Delta's CEO Sends Me A Personal Letter Apologizing For Bad Service--That's Actually Pretty Good Service.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on May 30, 2007

Back on May 22, I posted about Delta’s failure with me to live up to its new upbeat marketing campaign. On the day Delta emerged from bankruptcy to start anew, a computer kept my plane on the tarmac for an extra hour or two and it took three days to get my luggage back. Not great service. I said in the post that Delta made a classic mistake in having its basic service not live up to the promise of its advertising and branding.

So I’m sitting here really appreciating a hand-written letter from Gerald Grinstein, CEO of Delta, responding to my post. Now stop a moment and think about this. The CEO of a company writing to apologize for bad service, asking the consumer for another chance. That’s very good service. It directly engages his customer audience. It makes me want to give Delta another shot. And I will.

Here’s Grinstein’s letter:

“Dear Mr. Nussbaum
Oddly enough, I agree with your 5/22 column if it means advertising won’t work if the product doesn’t live up to the promise. There are times when we at Delta fail to achieve the level of passenger service we aim to provide. That obviously happened to your flight. Sometimes there are factors beyond our control but your experience tells me that we just failed. For that, I apologize. Also hope that you’ll give us anotehr chance.
But you should also know, that there are almost 50,000 Delta people who work very hard to see that situations like that do not occur. When they do, we learn from them. So if you can bring yourself to five Delta another try, my wager is you will be impressed with the dedication of our people and the quality of srvice they provide when we give them the tools to do so.

Sincerely,
Jerry Grinstein”

So lessons for managers. Mistakes happen. It’s what you do about them that counts for consumers. Here we have a proper apology (remorse, promise of solution, request for another chance) from the person in charge.

It worked for me.

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Reader Comments

Mark Ryan

May 31, 2007 01:58 PM

Sure--an apology to a well-read columnist. That's not customer service. That's marketing.

I got no such apologies from Delta when my flights were bungled--I had to hunt down a manager to find out the crew had timed out after the plane sat on the tarmac for an hour waiting for a piece of equipment to get moved out of the way.

bruce nussbaum

May 31, 2007 05:42 PM

Mark,
Yeah, I realize the incongruity to the letter. I'm hoping the CEO means what he says about service. If not, I won't fly Delta.
Bruce

rick m.

June 3, 2007 07:01 PM

I am not impressed with Delta's facilities at JFK airport for international departures (Terminal 3). Before you check-in your luggage, the bathroom is actually in a differnt building acroos the street. And after you check-in, there is only one medium-sized bathroom for about 20 gates near the food court. Next time I go to Europe I will try to use another airline, or depart from Newark airport if possible.

Another problem with all the airlines is that they serve dinner too late into the flight (i.e. 10 pm for a 7 pm departure) so there is very little time to sleep before arrival. I would suggest to have a separate section in the airplane for people that prefer to skip a late dinner and have more time to sleep without interruptions.

nancy northrup

June 14, 2007 07:10 PM

The purpose of this email is to share our DELTA experience with you. I understand you are now calling yourself the New Delta.

On June 8, 2007, my husband (who is disabled and on oxygen) and I were taking our granddaughter to NYC as a high school graduation gift. We had airline reservations, hotel reservations and tickets to two Broadway shows. We were planning to show our granddaughter all the sights of NYC that we could fit into five days.

At every step, we informed Delta staff of my husband’s disability and provided paperwork from his doctor and Delta Medical Department about his need for oxygen and Delta’s approval to use our own portable oxygen concentrator.

We arrived for our flight (#412) early, completed the check in process and settled in to wait for our flight which was scheduled to leave at 10:25 A.M. from Phoenix to JFK in NY. A notice was posted that the flight was delayed until 1:00 P.M. because of “Air Flow.” I’m not sure anyone knew what that meant. The gate agent then explained it was bad weather in NYC. Of course, with many of the passengers being from NYC, they immediately got on their cell phones to family in that area and found there was no bad weather in NYC. Then the gate agent explained it was bad weather in the mid-west. (Diverting flights from Chicago to JFK? That seemed strange to me. However, the gate agents were still re-booking passengers, who had connecting flights, to leave on other schedule flights in to JFK.

So why, if those flights could get into JFK, couldn’t other flights get into JFK? Humm…..

The posted time changed again to 11:00 A.M. so everyone was happy that we would be leaving shortly for JFK. At 11:00 A.M., the posted time changed to 1:00 P.M. At 1:00 P.M. the flight was canceled. After we had stood in the line at the gate for about a half hour, the gate agent told some of us to go to the Delta ticket counter to get re-booked on other flights. It was very confusing about what line we were supposed to stand in and we were moved to other lines several times (all of which just made the wait that much longer). When we were finally in the correct line, everyone queued up to wait. There were two parties in front of us, when a woman cut the line and the Delta ticket agent allowed that to happen. The two parties in front of us objected and there was some conversation between them and the ticket agent (no yelling, no objectionable language, no pushing, no threats, just discussion). Another ticket agent (Jody) came out from behind the counter and said, “I don’t want to call the cops but I will if I have to.” Wow, we were stunned. Treats are issued if you don’t just shut up and stand there like sheep! In the meantime, another passenger somehow got behind the ticket counter and stood there for about 20 minutes before someone noticed that she didn’t belong there. Another big Wow!

