I travel frequently, either from my current location back home or to other destinations. Any given year, I am taking at least 2 or 3 trips for various reasons. I tend to use Southwest because the first bag is free. This is not a commercial for them, just the truth about my experience. I find their service on time as they build in a delay in their flight time. I like picking my own seat once I board the airplane. I find their economy pretty comfortable. Many of the crew have great sense of humor and include passengers in their jokes. I find their version of safety instructions on some of the flights hilarious. “In case, this flight suddenly turns into a cruise, don’t freak out…” “If the cabin pressure goes down, stop, don’t jump out of the window. Grab a mask and then pick which one of your kids is your favorite and put the mask on them after you put yours on.” LOL… Also, I find their customer service excellent, friendly and helpful. And I can say the same for American Airlines customer service, by the way. If I have to cancel a trip with Southwest, I get credit for a year to reuse that ticket. I cannot think of an unpleasant or negative experience with them so far.
For my trip to Durham, North Carolina, I bought a ticket on Delta Airlines to save money. I have not traveled with them in awhile. I missed my first flight because I didn’t make it one hour prior and the security line was long. Switching to another flight was free of charge, thankfully. Customer service was pleasant and very accommodating. My carry on was too big according to the sizer thing they have. It’s a new suitcase so I didn’t even think about that. My fault. So that was a $25 charge, adding $50 round trip, thus blowing away the savings I thought that I’ve made by going with Delta.
While at the gate, there were constant requests for passengers to check in their carry-on luggage. I am not sure if it is the size of the aircraft or what the reason might. This was not happening on just my flight; it also occurred at other gates near me. I walked up to the counter to get my new seat assignment. She seemed annoyed, tore up my old boarding pass, printed new ones for me and handed them to me without saying a single word. I am sure this stresses out the staff. I want to believe that she would have been nice and pleasant at any other given time.
Fast forward to boarding time. I didn’t realize the front of the plane had the traditional “first class” setup. I have not seen that in awhile. It was complete with fewer passengers, a curtain closing out the main cabin and their own use of the bathroom upfront. Oh the luxuries money can buy. lol… I walked past them into what I can afford. It was a slow process as people try to squeeze their luggage into the overhead compartments. It was pretty suitcase musical chair. Get it in where you can fit it. People would put their bag in the bag and walk back up to their seats. Flight attendants were doing their best to assist in the process, making room by reorganizing, returning smaller bags to make room for bigger bags, removing coats, etc. By the time it was time for zone 3 to board, it was simply required to check in your carry-on.
I was flying from Philadelphia to Atlanta and catching a connecting flight from Atlanta to Durham. The first light left 45 minutes late due to passenger boarding and taxi time until take off. Once I reached Atlanta, I barely had time to use the restroom before I boarded my connecting flight. I would not be surprised to find out the ATL airport has its own zip code. Going from gate 31 to gate 1 was a hike! No time to eat. At the gate, the same “carry-on luggage check-in please” drama happened at the Atlanta airport. I heard the words “complimentary” and many more people rushed to check-in their luggage. This time, flight was 30 minutes late. Flight attendants again were doing their best as luggage and passenger traffic controllers.
Beside that inconvenience, I had a great trip. All went well, service was excellent. In my opinion, the first checked bag free might be good for business. I think people are more likely to bring a bigger suitcase so they will have less to carry on board. Personally, that is what I do. The team sounded rushed and pressed for time from the gate to departure time. With the carry on issues, both flights were late to depart and late to arrive at destination. Definitely not helping the ratings. I will travel different airlines going forward and keep track to see if the first bag free policy really makes a difference. However, it must be accompanied with speedy recovery at baggage claim. Follow me on Twitter. Like on Facebook.
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