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Diamond Service/Support - always disaster or it's just me?

Diamond Service/Support - always disaster or it's just me?

Old Jun 10, 18, 6:46 am
  #1  
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Diamond Service/Support - always disaster or it's just me?

I've been a Diamond member since 2013 when I began crediting all my AFKL and AZ flights to SkyMiles. Then I actually switched to flying with Delta. Most of my flights are TATL with just about from 10 to 20 domestic legs annually thrown in. Well... If you ask me to describe the support I got from Delta over those years in two words it would easily be Incompetent Disaster. One exception is Twitter. OMG! They are so great and basically it's a Twitter team who resolves 99% of issues and saves me. The worst is the Diamond line. I can't imagine how incompetent agents at the regular line if they are plain incompetent at the Diamond one. Really I can't even recall something very tricky I called in with. Booking multi legs itinerary and applying GUCs and operational changes are the most difficult things I called in.

My last experience is what prompted me to post this. I was supposed to fly:
SVO-AMS KL900 5.45 am 8.10 am
AMS-SEA DL143 10.20 am 11.16 am
SEA-SAN DL5704 3.27 pm 6.17 pm

All flights were in business (applied GUC, everything confirmed, e-ticket reissued). At about 7 pm the day prior to departure I got an email from Delta saying that DL143 was delayed and a new departure and arrival times were noted as scheduled (so what's the point I first thought). Well... I did my research and it turned out DL143 was delayed until 1 pm due to crew shortage. Then it would make a stop at BOS for a crew change. Finally it was scheduled to arrive to SEA at 6.35 pm, 7+ hours late. Ok, that happens, not a big deal, let's see what I can be rebooked onto. The website rebooking options offering looked like something was broken. They showed me options, mostly in economy (with a note that I would not be compensated if voluntarily agree to be downgraded), some in business (primarily via SLC with 767 which I didn't want to take), some with 3 connections (like SVO-AMS-LHR-LAX-SEA, yeah, I would love to fly with Virgin, but not like that). If I checked the 2nd page and came back on the 1st one the options disappeared and so on. So I called Diamond line to sort everything out. Sort everything out. Hahaha. Just statistics:
5 phone calls to Diamond line
4 hours spent on phone
No result

Here's all sorts of BS I was fed at some point or another:
- they don't care it's operational so they would rebook me in Y and waitlist for J
- they can't rebook me on Air France or KLM (even though the website offered those options at some point)
- they would rebook me in business on DL own metal from AMS, but SVO-AMS will be in Y (even though I had it confirmed and ticketed in Z)
- they agreed to rebook me in business all they way on KLM SVO-AMS-LAX, but could not add DL own LAX-SAN for whatever reason, I agreed to fly to LAX, was put on hold, line dropped, they did nothing and a new agent could not pick the same flights with KLM
- and so on and so on

I honestly didn't expect that. Being a Flying Blue Platinum It's not like I was treated so fantastically by Air France. However when it comes to operational nothing could've been easier. They just rebooked me onto next the most convenient for me option (on partners or even on Swiss or BA). With DL the agents were absolutely incompetent and dysfunctional. One agent contradicted another, they seemed to have no power or/and knowledge, coz I spent most of the time on hold while they were checking with a supervisor. So they had no power, no knowledge and absolutely no intentions or no interest to help me.

I was clearly going nowhere. I was exhausted. It was 11 pm (and I was supposed to take a 5.45 am flight). So I decided to leave it like that, take a flight to AMS and sort that out with airport agents in Amsterdam. Before going to bed I checked last time rebooking options at delta.com and miraculously that one popped out:
SVO-CDG AF 8.45 am 11.50 am
CDG-DTW AF 4.00 pm 6.40 pm
DTW-SAN DL 8.39 pm 10.24 pm
all in business. So I quickly picked that option and proceed to be rebooked just to get an error message. HELL!!! I had to call Diamond line again. Summary:
- yes, we'll quck fix that and reissue a ticket Sir
- oh no! we can't reissue a ticket
- even if we reissue a ticket Air France will deny you boarding (say what?!)

Well past midnight I finally did what I should have done at the first place - I contacted DL Twitter team. It took them 20 min to reissue a ticket, I was able to check in and was good to go.

Just one extra thing about 'going above and beyond'. On arrival at DTW I felt deadly tired and dreaded 4.5 hours cross country flight in a domestic F. So in a lounge I explained everything to an agent and asked if she could rebook me onto next morning flight to SAN or LAX (there were 2 to 6 seats available) and then I would just go to Westin. I stressed out I wasn't asking to cover my accommodation. She consulted with a supervisor and was willing to rebook me to SAN for $1121 and to LAX for a bargain $750. How nice is that, yep?!

5/17 I submitted a complaint to Delta Customer Service asking to pay compensation as per EU261/2004 (as I arrived 3 hours later to my final destination), haven't heard back since then.