When it was finally our turn, the ticket agent booked us on a flight to Salt Lake City with a connection to JFK. She rerouted our luggage and gave us a $100.00 certificate for a future flight on Delta. We went to get lunch and when we were finished, checked the status of the Salt Lake City flight – Delayed! So, we went back to the ticket agent, this time Jody (the one who was going to call the cops) told us the flight was canceled (good thing we checked on it). Jody booked us on a US Airways flight to Los Angeles with connections to JFK. We only had 50 minutes to change terminals, check in with US Airways (Jody said we could use the kiosk which was not true because we now had a paper ticket), get through security and board our aircraft. The only reason we made that flight was because I begged the US Airways staff person to let us enter the security checkpoint via the first class line. I think the US Airways staff person took pity on my husband who was standing there with oxygen. At any rate, we were grateful.

Our flight to Los Angeles left on time (US Airways) and as we were making our way through security at LAX, my cell phone rang. It was an automated Delta Airlines message that our scheduled 9:50 P.M. flight (DL1890) had been Delayed!!! until 12:40 A.M. the next morning!!!! We located the gate (57) and sat down to wait. The gate changed to 55A, then was change again to 56. Just before we were to board our aircraft the gate changed to ANOTHER TERMINAL!!! My husband was walking all of this time and at no time did anyone from Delta offer assistance even though we went through the oxygen discussion every time we checked in.

As we were making our way to the new terminal, the Delta gate agent passed us and we overheard him say, “I have not worked in this terminal for 10 years and I don’t know what’s going on.” Certainly, not words to inspire confidence.

We finally boarded our flight to JFK-NY and arrived there at 9:30 A.M. the next day. That is 23 hours after we were originally scheduled to leave Phoenix. We made our way to the baggage claim and discovered that our bags had not arrived. We went to the Delta baggage office and the (appeared to be) supervisor told us the individuals at the baggage carrousel “don’t know what they are doing” and not to believe them when they told us all of the luggage was out. We were told by this person to wait longer and make sure the bags were not on the flight. We went back to the carrousel but no additional luggage arrived. When we made our way back to the luggage office there were several people in front of us. We arrived just in time to hear the ‘supervisor’ yelling at another passenger. Again, surprised, surprise, Delta staff being rude!!! We completed the necessary paperwork and left the airport. We arrived at our hotel at 12:30 P.M. It had been over 30 hours since we had slept.

At no time did Delta make any accommodation for my disabled husband and, in fact, at one point had him setting in an Exit Row of the airplane.

We now had no luggage, no change of clothes, no makeup, no toothbrush, no toothpaste, etc. We were not able to get even an approximate time for delivery of our luggage because they didn’t know where our luggage was! Since we had theater tickets that night, we had to purchase new clothes for my granddaughter, my husband and myself! The hotel gave us deodorant and we bought toothbrushes and toothpaste. Our luggage arrived at the hotel in Brooklyn about 7:00 P.M. that evening. We had already left for the theater in our newly purchased clothes.

On our return trip, we were scheduled to leave out of La Guardia Airport, flight DL523 at 5:00 P.M. with a connection to flight DL525 at 9:25 P.M. arriving in Phoenix at 10:24 P.M. on June 12, 2007. We arrived at Delta about three hours early prepared to wait for a while. When we checked in for our flight our bag was one pound over the limit undoubtedly because we were bringing home the clothes we had purchased because Delta had lost our luggage. Didn’t matter. I was still charged $25.00 for the overweight bag. Because of our previous experience we were checking the Departures board often to track the status of our flight. While we were waiting we heard flight after flight being cancelled because of weather problems in Atlanta. Eventually our flight was Delayed!!!! I kept getting calls from Delta’s automated system updating me on the flight. Finally, I got a call from Delta’s automated system telling me we had been rebooked on a flight leaving from JFK. Imagine our surprise. A totally different airport! We checked with the gate agent who told us we had two choices: 1) take the flight scheduled to go to Atlanta and miss our connection from Atlanta to Phoenix at which point we would have to find and pay for our own lodging or 2) pay for our ground transport to JFK and take that flight directly to Phoenix. We opted to go to JFK (a $30.00 cab ride) and take the direct flight.

When we got to JFK, I got another call from Delta’s automated system telling us the flight had been Delayed!!!! until 9:40 P.M. About 8:30 P.M. we began to hear overhead pages for the flight crew for our flight to report to the gate. Just before 9:00 P.M. we decided we had better go to the gate to make sure the departure time hadn’t changed. We arrived at the gate about 8:45 and found that the departure time had indeed changed to 9:00 P.M. You can imagine how surprised I was that I hadn’t received any call from Delta’s automated system. Perhaps that only occurs when the departure time is delayed. The flight crew continued to be paged. They were not coming from other flights and were in the terminal somewhere according to the gate agent. The passengers, on the other hand, were all present and waiting, some more patiently than others. At 9:40 the air crew finally showed up at the gate. After we had boarded the plane, the gate agent came on board to count passengers. When she passed me, I asked her if all the passengers were on board. She said yes and I asked her if my granddaughter could move to an empty row (there were a lot of empty rows and seats on the plane and she was setting in the same row with two elderly people). The gate agent said, “Just let me finish this count and you can set where ever the hell you want.” Hummmmm. Wonder if use of that language is included in Delta’s training?

The flight to Phoenix was uneventful and we landed at about 12:40 A.M. June 13th. We, of course, made our way to the baggage claim area. Our luggage did not arrive on the same flight. We completed the delayed luggage form before we left the airport. Our luggage was delivered about 4:30 P.M. that day.

I have to say I found Delta’s lack of accommodation for my disabled husband disturbing. We found the staff to be rude and unwilling to do anything to help the passengers when things began to unravel. In fact, they appeared to be unsure what to do themselves when things began to unravel. What a nightmare trip both of our Delta flights were for us. My husband was so tired and not able to fully participate in this special trip for our granddaughter. Additionally, we lost one day of our trip because of the glitches in our flights. So there were many things we didn’t get to do, one of which was a carriage ride through Central Park. Unimportant? Perhaps. But nevertheless an important event for our Granddaughter.

