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Need to rant just a bit -- DTW screwup

Need to rant just a bit -- DTW screwup

Old Apr 26, 19, 3:08 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 323
Need to rant just a bit -- DTW screwup

Easiest way is to paste the complaint we went to Delta after our trip:
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Overall our trip was very good -- Delta is generally excellent with handling my wife's wheelchair, the on-plane crews are always very helpful. However, for this one specific leg (Detroit to Pittsburgh) on our return home, the airport services let us down. We had requested an aisle chair when we made the original reservation. For PIT-BOS, BOS-AMS, and AMS-DTW, the aisle chair was waiting and ready, and my wife was safely boarded before general boarding began, as it should be. At Detroit, we again confirmed with the gate attendant that an aisle chair had been ordered. When it came time to board, an airport employee came and wheeled my wife down early, and parked her in front of the jet door, waiting for her to get up. When we asked where the aisle chair was, he was surprised, acting like we had not requested one. He went off to retrieve one, but in the meantime general boarding had started. This should never happen -- my wife is supposed to be allowed the dignity of early boarding without an audience seeing her on the aisle chair. The flight attendant I talked to while we were waiting for this confirmed she also saw the aisle chair request as well, so I'm not sure why the airport staff would have showed up without one.
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and Delta's response:

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Thank you for taking the time to write in about your recent experience. I understand from your email that you state that upon arriving at the boarding doors for Delta flight <xxxx> operated by Endeavor Airlines from Detroit, MI. to Pittsburgh, PA. on <date>, that there was not an onboard wheelchair available to get your wife Nicole onboard the flight.

I understand that this would be very upsetting. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to think that there would not be an onboard chair available to assist Nicole. We aim to make all our passengers feel welcomed, safe and comfortable on every flight. We understand how important it is to provide safe and timely assistance to all of our passengers; especially those with special needs.

To be thorough, I requested statements from the gate agents and wheelchair attendants that were on duty that day. The vendor report indicates they were not aware that you needed an onboard wheel chair although there was a request for one in the system. They do state that as soon as they were made aware of the need they quickly responded by seeking the much needed onboard chair.

Based on your comments, and our investigation we have determined that no violation of 14CFR Part 382, occurred on flight <####>, after it was brought to the vendors attention were able to have an onboard wheelchair ready to assist in the boarding of Nicole. I’m sorry that the request didn’t properly appear in our vendor’s system and apologize for the delay she had in boarding. Please know that I'm passing your concerns directly to our Airport Customer Service and Reservations leadership teams, to help prevent this type of incident from happening again.

We ask that you take a look at our website as it has some valuable information for those who need additional assistance. For extra help, ask our customer service personnel for a Complaint Resolution Official (CRO). Our CRO’s have been specially trained and are aware of applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) disability regulations. Our CRO’s are available at all airport locations, and they will be glad to respond to your concerns. Lastly, feel free to call our Disability Assistance Line at 404-209-3434, which is devoted to helping with whatever the concern may be either before, during or after traveling with us.

Although we cannot change your experience, I am offering you a $75.00 Delta Gift Card as a gesture of goodwill. The gift card information will be sent to the email address we have on file. You can expect to receive it in the next two to three business days.

Thank you for being a loyal Delta customer. We appreciate your business.
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Now, that reply is fine, and the $75 gift card is appreciated, but what I wanted was to know how the vendor screwed this up when we did everything we're supposed to do, and they didn't really answer that.

I know it's a pretty standard answer, but telling us about the disability line isn't terribly helpful (we already know about it, that's how I set up the aisle chair requests in the first place). Asking for a CRO DURING boarding isn't going to get the missing aisle chair there any faster.

Minor rant, I didn't really expect much other than an acknowledgement that someone screwed up in the hopes that Delta/DTW can try to improve this in the future. At least they didn't break my wife's wheelchair like Hawaiian managed a few years ago...
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