Trip Reports

Unmemorable Morning: Delta Connection Operated by Compass Airlines from San Antonio to Los Angeles

I needed to return to Los Angeles to continue my world tour. This flight was the return segment on my roundtrip from Los Angeles one month prior. While my previous flight with Compass Airlines turned into a late night circus, this one was a much more unmemorable flight.

Delta Connection E175. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Booking

This was the return segment of my roundtrip out of Los Angeles. I paid a pricey $476 for a coach ticket. However, with my Gold Medallion status, I ended up getting an upgrade to First Class one hour before departure.

Airport experience

San Antonio International Airport is a small and simple airport to navigate. I arrived at the airport about an hour before boarding was scheduled to commence. Despite not being a premium passenger, it only took me about 20 minutes to drop my bags and make my way through security.

At the gate, I received a complimentary upgrade to First Class thanks to my medallion status. Three days prior to departure, I received a complimentary upgrade to Delta Comfort+. Our morning flight was fairly light. First Class ended up departing full, Comfort+ had about nine empty seats, and the Main Cabin was scattered.

Boarding was initially scheduled to start at 5:20AM for our 6:00AM flight, but at 5:30AM our gate agent announced she could not locate our crew. At 5:45, our crew finally showed up and boarding began five minutes later.

On-board

I was greeted with a quick hello from our flight attendant before making my way to seat 1F. Our flight attendant informed us that there would be no pre-departure beverages as we were trying to depart on time.

Since there was a push to depart on time, I wasn’t able to get a good picture of my seat or cabin. However, the hard product and amenities were exactly the same as my previous flight. Each first class passenger was provided with a pillow and blanket.

Pillow and Blanket. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

The cabin was relatively clean.

The E175s are laid out in a 1-2 first class configuration. On the center armrest, both passengers had access to their own standard power port. However, neither mine nor my seatmate’s port worked. Our flight attendant didn’t seem to know what the issue was either. For a morning flight lasting just under three hours, this wasn’t a terrible issue, but on a daytime flight, when I’d want entertainment from my phone or a tablet, I would like a working power outlet.

Experience

We were offered a small water bottle as our pre-departure beverage. No headphones were offered since there was no entertainment provided on this aircraft. Passengers could download an app to access free entertainment, however.

On my last flight, I had a very troublesome tray table. On this aircraft, the tray table was much less angled, however, my water bottle and coffee cup were still in danger of shifting – and that they did. I ended up chatting with the flight attendant about the tray tables on E175s. She did mention, under a condition of anonymity, that working one flight to the next on E175s can be a chore since the tray tables on some aircraft are worse than others. She also mentioned that there is a fix for the tray tables that Compass Airlines hadn’t implemented. We got lucky with this aircraft as the tray tables were much better.

Prior to the meal service, we were offered a hot towel. I also used the towel to wipe off some seat surfaces and the tray table. Normally, I find that I pick up some dust or crumbs when wiping down these surfaces with a hot towel. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my towel hadn’t picked up any of that. The aircraft was quite clean. Granted, it was the first flight of the day for this particular E175.

Hot towel. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Food and beverage

About 20 minutes after takeoff, our beverage service began. I went with a cup of coffee. At the same time, our flight attendant took meal orders. She started from the back of the plane and made her way forward. That made me, in seat 1F, the last passenger to have my meal order taken.

By the time she had made her way to row one, there was only one option left – a chorizo breakfast sandwich. Something was better than nothing and I decided to take the option. 40 minutes after takeoff, I was served a cup of coffee.

At that point, we encountered some rough turbulence, although our service carts didn’t flip over. The slightest bump led to my cup of coffee sliding across the tray table, which did cause a spill. The flight attendant promptly answered my call button and provided me with a number of napkins. She also checked back about refilling my cup once the air settled down some.

Turbulence led to a bit of a mess with my coffee. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Really, our turbulence never settled down. It just became less profound than before. Our entire flight was quite bumpy and the seatbelt sign toggled between staying on and off. Given how we were flying over the Rocky Mountains, this wasn’t terribly surprising. After some time, our flight attendant continued the meal service through some of the turbulence. About 90 minutes after takeoff, breakfast was served starting with row one.

Chorizo Breakfast Sandwich. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

The sandwich was quite warm and fairly good. I usually tend to find breakfast to be the most uninspiring meal on a plane, but this meal was pleasantly delectable. The fruit also tasted quite fresh, which was a new feeling for me on an aircraft. It wasn’t the best breakfast I’ve had on a plane, but for the smaller galleys of an E175, it wasn’t that bad.

Cabin crew

The flight attendant working the First Class cabin was efficient. She went through the motions carefully and quickly resumed service whenever the turbulence settled down.

For most of the trip, she was also very attentive. She passed through the cabin three or four times during the meal service to refill drinks, offer additional napkins, and clear tables.

Overall

The best way to describe this flight is as unmemorable. When writing this, I had to go back to my notes several times because I couldn’t really remember much about the flight. For a regional flight on a domestic airline, I don’t think I could ask for more. I find my domestic flights to be either forgettable or downright horrible. This one, thankfully, was forgettable.

Would you fly Compass Airlines? Let us know in the comments!

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