What was the old Delta like?

Old Aug 7, 08, 10:18 pm
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What was the old Delta like?

Just wondering what the old Delta was like (in the 90's and older)? Good meals? Better service? Etc.
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Old Aug 7, 08, 10:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Andy1369 View Post
Just wondering what the old Delta was like (in the 90's and older)? Good meals? Better service? Etc.
Delta had crappy management for much of the 90's, so the airline in general, and SkyMiles especially, began a downward spiral in that decade. Looking back, however; those were the days of the L1011's. Delta doesn't have a domestic first class seat in the fleet today that compares to those!
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Old Aug 8, 08, 4:56 am
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Originally Posted by DLfan View Post
Delta had crappy management for much of the 90's, so the airline in general, and SkyMiles especially, began a downward spiral in that decade. Looking back, however; those were the days of the L1011's. Delta doesn't have a domestic first class seat in the fleet today that compares to those!
I remember those first international flights to FRA on the L-1011. It was so cramped I started flying LH.
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Old Aug 8, 08, 6:39 am
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Originally Posted by USCGamecock View Post
I remember those first international flights to FRA on the L-1011. It was so cramped I started flying LH.
In the OLD Days;
1. I remember Delta Holding a Plane for me (mid-day, for 15 minutes) because my inbound was late. Delta also had a van on Hold for me so I could go from T to C/D with my luggage (took 3 minutes vs 10).
Now if inbound arrives within 15 minutes of my connection departure, I'm on the next available flight(next day or two)

2. Crown rooms were less crowded, I could actually get a drink and have a place to work.

3. Rarely saw cancellations because of Maint or crew (longest delay for maint was 90 minutes.)

4. The FA's knew who I was and had my drink ready as soon as I put my stuff away....Now I'm lucky to get a drink(coke or water) for the short flight(1.5 hours).

5. Regional's (commair,skywest) were used for extremely short haul(MCO-MIA, MCO-PNS)..now I can take on from ATL-MHT and beyond.

6. Longest wx delay into atlanta was 1 hour(80's to mid 90's)... last week I had a flight that was delayed 4+ hours. due to WX


7. Able to easily use skysavers Biz or system wide upgrades for all international flights..Today I have a 50/50 chance of getting an upgrade on a YBM fare. I usually don't clear until a week before I head back to the US from
Europe.

8. Overall cabin service was great, full service...today well.....hit and miss
Just some thoughts...
VS
FF since 88
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Old Aug 8, 08, 6:41 am
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Gosh, don't get me started!

I started flying on a more-or-less regular basis in the mid 80's, right before deregulation started having its effiects. DL was a notch above the other airlines when the only way to compete was on service.

Some points:
- Extremely gracious F/As. Back then, it only took a couple of letters of complaint for them to be fired. The F/As were well paid and there would be hundreds of applicants for each open position. DL had the best of the best.
- Meals almost anytime. I remember reading in the Atlanta newspaper back then an article featuring the DL and EA kitchens - which were the largest food service operations in Georgia. Coach meals were similar to what is being served in F today and F was almost a party if your flight had a "RS" (domestic) or "M" (intl.) for meal service!
- Bending the rules for the customer. If anything went wrong, DL agents did what they could to make it right.
- Red Coats. Customer service agents that would roam around to take care of whatever the agents couldn't.
- Frequent Flyer awards you could use. Yes, it took 40K for a coach domestic ticket (but you got a minimum 1,000 miles), but even with capacity controls back then, you had no problem using awards.
- DBC vouchers that were worth something. If you volunteered for the bump, you would get a R/T ticket anywhere in the US with best available class. They made these more and more restrictive (R/T only in original class booked, booking only in a 3-day window and finally these DL dollars) as the years went on.

Of course, it was very rare if you ever found a flight for less than $500 (in 1980s dollars), so you were paying for the service.
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Old Aug 8, 08, 6:57 am
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I remember flying on Half full L-1011's from ATL-LAX. We would find an empty middle row, put up all the arm rests and lay down and go to sleep.
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Old Aug 8, 08, 7:12 am
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I was a kid in the 80's, and the Delta flights I took were usually CLT-ATL-SHV to visit Grannie, on a 737 (the -200 version I suppose) or a 727. One time we flew ATL-DFW on an L-1011 (Grannie lived halfway between DFW and SHV). The L-1011 seemed like a flying gymnasium!

One year we flew DFW-ABQ on Delta and then Southwest to PHX (much cheaper due to the Wright Amendment). I don't recall ever getting a meal, just snacks since we always took these relatively short flights.

Now, the 737-200 and 727 are gone from the Delta fleet and Grannie is gone as well.
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Old Aug 8, 08, 7:30 am
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I used to fly in FC internationally to Europe and Asia a lot, that is when they had real FC internationally and not just business elite. The planes were L1011s and MD11s. The crews were great, the food was really great (caviar with ice cold vodka and all the trimmings, etc.), and the ground staff bent over backwards to solve problems when things went wrong. Never had trouble using FF miles for awards or upgrades.

In regards to DL's products these days there is no comparison. The old days were great and if you experienced them you would know what I mean. DL is a totally different airline to what it used to be, and not for the better. Still times change, but if many of the foreign airlines can still provide the products similar to what DL used to provide why cannot the North American Carriers?
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Old Aug 8, 08, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by Rick Astley View Post
I was a kid in the 80's, and the Delta flights I took were usually CLT-ATL-SHV to visit Grannie, on a 737 (the -200 version I suppose) or a 727. One time we flew ATL-DFW on an L-1011 (Grannie lived halfway between DFW and SHV). The L-1011 seemed like a flying gymnasium!

