I recently traveled to Dubai from Portland, OR and used miles to book business class for my trip, when making my reservations, I had to book with 2 different airlines since I did not have enough miles in one single airline to book roundtrip. This is what happened and a review of all the airlines I flew to Dubai and back:
When booking my first leg to Dubai, I redeemed miles in American Airlines and the best choice at the time of booking had me traveling from PDX to Chicago on Alaska Airlines with a 4 hour layover there, then on Royal Jordanian from Chicago to Dubai with another 4 hour layover in Amman, Jordan. The first leg of my trip was your typical American airline first class flight, uneventful with a side of burnt pulled BBQ pork sandwich and subpar service to accompany it.
When the it was finally time for my next flight, I was pleasantly surprise to walk into a newer Airbus plane that actually had business class seats that looked comfortable , clean , wide and it looked like I was going to enjoy the next 10 hours!. Man was I right, the fine service started with a flight attendant dressed in Jordanian attire offering me cardamom infused coffee, what followed was going to change the way I view flying forever. Dear readers, superb service and food in airlines DO exist, they are REAL, just not provided by American based airlines!
Dinner service soon followed, sure I read the menu and made my selection, I was expecting the typical tray with microwaved tasteless food that I am so used to in American based carriers, but to my delight, the flight attendant came by with a service cart and actually PLATED my food in front of me, the best thing of it all was that it tasted delicious, I even wanted seconds. She was also nice, attentive and dedicated, she truly made me feel like I was being serviced and that my needs were met, weather it was a refill of champagne or bottled water, I felt I was getting true service regardless of class of service. This made me think of the demise of the American Carrier, why did them all go kaput? What once was the golden era of flying in America has been replaced by greedy and gouging airlines, who continue (with no end in sight) to take away what little is left of the passenger dignity, we continue to get hit with fees and continue to loose service, food, leg room, comfort, reclinable seats. Seams it soon will be standing room only on American carrier flights. Why American carriers, why???
My experience coming back from Dubai was a disappointment as well. I booked my return flight on delta and the choices on delta.com were slim pickings so I chose a flight on a Virgin Atlantic from DBW to LHR and a Delta flight from LHR to PDX (via SEA). I was looking forward to flying Virgin for the first time as my perception of Virgin’s Upper Class was that it would be a very cool, fun, and comfortable cabin to travel in , at least that is what my research indicated (Virgin’s website, social media. etc.). Unfortunately for me that was not my experience, I found my seat (1A) on flight 401 to be uncomfortable, narrow and frankly, a drag, why would a flat seat need the assistance of a flight attendant to convert from seating to flat? I found this to be not only inconvenient for the passenger, but also for the flight attendant who has to come over and convert the seat with linens and all at least 2 times (to and from flat). I just did not find this to be easy nor convenient for any party involved. The food was bland and forgettable, so was tea service which as disappointment, probably best if not served at all! Anyway, my first experience with Virgin did not meet my expectations, and I was left feeling that I wasted my miles on a class of service that was just not up to par, I believe I would have had a better experience and saved my miles on economy class.
The flight on Delta from LHR to PDX in business class, was not much better, more than uncomfortable and difficult to use seat controls, plus hardly any storage room, the flight attendants did not provide first class service, when it came time for food service, I asked for the featured cocktail, as detailed on the menu, and the flight attendant had NO idea what I was talking about? Really? Are Delta flight attendants not trained on food and beverage? especially if they are serving it on board? (Emirates Airlines, just to name one and many other NOT American Based airlines sure do) After a very forgettable and tasteless meal service, coffee was followed, when I asked for cream, the flight attendant poured, literally lumps of cream, ( I guess this was Deltas version of clotted cream? I don’t think so!) The flight attendant saw that the cream was not right and did nothing to offer me a fresh cup of coffee; needless to say, I did not drink my coffee. Customer service, especially in a premium class should meet passenger’s expectations, and I am surprised that Delta is NOT following up on its service promise. I would hate to think that in Deltas journey to become the biggest airline in the world, it is sacrificing fare competition, quality, service, comfort and most importantly customer satisfaction for a profit.
So dear reader, I urge you to speak up and say something when and if you receive a bad service on an airline or otherwise, please don’t just take it, say something, use social media or customer service, it might not do much, but if we, as customers continue to not say nothing, we will continue to be taken advantage off, it’s time to bring the golden era of travel back to the Good USA.