On 5 Sept. '07 I attempted to redeem miles for a domestic ticket. Due to a computer error I was unable to complete the transaction. I clicked the 'Submit' button, waited and got a message telling me Delta.com is unable to process my request. I should call the 1-800 number to get my ticket. I waited a few minutes and tried again. Same message. At no point did a page with a confirmation number appear. So, imagine my surprise when I went back into my account a few hours later to see my miles docked for the two times I'd attempted to buy a ticket.
I called the 1-800 number and finally (finally) got to a person. Who had to transfer me to another person. This young lady told me she could cancel one of the reservations, but it would cost me $75 to redeposit my miles into my account. Pardon??? My response to her was a very stern 'I used your website. Followed your protocols. Your website had a malfunction. And, now, I'm to pay for your mistake? Unacceptable.' She conferred with her supervisor and came back on the line a few minutes later. The extra booking was canceled, my miles were returned to me and I was not charged $75 for their web snafu. I admit to being a little taken aback. I was ready for a longer battle. But, still, the nerve! $75?!
A friend of mine's experience with customer service due to a web glitch was more suspicious. His attempt to book a ticket produced a page directing him to call a 1-800 number for technical support in order to 'unfreeze' his page, so he could buy the ticket. When he dialed the number he got customer service not technical support. This person told my friend he could book the ticket through customer service, but there would be a surcharge for talking to a live person. I believe the amount was $20. My friend balked, naturally, since he was attempting to avoid that fee by using Delta's website. He asked the rep why he should pay when it was Delta who was having technical issues. A little song and dance, then he finally got the rep to call technical support who was able to unfreeze my friend's page all within a few minutes.
So, why wasn't the 1-800 number directly to technical support if a technical issue is specifically stated? Do they send you to customer service hoping that you'll be too over it to fight the $20 charge to book with a human? Have we all grown so leery of airlines' nitpicky business model that anything requiring an additional fee invokes paranoia? 'It's all a ploy to extract every last penny!' I say where there's smoke there's a wildfire blazing requiring firetrucks from neighboring states.