When my cousin recently announced that he is shifting his loyalty from Delta to United, I felt a twinge of jealousy. I envision him winging through the air in a cushy seat, sipping a Crafthouse Moscow Mule, a flight attendant fluffing up his pillow.

Except for the drink (United began serving the cocktail, for $13, on Oct. 1), it’s a grass-is-greener fantasy. Sure, I recall a long-ago United flight with an actual delicious meal and a row of seats to myself. But those days are gone, no matter who owns the plane.

Chalk it up to human nature, but the airline we’re stuck with (because it dominates our market) is the airline we love to hate.

To cure myself of my United reverie, I decided to focus on reasons to love Delta. There must be some, right?

Of course. Delta ranked second behind Alaska Airlines in the 2015 J.D. Power North American Airline Satisfaction Study. (In the ranking of traditional carriers, as opposed to low-budget carriers, United came in dead last — take that, cuz!)

Reason 1: Delta lands planes on time. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in the 12-month period ending in July, 85 percent of Delta flights arrived on schedule, compared with 77 percent of American and 76 percent of United flights. Plus, two weeks ago, Delta celebrated 100 straight days of completing scheduled flights without a cancellation.

Reason 2: The airline will boost pay for most employees by 14.5 percent in December, keeping those flight attendants happy.

Reason 3 (and my favorite): Beginning May 26, Delta will operate direct daily flights between the Twin Cities and Rome during the summer. The airline also gets Twin Cities fliers direct to Amsterdam, London, Tokyo and Paris. Now that’s amore.


Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.