Another Defector-in-the-making

 
Old Sep 19, 09, 3:31 pm
  #1  
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Another Defector-in-the-making

I'm trying to be loyal, I really am. I loved NW (yes, I know lots of long time DL folks are rolling their eyes at that), and I have been really been fair to DL and making it work.

But, there's been lots of little stuff (and occasional big stuff) that's been making me look afield. This morning may have pushed me over the edge.

I was returning from OKC. On arrival the DL desk was mobbed with servicemen in fatigues.

We'd arrived over an hour early. As we got into the F line, the F desk was a continous stream of servicemen checking in (most for a flight later than ours) The couple of times I broke in and approached the desk I was told to get back in line. Sheesh.

When there was a break in the streeam of fatigues, I was worried - time was short - and I was told (with a bit of panic) that the time was too close to departure, and we were shut out from checkin. I was shocked; we were flying paid F, and been there (in line) for well over an hour.

So, the bad news was delivered: you can get home today, but about 8 hours later; and in coach. No F for you. Refund on the fare? 'Fraid not. Wow!

With some prodding and outright pleading, we were eventually routed on UA. The fare was transfered, too, so we flew most of the way home in F.

OMG. The food was decent, the service was polite and great, it was awesome to have the red carpet actually work at boarding.

So, the question is, anyone have experience with UA as a ~65,000 mile traveler? Is it worth it to jump ship?


All the best, James
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Old Sep 19, 09, 3:35 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by fdog View Post
So, the question is, anyone have experience with UA as a ~65,000 mile traveler? Is it worth it to jump ship?
Where is your home airport? What kind of flying do you do (international, domestic, both)? What are your destinations? What do you value in an Elite program?
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Old Sep 19, 09, 3:52 pm
  #3  
 
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sorry to hear you had a bad experience. But I'm glad that DL did at least do the right thing by putting you in UA F. That part at least, was good customer service.

I would do a TTU. Overall, DL is a very good airline. I don't think UA is anywhere close for a non 100K flier (but I know there will be those that disagree with that).
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Old Sep 19, 09, 4:05 pm
  #4  
 
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Why were you in line, to get a boarding pass? No kiosk, OLCI? From what I've seen, the majority of this process requires little interaction with a person unless you're checking in a bag and then the line is to tag your luggage. Did you have issues from the beginning? Just curious.
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Old Sep 19, 09, 4:22 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by AndyTLe View Post
Where is your home airport? What kind of flying do you do (international, domestic, both)? What are your destinations? What do you value in an Elite program?
Hi Andy. Home is RNO.
About 1/4 TATL, 1/4 TransPAC, 1/2 domestic w/ no particular emphasis.
When I fly for business (always paid F) I want support.
When I fly for pleasure ( mostly discounted Y) I want upgrades.


Originally Posted by bmw303 View Post
sorry to hear you had a bad experience. But I'm glad that DL did at least do the right thing by putting you in UA F. That part at least, was good customer service.

I would do a TTU. Overall, DL is a very good airline. I don't think UA is anywhere close for a non 100K flier (but I know there will be those that disagree with that).
Thanks - actually, after I was on the way home, I felt the same way, they eventually did the right thing.

It's the view that sub-100K isn't great for UA that is exactly the feedback I'm looking for. Thanks!

Originally Posted by DeltaFirst View Post
Why were you in line, to get a boarding pass? No kiosk, OLCI? From what I've seen, the majority of this process requires little interaction with a person unless you're checking in a bag and then the line is to tag your luggage. Did you have issues from the beginning? Just curious.
I was in line because our presentation equipment is overweight. And if I could have gotten to a kiosk, I would have, but couldn't; it was swamped with servicemen.

The part that was hard to swallow was being shooed back into line, (the F line) and then missing the flight because of it.

Also hard was being told that we could route through a different city (but) F was full - okay, I can handle that - but having it followed up with "we'd be at the bottom of the list if anything opened up in F". It was amazing to me that a paid F ticket is behind an elite u/g.

OTOH, when we went to the UA counter, they were polite, fast, knowledgable, and when a few hiccups appeared in the itn, they just plain handled it.



All the best, James
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Old Sep 19, 09, 4:42 pm
  #6  
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I would imagine that paid F treatments is as good or better than 1K treatment on UA. Many 1K's don't pay for F.

As a DL/NW Gold, you should be able to comp to UA 1P and find out for yourself how well they treat their 2K's in Y.

UA has been getting some attention for turning things around internally; unfortunately their overall financials are still in dire shape.

Earlier this month I flew MSP-ORD-DCA-GVA-DCA-ORD-MSP on UA after swearing them off over a year ago. Everything went very well, my only complaint is that OLCI on UA is one big upsell.

With regard to all the servicemen in the F line, I'd suggest emailing Delta about the issue. I think it's great when airlines go out of their way to facilitate things for servicemen (and DL tends to go an extra mile in that department), but they should still ensure that their paid F/Biz & elites are serviced in a timely manner.

