The Setting Sun of Delta, Ah! It Burns!

It’s not just cleaning the airplanes, now customer service appears to be on a volunteer basis as well. Dawn writes in a horrific tale of a flight from Dallas to Orlando that ended up taking over a day.

Par for the course when dealing with Delta, perhaps, but did they really need to slash her bags with a razor?

Read more, after the jump…

Dawn writes:

    “My flight out of Dallas-Ft. Worth was delayed 13 hrs. (Within that 13 hrs was many smaller delays, several cancellations, you get the drift.)

    Add in the hour or so I arrived at the airport ahead of the flight (trying to be a good citizen flyer) and I was there for nearly 15 hrs.

    The gate people (we went through several shifts) were so awful. They literally had no idea what was going on and told us either blatant lies or misinformation so many times, it is difficult to recall, really.

    Oh and because one of the delays (which accounted for a whole 15 mins) was due to weather (so they said) – they didn’t offer us any recourse. This delay occurred in the overnight hours so we were left to fend for ourselves and get a hotel room or sleep at the airport.

    By the time I landed in Orlando nearly a day later and picked up my bag – half my clothes were hanging out, it looked like the sides (all 3!) had been slashed open with a razor blade. My husband was irate, but I didn’t care anymore , I just added it as another mark on my “Reasons Why I Will Never Fly Delta Again” list.”

[photo credit]

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  1. Hawkins says:

    As others have commented here before: these issues of bungholery aren’t limited to any one airline. Certainly, individual airlines seem to try to outdo one another with ever-more-spectacular insults to the dignity and intelligence of the customer… but their business model is profoundly busted, and things are going to continue to deteriorate.

    As a society, we need to do something about this. I’m as big of a capitalist as the next guy, but I can remember in the 1970s, before deregulation, when airlines competed on the basis of who could be NICER TO THE CUSTOMERS. They would compete on who had the better food, for God’s sake. Some flights offered a choice of steak or lobster for dinner. In coach.

    I realize that we’re paying far less now for tickets: according to this, the average ticket in price 1975 was $140 (1983 dollars). Now the average (also in 1983) dollars is about $50. So that’s good.

    But things have gone way too far. The hub-and-spoke system that deregulation created, for example, is a perfect recipe for lost bags and failed connections.

    So I humbly suggest that we consider the re-regulation of the airline industry. I don’t know what it would look like. I don’t know who’d make the rules. I imagine that it would suck. But I swear by the ten fucking thousand bags a day that these dicks lose that it couldn’t be any worse than it is now.

  2. EarhornJones says:

    This definitely isn’t limited to Delta. After a recent trip on American (which was rife with delays, hassles, and stupidity) I claimed my baggage to find that one of my bags had been clearly and obviously cut with a sharp implement, leaving my clothes hanging out the gaping hole. I took the bag to the claims agent, who told me they wouldn’t do anything because the cut was on a seam. In reality, the cut crossed a seam, but wasn’t limited to the seam. I pointed this out. “Sorry,” I’m told. “We aren’t responsible for damage to seams.” Grrr!

  3. TedSez says:

    I stopped flying United years ago because of similar issues (in addition to the fact that, as your correspondent in the “United baggage” letter below discovered, their reps are big fat liars). I had two flights in a row go into double-digit overtime because of continual unexplained delays. In both cases, many hours after the plane was supposed to have taken off, the weather finally got bad at our destination city. At that point, they started saying, “It’s not our fault — we can’t control the weather!” Protests that the weather was fine when we were supposed to have left — and were scheduled to land — fell on deaf ears.

    This kind of attitude, in addition to inconsistent and at times obviously false information provided by gate agents all along the way, was actually more infuriating than the fact that each trip eventually took more than three times as long as it should have.

    Postscript: I wrote United a letter describing exactly what happened and demanding an apology. They never responded, even with a form letter. But a few months later, I discovered that my frequent-flyer account had magically disappeared from their computer system!

  4. Joe Hass says:

    I call “bullshit” on the Delta agent’s argument that a 15-minute weather delay trumps a mechanical delay. I’ve had this discussion with both a flight attendant on a major airline (friend of the wife) and a gate agent in a non-crisis moment, and both have said the same thing: the moment an airline delays you because of a non-force-maejure reason, you’re their responsibility, even if a later delay/problem is force maejure.

    For example: your 3:30 p.m. departure is delayed 90 minutes due to “mechanical problems.” At 4:45, a line of storms comes through and shuts down the airport. Someone on the front line may say that because the delay is weather-related, the airline is under no obligation to help you. The correct response: “The delay at 3:30 was a non-force maejure delay; therefore, you are under an obligation under your conditions of carriage.”

    My suggestion: the moment any airline employee announces a delay due to a non-force-maejure reason, regardless of length, document the announcement (name of employee, ID# if possible, time of announcement, wording used, delay announced). Think of it as your Golden Ticket.