Friday, October 29, 2010

America agrees with me

I just read this article and I’ll admit I felt a great joy at learning that America agrees with me: Delta is the WORST airline. They got a negative score – I mean, one has to really try to get a negative score. And Lord knows Delta is really trying to be the worst.
To quote the article:

“Delta had the worst AQR among major airlines with a -1.73, and a couple of its regional airlines did even worse (see Comair and Atlantic Southeast below). It also had the largest drop in passenger satisfaction in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. According to the Air Travel Consumer Reports, Delta was number one in delays for major airlines (78 percent of flights arriving on time in the 12-month period ending August 2010) and first in consumer complaints (averaging 2.23 per 100,000 enplanements in 2010). Also, make sure to note Delta's baggage fees below, as they can get quite painful for those hauling heavy and/or large cargo.”

In addition to these general statements, I’d like to add my own personal statements. I’ve flown Delta just a handful of times. They have all been horrible. Here are my top two.

Experience One

I had just learned that my beloved grandfather had been diagnosed with cancer. My grandfather was the singular positive male influence I had throughout my childhood. His diagnosis was bad and I felt like a fundamental part of my life was disappearing.

It was about two months before my wedding and I had already booked tickets from Germany to the US. The company I work for agreed that I could work from the US and my husband encouraged it, more than aware of how important my grandfather was to me. So I called the airline company – Delta – to reschedule the plane ticket.

Delta, however, refused. Refused. It seems I had purchased a ticket at a “non-exchangable” fare rate. I still don’t know what that means. And the lovely, highly-skilled customer representative couldn’t explain it to me either – but he certainly shared his personal charm through arrogance, blatant rudeness, general incompetence, and basic meanness. I came to call this unique blend the “Delta culture”.

Anyways, I decided that I’d buy another ticket and take only the return part of the ticket I had already built. Turns out that’s illegal. You have to use the first part of an airline ticket to use the second part. Fabulous.

I’m not the least stubborn person in the world, so I called and called and called until I finally got another member living the Delta culture who demanded a doctor’s letter to confirm the family emergency. Naturally getting this letter caused a certain amount of unneeded stress and pain for my family. Why unneeded, you ask, faithful reader?

Needless because then I had to pay the “standard change fee” of some 175 euro (or something like that) to exchange my ticket. I complained to another adorable customer representative living the Delta culture who said something along the lines of “take it or leave it.”

My grandfather was dying and I wanted to selfishly spend time with him – so I took it.

I would have much more happily paid 3x175 euro to change my ticket, had it meant that I hadn’t needed a letter. Thanks, Delta.

Experience Two

On a recent business trip I had the pleasure to fly Delta from Vancouver to Detroit. Although it was an international flight – Canada to the US = international – and it was a leg in a significantly longer international flight to Germany, I got to pay something like $40 to check in a piece of luggage for a “domestic” trip. One piece of luggage. The same piece of luggage that I checked in for free from Germany to Vancouver and then later from Detroit to Germany.

Anyways, beyond the ridiculous fee that I didn’t argue with – come on, people, I was dealing with Delta and knew where that would lead to – I got to again experience the Delta culture of customer service.

After the guy at the counter tagged my bag, he said, “There we go.” I answered, “Thank you.” And started to walk away. The Delta employee actually called out after me, “we’re in Canada, not the U.S. We carry our own bags here.”

I turned around and said, “Excuse me?”

Apparently he thought he needed to enunciate more, so he REPEATED, “We’re in Canada, not the U.S. Carry your bag over there.”

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. This lovely chap deserves a freaking medal for ‘living the Delta culture’. I doubt that I have had my entire culture insulted by an English-speaking customer representative. German-speaking, sure, but English-speaking? Never.

Unfortunately we live in a time in which rudeness and bullying at an airport or on a plane leads to the passenger getting arrested. I remained silent – although I would like to believe my look said a million swear words.

Summary

You deserve this first place prize, Delta. You suck.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

I would have paid to watch the reaction on your face when that ass called after you.

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