Delta has been sending out letters to inform customers that they have been notified of a security breach of 7.ai, the chat service they (and other companies) use. At this moment it’s unclear just how many customers were affected, but there is the potential that it could be several hundred thousand customers.
The good news is that no passport or government ID information was impacted, and the scope of the breach is limited to the customer payment information. The culprit seems to be malware present in 7.ai’s software that was present between September 26 and October 12, 2017 that allowed for unauthorized access to form-fields when manually completing a transaction on any delta.com desktop platform at the time. The specific form-fields that were targeted were: name, address, payment card number, CVV number, and expiration date. This breach was limited to the desktop platform. The FlyDelta app, mobile delta.com site, and other systems were all unaffected.
The better news is that Delta has informed us in a timely manner (they were told on March 28th, they released the response website on April 5th, and they have been sending letters to SkyMiles members since). They have also reached out to AllClearID to offer complimentary two year credit monitoring for all SkyMiles members as a precautionary measure.
As always, keep a close eye on all your credit card statements and get in touch with issuers if you see anything questionable!
I’ve gotten some concerned looks in the past about some of the routes and mileage runs I’ve done to maintain my status with Delta, but believe me when I say it pays off.
I posted earlier about some excitement regarding an extremely affordable trip to Paris later this year, and after having received my Global Upgrade Certificates I had one of the smoothest certificate-related calls to date. There was space available on the outbound flight, so I was immediately confirmed for Delta One! I’m still wait-listed for the return upgrades, but all things considered I’m not too worried.
One of the nice things about booking the flights separately is that my upgrade for the JFK-CDG flight is not dependent on any other space. This makes it much more straightforward to monitor with services like ExpertFlyer.
With only a few days remaining on my Global Upgrade Certificates (from my 2017 Choice Benefits), I’ve been using them rather liberally for my recent flights to and from LAX. Since I was automatically confirmed in Comfort+, I wasn’t too disappointed when they weren’t clearing. However, on the last day of their availability, I was delighted to see that my upgrade from LAX to ATL was confirmed!
For this route, Delta reuses their B767-400 that arrives from NYC-JFK, so it is fully equipped with a Delta One configuration, as opposed to the super-cramped B767-300 or a Domestic First configuration. This meant lie-flat seats! Sure it was a short flight (just at 4 hours), but hey… anything that helps my back feel better is welcome!
With a range of over 6,000 miles, this plane was a little bit of overkill for a simple trans-continental route, but again – not complaining! It was one of the smoothest flights I’ve been on in a while, which is saying something. The GoGo was a little spotty, but I’ve noticed this to be a consistent issue of late when flying cross-country. I’m surprised if I have fewer than four outages on such a trip.
Four words: Lie. Flat. Lumbar. Massage.
While most of the features of the seat weren’t a surprise, seeing actual air vents was a relief. Many planes lack air vents in their business class cabin which leads to very frustrated (and overheated) passengers. Thankfully that was not the case here! Not pictured: additional controls (such as flight attendant call) under the silver portion of the right arm-rest.
The only complaint I had was that the LSTN headphones were terrible. They did nothing to reduce the sound of the engines. I wound up going to my Audio-Technica headphones and watching movies using them, instead. Bring your own headphones with an airline plug adapter if you find yourself on one of these planes!
It should come as no surprise to you that I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch, given the consistency at which Delta has been hitting their meals out of the park. Instead of going with the lasagna, I opted for the salmon salad. Though grilled, it was served chilled on a bed of baby spinach with feta cheese. There were also multi-colored cherry tomatoes, peppers with actual heat, and both yellow and purple potatoes. Overall a very well composed entree.
Dessert was a lemon creme cake with shredded coconut layered upon the frosting. As someone with a serious weakness for coconut, this didn’t last long. 😉
It’s not news that I love flying Delta. Between the actually happy flight attendants, excellent food, and ridiculously good operational record, it makes perfect sense for me to fly them. My only complaints are regarding the LSTN headphones (which are actually worse than the Billboard earbuds in Comfort+), and the spotty GoGo for trans-continental flights. Even still, these are small inconveniences in the scheme of things. (Though, let’s be serious… nobody likes their internet being cut while in the middle of a conversation…) I can’t wait to fly Delta One, again!
