Earlier this week, a Delta flight from Atlanta to West Palm Beach, FL, was forced to land in Tampa after the cabin filled with smoke. Passengers were taken off the plane and put on a bus for the 5-hour trip to their final destination. They were also each given a $100 coupon for use toward a future Delta flight. To some passengers, it’s not the size of the compensation that caused offense, but the apparent lack of give-a-damn demonstrated by Delta.
In a letter to the airline, one passenger writes:
Once we landed safely I expected a much higher level of service from Delta Airlines. The only consolation or compassion we heard was from either the pilot or Co-pilot when he said “SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE” as we deplaned. I suggest it was more than an inconvenience.
We subsequently were told by the ground crew that they made arrangements to bus us from Tampa to PBI and we were getting a $100.00 coupon. I expected some help or compassion, even to ask, “Is everyone ok? Do any of you require help?” Instead we were told to go downstairs and wait for the buses. Some were in shock but we followed your instruction as we were told. Initially there was not one Delta employee to speak with, to check on us, to supply water, anything…
Eventually we were herded onto buses and sent on our way for an approximately 5 hour trip. (The bus driver took the slow route to save on the tolls.) Most importantly though, not one Delta employee was with the 3 buses.
As an aside, Delta was generous enough to supply us with an 8 ounce bottle of water.
Upon arrival at PBI there was a Delta baggage handler there but we saw not one person to make sure we were well.
At this point I have to say Shame on you Delta Air Lines. I am not sure about of any of the other passengers but I am still shaking and nervous as is [redacted] who was traveling with me. I have to say once more that this was more than an inconvenience, we had no control while in the air and as a passenger I could do nothing but fear the worst.
I understand the airline industry has changed and we will never again go back to the service levels we once had but your lack of empathy and consideration is inexcusable.
I would hope in the future you would give your passengers the treatment they deserve for flying with you.
WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach followed up with Delta regarding this complaint and received the following response:
We reviewed this customer’s letter and apologize she was not pleased with our support following the diversion of her flight. I also checked with our Palm Beach operation and the Station Manager tells me he and a few of his employees met the busses upon their arrival…
Either way, we are planning to follow-up with this customer so we can further express this sentiment and ensure that the details of her experience are passed along to our Tampa and West Palm Beach stations.
Is there anything the airline could have done to make these passengers less peeved? Would a $100 refund, as opposed to a coupon, have been a better option? Please share your thoughts in the comments.