I understand weather delays. I do not understand rudeness or lack of consideration for disabled passengers.

We, as well as all the other passengers, fulfilled the requirements for travel on Delta airlines. We obtained tickets, checked in well in advance of the flight, complied with all the security rules and presented ourselves at the gate. Delta, on the other hand, did not fulfill its obligation to us as passengers. There appeared to be NO ONE IN CHARGE! It was disorganized, unfair (in some instances), and Delta staff were rude and on more than one occasion displayed extremely inappropriate behavior. Furthermore, they appeared to be totally unconcerned about their passengers’ comfort or welfare.

We hear over and over how ‘it’s all about the service’ and that’s certainly true for us. It is all about the service. If your customer service isn’t good, your business will suffer. You must know your passengers were certainly not satisfied customers and people will express that dissatisfaction to many, many other people. If this is the New Delta, you need to reassess your business practices. The New Delta will be the new out of business Delta without passengers willing to fly with your company. Perhaps that should be communicated to your staff.

I am returning Delta’s certificates that were given to us. We will not be using them to fly on Delta Airlines anytime in the near or far future.

Furthermore, I am going to send copied receipts for the clothes we had to purchase because Delta lost our bags. In a perfect world, Delta would reimburse us for those costs. Unfortunately, Delta’s world is far from perfect

Carl

June 18, 2007 04:05 PM

Nancy's post, along with Bruce's article, show the reason that I only fly when absolutely critical. Air travel has become horrible, and I want nothing to do with it. This treatment may help the airlines make a profit now, but will certainly hurt them longer-term.

Patricia Arroyo

June 23, 2007 02:03 AM

The same thing is happening to my sister right now. She had a flight scheduled with Delta out of JFK for 3:15pm and at 12:30 she received a call delaying the flight to 4:45pm. We still proceeded to the airport as early as possible. When she arrived, the person that checks you in told her that her flight had already left and that she would have to wait for the next flight. She asked for a supervisor and the supervisor told her that she had to be on standby, when my sister asked her why if she originally had a seat, she told her that that was the only way. It is now 9:55pm and she is still waiting. after asking three times for a supervisor, she has received nothing but grief. the employees are not listening and instead threatened her on calling the cops. They have no respect for customers and they do not even care if they get reported. I called customer service with my sister on the line and they did not care to help out either. She does not know what to do and now they are telling her that the next flight will not be until 9:45am and they will not even accomodate her with a hotel. I am trying to find out who we should be directing the situation to because she was going to Florida for interviews today and now she has missed them. She hopes that they really have her out by 9:45am to make tomorrow's interviews but Delta does not promise anything meanwhile, they are giving other customers $400 to give their seat up for other people and a hotel and they are telling my sister that she missed her 3:15 flight which is not even true. If anyone out there knows who we should be directing this problem to, please let us know.

Steve Wilson

June 26, 2007 07:03 PM


If Mr. Grinstien is serious about the "dedication of his people and quality of his service", he will want to solve the problem I am having with Delta. This is not a "factor beyond his control". Delta is very much in control of this situation.
I have been flying Delta and earning Skymiles for thirty years, saving them for special occasions. I promised my wife and two daughters a trip to Europe two years ago. I have been trying for two years to book a flight with Delta using my Rewards miles for four business class seats. Last year I was told to call 351 days prior to departure to book my flight, which I did at 12:01AM They told me there were no Award Seats. How can that be? I was put on a wait list #D18322 and told to call back in 5 days. Today I called back and they still have no seats and said I would have to rebook to get on a new wait list. What does this mean? In the past two years we have had to cancel two cruise reservations because we could not get a flight using our Reward Miles. They led us to believe that booking almost a year in advance and being the first to call was the answer. Once again we have our cruise booked, but need your help to get a flight

Josh

June 28, 2007 02:01 PM

ohh noo mean Delta.. I guess all the other air lines are perfect? At least the pilots can fly the planes on Delta? ever flown Ghetto Tran (haha air tran )


Gee golly i have 8 billion sky miles and i cant take a vacation whenever I want !

Stuff happens, delays happens. How many flights come in and out of your busiest airport? And to Coordinate Air traffic, Gate Scheduling perfectly might take an act of god?

More Air Traffic = More Problems.

I'm sure they are doing their best. It's not like some evil dictator at delta has a full time job in pissing off customers. I guess he randomly delays flights to prevent sally from going on her cruise with the rest of the book club.

If you need to get somewhere quickly might need to look into your own aircraft!

Chi

July 30, 2007 10:23 PM

Delta has the worst service I've ever experienced with an airline and I will follow this up with more information when I get back from my vacation. Hopefully,m by the time I return home, they will have delivered my luggage.

Dan

August 3, 2007 09:29 PM

You haven't lived until you do a two week business trip through Europe with no luggage. I had purchased my flight to Italy with Delta. The short hop from Rome to Palermo was Al Italia, the other two long hails were Delta. My luggage didn't show up. It took (I'm not joking) 6.5 hrs in the baggage claim (after travelling for 26 hrs) just to get a claim number. They said to check back on the phone or ineternet for updates. I called 13 times in 2 days and got through twice to hear: "We are tracing your bag" I was able to buy a few survival things and a clean shirt, but I had to leave Italy.
I went on to Vienna and had no faith my bag would catch up to me, so I bought another change of clothes. Try doing that in Austria with current exchange rates. $250.00 for below average clothes and shoes.
I had my office contact Delta whom I purchased the 2,800 ticket through. Delta refused to help and said it's the responsibility of the last carrier. I have tried everything I can with AlItalia. Their website directs you to numbers that aren't answered, or endless cycles of voice menus and they direct you to fill out forms that aren't even attached to the page. AlItalia - whom Delta elected to include on my itinerary(part of the Sky Team) is completely inaccessible. I now have gone a week without luggage, and endless meetings in shorts and sandals, washing clothes in the sink every night.

I called Delta again and really drilled them. No, they have no way of telling me if my bags were ever loaded on the 1st flight or the 2nd flight, but they still refer me to AlItalia and tell me any claim would have to go to them. International flights they tell me are eligible for 9.00/lb to be reimbursed, per the Warsaw convention, and no offer of temporary help of any kind, but good luck with AlItalia. My bag and about 1,500 worth of clothes would get me about 360.00, and I've spent another 400 now in replacements, laundry, phone calls, etc. So, I'm now out 1,900. I'm not happy and no one will help me out. Delta even refused to contact AlItalia for me, since I have had no luck.

So, now I decided to get smart. God bless the internet. It turns out that the Warsaw convention is antiquated and has been superceeded by the Montreal convention which increases the airlines liability by alot more than 9.00/lb. It's closer to 1,500 per bag, and you can also claim for delays. The airlines purposely don't offer it up, and just claim if asked that they haven't pdated their tickets or web site yet. As well, both airlines are held responsible for the loss if you can't pinpoint the point of loss. I am just chasing Delta now, since AlItalia was a dead end.

If you want to read the Montreal Convention
http://www.jus.uio.no/lm/air.carriage.unification.convention.montreal.1999/doc

Still working on my problem........

Liz

August 5, 2007 06:06 AM

I have to chime in that Delta isn't doing well with a few things. Yesterday, my issue with them was their staff training. My husband and I arrived at JFK to connect with the non-stop Thai Airways flight to Bangkok.
We were tired, having completed several weeks of visiting family members who are seriously ill. We were bleary eyed and not familiar with the current set-up at JFK. We saved a few buck by flying Delta rather than Jet Blue. Our daughter was right...should have gone Jet Blue.
My husband asked the gate agent which terminal Thai Airways was located in and she said Terminal 1. His printed itinerary said Terminal 4. We walked further and he asked another agent who conferred with two other agents and checked her computer - yup Terminal 1, "just over there."
I have serious arthritic problems and just over there proved to be a very long walk (after getting off the plane on the tarmac and walking 1/4 mile to the terminal) to be told by a Korean Air agent that Thai was in Terminal 4!
Staff training is still important Delta!

MARTHA E.CALDWELL

August 14, 2007 11:11 PM

IT'S 4:42 IN GLENDALE ARIZONA, JUST MINUTES AGO I HAD A BAD EXPERIENCE WITH THIS AIRLINE, I BOUGHT A TICKET AIRPLANE FOR MY DAD WHO IS IN PERU, AND HE IS COMING TO VISIT ME, ABOUT 2:30 ARIZONA TIME HE TOLD ME THAT DELTA NEEDED MY CREDIT CARD INFORMATION,WHICH I FAXED I ALSO CALLED DELTA IN ATLANTA AND THEY TOLD ME THAT THE PROBLEM WAS SOLVED BUT I NEEDED TO CONTACT THE PERUVIAN NUMBER, I CALLED THE PERUVIAN NUMBER THAT WAS LISTED IN THEIR WEBSITE, AND THEY TOLD ME THAT WAS A TAXI CAB AGENCY, THAT USED TO BE DELTA, SO I TRIED TO CONTACT A DIFFERENT PERUVIAN NUMBER, BUT I WAS TRANSFER TO DELTA SANTIAGO DE CHILE AND I WAS CALLING FROM ARIZONA SO I TOLD A GUY NAMED JORGE THAT I WAS CALLING FROM THE US AND HE TOLD ME THAT I WASN'T CALLING FROM THE US I TOLD HIM ANYWAY TO TRY TO SOLVE MY DAD PROBLEM SO HE SAID TO ME I WASN'T CALLING FROM THE US THAT THE TELEPHONE APPEAR TO BE A PERUVIAN NUMBER I TRIED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM HE REPEAT LIKE 4 TIMES I WAS CALLING FROM PERU SO, WHAT IF I WAS CALLING FROM PERU THAT WASN'T IMPORTANT FOR ME AT 2:30 AM , I FINALLY SAID: "LISTEN I NEED TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM" AND HE TOLD ME DON'T TALK TO ME THAT WAY. WHAT WAY?? I MEAN MY DAD WAS WAITING AT THE AIRPORT AND HE WAS MORE CONCERN BECAUSE I WAS CALLING FROM PERU, SO I ASKED IF I CAN TALK TO HIS SUPERVISOR HE SAID NO I ASKED HIS LAST NAME AND HE DIDN'T WANT TO TELL ME AND I ASK HIM IF HE HAS SOMETHING AGAINST THE PERUVIAN PEOPLE HE SAID NO, I THINK YOU HAVE SOMETHING AGAINST CHILEAN PEOPLE , I TOLD HIM I JUST WANT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM AGAIN AND HE HUNG UP ON ME. I CALLED TO COMPLAINT ABOUT THIS INCIDENT SEND EMAIL,CALL IN CHILE AGAIN,CALL ATLANTA, AND CONPLAINT. THE CUSTOMER CARE TOLD ME WELL YOUR DAD PROBLEM IS SOLVED SO WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?. WHAT A BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE I COMPLAINT IN ENGLISH, IN SPANISH . HOPEFULLY SOMEBODY CAN HEAR MY COMPLAINT.

Russell Clautice

November 12, 2007 01:55 AM

I begin writing this as I sit in the Ft.Lauderdale airport waiting for a flight going to Orlando. I started out this morning in Houston where I have been for the past 8 days. All started out well as I arrived at the airport two hours in advance of my flight with verification from Delta that flight 4825 was on-time. Until, my boarding time passed then departure time also passed. I arrived in Atlanta with less than 10 minutes to my next flight to find there was no Delta Representative waiting to assist the late travelers, no prior arrangements by Delta to notify the connecting flights of our situation and a very lackadaisical effort by ground personnel to unload our carry-on luggage from the belly of the plane. I waited in line at my arrival gate to ask for assistance only to be told that my plane had already taken off and no other offer of assistance. I requested additional assistance and was told to go to gate B2 and I would be able to board that flight to Orlando shortly. After commuting by tram and walking past approximately 20 gates I again stood in line. I was then told that the flight was over booked and to wait, 15 minutes later I was informed that I wouldn’t be able to board, being told that they couldn’t provide any other arrangements and for me to go to the customer relations desk. I back tracked, walking past the 20 gates I had already walked by where I expected (as promised) to be assisted and on my way to Orlando.
I reached the center and again I stood in line where, becoming more frustrated began to explain my situation only to be interrupted by the Delta Attendant who wanted only my boarding pass. As I stood there for several minutes no other communication took place until she handed me new boarding passes and very unconcerned stated “here”, expecting I believe, for me not to ask any questions or have a preference of how this inconvenience would be affecting me. As I read the boarding passes I discovered she had routed me on an additional stop with a two hour lay over in Ft. Lauderdale. I returned to the line and asked for another flight and was told if I didn’t take it the next flight would be the following day, because all the flights going to Orlando today (I was told a total of 8) were over booked.

At this point all hopes of arriving home in time for previously scheduled events was gone. I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale late to find myself being held over there also. I finally arrived home around 11:00 pm, 17.5 hours after my initial departure in the morning.

During this entire time not once did I loose my cool or direct my frustration toward any Delta employee. I understand that some situations are beyond our control. However, I cannot excuse the lack of response and concern shown by the Delta representatives I came in contact and the ones that I didn’t contact who should have been proactive and weren’t. I have been a business traveler flying exclusively Delta for the past 20 years except for a small percentage with other airlines because of scheduling and have never experienced this lack of service.

This could have been avoided if, like I have seen in the past, Delta personnel would have notified the connecting flights that passengers were on their way and ground personnel were notified to expedite the unloading of our carry-on luggage. I was only minutes away, but no effort was made, nor was any assistance offered after we landed and certainly no offer of compensation, upgrade or meal voucher was offered. Based on the action and behaviors of the Delta personnel, it really wasn’t that big of a deal, only the customers were inconvenienced take it or leave it. My previous flight with Delta resulted in a newly purchased pair of diamond earrings being stolen from my plane-side checked bag by baggage handlers. I guess it wasn’t meant for my wife to receive them as a Christmas gift last year.
I can’t help comment on how well I was treated by Continental Airlines on the only flight I have had the opportunity to take with them. Because of an overbooking situation I was given a free round trip voucher, the next flight was upgraded to first class and I was provided an airport meal voucher, all that for being delayed for three hours. I’m sure that the seat I missed was filled with one of the over booked customers.

I considered not sending this until the same thing happened to me again recently with a Delta flight coming back from Houston, less than 5-minutes to make my connection in Cincinnati, again nobody there to assist the customers in making their connection. I run to the gate annotated on my boarding pass (no time to look at a monitor) to find the gate has changed. I communicate my situation with the attendant at the desk and receive a very unconcerned response and no help at all. I’m off in a flash again arriving at the correct gate to find but one attendant. He appears to be human but the response I receive seems more like talking to a machine. At this point I’m so frustrated I can’t help but express my frustration to the attendant. I leave there with a coach seat assignment on a later flight because for some reason the human machine explained to me he was not able to give me a first class seat like I had on the flight that I missed.

I have been flying Delta while working with my company for the past 20 years. I feel as a customer of Delta I deserve better treatment than this. I can understand delays because of weather or mechanical issues and the inconvenience they cause. What I can’t accept is the don’t give a crap attitude of the Delta personnel and the lack of what can be done to satisfy customers and keep me coming back.

I had to get this off my chest….Based on the response I received when my wife’s earrings were stolen I really don’t expect to get a response, possibly a canned thank you for your concerns and were sorry for any inconvenience. But at least I have made you aware of an apparent systemic customer relations problem and I can say I have done more than my part to make things better.

The items above took place over the past three months.

Boy this bugs me

Annalisa

January 2, 2008 07:03 AM

OH MY GOD....Delta airlines lost my ragdoll cat! I put my kitty on a Delta plane today, and I just found out they LOST my cat at JFK. God only knows where he is. I do not know if he is warm or safe. At the RDU airport I saw a sign about a missing cat that DELTA lost last month. I joked about not losing my kitty, and This guy "Max" said "oh, we didn't like him. no not really" and I got a bull sh@t story about a weak kennel that cat was in and how it was not their fault. Now lets see. I gave Delta Airlines my cat to put on a plane. They misplaced my pet. Deta does not call me to tell me they lost my pet. I can't get a person on the phone to tell me where the cat is. Yep, I call that losing my pet. UPDATE: I have been told Buddy will be kenneled overnight and will arrive in Burlington Vt. at 10:45, 2nd hand news from friends who were to pick Buddy up. No WRONG , My friends in Burlington where lied to by Delta. They do not know where my cat is. UP DATE: 2:00 am. Jan.1st, Four Hours on the phone with Delta Airlines and you can't talk to person who even cares . I got one woman from Delta Airlines who had the gall to tell me and I quote " Cats are resilient animals, I am sure your cat is fine". Yea right, I asked her if you lost my child on a flight, would you say the same thing? Scary thing is Delta has a the lost and found animal dept. So that tells me losing animals is something Delta Airlines does often... Called JFK again. They are still trying to find Buddy. My poor cat in a small kennel for now thirteen hours, and Delta could care less.
UPDATE: 2:25 am. Jan.1st. Delta found him! Some good news, but now they tell me they won't let him out of his kennel to go potty. I am told he must stay in his small kennel until 9:00 am. At 9:00 am Delta will send him to the JFK animal kennels where he will be let out of his cage and be given a litter box. I want every person at Delta Airlines to have to hold their pee for twenty two hours! This cat was a passenger that I in trusted Delta to take care of. This makes me sick. I will update more after I learn more.. Happy New Year... and please do not fly your pets on Delta Airlines.
UPDATE: 2:27pm. My boy Buddy is now on a Delta Airplane to Burlington Vermont. I found out that JFK Animal Kennels has NO Vet there today. So again Delta lied to me and Buddy did not get any vet care, and the JFK Animal Kennels told me he did not or can not pee. When he gets off the plane he will be rushed to an emergency vet office for proper care. Please say a prayer for my baby, and please Do Not Let Your Pets Fly Delta Airlines. Please let me know if you have had anything go wrong with your pets flying Delta. I will post more when I hear more. Delta lost another cat last month at RDU, and that cat was never found, and they also had a pet die in their care.

BK

March 9, 2008 09:03 PM

Delta???

No information, delayed bags. They do not scan the bag tickets point to point. Only at the final destination!!!
Does that strike anyone as incredibly stupid? Fedex and even the post office can tell you where your packages are point to point. They can even tell you which truck the package is on. Delta handles a small portion of the parcels that fedex and the other parcel carriers do. It is real easy to scan a barcode. Software that does this is cheap, relatively speaking.

On another note, At JFK, I got a bad feeling with the bad weather this past Friday (3/7/08). Baggage handlers were texting, standing around and otherwise being inattentive to their jobs. Oh, and surly to boot. Do ya think this had anything at all to do with the delayed baggage? They watched with some humor as passengers stepped into a 2 inch puddle. This was on the way to boarding a Delta Connection Flight to Providence, RI via Comair.

Delta:
Buy some software to scan the bag tags, scan them point to point and and provide customer service training to ALL their employees. Fire employees who feel like they can take their personal frustrations out on bedraggled travelers and who are otherwise incompetent wastes of good oxygen. Granted, they are New Yorkers who are rude on a good day, but.....Really now!

Jenny Crist

March 15, 2008 05:19 AM

Anyone notice how terribly flawed Delta's best fare Garantee policy is? After purchasing my tickets through delta I found cheaper ones at Cheaptickets, exact same flgiht, class, and dates. I read their policy, it matched to a T. I submitted my claim and was then told that I would be sitting in the wrong section of Economy and could not recieve my refund and voucher. Where was THAT written in their policy? And wrong section of econmy? is the guy three rows down getting better peanuts than I am?? I haven't even left on my trip and am already encountering problems! I have complained over and over, and still not one staff member has tried to dispute my claim that their policy is flawed, because they know it is! I'm continuing to fight for my money since its valuable to me, and rightfully mine, and I can use that money to be able to afford some food while overseas. This is supposed to be my dream vacation, first time overseas, waiting for this since childhood and planning it all out on a VERY limited budget, and yet delta could care less about me or their extremely flawed policy. They say they want to treat their customers fairly, well I've been cheated out of my money. Now that's customer service.
Oh, and I will NOT be checking my luggage. I hope they go bankrupt.

Bridget Mais

April 30, 2008 03:50 PM

Let me begin by saying that I have never posted anything before, especially my personal experiences. But, the DIS-SERVICE I am currently receiving from Delta has prompted me to share my experience. I have called Delta and emailed them without resolution. The following is a letter I have just emailed them:
Let me start out by saying that my husband, Isaac Mais, an Human Resources Director
for Florida Power & Light, has been a LOYAL customer of Delta for years

and we as a family have been loyal as well, not to mention many other
employees of FP& L. We never questioned Delta's service. We always
relied on YOU! To save money in these hard economic times,for the first

time we have chosen to use our Skymiles for a trip to see my mother,
whom is sick due to the fact that my father passed away and she has not

adjusted well, so we as a family needed to see her before she gets
sicker and possibly passes herself, she is very old and in a weak
state.
On April 20, 2008 without hesitation we turned to the Delta website and

used our Skymiles to purchase 4 tickets. We picked the week of
6/12/2008
to 6/19/2008 knowing there were no conflicts. On 4/24/2008 we received
word that my 10 year daughter will have to go to summer school due to
poor standardized testing scores. She must pass the summer testing or
repeat 5th grade. These tests are the 'no child left behind' tests
issued in every state. Unfortunately the results have unforeseenly
effected our planned trip. On top of this was the fact that my mother
being so ill had forgetten to tell me that my sister and her family
would be staying with her the same week as our trip. For my mother that

is just too many people at once. So with the odds against us, I
realized
that I needed to call Delta. I called Delta customer service the
morning
of 4/24/2008 and spoke with a representative named Jonathan. My husband

has taught me to ALWAYS write down the person's name who I will be
speaking with before asking any questions. That is how I know the
representatives name. I do know that the call was recorded as announced

automatically by the Delta call center. I identified myself to Jonathan

and proceeded to explain my situation and that I was calling to see
what
were my options. I asked him what would be the penalty to redeposit the

miles. He stated it would be a $75 one time fee. Because my husband's
taught me to write down everything, I did. So I proceded to ask, "is
that a one time fee for each ticket or does it cover all of our
tickets?
Jonathan stated, "one fee of $75 for the entire itinerary, not per
person". I then asked what is the fee for changing the trip to the
following week? He said, "Again Ma'am, that would be a $75 charge". I
asked again is that per ticket or a one time only fee? He said, "ONE
TIME ONLY"! Before ending the call, as you will hear in the recording,
I
stated to Jonathan, "so that I understand, either decision I make it
would be a one time only fee of $75 one time not per ticket". He said,
"that is correct". I ended the call and with his name and the
information he gave me that I wrote down, I read it back to my husband
so that we could decide what to do after investigated the situation
with
my daughter and my mother. Last night, 4/28/2008 my husband decided to
pospone the trip until we know what will happen to our daughter. I
called Delta customer service this morning, 4/29/2008 at 11:25am and
spoke with Heather. Again, I start to write down information. I asked
her what the process is to get points back or change the flight. Since
I
wrote down the information from the prior representative, Jonathan, I
did not feel it would be different, I just wanted to make a decision on

either option available to me. She stated to me that it was $100 per
person either way. Of course I was extremely taken aback and confused.
So confused that I was at a loss and began to cry. I asked her the
question over again. She responded, $100 per person. I was truly upset
but I did not have anger towards representative Heather as I proceeded
to tell her about what Jonathan told me prior. I also stated that I was

very upset with two contradicting statements. Again, I believe the call

was recorded. Feeling so helpless I asked for a Supervisor. Heather
connected me to Supervisor Robyn. She stated the same as Heather and
advised me it was out of her hands and that I should call Corporate. I
called the Corporate office number from the Delta website and was
connected to a Customer Care Representative at the Tampa Reservation
Center named Rose Guerrero. Rose was very compassinate and understanding and advised me that it was not right what happpened and that I should contact Corporate. I was so overwhelmed with emotion and
filled
with a lack of trust and confidence with Delta that as Rose began to
speak I was still shaken and crying. I had to apologize to her for my
emotion. I am a 39 year woman who has just lost her composure, crying
to
a stranger and asking for help. In this economically straining time,
every penny and Skymile counts. I then explained to Rose of my
situation. She said the fee is $100 per person with either decision.
She
believed me about what I was told by Jonathan but she could not help
me.
I relied on Jonathan's information that it was a $75 one time only
charge for the whole family. I just can't make this up. I have all the
information here. Because of Jonathan's bad information I am feeling
lost and I have no trust in Delta's representatives or their answers to

any of my questions. How do I know what is the right or wrong answer?
That is why I write everything down so I have a clear understanding and

always have my notes to look back on. Delta and the representatives are

supposed to answer questions with the correct answers provided by Delta

are'nt they? A $75 one time only fee for all of us is much different
than a $100 per person charge. Whom ever is reading this email, please
help. I am still planning on using the tickets but at a different time.

How many other Delta customers were given false and inaccurate
information from Jonathan? It is not right and I trusted Delta with
correct and good information. Now I am filled with distrust and
disappointment in Delta. So much so that we as a family are questioning

our loyalty to Delta. My husband has been a LOYAL customer of Delta for

a long time and feels that he cannot count on Delta and its
representatives. He is questioning his membership. We were orinally
told
$75 would be our option not $100 per person. Again, I relied on Jonathan's statements and trusted his words. I feel that Delta is not looking at me and my family as people but as just a nuisance and seat fillers, I have never felt that before. I feel betrayed and untrustworthy of Delta's representatives. Being very loyal and long time customers of Delta I feel let down. I also feel that Delta should look into Representative Jonathan and explain to him, how bad information effects peoples lives and decision making. I am not just another griping customer, I feel let down and Delta is just brushing it off. I am truly bothered by all that has happened and I really do not want to fly Delta anymore, to me this makes me feel that Delta is 'just another airline'. Is there anyway a comprise can be made? I do not feel I am asking too much. Do you not see the fault here. Our LOYALTY has been comprimised. I have personally flown with Delta since I was a young child. I still remember getting chocolate milk shakes on your flights. That was when flying was a special event, you would dress up and look forward to flying. So yes, Delta has always had my loyalty. I would like someone to help us and call me as soon as possible. I don't care if it is 1 in the
morning I would like this resolved. Please call me anytime at my cell
phone (772) 812-4426.I would rather have a phone call than an email reply.I would also like this email forwarded to Delta Chief Executive Richard Anderson,President Ed Bastian and Executive Vice President of Human Resources Mike Campbell. If my email is not able to get forwarded to the Executives I would like their email addresses or a mailing so that I may contact them myself. I am very passinate about this issue and feel that it needs to be heard by everyone at Delta.


