It is time once again to share an #AirlineLove story. This one is from Jason Rabinowitz (aka @yankees368) who recently took a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Here is his story in his own words:
You recently wrote about how many of the emails you get bitch about some bad experience with an airline, but don’t often read about good experiences. Well, I have a good one for you. The airline is Delta. I know, I know, very unexpected. Delta and I have a very checkered history over the last four years, so this was something I felt had to be shared.
I was booked on Delta Connection/Mesaba from DTW to JFK at noon Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Security at DTW had no wait and a lot of TSA personnel, very nice. Aircraft was a CRJ900, not the biggest, but not tiny. For whatever reason, Delta has really cut back on their DTW-JFK route, and they are down to three a day (two on a CRJ900 and one A319). I am very surprised that they did not add capacity due to the holiday, but I digress.
When I checked in at a kiosk, I was presented with the screen asking me if I would like to put my name on the volunteer list to be bumped. I agreed and proceeded to the gate. The gate agent eventually called me up and informed me that the flight was oversold by three passengers. I happily took the opportunity to get a $400 voucher and be moved to LaGuardia Airport (LGA), as there really wasn’t any space going to JFK. I even asked for a first class upgrade, which she happily agreed to.
Flash forward 15 minutes later at the gate and my seat assignment turns into 22C! Thats the last row on their A319. Hardly first class, but I am happy to be in a seat. I hopped on Twitter, asked @DeltaAssist what the deal was, and they apologized and gave me another $25 voucher. Now we are at $425 voucher credit + $6 meal voucher.
Just before our 12:10pm push back, air traffic control stops traffic at LGA until 1pm. Uh oh, I know how these 1 hour delays turn into 2 then 3 then 7, so I needed to act fast and get something to eat. I asked the flight attendant if the door was still open and if I could grab something to eat, and they said sure! However, when I went up the jet bridge, the gate attendant informed me that I could not deplane and re-board, as she plane would no longer be secure. She then offered to personally escort me to the food court right around the corner while I grabbed a snack, with a smile on her face the entire time! Wow.
The flight was bumpy but fast, and now I am at LGA instead of JFK. I figured I would take a shot in the dark and ask a Delta red coat if they would provide a coupon for a cab ride to JFK. A few smashes of the keyboard later, she prints out a voucher and tells me to wait for a car. Holy crap, the car they called was an all black Cadillac Escalade, all for me. Again, wow!
For whatever reason today, everyone at Delta went above and beyond what they needed to do, and made my day easy (and profitable). I first started flying Northwest Airlines (which merged with Delta) when I moved to Michigan in 2008, right when they probably gave up. For what its worth, things didn’t start to go downhill until the Delta name was slapped on the ticket. It once took me 3 days to get from DTW to JFK! Yowza. Now, this summer I got from Lansing’s Capital Region International Airport (LAN) to Yankee stadium in 4.5 hours. Delta has come a long way.
The best things in life are free. Well, not always. Sometimes they will cost you anywhere between 0.99¢ to $3.99. I recently had the opportunity to test out American Airlines new in-flight entertainment system (called Entertainment on Demand) on a flight from New York to Los Angeles and this was a good opportunity for me to see if my money would be well spent.
Before boarding the plane I had to make sure that all of my electronics were fully charged, just in case the movie options were not to my liking. I had my mp3 player, my tablet, laptop, and if all of those options became boring on my 6 hour flight, I would simply resort to my good’ole fashioned book. I had not seen any advertisements on the new In-flight Entertainment System in the terminal, so was keeping a lookout for the first glimpse of what was to come.
Before take-off, I sifted through the front seat pocket and found a pamphlet with information highlighting GoGo’s services that include Wi-Fi and the In-Flight Entertainment Service. The information on the pamphlet was simple and clear but still left me wanting to see it in action. As we prepared to take off the emergency instruction video played and shortly after a 2 minute commercial on the GoGo IFE was played as well. It also let the passengers know that it was simple and easy to navigate. It made me think that even my 8 year old could sign-up and choose her movies.
Watching what the airline wants you to watch during the flight is so 1999.
Once we were at the appropriate altitude that allows for electronics use and after about 45 minutes of some technical issues with my personal laptop, I was able to connect to the GoGo website and begin my entertainment adventure. I have to say that navigating the IFE was as easy as 1-2-3 (okay there is a 4th step, but it is sitting back and enjoying your movie). You go to the website, sign-up and add your credit card information, select a movie/tv show, and watch.
Movie selections are currently limited to 18 movies with selections in most genres (i.e. comedy, action, drama, etc.). The cost of a movie is $3.99, which is comparable to what you would get at Block Buster or your local movie rental store. Movies included Due Date, Arthur, Jane Eyre, The Adjustment Bureau, The Eagle and the Kingdom. Each movie also provided a short description and the movie rating. Dad mode kicked in and I was interested in knowing the options for kids.
