at 1pm. Sounds easy enough right? Mix that with the fact that there was good weather, and my plane had been sitting at the airport the night before, things were looking good. Also, looking at the historical data for the Washington Dulles flight, it was pretty reliable and on-time. Well, it looks like I got unlucky as I had a Delta delay and then ended up missing my connection. Honestly, it seems like the current theme with me and Delta.

Flight Details:

Delta Air Lines 1290
Washington Dulles (IAD) to Salt Lake City (SLC)
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Cabin: Main Cabin
Seat: 19C

Before the Flight:

A month or so before my flight, they moved the flight time from 7:30am to 7:10am. This schedule change allowed me to change my flight to any available flight that day, which was nice of them. Nothing really worked out better for me, although there was this tempting flight option connecting in Minneapolis but it left at 6:30am. I decided an extra 40 minutes of sleep would be helpful, but if I knew about the delay and missed connection that was to come, I would have taken the earlier flight.

Medallion Upgrade Waitlist:

I’m a Silver Medallion, and there were a ton of elites on this Friday morning flight. I ended up 18 out of 21 passengers for a Delta Comfort Plus seat, and 43 out of 46 passengers for a First Class seat. So, Main Cabin for me it was!

Airport and Boarding:

Delta leaves from Concourse B at Dulles Airport, which worked out nicely as I was able to visit the British Airways Lounge before my flight.

Boarding commenced 40 minutes before the flight’s departure, and it was a pretty full flight. We completed boarding in about 25 minutes, and things were looking good for an on-time departure. The plane looked nice, even though my specific aircraft was over 23 years old. It had newer seatback screens and easy access for charging your devices. Legroom was alright, and the Main Cabin offers 31-32 inches of pitch.

Delta Delay

Main Cabin Seating

Delta Delay

Main Cabin Seatback on Delta 737-800

It was nice to see the flight attendant hand out complimentary headphones to all passengers, even though I happened to bring my own on this trip.

Delta Delay:

The pilots announced a 3 hour and 51 minute ride while in the air. At first, they said there would be a slight delay due to a row of oxygen masks not working, but it ended up taking longer than they expected. They ended up just moving the passengers to the remaining empty seats on the plane. So, we were on the ground for a while and the boarding doors eventually closed 50 minutes after our scheduled departure.

But we had a new delay, as one of the maintenance carts working on the engines had a malfunction, and they needed to call a new one. So we didn’t actually leave the gate until about 1 hour and 30 minutes after our scheduled departure. And of course, since we missed our takeoff slot, we were on the runway for quite some time. We ended up taking off just shy of 2 hours after the scheduled departure time. Yikes.

Since obviously most people were connecting in Salt Lake City, passengers were getting jittery. The FA’s made an announcement that they were aware most people were connecting but they couldn’t do anything and that everyone should just go to a help desk once we land in Salt Lake City. Seems like not the most hospitable or proactive way to be handling the situation if you ask me.

In-Flight Service:

Shortly after reaching cruising altitude, a beverage and snack service commenced, and halfway through the flight the FA came over with coffee and water which was a nice touch. For snacks, they had small bags of Sun Chips, almonds, and Biscoff cookies. 

And, before our initial descent, they came by with another beverage and snack service, which was appreciated.

IFE and Wi-Fi:

The seatback entertainment system was nice and clear. There were plenty of movies, live tv, and Spotify playlists to get you through the flight which was a major plus.

a screen on a plane

My Flight

Additionally, since this was a domestic plane, Wi-Fi was available for free which was nice. It was helpful as I could check for options regarding other flights/possible routings while in the air to plan for the high chance of a missed connection.

Rebooking Options for the Delta Delay:

On the Delta App, it offered to move me to a flight 6 hours later than my original flight, as the next one which was 4 hours later was showing that it was sold out. I contacted the Twitter Team, and they said they could put me on standby for the flight 4 hours later if I wanted. I decided to test my luck just to maintain my seat on my existing flight and hope that I make the connection. Or hope that something opened up on the next flight (4 hours later) by the time I landed.

We got to the gate with about 15 minutes to spare for my connection and I immediately ran to a gate agent. I asked if she could check with my gate if they were still boarding. She was unhelpful and said that it was probably too late. I then ran a few gates down to try again, and a more helpful gate agent called my gate for me. Unfortunately, they had just closed the boarding door. Rip.

It was so frustrating in the moment, as I missed the connection by minutes. I’m not sure if it’s rational, but missing the connection by an hour would have made me feel better.

And so we were off to the Delta Help Desk. Seems like most of my flight ended up there along with me. Thankfully, I was helped by a friendly agent, and I asked if I could be put on the next flight. She said there were no seats left in the Main Cabin, but gave me a confirmed ticket in First. I appreciated her efforts, as it would be a lot more stressful to be on standby. Thankfully, the Sky Club in Salt Lake City is new & nice, and I was able to hang out there for 4 hours.

The new connecting flight was on time thankfully. So, I missed the wedding rehearsal but made it to dinner at least.

The Verdict:

Overall, the flight itself aboard the Boeing 737-800 on Delta was pleasant with seatback in-flight entertainment, free Wi-Fi, and multiple drink services. But, the Delta delay and the missed connection were annoying due to the issues upon departure of this flight. I wonder if they could have been more proactive in the air on assisting with rebookings and possibly assisting more with the tight connections? I know, too much to ask. But, I have definitely been on a few flights where we waited for people that were late due to a connection. Maybe only if there are a ton of passengers? Or if you have top elite status?


Have you had a Delta delay recently? How was your experience? Or have you had a plane waiting for you since your inbound flight was late? Comment below!




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