Air Lines

Frontier

Delta

Aer Lingus

TAP Portugese Airlines



Frontier

"Frontier bought Midwest, a really great line with perfect friendly service. Now we ride the "wild west". Frontier needs to grow up and quit acting like a bunch of cow hands."

That attitude is fun down by the corral, but has no place in a line that wants to serve the USA.



Delta

UPDATE 03-28-11

"It is getting better. The old NWA crews are apparently mixing with Delta and it is to the good.
The on-line reservation system works really well and is quite straight forward.

I understand needing to pay for changes when you  go live with a real person, but when changing electronically on the webpage, think there should be no charge. Are you listening Delta ?

As before, I avoid any  flights listed as dba or "doing business as". Generally not very good service. Pinnacle is an example. Stick with Delta flights and the major code share people, like KLM and Air France."

The Bad News

With all the mergers and code sharing, what do we get out of it?

Not much.

Delta took over Northwest and brought their usually dismal service with them. In flight was not too bad, but reservations and the gate agents wre usually indifferent and often rude. Now all the flights are that way, even the old Northwest routes.

And to make it worse, Delta is only flying the main routes with their own crews and planes and is contracting everything else out to other carriers.

So you will get Delta from Atlanta to London. But to get to Atlanta you may get Frontier, or Republic or any other line they contract with.

The service can range from tolerable to really bad. They have no interest in passenger loyalty.

And the worst part is you can't deal directly with the contract airline for seat changes etc, even if you are an Elite level flyer. You have to go through Delta and they can't access the seat map etc. You are stuck and don't know what seat you will get until you arrive at the gate, for that leg, even if you have seats chosen for the long leg.  NUTS

I have been a fan and loyal flyer with Northwest to the million mile mark.

Now I will try Continental and the United folks for a while. (Continental jsut cut meals on all flights except 6 hours or more). So they are like all the rest now.

My daughter just did O'Hare to Brazil and back on United and she said it was ok.

She was on an older plane that has a row of two seats on either side of the aircraft and she said it was a bit cramped, but they were not in the center four seats.

Where is the service these days?

I will publish it as soon as I find it.

In Fairness

I just completed a trip from the midwest to Seattle by way of Minneapolis using Delta.
Same good service and nice planes as Northwest prior to purchase of Northwest by Delta. Then of course I realized that I was on a Northwest plane, with a Delta "sticker" on the side and the crews were Northwest regulars with different uniforms.

It all makes sense, since crews are home based for convenience and the pilots are certified on certain types of aircraft.

So, Delta just put a sticker on the side and left all in place.

The good news is if you can go east and west on the old Northwest routes, now operated by Delta, you will get what you used to.

If you go north south, especially through Atlanta, you will get Delta style service.

As planes and routes change and crews move or retire, it will fade away in time I suspect.

But for at least one weekend, I enjoyed the good service of the "good old days".

Too bad Delta can't seem to learn from the Northwest tradition.

Update

Made another east west trip on Delta from Milwaukee to Seattle.
Going all is ok with the usual crews and planes.
Coming back was on a "code share" with Alaska Airlines.
Could not check in and get boarding pass on line since I had booked with Delta.
So, had to go to the airport and stand in line.
Customer service desk in one area and then to baggage in another area, so two lines to stand in.
Indifferent people at the desks.
On board? Worse. Grumpy flight attendants, who grudgingly passed some water.
Airlines have discussed limiting overweight passengers.
How about overweight Attendants ?
With three out of six overweight by a hundred pounds or so, that is 300 lbs of extra fuel burned.
I pay for baggage I guess to off set their eating habits?
Never again Alaska.


Aer Lingus


Efficient and nice aircraft. Very good prices between major hubs and lots of good package deals are often on line. Easy to use on-line reservation system and absolutely the most courteous and friendly live people on the telephone.

Not my usual routes, but I look forward to flying them again.


TAP Portugese Airlines


Great planes, and very efficient crews. Lovely to see flight attendants in smart uniforms with "polish".

Easy web page to negotiate.once you study it a bit.  Not sure if buying a ticket from  them electronically precludes printing boarding passes early from home, or because I was in the USA and the flight was from London to Lisbon. But check in was easy with the electronic ticket proof. You have to go to another counter operated by "swiss travel" at Gatwick first and then to check in for  the boarding pass at Gatwick in London, and I am not sure about Heathrow.
Don't forget the "one bag" rule in the UK.

And please see comment about Lisbon airport in Getting There and Back


Update on Lisbon airport 03-28-11

Still the same slow line through Passport control. Only two desks working, so expect a fairlly long wait if several planes come in at the same time.

So, I took a bathroom break, and wow, they were clean and smelled fresh.
Sad to say at terminal two for our connecting flight, the odor was as bad as ever.