I decided to write this trip report more about the handling of the irregular operations, rather than the in-flight service, because I think Delta responded well to both situations.
I won’t spend time on the Roanoke-Detroit and Atlanta-Roanoke flights except to say that they both boarded by zone, were on time, and were standard Delta Connection CRJ-200 flights, complete with a full beverage and snack service (peanuts, pretzels, or Biscoffs).
When I arrived in Detroit, I visited the main Sky Club in the center of Concourse A. It has a self-service bar and ample room, as it is a very large club. It was quite busy the hour or so that I was there.
We boarded the MD-88 for JFK and as we were about to depart, the pilot shut down the engines and performed a “maintenance check.” Then mechanics boarded the flight. This did not bode well. About 15-20 minutes later, the pilot asked us to deplane and inquire about alternate flights, because the ground power that starts the plane had experienced a power surge that basically fried the computer system. As I was waiting to speak to the gate agent, the crew deplaned and announced that we were going to the next gate to board an alternate MD-88. We quickly boarded and were on our way. The in-flight service consisted of the usual full beverage and snack basket service. We only arrived about 45 minutes late.
This morning, Sunday, April 17, I was scheduled to depart JFK at 7:00 am through Detroit. When my alarm sounded at 4:00 am, I checked my BlackBerry and I had one e-mail and three missed calls from Delta. My flight had been canceled and I was automatically rebooked for Monday, April 18, which I could not do. I called Delta and reached a Platinum Medallion agent. He asked me how close I was to JFK and I said, “I’m close, at an airport hotel.” He asked if I could make 6:20 am and I said yes, and he rebooked me in full F (first class) and Y (economy) through Atlanta to Roanoke. He finished the call by thanking me for my loyalty and understanding of the situation. I dressed and packed quickly and arrived at JFK Terminal 2 around 5:00 am. I checked in at a kiosk and there was no line at the Sky Priority security checkpoint. Delta at JFK does not have the full body scanners yet, thank goodness. I enjoyed a coffee at the iPad/charging station/restaurant located near gate 15.
The flight itself was what I have come to expect from Delta: blankets, pillows, and Dasani at every first class seat, Gogo Inflight Internet for purchase, in-flight entertainment (in-seat, on-demand on today’s 737-800), hot towel service, full beverage service, and continental breakfast (croissant, fresh fruit, cereal, and yogurt).
When I arrived in Atlanta, I enjoyed a couple of the best Bloody Marys I’ve ever had in the C Concourse Sky Club.
Grade = A, in spite of the two irregular operations incidents