While in LA for work recently, I caught a glimpse of a KLM Queen flying overhead as I returned my rental car. It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen one of those!
I was pleasantly surprised with an upgrade on the way back to Raleigh. Initially rather worried with the weather hitting the South-East, I was notified of a potential delay and a quick call confirmed that a late flight in the morning had cascaded throughout the day. Thankfully, a very helpful representative got me rebooked on a flight routing through MSP (instead of ATL).
While waiting for boarding, I noticed that not only did I get my preference for a window-seat, I got upgraded! Score! Though not a particularly long flight, the crew was stellar (as always — you spoil me, Delta!). When it came to meal choices, I opted for the antipasto salad as I wasn’t too hungry. Not only was the salad excellent (with lightly oiled crostini), it came with tiramisu!
Delta has really been stepping up their catering game of late, and my recent flight from San Diego to Detroit is proof that they are taking it seriously. Since I was on an odd numbered flight (DL 833), meal orders were taken from the back to the front, so I didn’t have a choice in options. While I was a little worried when I heard what was available, I was completely (and very pleasantly) surprised!
The lunch entree on the flight that day was described as “tandoori chicken with quinoa salad”, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. Tandoori chicken is dry by definition, and meats on flights tend to be drier still given the combination of cooking method, pressurization, and air. I was pretty worried… and not just because I was getting Indian food on an American airline! 😉
Surprise Number One
Once the meal was served, I was impressed by how Delta opted for a chilled presentation of tandoori chicken. This allowed the chicken to remain more moist than it would have been after re-heating in a convection oven. The addition of almond slices was a nice touch, and between the almonds and the quinoa there was a nice balance of texture.
Surprise Number Two
It’s hard to explain how important raita is to Indian cuisine… much like Greek cuisine’s relationship with tzatziki. It is found with most preparations of dry meats (or particularly spicy food) to reintroduce some moisture and also tame spicier foods. The texture of the thin cuts of cucumber also helps with the dining experience. Delta did their homework on how to properly serve Indian food!
Surprise Number Three
Accompanying the chicken and quinoa was a chilled salad composed of orange, onion, and feta cheese. The acidity was just what the meal needed.
Finally, dessert. A nice selection of fruit accompanied by a mini apple pie!
I can’t say enough positive things about how far Delta has come with their domestic First Class meal offerings. They are putting a great deal of thought into meal composition and my stomach definitely appreciates it! Kudos, Delta!
Before we knew it, it was time for us to return home – vacations are never long enough! We had arranged for round-trip shuttle service between the airport and our hotel, so we were promptly picked up and deposited at the airport. Though our driver insisted that we needed to leave the hotel by 4:30 AM, we found that the airport counters and security are not open until 5:00 AM. Adding to the fun: most stores and restaurants are closed until 6 or later, depending on the store.
Our initial flight from SJD to MEX was fairly uneventful. We were once again on a regional jet operated by Aeromexico Connect, and we were asked to not use headphones until we reached 10,000 feet. Another interesting quirk: Aeromexico doesn’t serve alcohol before 11:00 AM local time, but all alcohol is complimentary after 11:00 AM.
While taxiing, my girlfriend was able to snap a few gorgeous shots of planes, including a Boeing 727 used by the Polícia Federal! We quite a few Dreamliners, as well as a plane with livery I couldn’t recognize in the least… it almost looks like a funky Alitalia color scheme. If you can figure out who’s flying this plane, let me know!
Aeromexico Salon Premier
Instead of the Heineken sponsored lounge that we visited during our first time through MEX, we opted to grab some caffeine and libations at one of the larger Salon Premier lounges.
This lounge is one of three that are located in the mezzanine – to reach it you have to either take the elevator or climb the stairs near security. The lounge itself was quite spacious with two circular bars that served alcohol as well as coffee and tea. There was plenty of seating available with easy access to power outlets. Tucked away in the furthest corner were coolers for self-serve beer, water, and juice as well as a few snacks.
