Delta does care

 
Old Jun 20, 01, 3:22 pm
  #1  
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Delta does care

This actually happened over a month ago but I still think it is worth posting as it is an example of how Delta does take care of their passengers.

I was booked on a flight from Dallas to Los Angeles via Salt Lake City (last minute reservation, less expensive than DFW/LAX nonstop), both flights upgraded using 800 mile certs. Plane pushed back on time but because of bad thunderstorms the airport was shut down as we were in line to take off.

To make a long story short, we arrived in SLC almost 2 hours behind schedule and were told by the FA's that arrangements had been made for all connecting passengers and to see the service center.

Walking off the plane we were met by at least a dozen red coats who had the flight and gate information for all the misconnects. This was clearly a weather related problem and Delta was under no obligation to buy us dinner but everybody was handed a $10 food voucher without having to ask for it.

Things like this makes me want to stay with Delta even though I'm now splitting my travel between DL and UA. Without the SWU's I'm going to be stuck in coach more frequently and Economy Plus really does make a difference.

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Old Jun 20, 01, 3:56 pm
  #2  
 
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It seems that the SLC staff knows how things should be done. I was on a flight from ATL with connection to SNA about 1-2 years ago. When I mention that it was one of the L-1011's you may guess that we had some mechanical trouble in ATL and came to SLC much after the last flight to anywhere had left (not only to SNA). We were also told to go to the regular check-in area where counters had been set up in alphabetical order. You just walked up to "your" counter, and there was a Red Coat checking your ticket and made sure that you received a package with hotel and meal vouchers and a toiletry bag. I was by the curb waiting for my hotel transfer in less than 5 minutes.

/Pete
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Old Jun 20, 01, 3:57 pm
  #3  
 
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I am glad you had a good Delta experience. This weekend I was not so lucky. My flight from JAN (Jackson, MS) to PHX connecting thru DFW on June 14 was much delayed by weather. We were scheduled to depart JAN at 6:30pm and departed at 9:30. They say all flights are delayed so only the people connecting to Austin would miss the connection. Three hours into our supposed 90-minute flight they announce we would be landing in Austin to refuel and would be on the ground for a short time. They say no one would be allowed off the plane, not even the guy trying to get to Austin. After being on the ground for an hour they let him off and people going to several other close by airports. We again take flight after a 2-hour stay in Austin to refuel. Southwest can land a plan empty it and fill it back up in 30 minutes but it takes Delta 2 hours for a fuel stop. At 3am we have been cleared to land at DFW they tell us then that due to the delays no other flights were departing and agents would greet us to give us assistance. We got off the plan to find 1 Delta agent in the Terminal that is on his way home. He explained it had been a very bad day. As was obvious to us by the hundreds of people asleep on the floor. He announced for us to wait at a service center that would open at 4am with a fully staffed crew. At 4:15 1 Delta employee arrives and helps 1 customer when she announces that she has to go help out somewhere else but others would soon be there to help. I now call the Delta 800 number to find out that they donít staff DFW until 5am and where the first counter is that will open. I go there and find 1500 people already in line at a half staffed counter where I wait for over 2 hours to have my ticket rubber stamped and am sent to American in a different terminal where they have fully staffed counters and no lines. They probably did not have the same weather delays in those terminals or maybe they care about their customer service. American got to PHX at the scheduled time for that flight and yes they do have more room in coach. Delta on the other had managed to make a 4-hour flight into a 14-hour nightmare.

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Old Jun 20, 01, 4:41 pm
  #4  
 
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This is one of delta's strong points and one of the reasons I continued to fly with them till a few months back.

Last year match, I had an evening dfw-cvg-ind flight, which was delayed at dfw due to weather and a tornado warning - so much so that the entire terminal building was evacuated to an underground walkway near gate E-21.

When things improved, DL announced that a lot of people will miss their connections as departures would be delayed at least 2 hours. But they also said they would provide meals/hotel at either DFW or the connecting city. In my case, I opted to go to cvg and sure enough, at 1:30 am, there was a DL agent at the gate with my new itinerary, hotel booking, over night kit etc.

I was really impressed with DL and wrote to them complimenting their DFW/CVG employees. And I wasn't even silver at that time ! I have seen UA and AA refuse to provide meals/hotels in case of weather - except for some luck 1Ks and EXPs.
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Old Jun 20, 01, 6:40 pm
  #5  
GG
 
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Frankly, our experiences with cancellations and diversions on Delta have definitely resembled jcp3's rather than the positive ones, but that's all I'm going to say right now about it.

I know that there are simply overwhelming situations, where there's not much to be done but that given the choice, they'd mostly prefer to take care of the pax rather than not. I wish I could say I felt that was true all the time. If they're working for most of the time, great.