My question is - what I normally experience with DL support/customer service, that disaster - is that normal and everyone goes through the same? I think maybe it's just my very personal bad luck. Like when me and my partner, basic Skymiles member, submit missing miles claims at the same time and he gets his response 4 days later and I get mine 3 weeks later - it definitely must be something why Delta hates me so much .
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Old Jun 10, 18, 7:07 am
  #2  
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I find that DL agents are great at handling simple requests fully on DL metal, but it sometimes takes HUCA or a lot more patience when dealing with complex itins and/or partner flights. Not surprised that it took a little more work given your mix of airlines and the use of a GUC. Not that it *should* be this way, but the only things about your story that surprise me are:
1. Twitter was able to help. IMO they have gone downhill the past 6 months or so. Sometimes don't respond at all.
2. You expected to be able to change your DTW-SAN flight with no penalty. Moving to the next day for free just because you're tired is not a benefit of any normal level of status and definitely not to be expected.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 7:11 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
2. You expected to be able to change your DTW-SAN flight with no penalty. Moving to the next day for free just because you're tired is not a benefit of any normal level of status and definitely not to be expected.
Well... It wasn't like I booked myself a standalone DTW-SAN ticket with 8.39 pm departure and just because of me decided to fly next morning. I though considering it was Delta that caused all the mess with 7+ hours flight delay they could have been a bit more customer friendly.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 7:36 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by urww View Post
Well... It wasn't like I booked myself a standalone DTW-SAN ticket with 8.39 pm departure and just because of me decided to fly next morning. I though considering it was Delta that caused all the mess with 7+ hours flight delay they could have been a bit more customer friendly.
Put yourself in the DTW agent's shoes. They see a confirmed passenger who has previously accepted rebooking on the itinerary they are flying, with no IRROPS on the currently booked itinerary, but is asking to change their flight to another day because they are tired. To make that change, the agent likely needs to enter an exception code and explain why an additional accommodation is being made for you, vs. any other passenger asking for a fee-free change.

Yes, your phone support up to that point could have been better, and if it had been perhaps you'd have requested the overnight during initial rebooking. But once confirmed on a new set of flights *at your own request*, you should fully expect to take those flights or be subject to the ordinary policies and charges for subsequent changes.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 8:00 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
Put yourself in the DTW agent's shoes. They see a confirmed passenger who has previously accepted rebooking on the itinerary they are flying, with no IRROPS on the currently booked itinerary, but is asking to change their flight to another day because they are tired.
By the books, yes. There was no reason to rebook me. Then it's called customer service. When you see one of your best customers. Your company f***ed up. Wouldn't that be nice to try and make it up? We all know agents have quite a levy in what they can do if they want to.
​​​​​​
Originally Posted by gooselee View Post
Not surprised that it took a little more work
A little more work. I always appreciate a good joke. Thanks.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 8:47 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by urww View Post
By the books, yes. There was no reason to rebook me. Then it's called customer service. When you see one of your best customers. Your company f***ed up. Wouldn't that be nice to try and make it up? We all know agents have quite a levy in what they can do if they want to.
​​​​​​

A little more work. I always appreciate a good joke. Thanks.
All I'm trying to do is provide the other perspective, because I feel like actually DO receive good customer service from DL's frontline agents when my asks and expectations are reasonable. Certainly bad agents exist, but I have not found that to be the norm.

So in response to your thread title, I guess maybe it's just you. Hope you were able to get some rest.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 9:08 am
  #7  
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Are you sure you were dealing with DL DM agents? If you call the DL number for Europe, my understanding is that you reach AF/KLM agents who may have more limited options for DL customers or are accustomed to different rules and corporate culture.

In the USA, when lines are busy, DM calls tend to be routed to the first available random agent, most of whom rarely handle GUCs or elite privileges (especially unpublished) and may be less willing or not trained on some of this. For example, if the agent is looking for upgrade space rather than any open D1 seat, the results can be very different.

When I call the DM line, I always ask the agent where he/she is located (and hang up immediately if CVG answers) and whether they're a dedicated DM agent (located at one of the known DM call centers. I also get their name at the beginning of the call, which can have the effect of making them feel a bit responsible to be helpful and do things correctly. Of course, during IROPs or when overseas, HUCA can be impractical, so this might not always work.

If you have internet access and especially EF, it's helpful to try to find good alternatives yourself before calling or while on hold and ask about specific flights/routings that work for you. When possible, I like to actually see the reissued ticket receipt and itinerary in delta.dumb before hanging up.

Finally, DL generally (like most airlines) has a rule that with IROPs, you're entitled to one and only one free rebooking, so if you accept something you normally can't call back later and ask for something better unless the new itinerary experiences IROPs. This probably prevented your request for a free overnight at DTW.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 9:19 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Are you sure you were dealing with DL DM agents?

