Leg 2 of the trip, smooth takeoff, smooth 4-hour flight, no food despite the website having a meal-request option lead me to this imaginary conversation:
3 weeks prior
Delta website: Were happy to fly you there, what type of meal do you want
Me: Ah, excelent, vegetarian
Delta website: Your choice has been noted
day of the flight
Delta: Nice you wanted that meal, but it's not included
me: why did it ask what I wanted
So, that was ok, I survived on a packet of cheese crackers
During this 4 hour flight the entertainment system was out, I had a screaming baby 1 seat to the left of me, 2 seats to the right, one in front and to the left, and one two seats directly back. I never heard anything that flight except screaming and the occasional mention that we were flying over something that I couldn't see due to the passed-out parents who closed the blinds and ignored their kids in their laps as they cried.
A few days later it was time to come back, this time on a different plane going a different route and flying through Atlanta. The entertainment system crashed shortly before takeoff and was out the entire time. I watched as their little linux application segfaulted, rebooted, over and over throughout the 4 hour flight to the ATL. It was a much nicer trip, but no entertainment system.
Got to the ATL and faced the inevitable delays there, which are so standard why they don't bother padding an extra 10 minutes on either way is beyond me. They decided to really screw with people as the numbers on the left row and the right row were not the same (it went 1 on the left 2 on the right, 2 on the left 3 on the right, etc) so there was massive seating confusion during the boarding as people would sit down, see the number they could see was the wrong one, get up and reseat, then realize what was going on, get up and reseat again. This could have been taken care of by just putting 1 aisle to 1 number (why they had them numbered like this was beyond me). I was sitting next to my girlfriend on the flight back, her neck was hurting after the previous 4-hour trip / Atlanta delay and she asked me to rub it, I put on my headphones and was listening to my ipod and rubbing her neck in a really non-sexual non-weird way and a large male flight attendnant slaps my seat (which gets my attention) then looks at me does a tsk-tsk-tsk with his mouth and a finger wag at me. I'm not well versed in all FAA regulations but while sitting on the ground I am pretty sure there's nothing wrong with listening to an ipod and rubbing your girlfriend's neck in a non-obscene manner.
The flight arrived half an hour late, which considering going through ATL was expected, the baggage showed up about 20 minutes later than it should have (no reason given, and only 2 carousels in operation) so there was a pile of people sitting and bitching about how long it was taking. After telling my ride (before I boarded the plane) to show up 15 minutes after the baggage should have been there, he still ended up waiting half an hour before we managed to get out.
In each of these planes we had "boarding by zone", which I would have assumed meant from rear to front, but as far as I could tell it meant in whatever order was guaranteed to cause the biggest pileup in the aisle.
I guess in a nutshell I can be blamed for assuming if they ask my meal preference that I am getting a meal
If they are going to advertise that they have inflight entertainment they need to provide it - 2 different planes with the same problem means it's either system-wide bad or I have seriously bad luck with the thing
If they drop a few hundred feet because they went out imeadiately after a jumbo jet, telling the passengers they're not going to die might be nice
If they're promising an arrival time and dealing with an airport that always causes delays they need to promise realistically
I know there's not a lot that can be done when you're sat next to someone with a screaming child, but earplugs or an entertainment system that played the best of yanni is preferable to 4 hours of screaming and watching a little penguin popping up before the word segfault.
Hitting a customer's chair and making faces, tut tut tut noises and wagging your finger is not a way to properly convey a message - tapping a chair, indicating I should take out my earbuds, and telling me what the problem is would have sufficed. Perhaps there were people behind me who had a problem with an above-the-collar neck massage, I would have liked to know. He really didn't seem all that busy at that moment.