A positive experience at JFK (sometimes it all works out...)

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by Travel2Food, Apr 12, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Travel2Food
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    Travel2Food Silver Member

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    I love Global Entry. I hate the TSA. I am very appreciative of what I see as an improvement in the DL staff at JFK to premium passengers.

    So I returned from IST yesterday w/a scheduled connection to the 9 PM to DCA. My hope was that we would get in early enough to allow me to beg, plead, and grovel to take the 5:45 flight to DCA instead. Due to 70-100 mile/hour headwinds for the entire return flight an early arrival didn't happen - we arrived pretty much at scheduled time.

    Global Entry was a breeze, and once again proved it's worth. I literally spent 20 times as long dealing with DL's contract security at IST (bad enough that I have no desire to fly DL out of IST again, but don't get me started) and TSA at JFK in the T4 recheck area (simply awful, 20+ minutes including a "random" secondary). It was literally 5 minutes from plane to exiting Customs.

    It was less than 45 minutes to departure time for the 5:45, so I stopped at the Gate 11 customer assist area to see if they could rebook me. The first agent I talked to looked it up and tried, but didn't quite understand how to do it (apparently it was under gate control, as I expected). The next agent over told her to call a certain extension and tell them that a "platinum customer" wanted to change flights & please rebook it. First agent mentioned something about me being on an international flight, and the second agent said not to worry about that, just call and tell them to assist the platinum customer. From that point, it took the agent longer to figure out how to assign a seat and print me a boarding pass than it did on the phone to get me rebooked.

    I did my best "NYC walk" to hoof it over to Gate 25 (T2) quickly & ended up waiting in the gate area 10 minutes to board. To top it off, the scanner spit out seat 1C on the CR9, giving me the upgrade.

    This is a 180-degree turnabout from my last couple of experiences trying to SDC a connection at JFK. In fact, I've avoided DL JFK connections through JFK for just this reason. Very, very good progress toward treatment of elites at JFK (I was on a Z-upgrade/M-fare, which did not seem to be a factor as the only thing noted was my status).

    So thanks, Delta, for the improved customer service.

    Now, Delta, you need to support some kind of "Registered Traveler" program at TSA to minimize the crap that low risk (20+ year elite) passengers have to deal with.
     
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  2. DisneyDude
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    There is a Registered Traveler program for TSa, Clear (www.clearme.com) but I would be surprised if they ever set up Clear lanes at incoming international locations.
     
  3. Travel2Food
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    I had Clear (now ClearMe), but it really doesn't do anything but allow you to cut the line (that's a godsend at MCO, but was mixed elsewhere). I'm talking a true, risk-based program that minimizes the amount of security hassle. It certainly can be done and should be done. Delta is supporting reduced hassle for their crews, even though I'd bet many of us long-term flyers are at least as low of a risk as DL's own crews.

    There were 4 security checks at Istanbul. At the gate, there was a 20 minute line for the Delta-contracted x-ray and WTMD. Even if you didn't alarm the WTMD, you got wanded with a metal detector (OK, we didn't set off the metal detector, what do you expect to find with a handheld metal detector) and patted. Then 10 feet later 80% of the passeengers were required to undergo a "random" secondary consisting of a full grope and perfunctory swab/ETD of the carry-on bags. Add in the requirement to pass through standard security (x-ray and WTMD) to even get in the terminal, plus the routine security questions, and it was way, way over the top. Yeah, I'm torqued because this part of it went well beyond any other foreign airport I've used lately and way beyond what TSA does in the US. Delta can, and should, do better.

    /rant off & sorry for taking this off-topic.
     
  4. DeltaExpert
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    Glad to hear about positive experiences at JFK! Thanks for the post
     
  5. ShopAround
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    Glad to hear you had a good experience at JFK.

    I had Clear and now have Global Entry and while I miss the line-cutting benefit to Clear, GE is the best money I ever spent on a trusted traveler program. I used it for the first time last month and between the GE kiosk and priority baggage handling actually working as promised, I was out the door while most of the people on my flight were still waiting to get their passports stamped. :)
     
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  6. MSPeconomist
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    On my last flight into JFK (SQ into T4, but on the other side from the wing DL uses), I seemed to be the only one on the flight with Global Entry. I didn't see anyone else near the kiosks, not from the previous flight either. It was lonely waiting for my bag to appear, but the FC tag resulted in it being sent out fast, this time before the SQ crew bags to the side. I loved strolling out so easily and feeling like a VIP as others watched, although I still had a wait for my connection. The Oasis is great, including the shower.

    Then reality set in when I went to T2 and was subject to all the TSA barking at people, a packed flight, and a gate change with lots of lice.
     
  7. Travel2Food
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    Likewise. I was out the door of Customs before everyone from my flight had even made it into the customs hall! As is my custom, I did not check bags (which also made the flight change possible).
     
  8. NYBanker
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    We have a different opinion on this. A little extra screening, somewhat under DL's control (or at least their request) at IST, in a country with fairly porous boundaries, doesn't strike me as such a bad idea.
     
  9. NYBanker
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    We have a different opinion on this. A little extra screening, somewhat under DL's control (or at least their request) at IST, in a country with fairly porous boundaries, doesn't strike me as such a bad idea.
     
