Delta Cancelled My Flight – Then Claimed Zero Flight Cancellations That Month

Upon arrival at Singapore after a wonderful experience on Singapore Airlines with the best business-class seat I’ve flown, I was greeted by what seemed like bad news.

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My next flight, DL 166 departing SIN at 0645, was canceled.  At NRT I was connecting to Detroit, MI on Delta’s new A350-900.  It was going to be my first opportunity to try the new Delta One Suite.  That experience was now in jeopardy.  The flight information boards said to go to a transfer desk in Terminal 2.

At the transfer desk, Delta provided a snack and information about the cancellation.

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Agents at the transfer desk were handing out gift bags and an explanatory note from the station manager (below).

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Strangely, Delta later bragged that it had no flight cancellations in November 2017.  Somehow this cancelled flight, due to technical issues with the aircraft, didn’t count.  Go figure.  Was this the only cancelled flight that month that Delta conveniently overlooked when it compiled its operational statistics?

Also at the transfer desk I learned that Delta had rebooked me in business class on an ANA flight to Tokyo NRT that was scheduled to depart 10 minutes earlier than the Delta flight.  Hallelujah!  That meant (1) not flying the Delta 767-300 with its worst business-class seat, (2) getting my first ANA flight in business class – on my favorite 787-9 no less, and (3) the connection to the flight with Delta One Suites was safe!  Sometimes life is good.

ANA (NH) Flight 802 Singapore to Tokyo, Japan

After spending a few hours in the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer business-class lounge in Terminal 2 (to be reviewed), I went to Gate E5 where ANA flight 802 was boarding.  At SIN, passengers go through security screening at the gate.  I like this system because delays at security will not cause passengers to miss a flight.

As usual at most Asian airports, boarding was very orderly and began precisely as scheduled at 06:10 for the 06:35 departure.

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One ANA quirk was that its top-tier frequent fliers boarded before passengers in business class.

Singapore (SIN) and Tokyo (NRT)are separated by 3,324 great-circle miles.  At boarding the captain announced that the flight time to Tokyo was estimated to be six hours and 13 minutes.

ANA 787-9 Business-Class Cabin  

The 787 is my favorite aircraft because of the high cabin humidity, cabin pressurization that is 20% closer to sea level than most other planes, and last but not least, the large,  electronically dimmable 787 windows.

ANA was the first airline to fly the 787-8 and the 787-9.  This ANA 787-9 has 48 lie-flat business class seats in two cabins.  The forward cabin has 26 seats and the aft cabin 22.  The seats are arranged 1-2-1 with all having direct access to the aisle.  All seats face forward.

ANA 787-9 Business-Class Seat

The seats have 62 inches of pitch and are 21 inches wide.  My seat was 4C, a window seat on the port side.  Window seats in even numbered rows have the console next to the window.  Odd numbered rows have window seats with the console next to the aisle.  I prefer the console next to the aisle.  However, being a last minute addition to the flight, I was surprised that any window seat was available.

I find that business-class seats with the console next to the aisle provide separation from the aisle traffic and create a feeling of greater privacy.  In this case, being rebooked at the last minute, it was great to get any window seat in business class.

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Seat 4C with amenities

Many of the features of the seat are clustered in an easy-to-reach, eye-level location on the console to the left of this seat.

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A/V remote, reading light, power outlets, and headphone jack are close at hand.

Seat Features

Each business-class seat has a card explaining all of the seat features. 20180318_005754_resized_4 20171121_091441_resized 20180318_005605_resized

While I give an edge to business-class seats like the Super Diamond seat on American Airlines remodeled 787-9s and 777-200s, having flown Ethiad and Thai aircraft with similar seats, I knew that this seat would make the flight to NRT enjoyable.

Amenities

On this relatively short 787 flight ANA provided noise cancelling headphones and slippers plus a blanket and pillow but no amenity kit or mattress pad.