Last edited by MikeMpls; Sep 20, 09 at 12:31 pm Reason: 2K --> 1P
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Old Sep 19, 09, 5:15 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by fdog View Post
I'm trying to be loyal, I really am. I loved NW (yes, I know lots of long time DL folks are rolling their eyes at that), and I have been really been fair to DL and making it work.
I think you have misread the folks in the DL forum. There is nothing wrong with having loved NW and missing it. Or for disliking DL and taking your business elsewhere. You have to make decisions that are best for you. It is the constant whining an negativity about the same issues that is irriatating. Your complaints are valid. I like that DL treats the service people well, but if there were a ton of them that all needed significant work done on itineraries, DL should have sent an employee out into the lines to make sure its other customers were taken care of. I was under the impression that F fares were refundable. If that was the case you should have been able to cancel and walk over to the UA desk for rebooking. Were you on an A fare? Did DL try to pull its "A Fares are not first class fares" line?
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Old Sep 19, 09, 6:56 pm
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..."we'd be at the bottom of the list if anything opened up in F". It was amazing to me that a paid F ticket is behind an elite u/g.
Woah Nellie. I'm totally with you on that one.
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Old Sep 19, 09, 6:59 pm
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Sorry to hear about your experience OP.

Sad to say that this is another example of the Gate and Ticket agents playing by their own set of rules (which they make up as they go!)

Unfortunately this is probably NOT going to change in the near future as this is a culture at Delta. Ironically the Delta F/A's are really great...but by the time people even GET to their flights...it is too late to undo the damage caused to Delta's rep by the ticket and gate agents...
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Old Sep 19, 09, 7:12 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by Burj View Post
Sorry to hear about your experience OP.

Sad to say that this is another example of the Gate and Ticket agents playing by their own set of rules (which they make up as they go!)

Unfortunately this is probably NOT going to change in the near future as this is a culture at Delta. Ironically the Delta F/A's are really great...but by the time people even GET to their flights...it is too late to undo the damage caused to Delta's rep by the ticket and gate agents...
I've had alot of really great GAs and CSRs help me alot over the years at Delta. I've had a very few that were "less than stellar" but then there is always one apple in the bushel....

I have seen the chaos that can occur when a plane load or two of our service men and service women come in and all their tickets are screwed up. It does throw a monkey wrench into the entire check-in/international transfer process.

If this type of extrordinary situation is your primary reason for moving away from Delta, I think you will find that any other airline will also fall short of your customer service expectations in the long run.

Cheers
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Old Sep 19, 09, 7:53 pm
  #11  
 
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I've been pondering making some sort of switch given the recent devaluation of the program, but there are a few things that ought to drive your decision:

#1 - I'm a silver on NW/DL and I get upgraded with enough regularity to make it worth it. Unless you're going to make plat on UA I think the benefits are minimal.

#2 - I fly into Reno occasionally, and on Delta you're pretty much stuck connecting on a somewhat limited schedule through SLC on mainly CRJs with no F. SLC is an easy connection and if you can get where you typically go from there, then stick with it. However my sense is there are more options via Denver and in F the entire way.

#3 - While your experience was unfortunate, it takes a miracle to get an airline to endorse your ticket to another airline. That Delta did it, even though it took some prodding, represents excellent customer service.

#4 - United's precarious financial condition combined with a long history of less-than-friendly front line staff would worry me. I know they're trying to turn things around, but they've burned a lot of people. Plus, they break guitars .

If DL's schedule and connections via SLC work for you, I'd still stick with them despite the devaluation of Skymiles, unless you think you can make plat on United.
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Old Sep 19, 09, 8:43 pm
  #12  
 
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FWIW, I think DL usually treats its elites extremely well. I have never been on UA as an elite, so I can't say boo about that.

BUT -- DL -- upgrades are complimentary,

UA -- 4 500 mile upgrades per 10k paid travel

For me (I fly mostly domestic), the F cabin is a good perk, since I don't usually pay for it, and wouldn't fly enough to get the same # of upgrades on UA.

For recovery, I find DL to be better (as a rule). I think DL was unusual in having NON paid service folk in the F line. I've never seen this anywhere. Upgrades (if no elites/non revs, yes).

Also, in many airports, DL has taken me if I'm close to my cut off time.

I think OKC is an outstation, so it is possible also what the checkin could do is limited.

Dave
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Old Sep 19, 09, 8:48 pm
  #13  
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OP, I'm a UA 1P (middle tier, IIRC 50,000 EQMs). For any meaningful perks or benefits you really need to be a 1K (100,000 EQMs). The difference in benefits and intangible benefits between those I know that are 1K and me is noticeable. Your profile says that you're NW & DL Golds. If you combined that flying that UA 1K might work for you.
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Old Sep 19, 09, 8:50 pm
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by Burj View Post
Sorry to hear about your experience OP.

Sad to say that this is another example of the Gate and Ticket agents playing by their own set of rules (which they make up as they go!)

Unfortunately this is probably NOT going to change in the near future as this is a culture at Delta. Ironically the Delta F/A's are really great...but by the time people even GET to their flights...it is too late to undo the damage caused to Delta's rep by the ticket and gate agents...
I'm in total agreement with you in this regard. Why don't they train the TAs and give them a clue? Sometimes I get the impression that some of these people are subcontracted by Delta to perform minimal tasks at the ticket counter. At my home airport, this part of the experience is the weakest link. OP, I completely feel your pain, I have no idea if you would or wouldn't have the same negative experience with another airline.
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Old Sep 19, 09, 8:55 pm
  #15  
 
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The real issue is the shambles that many (most?) DL counters have become since they integrated NW operations. At peak times the agents are simply overwhelmed and can't begin to deliver a decent level of service.

I had a similar situation in AUS. There it wasn't soldiers but a large group of Boy Scouts and their adult leaders. The sensible thing would have been to segregate them and have one or two agents focus on them, and have the other agents handle the "normal" passengers. Instead the whole scene descended into gridlock with agents sorting through stacks of preprinted bag tags for each customer. By grabbing an agent as she walked by and making her find our tags we were able to make our flight but I assume there were some that didn't.
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