Ramon is the creator of Travelling Companion. He focuses on flight review, hotel reviews, and helping stretch your travel dollars, miles, and points further.
This flight showed Delta's product at its worse and that the airplane you fly matters on Delta. Pros-Conveniently located power plugs, mood lighting. Cons-No USB power, bland food, old and poorly functioning in-flight entertainment system, and barely functional in-flight messaging.
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As we got off of our flight from Washington D.C. we headed straight to our gate at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL) since our flight was departing in about one hour. Boarding began about 15 minutes late. Once again we boarded in Zone 3 since we bought deeply discounted tickets and did not have Delta elite status or a Delta credit card. Because this aircraft had much smaller overhead bins that the last one and we boarded in Zone 3 we were forced to check our bags at the gate. When we got on the plane it was packed and all of the overhead bins seemed to be full. This is one big reason why for those who travel often it can really help to have elite status and for those who fly even a few times a year it is worth it to sign up for your primary airline's credit card.
Boarding ended up taking a long time as the flight attendants made multiple announcements but were not helpful in clearing the aisle quickly for boarding. We ended up departing seven minutes late due to the slow boarding and delays loading luggage.
Plane and Seats
As we settled into our seats for this roughly three and a half hour flight I once again enjoyed the mood lighting which this time was also paired with nice boarding music. However, in general these seats were not as well padded as those on the previous flight and the interior of the plane was significantly older. One positive feature of the seat was the placement of the shared power plug. Instead of underneath the seat the plug was located on the rear of the seat in front making it much easier to access. We were seated in seats 20A and 20B which were right at the wing and obstructed some of our view but I still enjoyed the view from the wing on a clear day departing ATL.
In-Flight Entertainment and Messaging
The in-flight entertainment (IFE) system on the plane was very old. I found it very difficult to use and it took forever to scroll through selections. This aircraft offered live-TV from Dish network which I had not noticed on my flight from DCA-ATL. However, it did not function at all during this flight. Also, as I looked through the IFE selection they were significantly fewer options than were offered on our last flight. On a side note when we finally got the IFE to work Christina and I watched the movie Detroit on this flight. While it was a good movie it was very intense and not the kind of movie which I would recommend watching on a flight 😀.
In 2017 Delta rolled out complimentary in-flight messaging which allows you to use data messaging services such as I-Message, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp free in air. When I heard about this I thought it was a cool new feature but this flight was my first time using this feature. A few things to keep in mind the service does not allow you to send pictures or video only text and emojis. As I used the service I found it extremely slow and barely functional. It took a long time to send and receive even simple text only I-Messages. While I appreciate that Delta offers the service at all I really think they have a long way to go perfecting the service and I wouldn't plan on engaging in long text conversations on a Delta 737-800.
Most Delta flights to Mexico on U.S. carriers do not serve a meal so I was surprised when I found out that Delta serves meals on the ATL- Mexico City International Airport (MEX) route and did not know what to expect. My suspicion is that they serve meals on this route because their joint venture partner AeroMexico, in whom Delta has a 49% stake, operates its largest hub at MEX. When meal service began a choice between sandwich and a fruit and cheese plate.
I chose the ham and cheese sandwich and Christina chose the fruit and cheese plate. The fruit and cheese plate included crackers, grapes, and three types of cheese. The fruit and cheese plate was fairly boring and not filling. It was much more of a snack than lunch. Christina thought the best part of the meal was the Ghriadelli Sea Salt Chocolate which was included on the side.
The sandwich included ham, cheese, and a tomato. The sandwich was bland and basic. My favorite part of the meal was the apple on the side. I appreciated the fact that we were offered meals on this relatively short flight but overall the meals were small, bland, and had me wishing I was able to stick to my original AeroMexico since Aero Mexico serves hot meals and tequila on flights over three hours.
We touched down in a very foggy Mexico City and I was excited to start exploring the city.
After a great flight from DCA-ATL this flight demonstrated the inconsistency in Delta's product across different aircraft. As I have also said about American Airlines the aircraft you fly really matters and the same principal applies on Delta. This aircraft was old had a poor IFE system, barely functional in-flight messaging, and no USB power. While I appreciated that Delta offered a meal it was small and bland. I would only recommend flying Delta to Mexico City on 737-800 if you are able to score a great deal like we were, otherwise try to avoid this aircraft and try some of Delta's newer aircraft. I really hope that I will be able to try out AeroMexico next time I go to Mexico City.