Let us now praise Delta Airlines

I flew home from Montreal yesterday via Minneapolis.  MSP was still kind of messy, recovering from a snowstorm, and my Montreal-Minneapolis leg was delayed.  Delta told me I wasn’t going to make the last flight back to Madison, gave me a hotel voucher for Minneapolis, and rebooked me for the first flight the next morning.  But when we landed in Minneapolis, there were still 5 minutes left until the Madison flight was departing.  The gate agent got a guy in a motorized cart to take me all the way from the end of concourse C to the beginning of concourse F.  Those things can go pretty fast when there’s nobody in the airport!  Even so, we got there two minutes after departure time and the gate was shut.  But I could see the plane still parked at the end of the jetway.  So the agent opened the gate back up, took me down, and got the pilot to re-open the main boarding door so I could get on the plane.  The whole thing was awesome, I was extremely happy to sleep at home, and I’m feeling very warm towards the people at Delta for making it happen.

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7 thoughts on “Let us now praise Delta Airlines

  1. JSE says:

    Discussion question: was the aggregate annoyance suffered by 150 passengers who all had to wait 5 minutes greater than the annoyance saved by not making me stay the night in Minneapolis?

  2. Nick Addington says:

    Well that adds up to 12.5 person-hours on their end, which isn’t far off how long you would have waited, even before you take into account the value of sleeping in your own bed. And it’s not as if any of them had a connection in Madison. So I think you’re in the clear.

  3. Leila Schneps says:

    Wow! I’ve been forbidden to get on a plane even though I was checking in 45 minutes before departure time! (Easyjet.)

  4. quasihumanist says:

    At the point at which you got on the plane, the departure of the plane isn’t necessarily waiting for you. More likely, it’s depending on some paperwork that has to be done before the departure of any flight. The flight can’t actually leave before the paperwork is done. Surely you’ve noticed that, on most flights, for the last few minutes you are sitting at the gate, no one is getting on, and this is true even when the flight is already delayed.

    Part of that paperwork is an exact list of everyone on the plane. If the paperwork had been done assuming you weren’t making it, then it’s probably more like 10-15 minutes to redo the paperwork. If the paperwork had been assuming you would make it, they actually saved time letting you on the plane. If the paperwork hadn’t been done yet, it really didn’t matter; the plane wasn’t leaving for a few more minutes anyway, and letting you on while finishing up the paperwork doesn’t cost too much time.

  5. JSE says:

    That’s a good point. It’s not like the plane immediately pulled away from the gate as soon as I was seated and belted in. It took a couple of minutes.

  6. JSE says:

    I forgot to mention that while we all waited an extra hour in Montreal, they brought a snack cart out to the gate and let passengers take as much water / chips / protein bars as we wanted. Another nice touch.

  7. Another point: the annoyance function is not linear in the time of the wait. A 30min delay is much more than three times as bad as a 10min delay. On the other hand, a 12 hour delay is probably not twice as bad as a 6 hour delay.

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