  10. Travel2Food
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    Fine to disagree.

    I might agree with you if a) it were effective (based on my observations, it was not effective) and b) it engaged true risk-management techniques which could/should include one's traveling history. With respect to point b, it is highly unlikely that an evil-doer would build up a 25 year history of extensive domestic & international revenue travel with/on the airline in question (longer than some of the employees working the flight). The airline already has those records in their CRM system. And that doesn't include various recent government background & security checks that said traveler might have been subject to (which the airline might not currently have).

    Hence my conclusion that DL should engage to develop and implement a true risk-management program for domestic and international travel. They are supporting same for their crews, they should realize that many of their passengers present as little, if not less, risk than some of their crew members. By reducing the number of folks pulled aside for so-called "random" secondaries they can spend more time screening the higher risk passengers.
     
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  11. TheMadBrewer
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    TheMadBrewer Silver Member

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    I had a similar good experience at JFK in Feb. I was flying DUB-JFK-LAX. The JFK flight number continues on to LAX so that would mean no upgrade on the domestic leg. So I booked the next flight, 2 hours later.

    Of course we were early, so now I am looking at a even longer layover. SC couldn't do anything so I wandered over to the gate, told my story. The GA said, no problem and BTW you're #3 for 7 seats so you should be good for the upgrade as well. Luckily I had a JWD cert with me and she got it.

    I wonder if some of the complaints finally made it up the chain and back down and the word was put out to BE NICE -- at least to PM/DM.

    My only JFK visit last year ended up as a trip in vain because of the volcano (JFK-FRA canceled after I left LAX) and I forgot the first rule of IROPS (go to the Club). I didn't know I had such power to cause a volcano in Iceland just to scam a trip to NY and back. The trip before that (18 months ago) had just as rude and surly agents as well.
     
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  12. DeltaExpert
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    glad you got BE on that flight!
     
  13. NYBanker
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    I definitely agree with this. Regrettably, we have some societal pressures which preclude screening based on certain criteria. Whether or not additional criteria would be more effective, and if it is worth the societal cost, is subject to debate.

    I have been profiled (favorably) a few times. I am a caucasian business executive. I have set off the metal detector at Persian gulf airports a number of times - and each time I am simply waived through by the guard who "profiled" me. Once I even carried my briefcase (and laptop) through the metal detector...again, no questions asked, nor any re-screening done. I guess I didn't mind that sort of profiling!
     
  14. MSPeconomist
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    OTOH, also as a caucasian business traveller, I've faced additional security in Asian airports. In fact, I've seen all luggage of caucasians being opened and hand inspected while nothing like this was done with the luggage of Asian-looking passengers.
     
  15. Deltalina
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    Deltalina Silver Member

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    SDC is now allowed on the final domestic leg(s) of an intl ininerary.
     
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  16. MSPeconomist
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    Yes, this has been everyone's experience but I don't think it's official in the published rules. BTW, this seems to work either by phone or at the airport, but don't hand checked bags back in after customs if you want to SDC.
     
  17. Travel2Food
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    I think this is correct - the first question an agent will ask is whether or not you have checked bags.
     
  18. MSPeconomist
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    Some stations might be very nice and look for the bag to retrieve it and retag for the new itinerary, but they are certainly not obligated to do this for you. It would probably increase the risk of a lost bag. What's the point of arriving early but having to either wait for the bag or return to the airport for it? Of course, if the SDC results in an upgrade, this is different.:)
     
  19. Travel2Food
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    I also think it harks back to security policy and "bag matching". While I'm not certain that TSA still requires bag matching, I do think that they see a voluntary change of flights while leaving your bag on-board as being a risk.
     
  20. secretsea18
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    Why do you think that the extra screening at IST was due to DL wanting/doing extra screening??? The FAA mandates certain screening procedures on flights on US carriers bound to the US, above and beyond that done on none US carriers, especially to non-US destinations.

    I travel fairly regularly to Asia, on both US and non-US carriers. The difference in the extra screening at the gate is onerous for US carriers and eventual destinations (for example MNL-NRT-US destination), there is additional screening at the gate with WTMD and Xray belt, and sometimes extra secondaries with the EDT chemical swipe. All passengers entering the MNL airport do an Xray of all luggage (hand and checked) and WTMD at the entrance before Ticket counter, then hand luggage Xray, WTMD and minor grope to get to the gate. So I am talking about a third checkpoint. This extra third checkpoint is not on flights MNL-SIN on SQ for example... and is a direct requirement of the US FAA.

    I think your security beef is not with DL, it is with the US FAA.
     
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  21. MSPeconomist
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    At the SIN do, in response to some questions the UA representative made it clear that they didn't like the TSA mandated procedures but felt they had no choice and could not even make their objections known or try to negotiate something more satisfactory.

    However, I think I've observed situations where USA carrier flights nonstop to USA have stricter security procedures than foreign carriers flying the same nonstop route. This must cost our carriers some business.
     
  22. Deltalina
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    I don't work for delta but have been told by a few agents that it's a recent change.

    As for a checked bag the point you reclaim Is where the SDC should occur. I don't often check a bag but IME (ATL and JFK T3) you can see an agent before rechecking.
     

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