Yep. I was calling US number via Skype (as I always do).
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
In the USA, when lines are busy, DM calls tend to be routed to the first available random agent, most of whom rarely handle GUCs or elite privileges (especially unpublished) and may be less willing or not trained on some of this.
I didn't know that. Thanks. That's a pretty bad arrangement I would say. I would better wait in a queue for a professional agent than get a quick response from someone not able to do anything.
What are the known DM call centre locations? One must be in Minneapolis?

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you have internet access and especially EF, it's helpful to try to find good alternatives yourself before calling or while on hold and ask about specific flights/routings that work for you. When possible, I like to actually see the reissued ticket receipt and itinerary in delta.dumb before hanging up.
​​​​​​​Prior to my first call I actually did a quick check and picked some alternative options with good timing/products. That didn't help coz I mean I wasn't even close to picking flights I would prefer with any of the agents I talked. After 4 hours on phone I wasn't rebooked on anything. In the end it was delta.com + twitter who did the thing.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 9:28 am
  #9  
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Usually it's better to say right away that you'd like particular flights rather than having the agent spend some time searching for something. Or you can say that the app showed you an option you want, but there seemed to be a glitch when you tried to actually get those flights. If you found something that's allowed, most agents are very willing to just book those flights rather than bother finding options for you. Some agents will also just offer the first choice on their computer and resist investigating further to find something better.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 9:40 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Usually it's better to say right away that you'd like particular flights rather than having the agent spend some time searching for something. Or you can say that the app showed you an option you want, but there seemed to be a glitch when you tried to actually get those flights. If you found something that's allowed, most agents are very willing to just book those flights rather than bother finding options for you. Some agents will also just offer the first choice on their computer and resist investigating further to find something better.
It was tough to feed them flights I wanted when I kept getting such responses:
- they don't care it's operational so they would rebook me in Y and waitlist for J
- they can't rebook me on Air France or KLM (even though the website offered those options at some point)
- they would rebook me in business on DL own metal from AMS, but SVO-AMS will be in Y (even though I had it confirmed and ticketed in Z)
- they agreed to rebook me in business all they way on KLM SVO-AMS-LAX, but could not add DL own LAX-SAN for whatever reason, I agreed to fly to LAX, was put on hold, line dropped, they did nothing and a new agent could not pick the same flights with KLM
- and so on and so on

So it wasn't that we were getting to the point where I could have chosen anything. The only agent who went as far as offering me available option (KL SVO-AMS-LAX) told me the was the only one she could offer. Telling her I would prefer to fly SVO-CDG-ATL-SAN wouldn't really work.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 10:02 am
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I am trying to understand why the option to go through SLC was unacceptable. It was a simple easy solution. Your refusal of that option may have colored the agents desire to go the extra mile. The 767 is not that bad. Everything would have been done quickly and easily. Since they offered to rebook you on a itinerary that got you to San Diego essentially on time I donít see that any compensation is due.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
When I call the DM line, I always ask the agent where he/she is located (and hang up immediately if CVG answers) and whether they're a dedicated DM agent (located at one of the known DM call centers.
There are very few dedicated DM agents. The only premium agents that are dedicated DM agents are the 360 folks located in SLC and CVG.

All other premium agents are located in Hibbing, MSP, CVG, SLC, and DFW. They take Gold, Platinum, and Diamond calls, depending on which comes in. There are no Diamond dedicated offices. Diamond calls get routed to Premium agents faster, but the people you talk to on the Diamond line are the same folks you talk to on the Gold and Platinum line (unless you happen to get a 360 agent).
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Old Jun 10, 18, 10:23 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by urww View Post
Diamond Service/Support - always disaster or it's just me?

I've had nothing but SUPERB service from the DM hotline - - even when I have asked for thingz that are technically not allowed! I absolutely DREAD from Feb 1, 2019 onward when I drop to Platinum, I've gotten so used to the DM line's great service!

So, it must be you!

Edited to add . . . .

Thanx, Widget Travels, for advising that GM/PM/DMs all get similar Premium phone agents!
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Old Jun 10, 18, 10:33 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Jeff767 View Post
I am trying to understand why the option to go through SLC was unacceptable. It was a simple easy solution. Your refusal of that option may have colored the agents desire to go the extra mile. The 767 is not that bad. Everything would have been done quickly and easily. Since they offered to rebook you on a itinerary.
SLC/767 option was initially offered by delta.com (then disappeared). No agent offered me an option via SLC. So I really don't know why you go as far as drawing conclusion that everything would've been pretty with SLC and so on.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 10:38 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by davetravels View Post
I've had nothing but SUPERB service from the DM hotline - - even when I have asked for thingz that are technically not allowed!
So, it must be you!
Yeah. It must be me. I suspected it couldn't be equally terrible for everyone . Then hey, not so bad, I'm the lucky one with Twitter.
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