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Noise-cancelling headphones
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Slippers and shoehorn

Departure

Pushback was at 06:34.  Nine minutes later we departed SIN on Runway 02C (Zero Two Center).20180318_004732_resized

IFE (In-flight Entertainment)

Shortly after takeoff, I checked out the in-flight entertainment system.  It is state of the art with a good selection of current and classic movies, games and live and recorded TV shows available for viewing on the fixed 18-inch monitor.

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IFE menu
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Live TV options are always nice

The flight following system gives passengers almost as much information about the flight as is available on the flight deck.

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Menu for flight-following info
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Over SIN with a graphic depiction of terrain and structures below.
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The heads-up display includes latitude and longitude information.
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The command center option provides the most information about the flight.

I appreciate knowing lat and long info to pinpoint the aircraft position relative to the poles, the equator, the prime meridian, etc..  Singapore lies only about 90 miles north of the equator, and in the photo above, the system shows our position as exactly 1 degree north latitude.

On-board Service

I had heard that ANA’s service was highly rated.  The crew on this flight did nothing to tarnish that image.

The service began with the pre-departure beverages just after boarding.  The FAs were offering orange juice, champagne or water.  I asked if it would be possible to combine the champagne and OJ to make a mimosa and the FA cheerfully complied.

Twenty minutes after takeoff the in-flight service started with warm, moist towels.  Ten minutes FAs distributed menus for food and beverages.20171121_085131_resized20180318_010013_resized

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A variety of Japanese wines and liquors was also available.20180318_010735_resized

Japanese Breakfast

This was an early morning flight so breakfast was served shortly after takeoff.  I had the Japanese version.20180318_020019_resized20180318_020125_resized

After breakfast I requested to be awakened 90 minutes before arrival.  The FA agreed without hesitation and made a note of it.  I slept well for around three hours waking up on my own about 10 minutes before the FA had promised to rouse me.  Indeed, she did stop by a few minutes later.

The Loo with a View  

A trip to the lavatory on the port side between the two business class cabins was a shocker.  There was a window next to the toilet.

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The window has the same electronic light filter as the other windows plus an old fashioned pull down shade to alleviate any privacy concerns while on the ground.  The bathroom was stocked with some supplies to compensate for the lack of amenity kits.20180318_053542_resized (1)

And, another first for me on a plane, the toilet had some of the high-tech features that are often found on toilets in business- and first-class lounges in Japan and Korea. 20180318_053715_resized

Arrival Meal

Before the descent, I requested the udon noodles with fried tofu.  It came with a side dish of chicken, bok choy and other vegetables.  It was much better than an American breakfast, and I’m even getting the hang  of eating noodles with chopsticks. 20180318_053946_resized

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NRT Arrival

The descent from Flight Level 390 began at 13:25.  Visibility was good so air traffic control gave us vectors for a visual approach NRT’s main runway, 16R (One Six Right).

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Lined up for the Runway One Six Right final approach. Ten miles out descending through 2,700 feet at 328 feet per minute. A seven knot headwind with a small northerly crosswind component made the heading 149 degrees.

NH 802 touched down at 13:58 after travelling 3,478 miles.  We parked at Terminal 1 Gate 52 at 14:07.  I arrived a few minutes earlier than the scheduled arrival of the cancelled Delta flight and in plenty of time to visit the Skyclub before the flight in the Delta One Suites.

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ANA 737-800 at NRT Terminal 1

Overall Impression

It was a real treat to try ANA business class on my favorite plane the 787-9.  The service of the attendants lived up to ANA’s high standards.  What is impressive is that the attendants are always pleasant and responsive.  Their attitude comes across as very natural, never forced or robotic.  This flight was also noteworthy because it was the only airplane I’ve been on that had a window in the bathroom, and the only airborne bathroom with an automated bidet toilet.

I’ve never been so happy with a flight cancellation.  Thanks Delta.

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