If it got started, trading good anecdote for bad anecdote could go on for a l-o-o-o-n-g time. We might eventually get enough anecdotes (although I doubt it) that we could calculate a rough statistic of what the chance of a quickish rebooking/meal voucher/overnight kit/hotel room VS. the floor at an airport is.

DL Jeckle or DL Hyde... which will you get next?

You pays your money and you takes your chances. That's true with travel just like everything else. The best we can hope for is to know how to minimize the opportunities for bad experiences, and know what the smart options are in a crunch. FT can help us with that.

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Old Jun 20, 01, 6:54 pm
  #6  
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It certainly could go on for a very long time and that's why I think Flyertalk is important. I want to know what others experience when they end up in the same situation I was in.

I have a BIG problem with LUser fares and the loss of SWU's but I'm sure as heck going to post my good experiences when they arise and I welcome other FT'ers anecdotes anytime.


<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Originally posted by GG:
If it got started, trading good anecdote for bad anecdote could go on for a l-o-o-o-n-g time. We might eventually get enough anecdotes (although I doubt it) that we could calculate a rough statistic of what the chance of a quickish rebooking/meal voucher/overnight kit/hotel room VS. the floor at an airport is.
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Old Jun 20, 01, 10:58 pm
  #7  
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Last December, I was sitting on a plane in ATL at the gate bound for LGA when due to bad weather all of the NYC airports were closed for the evening. Considering this was around 7:30pm, there were several flights affected going to LGA, EWR & JFK. I walked off the plane to be met by several Red Coats who led the passengers to some specially prepared ticket counters where we were booked on flights for the following day, given food and hotel vouchers and also overnight vanity kits.

Needless to say, I was impressed by the service provided by DL. This was the DL that we pay those extra dollars for and that night it was certainly worth it. As soon as they announced the cancellation of the flight I was on my cell phone to SMS and they re-booked me before I even arrived at the ticket counter.

I had made the mistake of leaving some medicine in my checked luggage, and the agent at the ticket counter tryed to recover my bag. She went outdoors and was gone for over 30 minutes. When she returned, she looked frozen to death and I felt terrible for her. It was impossible to find my bag in the chaos that existed that night, but I will always remember and appreciate her effort. What she tryed to do for me was above and beyond the call of duty. There are many wonderful people that work for DL, it is a shame that the upper management can't learn from their example.

[This message has been edited by Rssrsvp (edited 06-20-2001).]
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Old Jun 20, 01, 11:59 pm
  #8  
 
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Bet this was the same evening my husband was in LGA trying to get out to MCO (the Sunday evening before Christmas). Five flights cancelled out from under him, and when they finally had one ready to go, the pilot decided he was part of their infamous work slowdown and poof, no flight.
Delta, although inundated I'm sure, offered very little help to my husband (Plat) and could only reaccomodate him on the following days 1:30 pm flight to MCO (meanwhile, he was scheduled to leave for CDG that same afternoon on DL at 4:30- no good on the rebooking).
Only because he had a cell phone and a wife who is used to making last minute plans for him, was I able to call DL myself and get him on a 7:30 am flight to MCO the next morning out of EWR, thereby allowing him not only to make his MCO meeting (albeit a half hour late) and not miss his connections from MCO-CVG-CDG later that day (which, incidentally, was also delayed due to pilot walkout).
Delta did not come through for him on this occasion; fortunately we were able to salvage the trip. Glad the redcoats and agents were there waiting for you , Rssrsvp, we were not as lucky.
By the way, had to rent a car from LGA to EWR at a cost of $96 for a 30 mile rental, plus fork over $229 for the Newark Airport Marriott. Delta did reimburse these expenses with Transportation Credit Vouchers after we requested cash reimbursement.
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Old Jun 21, 01, 3:10 pm
  #9  
 
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In late May I was on an ATL-BUF flight that was diverted to CVG after circling BUF for about 2hrs because of Fog. DL had an army of agents manning tables set up to get us meal/hotel vouchers and had shuttle buses waiting to take us to the hotel...all at 2am, when the airport is pretty much shut down. Of course there were the token complainers, but I thought DL went way out of their way to accomodate us.
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Old Jun 21, 01, 4:01 pm
  #10  
 
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GG is kind. We were an hour and a half late from SDF to ATL because of fog in CVG. No problem; I try to get as close to the four hour connection limit as possible, else what is a Crown Room membership good for?

Arrived in ATL confident that although 90% of our fellow pax had missed their connections, we were cool, we had a LOOONG connection. Not. Our flight to PVD was cancelled.

The line at the service counter on A stretched into B (slight exaggeration) so we did the intelligent frequent flyer thing and took the train to the main terminal, where we were next in line in the Medallion line. Miracle!

