Tuesday, July 26, 2022

I made the mistake of flying Delta. Not a mistake I'll make again.


My Delta nightmare-

To start- I’ve not heard good things about Delta- EVER. I only flew Delta because I was going to my best friend’s funeral, and had to find the least expensive ticket. After this experience, I will NEVER fly with Delta again.

Beginning with my flight out on Thursday, July 21, 2022, flight 396 from PDX to JFK.

*I am having mobility issues due to a back injury and severe pain. I called ahead to customer service to arrange a wheelchair, as well as arranging for it online. I was told that I could check in at the curb baggage check and get one there. There was no one at the curb when I arrived, I could not get there attention of the desk staff to simply ask the question of where to go for one. I tried to walk to my gate anyway, when someone noted me struggling and flagged down an airport employee to get me some help. I then got parked at the gate in a chair that was not a wheelchair but an adult-sized stroller that had to be pushed- I couldn’t move it only my own, hence couldn’t even go get a cup of coffee- I was stuck sitting at the gate until my flight left.

*I have NEVER been in a more uncomfortable airplane seat. It was miniscule. The seats are the very opposite of good ergonomic design, and my back hurt so much worse after sitting in one. There’s extremely limited leg room. I know coach is tight, but I am only 5’4”, and my knees were touching the back of the seat in front of me. I pulled a tape measure from my purse and found that between the edge of my seat and the back of the seat ahead of me was all of 9” of clearance. That explained why it was so difficult to get in and out of the seat. And it was even worse when the man in front of me decided to recline his seat. I tried to use my laptop, but the space was so tight, I could only open it about 45 degrees, and because of that, it kept switching itself off.

*I had the misfortune to be hungry (because I was stuck at the gate instead of being able to wheel myself to find food), and the tiny bag of SunChips (gag) were not enough, so I paid $12 dollars for the most wretched sandwich I’ve ever had. It was allegedly chicken salad, on a soggy croissant, and filled with arugula, which is definitely an acquired taste. (It tastes absolutely vile to me.)

*The flight was delayed about 45 minutes, which caused problems for the friends picking me up at JFK. Especially since…

*The woman who got me off of the plane in the stroller didn’t take me to Arrivals- she took me to Departures, and left me there and walked off. I had no idea where I was, and couldn’t tell my friends where I was so they could find me, making the delay there even worse.

Sunday, July 24th, I flew home from JFK to PDX, on flight 2656.

*Again, I double-checked that there would be a chair available for me. There was not. While I was getting out of the car, my friend went to the curb check agents and explained that I was supposed to have had a chair waiting for me. They blew him off completely, saying they didn’t know anything about a wheelchair. By this time, I was exhausted and in tears. My friend went in with me, grabbed a random wheelchair from another airline, and badgered people until someone got a Delta employee to put me in an adult stroller and wheel me to my gate. And there, he left me sitting in a seat and walked off with the chair.

*I managed to limp to the desk, told the gate agent that I was supposed to have a wheelchair to get on the plane. She said she’d call for someone. She may have done it online, but I didn’t see either gate agent call anyone. At any rate, no one came. Everyone else boarded, and I was like ‘Hey, I’m still here!’ Finally, another employee got tired of waiting and pushed me down to the plane herself. TO the plane, but didn’t help me board or with the carry on. Other passengers did that. (Why are your passengers doing your jobs?) I got to board DEAD LAST.

*Seat was, again, tiny.

*The wifi kept cutting out or something on my phone, so I got out my laptop, only to find that I had to PAY FOR the wifi that I’d understood was free. And it kept dropping me, and I had to keep re-signing in. And when my battery was down, I switched back to the phone, which still couldn’t keep the connection. So I had no way to tell my roommate that we were going to be late.

*The media screen in the seat back was not working. The flight staff was like ‘Not our problem’. With phone and laptop not options, I mostly looked at the back of the seat in front of me. I had a book with me, but there was not enough room to hold it comfortably.

*Again, I’d been stuck at gate, in a stroller, with no way to get food, so I have to pay for a disgusting, overpriced sandwich and two very thin apple slices. It was pathetic, but my blood sugar was crashing.

*Oh- and the carpet in the aisle was filthy.

Delta is #1- for customer complaints. I can see why. For an airline that’s been around as long as Delta has, you’d think it was better at basic competence. Seems I was wrong. But I’m mad, and intend to spread the word.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

A long goodbye

Today, we said goodbye to one of the best friends I've ever had.

Phil Troy was a man who I owe a life-debt to, who rescued my daughter Anne-Marie when her best-laid plans crumbled. And he helped her get on her feet in the Big City, where she'd gone to 'seek her fortune', like in the fairy tales. He and Susan adopted her as their own. I never could thank them enough.

But it wasn't just rescuing my daughter. In the 20-odd years that I knew him, he was a huge support, not just as an artist, scholar, and cook, but as a brother who would tell me the hard truth when I needed to hear it.

One time things were getting heated on my Facebook page, and my own father said some terrible things to and about me, and Phil waded out of the fray and said "Who is this asshole and why do you let him talk to you this way?" When I explained that it was my dad, Phil said "Laura, how old are you?" Lighted dawned. I was 46. And I realized I didn't have to put up with the abuse anymore.

Through the last few years of my relationship with James, Phil tried to talk some sense into me, to see how toxic it had become. I couldn't see it then. But when James broke thing off, Phil didn't say 'I told you so', but gave me more comfort than I had any reason to expect. 

He was a man who could take the business to another highly respected cook, and tell him he was an idiot without using those words (in fact, in a much more amusing way for those of us who were watching in awe as the two of them battled), and do it with good humor. He also cared for tiny frogs and a peach-faced lovebird as though they were his children. And he cherished his wife and son more than his own life.

I'm still having trouble believing he's gone. On the other hand, the cancer had ravaged him to the extent that dying was a blessing. I just wish that he'd seen Anne-Marie's elevation, and to meet Sam.

Phil, my beloved friend, I will always love you, and there will always be a Ralph Kramden-shaped hole in my life. Adieu, dear fellow.

 May be an image of 1 person and text that says "illiam Troy June 22, 2022"