I spent the weekend in Puerto Rico for some much needed alone time, and a little birthday present to myself. It was exactly what I needed.
Delta Flt 301, Dep. JFK 7:00 am, Arr. SJU 12:30 pm, Boeing 757
Delta’s nonstop to San Juan leaves unnecessarily early at 7am (for utilization issues, since it then becomes the nonstop back to JFK with the same crew). I had planned to take my usual route to JFK of the E-train to the Airtrain, but, alas, the night before I discovered the E-train is suspended overnight until 5am- too close for comfort. None of the shuttle buses from the Port Authority would get me to the airport until 6:40 at the earliest, so I sucked it up and arranged for a car service (which, with coupon, came out to $1 less than the yellow cab flat rate). I had originally arranged for the car to come at 5 am, but my father freaked me out, and I rescheduled it for 4:30 a.m. Obviously, there was no traffic and I was at the airport by 5am.
Currently, Delta is flying its San Juan flights out of Terminal 4 out of JFK, which is mostly an international terminal, and has only a few Delta flights. (I’m convinced someone at Delta just throws darts on their JFK schedule every few months to decide what flights will go out of T4.) I went right over to the Oasis Lounge, which is one of the Priority Pass lounge options (all of which are pre-security). I was really disappointed in this lounge, often referred to as the KLM Lounge though not operated by the airline. Although the lounge opened at 4 am, and there is a fare amount of early morning traffic out of the internationally-oriented Terminal 4, I had to weight 7 minutes for someone to even appear at the front desk to check me in, and then not a very pleasant checkin. Definitely an American lounge. The entire lounge smelled like bleach, and the breakfast options consisted of bagels, bread, and cereal. No fruit or yogurt.It seemed there were hot chafing dishes waiting for more food, but by the time I left at 6, they hadn’t been filled. Next month I’ll be flying KLM to Amsterdam out of this terminal, and I’m tempted to try “The Lounge,” even though I’ll have access to the Oasis both from my SkyTeam Elite Plus status and Priority Pass. It’s possible that the time of day is to explain, though, so we’ll see.
My flight itself was fine, but actually the worst Delta first class service I’ve had. The front of Delta’s 757 is a little more cramped than a few other domestic first cabins, but the personal seatback entertainment is great. The plane had wi-fi, which due to a Delta promo was free for 30 minutes- convenient since wi-fi is only available on the overland portion of the flight which was not a lot longer.
First class had a few non-revs, one of whom was sitting behind me and spent the entire boarding process calling to fellow non-revs awaiting boarding to find out if they’d made the flight. Once airborne, he was one of those seat-bangers – not realizing that only a light tap is necessary to operate the seatback entertainment system.
After predeparture orange juice and a hot towel, we were off. Unfortunately, the Flight Attendant was a little too chatty with nonrevs and her service resultably suffered. This was a bit disappointing, given that my last time on this route I had hands down the best in-flight service I’ve had in my flight – one who remembered me on return three days later, down to the drink order, and made me feel special. Not this time.
When breakfast came around, they were already out of the cerealoption, so I had the omelet, which is always a little too greasy for my taste. I had asked for a coffee with it, and I was served a Bloody Mary. The Flight Attendant realized her mistake, and came by to get the Bloody Mary, saying “Oh, you didn’t order that.” She then promptly returned . . . with orange juice. It was for the best, as I ended up sleeping for most of the rest of the flight. Upon waking, I ordered a coffee again – which I almost spit out as it was ice cold. Not Delta’s best light, particularly when compared to my prior experience.
But we got into San Juan only 20 or so minutes late, and I was off to my first hotel, the Radisson Ambassador Plaza, getting there by 1 p.m. — leaving an afternoon for sun and relaxation.