Probably the most frustrating part of the return was the experience while waiting to board the flight from Mexico City to Atlanta. A Delta representative let us know that we would need to get freshly printed boarding passes from Delta (our Aeromexico boarding passes would not allow us to board). Getting new boarding passes took nearly 15 minutes even though there was nobody in line before me, simply because the gate agents were talking to each other instead of paying attention to passengers – thoroughly disappointing.
Once we had received our new boarding passes, we got to experience the new TSA security measures for US-bound flights. While I understand the premise of asking the same question multiple times to ensure that you get the same answer, I tend to find this works best when the question isn’t immediately repeated. For example, I was asked how long I had stayed in Mexico three times… one right after another.
The remaining of the boarding process was fairly uneventful, but shortly after approaching the runway, we were turning back to the gate. There it was: the dreaded maintenance delay. Thankfully, we had planned for a 3 hour layover in Atlanta, so we made it to our connection with 10 minutes to spare (sans dinner).
Finally on our way, we were given physical menus to select our lunches from. I opted for the arroz con pollo while my girlfriend opted for the pasta. The chicken was slightly drier than the flight to Mexico, but the rice (really a pearl couscous) was quite good. The charcuterie plate was probably my favorite part of the meal, though.
A few months ago, I received an invitation to visit Westin’s newly renovated resort property in Los Cabos. Given the price of the stay, I had a hard time saying no! I knew that this was going to be a timeshare pitch, given my experience at the Westin Lagunamar, so I had mentally prepared myself for the whole spiel prior to arrival.
The routing was a little wonky since the direct flight from Atlanta was not available on the days I was considering, so we had a second layover in Mexico City. Though I wasn’t able to fly on a Dreamliner as I had hoped, I was still able to give Aeromexico a shot.
The Club at ATL
With some time to kill upon arrival at Atlanta, we headed to Concourse F for our flight to Mexico City. Though there is a SkyClub, I opted instead to visit The Club (a member of PriorityPass). Unfortunately, since we were flying on a Sunday and it was before 12:30 PM we were not served any alcohol due to Georgia state law.
There were various cookies, chips, and breakfast items when I initially arrived, but they were in the process of setting out the lunch items.
Since the flight from Atlanta to Mexico City is a short three and a half hours, Delta opted for a 737. Unfortunately since it was using ground-based WiFi, it was only available while we were flying over the US.
Upon boarding, we were offered orange juice, champagne, or mimosas as our pre-departure beverages. Since we were heading out on vacation, our choice was clear. 😉
Shortly after reaching cruising altitude, we were given our option for meals – chicken or vegetable lasagna. I wasn’t really feeling pasta, so I opted for the chicken. Expecting a single tray of food, I was quite surprised when we were given a multi-course meal instead!
Our lunch started with olive-oil crostini with what I think was cheese and candied sweet potato. Also present was a Caesar salad and Tiramisu.
Once our appetizers were done, the small plates were cleared and replaced with our entree. The sweet potatoes with our entree weren’t nearly as sweet as those with our appetizer (thankfully!), and the chicken wasn’t as dry as most airline meals.
Since this was my first time visiting the Mexico City airport I planned for a longer layover than normal – just over five hours. While it might have been a little unnecessary, I prefer to err on the side of caution for international connections when Customs are involved. Thankfully, it went fairly smoothly and we had some time to explore.
Our last flight of the day was on an Embraer ERJ-190 operated by Aeromexico Connect. Though the first row had substantial legroom, which we were quite grateful for, the presence of oxygen tanks in the overhead bins meant that we had to stow our bags a few rows back. Something to keep in mind!
The only snack available for this short flight was a nut medley (cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds and so on).
Overall, the flight was a smooth one. I was very surprised that we were asked to not have headphones on or use electronic equipment below 10,000 feet. I’m not sure if that is something that is unique to Aeromexico or Aeromexico Connect, but I can’t remember the last time I was asked to remove my headphones on a plane.