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!

3 comments
  1. This Jay person sounds like a real peach. Who’s never done a hard days work in their life.
    Do you really think someone has the time to open every tray table and wipe them down every flt!! Or vacuum between the seats?! How about you as a passenger just not be a pig and clean up after yourself and you children. Problem solved.
    Oh no, you got offered breakfast last!! You thought cause there was a 1 on your seat you should get first choice at food options. Lmao. So if they started with you and asked someone else last it would be ok? So you don’t really give a toss about your fellow passengers either.
    40 mins for your coffee eh, poor you, silly flight attendant looking after their health and safety through turbulence forgot to jump up and get 1F their hot beverage!!! Shame on them.
    Flight attendants have a damn hard job and bust their butt catering to tools like you multiple times a day.
    Despite the details you’ve put in here how about adding just a touch of common sense and the ‘big picture’.
    You were flown through the sky in an incredibly complicated machine and system and waited on by a skilled employee primarily trained to save your dumb ass should things turn for the worse. Regional airlines don’t design tray tables. Flight attendants aren’t electricians.
    I bet you didn’t tip your flight attendant either did you. Of course not. You’re just a taker aren’t you Jay.
    With clueless people like you flying it should amaze you that flight attendants do such a good job despite the fact.
    And how about those silly pilots flying through turbulence!! Idiots.
    And they flew you all the way to Colorado just to go over the Rockies to get it before turning back on course for LA. You might want to invest in an atlas.
    You’re right Jay, flight crews and airlines do a terrible job. You could do it all much, much better.

    1. Okay,

      1) Having this clean of a plane on a domestic U.S. flight is something that is quite surprising. And yes, some cleaners do wipe down every tray table before the next flight. I have seen them do that.
      2) Delta typically takes meal orders from the back to the front of the plane in the first class cabin and serves them from the front to back. The only reason I included that information was so that future passengers could be aware if they really care about meal choice.
      3) I don’t think you actually read close enough. The turbulence started 40 minutes after takeoff. Before I got my coffee, our flight attendant had made announcements, taken meal and drink orders, and worked in the galley. She didn’t sit down through the turbulence. In fact, she continued to offer service as she brought back napkins and prepared the breakfast service.
      4) I’m well aware how hard of a job flight attendants have. I routinely spend a good portion of daytime flights talking with them to learn more about their job and their training.
      5) Yes, but on some flights, there is a switch that needs to be turned on to activate the power outlets. This has happened on a few of my flights where after alerting the flight attendant, she was able to get them turned on. Seems not in this case.
      6) Tipping a flight attendant is not considered professional. Their primary role is as safety personnel. By doing so, it eradicates the value of their training and turns their role into nothing more than that of a waitress.
      7) Smaller, regional jets experience more turbulence than larger aircraft. And yes, the Rocky Mountains do extend into our flight path. Though not as high as over Colorado, mountains still do affect air currents.
      8) Regional carriers are responsible for maintaining the aircraft.

      I’m not sure where you get the impression that I’ve never done a hard day’s work. Considering how this is a flight review and not my biography, I’d appreciate it if you kept more of the comments about the review itself. I have a job and I work to earn the money it takes to fund my college education and my trips. I don’t get free flights from airlines. Yes, I get complimentary upgrades due to my medallion status, but that comes after spending thousands of dollars flying with them and their partners. I will be going to a top-10 U.S. college for my undergraduate education. I’ve put in far more than one day of hard work and effort to get where I am.

      My job was to review the flight and that is what I did. It wasn’t a bad flight by any means. Pilots can’t control turbulence and flight attendants can’t stop my coffee from spilling.

      My colleagues and I are online journalists. We get abused far more often than people think. Hiding behind an online wall doesn’t excuse hurling insults and making baseless judgments about us. And please sir, watch your language. This is a public space.

  2. There is a LOT of tension/jumping ship going on at Compass right now. They are short staffed, so they have been struggling with conducting smooth operations. Hope it gets better there.

    A few things I want to point out:

    Delta has a method for taking orders in FC. On even number flights, orders are taken from front to back. Odd number flights are back to front. Main cabin is always front to back. This is the standard, but not all FAs follow this like they should.

    Tipping is not required. In training they told us not to accept it. But if you push enough, they will give in. Can’t argue with the customer, right?

    With wifi and power outlets, it’s all chance. Maintenance is something Compass struggles with. The planes are old (from Northwest Airlines), and don’t have much ground time to get everything fixed. So broken things get deferred: wifi, power outlets, trays, seats, bins. etc. Sometimes resetting the system fixes it, sometimes not. It’s never consistent.

    The only time the plane gets a deep clean is when it sits overnight. That depends on the cleaning team at that specific airport it sits at. A cabin clean team also comes on between each flight to empty trash, restock pillows/blankets, and give the cabin a quick, light clean. Some teams clean it thoroughly, some don’t. First flight of the day will usually be cleaner than say, the last flight.

    Believe me when I say these reviews are being observed by the crews. Your last review was a hot topic at the company, and (sadly) you weren’t wrong. Keep it up with these reviews!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recommended Stories: