Friday, August 17, 2007

Delta Customer Service Problems and Lost Opportunities

Want to ruin a great holiday? Fly Delta.

I know airlines in America aren't what they used to be but these guys, along with air Canada, take the cake. What I really dont get is how delta staff miss so many opportunities to make things better when flight problems make life difficult for the passengers. There was one exception in our circus of delta bloopers, but it really only served as evidence of potentially better service.

On the delta flight from salt lake city to Honolulu, our flight was forced to turn around over Nevada due to a hydraulics problem. Having landed heavily back in salt lake, delta informed us that we'd lost only the guage, not the hydraulics, so after 90 minutes the mechanics fixed that which should not have failed and we were back in the air. Where they went right was in serving passengers one single alcoholic beverage for free.

Skip ahead 8 wonderful Hawaiian days - more mechanical problems have caused delays for more flights. Our delta flight connecting us through LAX was delayed by an hour causing us to miss our flight to SFO, so instead of putting us on the next flight from LAX to San Francisco, they put us on a direct flight home to SFO: good right? Not quite. That flight was supposed to be 2 hours later than ours to LA but it too was delayed an hour! We had 4.5 hours to kill. The delta customer service answer to, "can we at least relax in the delta lounge?" -- "we dont have a delta lounge in this airport." check again guys, its there between the security desk and our departure gate. A blatant lie.

Of course our flight was full - plum full, unless there's a seat in first class. So now emily and I were put at other ends of the plane, an absolutely miserable finish to our holiday together. My complaints fell on ears trained to spit back out: "there's nothing we can do about it sir."

So what happened to coupons and Vouchers? A voucher for food would have been nice while we waited at Honolulu. Lounge access should have been an obvious step too. Then when we couldn't sit together why wasnt my boarding pass accompanied by, "we'd like to offer you guys two tickets to anywhere delta flies in the US, and here's a frequent flyer application form. We are sorry about the situation and hope you take this opportunity to consider flying with us next time so we can earn your trust and ensure you get great use from your frequent flyer account in the future."

Im writing this on the iPhone, hence the above mistakes. I must remember to link to the youtube video where a delta flight remains stuck on the ground for 7 hours and


Ps. In flight food options? Something vegetarian? "There's only one kind of sandwich. Turkey." Go fly Delta now!

UPDATE: Their email comment form needs work. I can enter flight numbers and dates, but if I don't have my ticket number it just returns an error on the next page saying "missing field" and almost leads you to believe that their entire system is down. No information about which field is missing or anything. Hint: *try javascript form verification boys* (just a start). Ultimately I managed to send a link to this post here to their "customer service" team via email.

Here's that well done video of a Delta flight where the passengers sat in the plane on the tarmac for 7 hours. Brutal.

I'm starting to get the impression that Delta's customer service problems are really stemmed from extreme employee apathy. Would you agree?


centeroftheworld said...

Here's Delta's response:

"Dear Mr. Martin,

Thank you for your e-mail describing the problem you and your girlfriend

We are very concerned about the unfortunate situation you described.
Flying with Delta should be enjoyable, and I am sorry for any role we
may have played which caused you and your girlfriend's travel experience
to be otherwise. The inconvenience you experienced does not support our
goal of providing a high level of service and value to our customers.
Customer service is very important to us, and we are working hard to
transform our company. Our goal is to make your travel experience as
smooth and enjoyable as possible, and we regret if you didn't receive
the high level of service we strive to provide. Our airport
representatives are expected to always be responsive, and offer precise,
complete information. It sounds like that didn't happen in your case,
and we will continue to make efforts to improve in this area.

Please accept our apology for the unfavorable impression you received in
this instance. We appreciate your selection of Delta and will always
consider it a privilege to be of service.


Troy M. Keegan
Customer Care"

Anonymous said...

Me and my girlfrined had similar problems this past weekend coming back from New York. First I called to advise them that I would not be using my ticket to New York because I wanted to chenge the flight time and a new ticket cost less than the change would have. They never updated the computer so my return flight was cancelled. Our flight was supposed to depart at 4:18pm. We didn't board the plane until about 6:30 and then they boarded us on to a plane that the air conditioner was not working and we sat in the hot smelly heat for 20 to 30 minutes. Then more mechanical problems occured and we were able to leave the plane but told that they would leave us if we didn't stay close. Finally the plane started moving and the pilot shutt the air off while we were moving to the run way for another 30 minutes. We arrived home about 5 hours late. They offered us a $75.00 credit. Sorry too late you have lost both of our families' business for life.

kirm said...

Yep, these guys are true a$$holes. On my flight down to Managua they screwed up a connection and I stayed a day in lovely Atlanta as their guests.

But the kicker was when I came back. They lost my luggage. I was told at the airport that there wasn't a rep present so I headed home without my baggage. The next day I phone and am chastised for not filing a report at the airport and called a liar by their "customer service" rep because I told them I didn't receive baggage tags. They do things a little looser in Central America but I didn't receive tags just boarding passes, sorry.

Anyway after checking they found the bags and told me that I had to go pick them up because I didn't file a report at the airport. Fortunately, I have a relative that works at the airport and she grabbed them for me.

Their trained baboons had treated my backpack so roughly that a 33 buck bottle of rum that I packed exceedingly carefully was smashed to pieces. Of course, alcohol was all over my stuff too.

I phoned them and wanted compensation for the lost liquor, let alone the rest of the damage and was told by the rep that Delta didn't cover fragile items in the luggage. I've since sent an e-mail to them and your right their form is broken. I found out that the problem is that they made the skymiles field mandatory. SKYMILES!? Are they kidding!? They can stick their skymiles where it don't shine because it will be a long time before I ever take a Delta flight again. I guess by saying that I'm showing how much I believe that Delta will compensate me for the lost rum even after I managed to send them the e-mail.

Do yourself a favor, don't fly Delta.