Sandra

October 2, 2008 03:53 AM

My husband purchased a total of 5 Delta tickets on Sept 28th 2007 to the East Coast; two tickets in Oct 2007, two tickets in November and one ticket in Dec 2007. We thought that Delta is a pretigious airline and is an airline that we can trust. My husband had to be away on business for 4 months to setup a new branch. Thus, he is flying home every other week, especially since our baby was only 2 weeks old when he left. But late Oct, he broke his wrist at work and had to cancel the entire 4 months trip. I called Delta to cancel the 3 remaining flights and the representative, Rose that I spoke with was very compassionate, even promised to credit back the $75 per ticket charge for changing the itinery since it is due to medical emergency. She couldn't refund my tickets, but I can keep the full credit of my tickets in my husband mileage account for 5 years. Wow.. that was very good service.
I asked for an email confirmation number for the credit, she said there is none but assured me that my 3 old ticket numbers is my confirmation number. Thus, she reemailed the 3 ticket intineries.
My husband's wrist was in a cast for 4 months and had to go on theray for 3 months. Thus he was just able to return to the East Coast to oversees the new startup. He left the day before our son's birthday and wanting to use the credit (totaled to $1600).
We cancelled the 3 tickets last year on 11/6/07. Tickets were bought 9/28/07.
I called today to try to use the credits and was told that it expired 1 year from when the ticket purchased date 9/28/08. The rep did not care when I said that we were informed we have 5 years. He said too bad. And we only missed it by 3 days too.
My husband and I were dumbfounded, since we were told that we have FIVE years to use it. Totally agree with you Bridget that we trust whatever the agent informs us.
It is not RIGHT for us to doubt everything that the agent informs. What are we suppose to do then? Call 5 times and average out the answers? And the non-chalant attitude that he gave us and said that good luck calling the corporate, it won't do any good. We just have to chalk it up. But it's $1,600. How are we suppose to just chalk it up?
We would also like someone to help us and call us as soon as possible. My cell number is (626) 535-3922. We are very determined about this issue and would like some resolution as soon as possible.

Chavisa Woods

December 23, 2008 07:40 PM

How the Delta stole (my) Christmas


Twas three days before Christmas and my flight was canceled. I live in New York. I see my family once a year. I took vacation days off from work for the trip. They said it was bad weather, but what is this? All the other airlines at JFK had flights going out to St Louis that day. I know. I called and checked. They told me they couldn’t get me on a plane till Chritsmas afternoon. That’s no good I thought. Two days in St. Louis isn’t worth the money for the flight, and what good is it showing up Christmas night? Fine I’ll cancel it. They said to pick up the black phone and they would refund my fee. But call back tonight or tomorrow, they might have something flying out earlier, maybe a seat would open on a connecting flight that would work for me. I called and got the money refunded then headed down to get my luggage, full of Christmas presents my computer charger and most of my clothes. I’m a heavy parker. But hark! What is this.? My luggage is lost and I never even left the airport.

I spend four hours in baggage. They tell me it could be today or the next day. The woman gives me a number to call to have my bags delivered. She informs me that it will be a thirty dollar delivery fee since I didn’t actually travel with them. I ask if they are at least going to refund my $15 baggage check fee. She says she doesn’t know. She gives me three numbers to call. One number is directly to storage where she believes my bag is. That number I have to call to request the COD delivery. The other number is to get the money refunded and the third is a general baggage number.

I return home and call all the numbers for several hours, never receiving an answer. The phone just rings and rings or is busy. I also want to check and see if there any new flight info. I look online and call the Delta reservations number. I speak with the woman four a half an hour. She tells me that there may be an opening on a St Louis flight the next day, but since I already had my ticket refunded, I would be buying a ticket anew. So the cost would be upward of $1,000. She also informs me there is nothing she can do about my luggage and gives me one of the numbers that has been busy for hours.

The next morning I call the local storage number that the baggage woman gave me. I speak with a woman who is very rude from the get go, asking me how I got this number and telling me that it is not protocol for customers to call this number. I finally give her my bag number. I don’t have a file number because the baggage woman has told me my bag is not technically lost since it is in the airport, and I don’t get a claim number since I didn’t fly. The woman on the phone informs me that if I didn’t fly I will have to pay for the delivery. I respond that “I am aware of that!” I raise my voice when I say this. she tells me not to raise my voice at her and hangs up on me.

I have spent the last four hours calling these numbers just trying to request my luggage be delivered. Still no answers.


This Christmas. I lost:

Three hours waiting after my plane was delayed before the cancel.

Half an hour on hold on the black phone getting my money refunded.

Four hours in the baggage area.

Five hours of time spent speed dialing the company to find my luggage and place a delivery order (so far).

two vacation days from work

$40.00 for a cab to the airport

$15 in baggage check fees

$30 (if my bag is delivered)

The chance to see my family this year and the chance to spend Christmas with my family.

All confidence in Delta. Not only did they cancel my flight and leave me no options to get to my detonation that day or the next, and loose my luggage they were beyond rude to me, they were malicious, like they were getting off on having the ability to hurt someone. Getting off on having a bit of power.

718-552-0320

Wanda Thomas

May 5, 2009 10:11 PM

How did you send a letter to the CEO of Delta? What address, email, etc. did reach him?

Thanks.

jonathan

June 30, 2009 01:57 PM

what a terrible article. They just apoligized to you because of bad press. I flew this week and sat in line for 30 min only to be told i was to late to check in (40 min before the flight). Then they charged me $60 to change the ticket to the next flight. Then they lost my baggage.

What a terrible airline.

Can you please send me the ceo's mailing address.

Thank you

Michael

August 27, 2009 10:04 PM

Does anyone know the mailing address for the office of the CEO? I can't get past the low level customer service people...thanks

yusupha,

October 31, 2009 08:25 PM

I bought ticket from delta to flyout on june 17th 2009 to attend my little sister's funeral in the Gambia west africa who died of heart complication. On june 17th on my way to Reagan Natl it start raining heavily trafic was backup due to accidents, i finnally made it to the airport 45 minutes before my flight, get to the ticket counter the agent told me i was late i couldnt fly. My connecting flight don't leave JFK until 4pm The agent told me no other flight is available.To make long story short i couldn"t get refund for the ticket,but will be credited for another trip. I end up buying another ticket from south african airline for $1637.00 to attend the funeral.

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