There are currently only two selections, The Green Lantern animated and Nanny McPhee. I asked Jason Cohen, who works for GoGo was on the flight, about this and was told that because this is currently the test phase, the selections are limited and by November 1st, 2012 the selections of movies and TV Shows will be increased to 200. Of which 18 will be in the children’s genre.
The TV show selection was the most limited, only offering 30 Rock and Royal Pains, with only 10 episodes of each. The cost of renting an episode is 99¢, and this is the same as what you would find on iTunes for a TV show rental. Browsing these selections are made easy and my favorite was the browse by length of movie or TV Show option (i.e. 30 minutes, 1 hour, 1-2 hours or over 2 hours). I opted for a 30 minute TV show (30 Rock) to begin with because I assumed that the buffering would be terrible and streaming would be choppy. This was not the case at all. The video quality was crisp and clear and the streaming was flawless with no buffering stops. I was truly surprised.
It only takes a few steps to get yourself watching movies or TV shows.
I thought to myself, I’ll try and navigate the web and watch the movie at the same time and I’m sure it will cause a buffering issue. Did it, and again, was not the case. I was able to watch the TV show, navigate the web, and check my email at the same time. I truly enjoyed having all of the options and not cause an issue with the streaming the tv show.
I was lucky enough to have Jason on board to help me and answer any questions, but if you don’t have a Jason on your flight, no worries, GoGo also has live help via chat. I took the opportunity to chat with Seth just to test out the service option. I asked Seth a few general questions but one of the most important ones that I could think of that other users would ask is, “What if I don’t finish watching the movie on my flight?” Seth let me know that I would be able to go back into the same webpage and continue watching the same movie at a later time (maybe the connecting flight if wi-fi is available) as long as it was from the same laptop I was using the first time and within 24 hours of purchase for movies, and 10 days for tv shows.
American has rolled out this new service on 15 of their Boeing 767-200 aircraft, primarily serving the New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco routes. American is hoping to roll out this feature on other GoGo equipped aircraft starting later this year. One downside of featuring this on the 767 is they only have power outlets in Business and select economy seats found near the front of the aircraft. I was sitting in the rear and if I would have been watching movies non-stop, my laptop would have ran out of juice before arriving at LAX. American is in process of installing additional powerports across their fleet.
There were no issues with bandwidth. I was able to stream my show and work on my email with no slow down.
Although the movie and TV show selection is currently limited, Jason explained that GoGo will be adding up to 200 movies soon and they will be rotated out every month. He also explained that that number would possibly go up depending on the demand from customers. I know some people might also think, “For $3.99, why don’t I just rent a DVD at Redbox and return it at my destination?” Well, that sounds great, but there a few things to consider: What if there are no Redboxes at your destination? And will the time and hassle it takes to find the redbox and return it be worth it? I would not want to go through the hassle and really a few bucks to make my flight go by quicker is always worth it.
American and GoGo are not willing to talk about how many passengers are currently using the new Entertainment on Demand, but they obviously feel this will be a successful venture with looking to add it to other aircraft. I hope to get the opportunity to use this feature again soon. Thanks American and GoGo for letting me and AirlineReporter.com try out your new service. Cheers!
Delta Air Lines is in process of a $1.2billion expansion at John F Kennedy International Airport’s (JFK) Terminal 4 . The 1.5-million square foot Terminal 4 will replace the 50-year old Terminal 3 and is schedule to be opened in 2013.
The new terminal will house one of Delta’s largest Sky Clubs, a new automated baggage handling system, faster security and more shopping and dining options.
“This is a game-changing project for our customers and the entire regional aviation system,” said Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “It increases JFK’s capacity, vastly improves the customer experience for hundreds of thousands of Delta travelers and strengthens the economic competitiveness of the most important gateway in the country.”
Delta is the largest airline in the state of New York serving 11 communities with 439 daily departures and employs more than 7,000 people in the State of New York.
John F. Kennedy International Airport's control tower with a few jetBlue Airbus A320's in front
Ah, “Bring Your Kid To Work Day,” is a classic. It is nice that your children are able to see what mommy and daddy do all day and your co-workers get to meet your little ball of joy you talk about so much.
However there are some jobs that it might be best for your child to skip visiting. On the surface it might seem harmless to bring your child to work if you are an air traffic controller. Maybe during your time off you can show him the view, let him see those big radar screens and listen to some of your co-workers in action.
Well, one traffic controller at JFK wanted his kid to get the full experience and let him talk to pilots. On a recording found on Gadling, it is quite clear the child is talking directly to the pilots, being assisted by his parent. The pilots don’t seem too put off by this, but the FAA sure isn’t amused.
An FAA spokesperson stated, “Pending the outcome of our investigation, the employees involved in this incident are not controlling air traffic. This behavior is not acceptable and does not demonstrate the kind of professionalism expected from all FAA employees.”
Sure, this might have been a little more “fun” at a smaller airport directing Cessna 172’s, not at JFK, directing large Boeing 747’s. I know I would feel a bit more comfortable knowing there aren’t children directing my next flight out of JFK.