Sunday, October 17, 2010

The non-equilateral Delta

For the first days of Sukkot we were invited by friends to Detroit.  Ended up paying extra for the privilege of not flying at 7am with 2 kids.  The funny thing was that I was able to find a better deal by going to each individual airline's site versus using expedia and similar sites.  Apparently those sites only look for flights leaving and returning to the same airport.  We ended up leaving from LGA (LaGuardia) and coming back to JFK.  Our experience with each location and flight was very different.

LGA Delta terminal is L shaped with the bottom part housing all of the pre-security sections.  Once you walk past security, you have shops on both sides, with gates located past the shops and at the end.  Past security, the terminal slopes downwards making it easier to drag your carry-on.  The terminal is very easy to navigate and you pass the restrooms as you head to your gate.  There are large windows at the end where kids can watch planes land, get prepped for take-off, and take off.  In 2011, Delta is planning on doubling the amount of food offered and offering kosher food.  The terminal is intelligently constructed and was a pleasure to use.

Detroit Metro is good for arriving but bad for departure.  If you're traveling with a lot of carry-on and kids, on arrival, you have plenty of time to take the elevator to the express shuttle.  On departure, however, you end up running through half the airport, using horizontal escalators.  There's less sitting space than in LGA, though shops are positioned more or less reasonably.

JFK is a crowded, narrow, disorganized mess with unhelpful and possibly high employees.  When I asked a guard if there's an elevator to go to luggage area, he pointed at the escalator.  When I pointed at the strollers and our carry-on, after 20 seconds of thinking, he finally figured out that we can't take the escalator and told me where the elevator is.  There's a definite lack of signs telling you where you are and where to go .

The flight from LGA to Detroit was a pleasure.  Because we had kids, we were allowed to board ahead of everyone.  We flew on a Tuesday and there were only around 20 people on the plane which allowed us to move around to different rows so that we could all get window seats.  The flight attendants were very nice and the pilot, very experienced.  No turbulence and a perfect landing.  For the 4 of us we got a double the amount of peanuts.  After asking for a Tylenol for the other flight attendant, our kids got a whole bunch of candy bars.

The flight from Detroit to JFK was nasty.  After reserving seats a week in advance and checking in the previous night, the morning of the flight, I found out that Shlomik was moved 6 rows ahead.  After calling customer service, I was told there's nothing they can do and that the seating change is automatic and even though I entered everyone's age, apparently that's used for security purposes only.  A blatant lie all around, IMO.  The treatment at the gate was no better.  Though we did get our seating corrected, we were not allowed to board until almost everyone boarded, even though both kids were screaming by that time.  The flight crew seemed to be of the 50+ variety.  We got 2 bags of peanuts for 4 people and were given 2 more bags after having to ask for them.  The pilot, who's hands seemed to be shaking from his advanced age, hit turbulence at least 5 times with one of them being 5 minutes after drinks were given out.  The landing was both seen and very much felt.  After waiting for half an hour for the plane to get to the gate, we had to wait yet again for the door to be opened.

LGA is a pleasure, JFK is a dump and Detroit sucks.

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