Hi Folks—This is really long but I really appreciate your reading this. There are some stories and observations that I hope you will find interesting. Thanks! –Chris/PVD
PVD = Providence, Rhode Island
ATL = Atlanta, Georgia
SLC = Salt Lake City, Utah
JAC = Jackson Hole, Wyoming
28 December PVD-ATL flt.1557 757 N624DL n/c sked. departure 12:30p seat 21C
At check-in, one agent was dealing with 2 pax for eternity—was from what I could tell the agent who should have been taking care of First Class check-in. While I was waiting, two pax showed up ready for 1st class check-in and “regular” pax kept checking-in. The 1st class pax were not even acknowledged by the nearest agent. I decided that I would still be a little selfish, see if I check-in before they do and I did. When all was said and done, I let the agent know of the now 3 pax in the first-class check-in line. She thanked me for letting her know. On my way out, I also let the 1st guy in the first-class line know he would now get to check-in. At the gate area, the man stopped me to thank me for what I did. I told him I know very well how things should be run.
It took me a good 55 mins to get through check-in and security. Another 40 mins. wait and then boarded. While at the gate, I was witness to some blatant racial profiling, call it what you want. A guy who looked Mexican was sitting by the window on the floor, almost behind the coutner. He had gotten up and I thought he was just getting ready to board. However, the agent at the counter interrupted what he was doing with a pax at the podium and went to get the other (Mexican-looking) passenger and said “I told him to stay there and look at what he goes and does” as if addressing the passenger at the podium. The agent takes the Mexican by the arms and escorts him straight to the screening table adjacent to the gate where the security people completely ripped through his one bag, opened every single thing and hastily stuffed it all back into his bag. When the man was cleared, he presented his ticket folder and the agent collecting tickets instantly snapped, before making an effort to look for it, “where is your ticket” in the most condescending tone I have ever heard. Of course, she opened the folder and there was his ticket and snapped again “Ok, go now, down that way” as she took the next passenger’s ticket.
The 757s are pretty cramped, lucky for my aisle seat in the front of the main cabin. Beverage and snack mix service. Smile and courtesy factor for the crew: 7/10.
ATL-SLC flt.633 763 N173DZ ‘97c/s sked. departure 3:50pm actual departure 4:10pm seat 41D
The middle of the middle. Oh well. The flight was extremely full with over 100 people on standby. Ha! Three agents at the gate for a full 763. They almost needed more! C’mon guys, let’s not forget something called customer service. Wait, that disappeared with the Twin Towers. And please, why do they start boarding a full 763 at only 20 minutes before sked. departure??? Anyway, the gate area was packed. While passengers can be stupid by boarding when they’re not supposed to, for example, the agents themselves can come across as abrasive. At almost each boarding process, I swear the agents announcements could have been much more courteous. I wish I could record them. After being both the passenger and the agent (Air France internship in Toulouse, France), I have a much more critical eye, noticing much more than the average traveler.
Connection time was good, 50 minutes. Almost forgot what a 763 is like, even after having been on a BA 763. The middle of the middle wasn’t that bad, but it helps I’m skinny and not that tall. Two beverage services and a walk through with water.
Ran into some strong headwinds on the way to SLC, making the flight a little longer than usual. Connection time was tight for many pax on board, connecting with SkyWest. It seemed as if they were holding flights up, however, as I made it just fine to my SkyWest flight to Jackson, WY.
SLC-JAC flt.3519 EM2 sked. departure 6:40pm seat 6A
The flight was actually a little delayed. We were off and running by 7pm though and after a de-ice and long taxi to the outer runway at SLC, we were set. HOWEVER, 20 minutes into the flight, the pilot tells us that he has a fire-warning indicator light and prefered to turn back to SLC. Fortunately, he talked to OPS and they had another EM2 on hand, which was waiting for us upon our re-arrival. The unfortunate part is that it still had to be “prepped” for flight so we had to de-plane and hang out in the terminal again for another 20 minutes. Once we were able to re-board, it took another 20 minutes for them to get weight and balance all figured out and then we had to re-fuel. Add another 20 minutes for the de-icing line! We were number four in line…which makes me wonder why they had only ONE de-icer!? Another 15 minutes of taxiing to the outer runway. It’s funny that when we re-boarded, there were “thank you” mints in all our seats. In addition, the (cute) flight attendant came around plenty of times with snacks and asking if we wanted drinks. Alcohol was on the house and I took advantage with a Heineken. In the end, we arrived 3 hours behind schedule AND one of my bags didn’t make it with us. No biggie, I was staying with a family AND the agent was so kind as to let me know I could go ahead and buy what I needed (within reason) and that I would be reimbursed. My bag did arrive within 24 hours.
Note: A gorgeous site at JAC was Dick Cheney’s Air Force 2, nicely covered in snow. He was vacationing there and there is in fact a road called Cheney Lane! (Mind you, a National Guard met our flight!)
9 January JAC-SLC flt. 3452 EM2 sked. departure 12:42p seat 4A
Uneventful flight out of JAC, for once. JAC is a small but beautiful airfield. I informed the agent at SkyWest of what happened when I had arrived. My two receipts (long underwear and sweater) were graciously refunded by SkyWest. A lesson to all: never hesitate to reap the benefits. I will say, however, that the situation was well handled. The agent was also so kind as to reassign all my seats to the windows in the first row of the main cabin!
SLC-ATL flt.284 763 N174DZ sked. departure 2:55pm seat 10A
During the quick one hour connection time, I took a few photographs, nailed N863MH as well as my own DL763. I was shooting a DL738 between terminals C and D when I was told not to take any photos. The men were on the moving platform and couldn’t do much other than verbally tell me not to. I replied “really? But I do it all the time” to which they replied “Sorry sir, FAA rules”…HAHAHA. I’m going to write the FAA (even if the letter won’t get looked at) for an official response. This kind of $hit pisses me off. But I wasn’t going to do anything to ruin future chances so… Was also witness to a canon salute…too bad I couldn’t have gotten a shot. Darn it!
On time boarding process and on time push back. However, announcements at the gate could have been much more courteous and less abrupt.
“Alright Ladies and Gentlemen, Big Bird is ready to push back but we need all of you in your seats to get you on your way. You are also commanded to be back here in Salt Lake in 3 weeks for the Winter Olympics!” was how our flight started off. Haha.
Service was different this time: instead of a snack mix we got pretzels AND they showed “America’s Sweethearts” ($5 “entertainment fee” of course), but there was no movie or other programming westbound. Flight attendants were also noticably nicer and more courteous than the ATL-SLC flight. They did not have to make as many announcements for pax to sit down etc. either, which is always nice.
ATL-PVD flt.468 MD-88 N919DE o/c sked. departure 9:30p seat 10A
Connection time perfect again. ATL was quiet as ever. Must have been a nice relief from the previous week from that snow storm! The flight was completely empty, only about 50 pax, if that. The f/a’s were very nice on this flight…makes it easier when you don’t have to serve as many pax I guess. On time departure and arrival, last flight into PVD, where every gate was taken up.
All in all, Delta was OK, they didn’t do enough to make me want to travel with them again. The SkyWest people were pretty nice, though.
Flying has truly lost all its charm, fun, and most of all its class. It is still a privelege to fly on an airplane and passengers should be treated that way.
One other beef is the Military Police/National Guard: At the very least at PVD, they serve no purpose. I do not feel any more secure/safe with them around than I did before. In fact, I think they’re a nuisance. They think they’re all that and more. They treat passengers like shit when they are supposedly there for US, as American citizens. Yes, they need to be assertive and confident but they do not need to be a$$holes.