The CSA was great & confirmed us on the 2:40 to Boston with our upgrades intact (it turned out to be a BizElite equipped plane).

Weather in the Northeast was not good. PVD was cancelled but BOS was operating off and on. We were let on the plane. We enjoyed BizElite ground service (drinks, more drinks) for four hours. Then we took off.

I love Airshow. Watched us zoom right up the east coast. Unfortunately, it also showed me the hard left turn over Cape Cod. The circling. The circling. Did I mention the circling?

Four hours we circled. I guess we were lucky -- later we talked to people who were landed in Montreal, and weren't allowed off the plane (foreign country, you see). Air show had definitely become very boring.

Finally, about midnight, we were landed at JFK. There were seven or eight other Boston planes there. No Redcoats. No hotel rooms. One poor, harried woman (I DID really feel sorry for her) telling all four or five hundred of us to doss out in the terminal, others would arrive in the morning to help. All hotel rooms in the JFK vicinity were long gone.

I understand these things. What is Delta supposed to do, build a new hotel in an hour and a half? I was amazed at how high the proportion of the folks on the phones was to those who had been in the BizElite cabin with us. Seasoned flyers, all. Several of them were also on the Hertz bus with us.

The car cost almost $200 for a day, but we were able to drop it off at PVD (where our luggage wasn't... that's a further story). And the Marriott in Stamford (about a 45 minute drive) had an $89 room! Victory!

In Stamford a little after one, we were delighted to find out the bar stayed open until 2:00AM. After a couple of beers & snacks, and with the hotel's "stranded travelers" shaver & toothcare kit, we retired to our room, washed & hung our clothes in the shower, and settled down to a well-earned sleep at about 2:00AM.

We did not expect Delta to magically make the weather better. We did not expect Delta to have hotel rooms after they were all booked. We are big children & can take care of ourselves.

Even though Delta botched the luggage delivery later in the weekend, costing us any sales we might have had at the show we were going to, I can't really blame them for that either. Delivering thousands of passengers' luggage in a day or two is complex.

We were originally scheduled to arrive on WEDNESDAY; I always try to build slack into the schedule. It was other, outside schedule changes that pushed us back to Friday, and this debacle.

Delta did what it could. They tried very hard to get us to our destination. If we had hung around, they would have worked wonders to perform to get us from JFK to PVD on Saturday morning, I'm sure. These things happen. I asked for and received no compensation.

I tell this story mostly as context for what we do complain about, and to show that there is no hard and fast declaration: Delta is lousy / Delta is great. Delta is like many organizations, only so good as the personnel and current situation let it be.

Give the agents authority. Give us information. As the European Union puts it, practice subsidiarity, so that the lowest level possible makes the decisions.

Some of Delta cares. Some doesn't. Delta has a magnificent past and some great employees and great stations. The problem is that the center no longer holds. The parts are working on their own. Some do great, some not so great. Sometimes there isn't much they can do. (It's always easier to find hotel rooms when one plane has a mechanical than when thirty or forty planes from four different airlines all have weather delays.) But I get no sense that Atlanta cares about pax any more at all.

Wake up, Atlanta! You have great assets in the stations, on the line. But you're spending much too much time squeezing and not nearly enough investing. That's my preach.

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"Service" should be a noun, not a verb.
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Old Jun 21, 01, 5:04 pm
  #11  
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That's right, in most cases they do try and I think they deserve credit for that. There are so many things that go wrong but when things go right they should be acknowledged.

I hope nobody else asked for compensation either, Delta didn't cause the bad weather in PVD.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Originally posted by LexPassenger:

Delta did what it could. They tried very hard to get us to our destination. If we had hung around, they would have worked wonders to perform to get us from JFK to PVD on Saturday morning, I'm sure. These things happen. I asked for and received no compensation.
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I agree that there are things going on in Atlanta that boggles the mind. Sometimes it does seem like they're trying their best to alienate those of us who are still (barely) hanging on. However, feeding or housing a planeload of people who get stranded because of weather is going "above and beyond" and I'd like to know how many other airlines would do the same. This policy must come out of ATL so there may be hope yet. Mechanicals are a whole different story and of course DL is responsible for taking care of their passengers when a plane breaks down, but that's not what we're talking about here.


<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">
I tell this story mostly as context for what we do complain about, and to show that there is no hard and fast declaration: Delta is lousy / Delta is great. Delta is like many organizations, only so good as the personnel and current situation let it be.

Sometimes there isn't much they can do. (It's always easier to find hotel rooms when one plane has a mechanical than when thirty or forty planes from four different airlines all have weather delays.) But I get no sense that Atlanta cares about pax any more at all.
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