One year we flew DFW-ABQ on Delta and then Southwest to PHX (much cheaper due to the Wright Amendment). I don't recall ever getting a meal, just snacks since we always took these relatively short flights.

Now, the 737-200 and 727 are gone from the Delta fleet and Grannie is gone as well.
I was also a kid in the 80's and took a number of JFK - TPA and JFK - MCO routes in 767's It was just better!
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Old Aug 8, 08, 8:33 am
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My children and I were one of the flights the first day of service out of CDG. We were in F and received Haviland china cafe-au-lait cups and saucers as a souvenir momento. Fast forward a few years, and I was on the first AF CGD-CVG flight. To commemorate that, we were given fairly cheap Champagne flutes with the AF logo. They come in handy when I don't feel like using my nice glasses. One thing that I liked about Delta was that they were very accomodating when I traveled with a baby/young child. Unlike AF, DL had plenty of cold milk.
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Old Aug 8, 08, 8:38 am
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The 80's...

I remember:

1) Royal Service on long-haul flights
2) 3-class service on the L-10s and MD-11s for international travel
3) Elite qualifying mile bonus on upgrades
4) Much, much better customer service
5) Newer planes
6) less delays
7) Good food in F, some kind of meal in back
8) Flight attendants that would take great care of elite customers - for a period of time, I'd walk off almost every TATL flight with a lovely parting gift (tin of caviar, a bottle of wine or champagne) courtesy of an FA. Sometimes even got one on long-haul domestics.
9) Royal Medallion tier
10) More and better CRCs (easy to find a place to sit, comfortable, quiet).
11) Upgrade certificates that were easy to use and transferrable. I gifted a few to friends & family.
12) Employees who cared enough to buy an airplane for the airline (Spirit of Delta)

The L10's were great in their day, but a lot of mechanicals as they got long in tooth.

I recall things starting downhill with the PA acquisition and accelerating with Ron ("so be it") Allen. I guess it's fitting that his picture is hung on a plaque on the wall in the underground transportation hallway at CVG.
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Old Aug 8, 08, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by USCGamecock View Post
I remember those first international flights to FRA on the L-1011. It was so cramped I started flying LH.
I only list the 1 negative about the L1011. The positive list is too long but I rmember:

Omaha steaks for dinner in coach (int)
Great compensation for bumps
Real customer service
etc. etc.
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Old Aug 8, 08, 8:50 am
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DFW to ONT in April 1986, steak dinner served in coach.

In the middle 90's finding a full lunch in FC on flights like SLC-PDX, in a L1011 to boot!

One memory I do not like to recall, the advent of SkyDeli. It was really down hill after that.

MO
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Old Aug 8, 08, 9:00 am
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Originally Posted by vikingscout View Post
Now if inbound arrives within 15 minutes of my connection departure, I'm on the next available flight(next day or two)
It is not commonplace for it to be the "next day or two" now.
Originally Posted by vikingscout View Post
3. Rarely saw cancellations because of Maint or crew (longest delay for maint was 90 minutes.)
Longest delay ever for maintenance was 90 minutes...I just don't know how that could be true.
Originally Posted by vikingscout View Post
6. Longest wx delay into atlanta was 1 hour(80's to mid 90's)... last week I had a flight that was delayed 4+ hours. due to WX
Did they have better weather in ATL then?


Originally Posted by USCGamecock View Post
Omaha steaks for dinner in coach (int)
Is your (int) stand for international? Delta used to have Omaha steaks in domestic coach.

For me. K+ fares immediately upgradeable (but L and later UT not upgradeable at all). More food service...even though on more than one occasion, I got chef salads on back to back flights. North American upgrade certificates. No CRJ service IND-ATL and half mainline service to CVG. More domestic widebodies including B/E seats to SAN, LAX, PDX, and SEA.
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Old Aug 8, 08, 9:24 am
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I am the son of a 3+million miler and flying colonel on Delta. I had the privilege of growing up flying a lot and I have experienced the old Delta.

I'd start off by saying the old Delta had a way of making the customer feel like we were doing them a favor by giving them our business not the other way around. They had a way of making us feel special: case in point the flying colonel program.

Other old Delta highlights include:
-Red Coats/ above and beyond customer service
-When a wrongdoing or inconvenience was committed against a customer compensation was given by a measure far exceeding the value of what was lost. Nowadays your lucky to come close to breaking even there.
-Complimentary decks of cards given on domestic flights upon request. (Can't tell you how many decks of delta cards we had in the house growing up)
-Complimentary individual bottles of Baileys in first on domestic flights. (After my dad came back from a business trip he'd come with 5-6 bottles, we had a cabinet full of those little bottles. FA's gave away like candy.
-Others have mentioned holding planes to wait for a late passenger. I remember flying with my dad and this occured not because of a connecting flight, but because we were simply late getting to the airport in traffic.
-International fc to die for. The tri-stars were a dream. Huge leather seats two people could almost fit in, fa's were like personal concierges. The complimentary leather toiletry kit, was more stocked than my bathroom at home. Flowing champagne, caviar...the works.

I could go on and on. Bottom line, we were Customers, now we are passengers being hurled on their rig from one place to the next.
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