This is part four of a guest series about a trip to Haiti. You can read part one here, part two here and part three here. A friend, “Captain”, who travels frequently to the Caribbean for work took a trip to Haiti with Delta and the Haiti Department of tourism to explore the country, people, culture and get a sense of how this country is recovering from a devastating earthquake in 2010.
As many of you know, I spend quite a bit of time in my office above the clouds. As an International Business Traveler, living in South Florida, American Airlines gets most of my business. As an Executive Platinum, I am treated good enough that I failed to notice what may be obvious to others….a very average overall package. Recently I took a trip, on Delta Airlines to Port au Prince, Haiti, with 12 other colleagues of mine. My flight path was PBI to ATL to JFK to PAP and then back again. The entire trip was in Business Class, allowing me to compare the experiences apples to apples. Palm Beach International is the closest airport to where I live, however I usually depart from Miami as they have many more flights that accommodate my business travel.
When I arrived at PBI, I remembered why I love it so much. Normally I battle traffic for over an hour, park on the 6th floor of the Dolphin Garage, walk half way across Dade County, only to get lost in the D Terminal maze that is security. PBI is 40 minutes from garage to the gate. After breezing through security, I was off to the Delta Sky Club. PBI does not have an Admirals Club so having a lounge to wait in was very nice. I grabbed a glass of merlot and a seat by the window. The olives, hummus and pita chips provided me a nice snack while I did a little background research on Haiti. Before I knew it, they were calling my flight.
After boarding a Delta MD 88, for my flight from PBI to ATL, the first thing that I noticed was the cleanliness of the Business Class cabin. The seats were not cracked or faded. I didn’t see food particles, from the last 20 years, in every crevice. The crew greeted me with a smile and I had a bottle of water waiting at my seat. It had been a while since I had taken a flight with Delta but I did notice that the safety video no longer featured their famous curvy redhead, Deltalina. She did have a brief cameo, wedged in between a dozen or more childish but fun jokes. While the video is a far cry from some of the productions that Air New Zealand puts on, I found it quite entertaining. A smooth flight to ATL followed by a short layover and I was off to JFK. Again, my second flight was on time and rather uneventful. The flight from ATL to JFK did feature a Fried Chicken meal, which I thought was excellent, although I’d trade the cake for a waffle and the fruit for some collards. Delta could even take it a step further and get Gladys Knight to serve up her signature dish from 35,000 feet.
After arriving in New York, I caught 5 hours of sleep at the JFK Hilton before grabbing the 6:30 shuttle to Terminal 4. This was my first experience in Delta’s new flagship airport space. Wow, is it nice. From the Priority Check in, to the security flow, to the Sky Club, to the food options, it blows most airport terminals out of the water.
After a brief stop at my gate, I headed to the Sky Club to see for myself what had been written so much about on the internet. The bottom line is that Delta did a fabulous job. The lounge itself is beautiful and the exterior Sky Deck just tops it off.
Unfortunately I did not have time to grab a drink at the beautiful bar as breakfast was calling my name.
While it was only 8am I had to get my hands on the talk of the terminal…..the ShackBurger. It took all of 5 minutes for me to devour the 100% all natural Angus-beef cheeseburger and lose my Shake Shack virginity. Two bite chump.
The flight from JFK to PAP, on DL 699, is about 3 hours and 15 minutes. I took my seat in the Business Class Cabin on one of Delta’s 737-800 aircrafts. Originally I was given the bulkhead but wisely opted to move back to row 3 as leg room is very important to my feet and knees. Despite the fact that I had already eaten my allotment of calories for the day, the omelet needed a little TLC. It was especially good with the Vodka-OJ.
Some would say that I have a slight case of ADD. While I cannot verify that to be the truth, the fact that Delta has TV’s in their seat backs, is the best thing ever. What did I watch? The Hangover Part III of course. We arrived at PAP about noon and this particular Executive Platinum was rested, full, and quite content. I embarked on a journey to the Dark Side and arrived having seen the Light. Thank you Delta.