Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Delta: How to Turn 90 Minutes of Flying into 5 Hours

I traveled to Washington D.C. this week. It was a quick in and out -- at least that's how it was scheduled. I flew out of Greenville-Spartanburg Airport on Sunday morning with a return on Monday evening. My total flight time each way? Twenty-five minutes from G-S to Atlanta and one hour from Atlanta to D.C.

Sounds simple, right? On Sunday my flight from Greenville to Atlanta was delayed 25 minutes. Why? Well, we didn't know for the first 20 min. The flight attendants claimed not to know. I was sitting in the four-row first-class cabin, so I had a front-row seat to the discussions.

Both pilots got off the plane and walked up to the gate to participate in the hold up. Still, we knew nothing. Finally, one of the flight attendants called the gate and asked them to send one of the pilots back to tell the passengers what was going on.

When we finally received the official update, the reason for the delay was that there was a Delta mechanic who had been flown over from Atlanta to fix a plane, and they were waiting to put him on our flight to get him back to Atlanta. Yes, indeed. I fly a lot and have been for years, I have never had Delta hold a flight for me for so much as 30 seconds. In fact, if I'm not on the plane 10 minutes prior to the scheduled closing of the hatch, I lose my seat.

But then I'm not a Delta employee.

Here was Delta inconveniencing 50 or so paying passengers to try to get one of its employees on the plane. The kicker is that after waiting nearly half an hour for this clown, he never did board the plane.

The gate clerk came on the plane just before takeoff. When a passenger with a super-close connection wanted some assurance that he would be booked on a later connecting flight, the clerk told him not to worry about it; he would make his connection without a problem. Yeah, right.

Upon landing, we sat just off our gate for more than 10 minutes. Our flight was supposed to use gate B36 (the very last gate in the B concourse). A plane that was taxing out had been stopped just short of the taxi way, which put it directly across the access to our gate. Tick Tock.

The the gate clerk couldn't operate the gangway and we sat another 10 minutes at the gate waiting for someone to show up who could pull the gangway up to the plane door. Tick Tock.

This poor schlub didn't make his flight.

Now I am sitting in Washington Reagan and my flight to Atlanta is delayed 35 minutes -- exactly the amount of time I had to make my connection to G-S. I had to call Delta's reservations and get backed up on the next flight. Instead of arriving in Greenville at , I will arrive at .

I typically drive to Atlanta and fly in and out of that airport because the flights between Atlanta and G-S are so unreliable. I have a problem every other flight between those cities. So I am fully prepared that my backup flight will be canceled or at least delayed.

Delta: The airline I love to hate!

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