Dismal Delta

It wasn’t my intention to write about Delta as part our US road trip. But before I get to the interesting places we are visiting, I can’t let the flight (almost) from hell go by without an adverse comment or two. Actually the flight itself wasn’t too bad. The service was good, given the fact that Delta’s 757s haven’t been manufactured for over ten years (BA retired theirs four years ago) and therefore the interiors are tired and the seat entertainment systems don’t work any more, the food was awful, but it was all kept bearable by the tireless efforts of the crew, led by Olga from Russia.

We over-nighted in the JW Marriott in Atlanta, to get a last taste of superb beds and the en-suite shopping experience, before heading up to Wyoming. Like an idiot I went for a row in First thinking it would be a quiet flight for us with civilised fellow passengers. Not a bit of it. Amongst others there were quite a few children, clearly on their father’s Delta points, a female surgeon, a Robin Williams look-alike with his fishing rods and … the American family from hell.

The surgeon started off well by running through her presentation material on her MacBook, complete with graphic gynaecological images of a distinctly medical nature, later describing herself to a fellow passenger across the aisle as “a surgeon, you know, in the women’s plumbing department.” Nice. The family from hell were distributed all over the cabin, but managed to secure seats together after a bit of judicious reformatting of the seating plan. The fisherman was reformatted next to the surgeon, who made her wait ten minutes after she stood up to let him into the window seat while he repacked his bags. At least she demonstrated a sense of humour when she asked him whether he planned to move in.

The family from hell consisted of a father, alpha male and presumably a Delta million-miler, over-sized specimen of the species with no volume control; the wife, alpha male mate, bronzed with silly yellow shorts and a similar missing volume control feature; ‘the girls’ who sat somewhere behind keeping themselves well away from the parents; and the inevitable ten-year-old male brat, apple of the parents’ eye, opinionated loud voice and well on the way to becoming a mini version of his father. Alpha father kept shouting across to brat-child on the other side of alpha mom and the adjoining aisle, calling him “buddy”, “dude” and similar dumb-ass cronyisms. That was after he thanked Robin Williams profusely and at the top of his voice “you are so A-A-AWESOME, man.”

“Where are you from?” alpha-male-mate-and-mom asks Olga. “From Europe, originally” she politely replied. “Oh, what a lovely accent” alpha-mom announces to the entire cabin.

Thank goodness for Olga dispensing liberal quantities of Skyy vodka with a never faltering smile. Is it all airlines or is it just me?

Survival in First

We managed to get ourselves a row of First seats on BA out to the US at the start of our holiday. I have to say the old First left a bit to be desired, too much walnut and a bit shabby, but the new First configuration is incredible. You actually get to enjoy being on an aeroplane for a change.

Concorde lounge serenity
Concorde lounge serenity

Starting with the Concorde lounge at T5, rather than having to spend time with self-important business travellers bugging you with over-loud conversations on their mobiles, you sit with a wholly more reflective crowd. Very good and discrete service too, nothing is too much trouble. Of course unsurprisingly, not an English accent in evidence!

Interesting faux-effect fireplaces, which you can’t photograph because they are too reflective. A kind of 1970s throw-back to G-plan furniture and angular shapes. But apart from that a relaxing place to hang out for your flight.

Mood lighting
Mood lighting

On board it’s all low-key mood lighting, blue leather and touch controls. All borrowed from the new Range Rover it feels as though. There’s loads of space around in your compartment and plenty of room even for a special guest to come and share a meal with you if that’s what you want. Although tortoises are by nature solitary creatures they sometimes like to share things.


Survival kit
Survival kit for First

Note the absence of either reading material or an iPod in the new First survival kit – you don’t need either … the TV works and there’s no one close enough to disturb you!