I’m sure to rile a few people with this post or at least cause someone to call me unflattering names. Nearly six months ago I wrote a reflective post on my first few months as a traveler living in my new hometown of Atlanta called I’m In a Delta State of Mind. In that post I reflected on my Delta experiences, and general satisfaction with the Delta product. Since that time, we’ve had “Die Miles,” Sky Club boozegate, and I could swear there was some other tortuous travel trauma Delta has inflicted upon us, but I can’t remember what it was. Oh yeah, Medallion Qualification Dollars! Heck, even my good friend and dedicated lover of all things widget, DeltaPoints, has been taking Delta to task of late.

But here I am…still in a Delta state of mind, and ok with it. What’s wrong with me? Stockholm Syndrome? Glutton for punishment? How about appreciator of reliable transportation? Wait, you mean this whole thing is about reliable transportation? Why yes, it is. While I’ve collected a mile or 3 million in my time for no reason other than the sake of collecting a mile, the truth of the matter is that the basic relationship between an airline and its customer is transportation. The airline offers transportation, the customer decides if that transportation at the price offered meets their needs, and the two enter into a business relationship. The fact that an airline offers a loyalty program with attractive perks, and opportunities for “free” travel, all the better.

And such is my relationship with Delta. I’ve flown lots of airlines and in almost every case, I can think of one or two things I like about each of them. Funny thing, I can think of five things I like about Delta.

  1. On time.
  2. Operationally sound.
  3. Nice people.
  4. Clean, comfortable planes.
  5. iPhone app.
  6. @DeltaAssist
  7. Near total wi-fi coverage.
  8. Strong network.
  9. Early participant in PreCheck.
Wait…that’s nine things! I’m sure I could have come up with 10 or more, but I think I made my point. Delta is running a good, dependable airline that I feel I can trust to actually operate when they say they will. I don’t mind paying for reliable transportation. But more than reliable transportation, Delta offers a comfortable and attractive product that I like. The fact that they’re offloading a plethora of 50 seat RJ’s makes for an even better product to come. Finally, the level of care and engagement from employees is outstanding in many instances, and good to great in almost all others.
Notably absent from my list of “likes” was SkyMiles. It isn’t that there is nothing to like about SkyMiles. I’m certainly fond of the Medallion program (Platinum, here I come!), including the complimentary domestic upgrades. I’ve even managed a couple of well-timed redemptions this year that I was satisfied with. Granted, I have not needed to cross an ocean by air this year, so we’ll see what happens when the time comes. We all know SkyMiles falls short on the redemption side in some ways, but it has proven perfectly adequate for me since relocating. Perhaps that’s because I have the patience of Job or maybe it’s because my expectations are in line with reality. Who knows? Delta is working for me…. and I’m OK with it.
Coming soon (like tomorrow even) – My SkyMiles Wish List
-MJ, June 4, 2013