Delta Plays Hide the Phone

After his flight was canceled due to a mechanical failure, Delta told David and his fellow passengers to “proceed” to the phones directly across from the gate to rebook their travels. However, upon exiting the plane, no phones were to be found.

(Sidebar: why is “proceed” the favorite institutional word for go? Because it implies “in an orderly and controllable fashion?)

After much searching and flinging of beseeching upon ineffectual airport workers, eagle-eyed and proactive traveler that he is, David spied a roped-off area with large, bagged devices.

Find out what was inside, after the jump…

David writes:

“Immediately after emailing that lame “tip” to you yesterday from the Orlando International Airport, Delta announced that my flight to LaGuardia was canceled due to a mechanical failure. They instructed everyone to proceed to the phones “across from gate 71” to rebook. I shoved my laptop into my bag and bolted, knowing there couldn’t be many more flights left to NY after 7pm.

The place was a madhouse – no one could find the phones. No Delta reps were around, and the people hanging out at the Delta customer service counters were actually employees of another service company just hanging out.
After a few minutes of trying to find a Delta employee who wasn’t waiting on a line of 20 people, I stared into the space across from gate 71. Inside a roped-off area were two large objects, each covered in blue fabric. On closer look, the fabric was a huge, zippered bag. I unzipped one end a few inches, reached inside, and grabbed a phone. I connected instantly and proceeded after some long hold times to get rebooked on American for a flight later that evening. About five minutes after I got on the phone, a Delta rep plodded over and unzipped two glorious banks of customer service phones, which were instantly rushed by the other stranded travelers.
Way to go, Delta. Try coordinating things on the ground next time.
I fared well. Others didn’t. From overhearing other conversations and talking with some other travelers, I found out:

Traveler 1 – Couldn’t get a flight back to NY until she spoke with the CSR’s supervisor
Traveler 2 – Had to pay $200 to get rebooked on the same flight which cost me nothing
Travelers 3-6 (family) – Were told they couldn’t get a flight until tomorrow

All these folks got on the phones right after I did.

I shouldn’t have to feel lucky that I got the “right” CSR, should I?

Anyway, if you need to reach Delta customer service at Orlando International, look for the giant blue body bags in a roped-off area, unzip a corner, and reach inside.

Take care,


Wacky. Why was this phone bank kept under wraps in the first place?