Delta, Messed Up Like A Soup Sandwich

Here we go with another Delta story. As a commenter to this site pointed out, Delta stands for Doesn’t Ever Leave The Airport. I keep saying I am going with another carrier but one of the problems with corporate travel is you have fewer choices.

I was in Oregon last week to evaluate an exercise. My wife was also there to evaluate a local hospital. We finished early and she called Delta to change our flights. The person on the phone told her we would leave from Pasco, go to Salt Lake City then to Cincinnati and finally to Baltimore. When we arrived at the airport the boarding passes said we were going through Atlanta and that we were on the last flight to Baltimore. In addition, my passes would not print. The agent told me that the seats for the flight were on hold and I “should” have one when I get there. We had this big discussion about having a seat request card and a boarding pass for Atlanta but she would hear none of it. The gentleman at the boarding gate was helpful but could not get me any papers saying I was supposed to be on either plane.

I flew into Salt Lake City and the first thing they asked me was “where is your seat request card?” I told them that the other agents said I did not need one. They wanted to know why and I told them I did not work for Delta so I could not answer the question but that I flew enough to know I should have had one. I eventually got a seat on the plane. They were unsure but I told them if I did not get on I expected a full refund of the fee I paid to change flights. I informed them that if they sold me a seat that did not exist they were obligated to refund my money. I got a seat. We taxied out and came to a stop. After sitting for a while we were informed that the automatic wing deicers were not working an d that they needed to turn around and have maintenance look at it. I guess we would have a problem up high where it is colder. The ground temperature was about 60 degrees F.

After quite a while (nearly 50 minutes) we were told that the problem was fixed and as soon as we topped off with fuel we would be on our way. So far so good. I am all for safety and if they thought we might need wind deicers then great, we got it fixed. Of course I would have been on the plane for Cincinnati if they had booked it right. The pilot told us that he knew there would be connection issues and that the folks in Atlanta were on it. They are making arrangements and as soon as we are airborne we will try to pick it up a bit to make up time. When we know what time we will arrive we will have connection information for you. Right (he says in his best Austin Powers voice).

Our flight was to leave Atlanta at 2315. We arrived (and they knew we would be there at this time) at 2304 and were at the gate at 2310. We got inside and were told our plane was getting ready to fly out and that we had a hotel room for the night and a $7.00 meal ticket. Now there were many people in line at the hotel. There must have been 50 rooms issued that Delta paid for. It seems to me that if they delayed the plane leaving for Baltimore by 30 minutes they could have saved a lot of money. This was the last flight of the night or we could have caught the next one. No, they spent a lot on hotels and meals and ticked off a lot of people.

The flight crew never gave us the update they promised. I asked about it and was given a run around evasive answer. Then they made an announcement that said nothing except we were entitled to a hotel room. Here are a few of my favorite words that were uttered by Delta employees:
“I don’t make the decisions.”
“Oh, it is no problem. Delta gets the rooms at a special price.” So this means it is OK to screw people because we don’t pay much to do it?
“We appreciate your patience.” As if a group of people on an airplane have any thing else they can be but patient. Where are you going?
“Ladies and Gentlemen we are now prepared for an on time departure.”

The absolute kicker is what is written on the jacket that holds your boarding pass (if you get one).
“How one airline is changing everything:
Yeah, like departure and arrival times.

The insult to injury is that our luggage was not on our plane. They sent it on the flight after ours because it is a bigger plane. They could have told me that. I might have slept in and taken the later flight. I almost made them ship it to me but I waited the half hour for it to get in. Delta is in trouble.

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One Response to “Delta, Messed Up Like A Soup Sandwich”

  1. Surfside says:

    Interesting post. Certainly exposed things I never knew. But, then, it’s not the first or last time for that.