Delta Flight 5950 Chicago-New York LaGuardia First Class

By Paul Riegler on 25 June 2014
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This is the story of a gate agent, Michelle, a changed flight, a delayed flight, and a gate change.  When it became evident that my meetings in Chicago were ending earlier than planned, I decided to fly back to New York earlier as well.  Delta offers Gold-, Platinum- and Diamond-status members of its SkyMiles program an option called Same Day Confirmed, or SDC, which allows travelers to change to an earlier or later flight without charge.  Because I wasn’t sure how quickly I would make it to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, I opted to wait to do SDC until I was actually there.

I set a speed record in going through security after the car service dropped me off at the Delta Terminal.  The TSA PreCheck checkpoint was virtually empty and I was airside within five minutes of arrival.

I immediately went to gate 6 for the flight I wanted to take.  The agent, Michelle, with a look of deep concern on her face, said that the flight was delayed due to a mechanical problem and she was moving passengers from this flight – which was scheduled to depart at 3:30 p.m. local time – to the next flight at 4:30.  I asked her about SDC and also if I would remain in first class.  She was happy to do it but wanted me to wait to see if the flight would be further delayed or even possibly cancelled.  I would, however, be in first, in seat 1A.


Michelle handled each passenger enquiry with great poise and her efforts in providing excellent customer service were infectious.  Even passengers who approached her with a very unhappy disposition left with a smile.


Alas, Michelle was not destined to be my gate agent.  The repair of the aircraft would take much longer than had originally been estimated and we would be departing from gate 13 using another aircraft.

Even with significant delays, Delta boards first-class passengers before all others.  First class and higher-status members of Sky Miles can use the SkyPriority line if they arrive after boarding has already begun.  I was at gate 13 when the inbound aircraft arrived and was one of the first passengers to board when the boarding call was made.

Delta operates Embraer E170 aircraft on this route, which carry a maximum of 69 passengers.  On this flight, every seat was filled.

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