I do notice some of this. On all airlines I fly. I do fly in the front. But, if you are in the back and a non FF you are probably going to wait a lot longer for satisfaction during irrops than the frequent flyers. It's always been that way, and it is that way on all airlines. I have watched Joe Customer with no status at DL be put off a day and a half for next flight out--with little sympathy. Meanwhile, the DM is on the real next flight out. I experience various airlines and, honestly, the service you described is about the same as other airlines.
I don't fly that often, I don't maintain status with any airline, and Delta (only the regionals though) is the only airline that's consistently late for me. Ops in/out of SEA are consistently the worst, but I've gotten stuck in ATL for a few hours when our little CRJ-200 broke down. Yet there's only one domestic airline I refuse to fly -- United (although Alaska is working on that). Even without status, Delta's usually managed to get me onto the connecting flight as booked. Even without status, Delta manages to communicate what was going on (gotta love the red coats).
The last delay I had on Delta was out of PDX due to snow, we'd boarded and got stuck at the gate for a few hours and a couple deicing sessions. I was on an Expedia bargain fare (a.k.a. the lowest tier) and by the time we pushed back it was clear I was going to miss the connecting flight so I started to make arrangements for overnight lodging. Between the time we touched down and got to the gate the Delta app buzzed and indicated that I'd been rebooked on the last flight out on Alaska. I'd booked a Y+ seat on the connecting flight which Alaska doesn't offer, so I called Delta the next day to ask for a refund on the upgrade. I got a refund and a voucher for more than the cost of the upgrade. I'm sure it's worse when there are weather issues at a hub, but so far my experience has been that Delta hasn't stranded me.
As for American, I've flown them a few times in the past couple years and didn't come up with any major complaints. I upgraded to business SFO-JFK last year for the novelty. The food was okay (Virgin America was better) and the seat had some mystery stains on it though. They overbooked the SFO-MIA flight, but managed to avoid a Dr. Dao moment by actually offering enough money to get people off the plane without a fight. And the grizzled ex-Piedmont F/A on the CLT-SFO flight was perfectly friendly and the cabin was fine. That seat pitch stunt on the max is enough reason to look elsewhere though.
I nearly never book based solely on ticket price, and always filter out the crap "basic economy" fares. The big exception is last minute travel where the difference can be more than a few hundred dollars on a short hop up or down the west coast. Likewise I don't see IFE or WiFi as a big plus. My last two United flights (789, 744) the IFE was a net negative. Every time the purser had to reset it on the 789 you'd lose control of the overhead lamps. When he finally crashed my IFE he decided to stop resetting it. On the 747 the speakers on the left side of the cabin were out of sync with those on the right. Absolutely nauseating (although less so than those vomit noodles and spoiled process cheese they served).