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Old Jan 12, 2010, 1:38 AM
Emerson Emerson is offline
 
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Default Delta...nightmare Xmas 2009 trip

January 6<SUP>th</SUP> 2010
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Richard H. Anderson
Chief Executive Officer
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
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<ST1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Atlanta</st1:City>, <st1:country-region w:st="on">Georgia</st1:country-region></ST1:place> 30320-6001
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Re: December 23<SUP>rd</SUP> 2009 flight #1297 JFK, <st1:State w:st="on">New York</st1:State> to <ST1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Atlanta</st1:City></ST1:place><O:p></O:p>


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Dear Mr. Anderson,
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I hope you had an enjoyable holiday and all the best to you for 2010. Unfortunately my wife and I had our worst flight experience with Delta airlines on our recent holiday trip to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region>.
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We purchased a flight online on June 12<SUP>th</SUP> 2009 for our trip to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region> with Delta confirmation #XXXXXXX. The first leg of the flight was flight #1297 departing JFK, <st1:State w:st="on">New York</st1:State> for <st1:City w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Atlanta</ST1:place></st1:City> at 6:00am. We were then supposed to connect with Delta flight # 659 departing <st1:City w:st="on">Atlanta</st1:City> for <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region> at 9:40am. We arrived at the Delta counter at JFK around 3:45am and after checking in our luggage with our customer service agent we were told to proceed through TSA security and to the Delta gate where our seats would be assigned. Upon arrival at the Delta gate we were then told that the flight had in fact been severely overbooked and that were no longer any assigned seats. After about a frustrating hour and a half of limited communication from the Delta service manager at the gate a large group of about thirty passengers including my wife and I were all informed that we would not be seated on flight #1297 from JFK to Atlanta. For us this was very frustrating as we had bought our tickets six months in advance and had tried unsuccessfully to confirm our seats over the last few months with your customer service agents. We had been told that our seats would be assigned at check-in at the JFK airport on Dec 23<SUP>rd</SUP>.
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Close to 7:00am on Dec 23<SUP>rd</SUP> we were finally told by one of your customer service agents at the JFK counter that we would be refunded for the portion of our flight down to <st1:country-region w:st="on">Barbados</st1:country-region> as our delay to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region> was greater than the acceptable timeframe stipulated by airline rules. We would however be on our own to find an alternative carrier to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region>. We were also told that our flight back up from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region> would however remain intact with Delta. This was a most startling proposal as it was two days before Christmas and we were basically left to find a flight down to <st1:country-region w:st="on">Barbados</st1:country-region> which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the <ST1:place w:st="on">Caribbean</ST1:place>. After several frantic calls to numerous of your competitor airlines we were able to miraculously find the last two seats on a JetBlue flight #871 down to Barbados leaving that same morning at 8:30am. The two last minute JetBlue flight basically cost the same as the one-way ticket refund that we received from Delta for the cancellation of our seats to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region>.
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We informed your Delta customer service agent at the JFK gate that we would be taking the 8:30am JetBlue flight. He informed us that Delta would still take our checked-in luggage down to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region> on their flight # 1297 as that flight was taking off. We were told by your customer service agent that we would be able to collect our luggage upon our arrival in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region> on the JetBlue flight that was scheduled to arrive later that same day.
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We arrived in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region> later that same day on JetBlue. Unfortunately our luggage didn’t arrive on the Delta flight as promised from earlier that morning. When we asked the Delta agent in <st1:country-region w:st="on">Barbados</st1:country-region> about our luggage they informed us that we had to talk to JetBlue about our missing luggage even though Delta indicated they would deliver our luggage to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region>. Of course the JetBlue agent could not understand the rational why they would be responsible for luggage we never checked in with their airline and which Delta had indicated was on a flight connecting out of JFK, New York through Atlanta to Barbados. At this point we were now stuck in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region> with no luggage and limited effective assistance from the local Delta customer service representative. Later on that night (December 23<SUP>rd</SUP>) I sent Delta Online Support an email message indicating that our four pieces of luggage had been lost. I got an email response that same night indicating that we could expect a response in three to four days!!!!!!!!!!! (See the attached email)
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The next morning December 24<SUP>th</SUP> I called Delta’s 800-number and I was told that our bags were left in <st1:City w:st="on">Atlanta</st1:City> and that they would be forwarded down to <st1:country-region w:st="on">Barbados</st1:country-region> via <ST1:place w:st="on">Puerto Rico</ST1:place> around 11:30pm on an American Airlines flight. I called later that same day to confirm our luggage had made the flight going through Puerto Rico and I was told by XXXXX XXXXX one of your customer service agents that our luggage was now being sent back to JFK, <st1:State w:st="on">New York</st1:State> instead as Delta had no evidence that we had indeed arrived in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region>. I explained to XXXXX XXXXX that I was indeed Mr. XXXXXXXXX and that I was currently stranded in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region> without any clothing and toiletries. XXXXX XXXXX indicated we would now receive our luggage upon our return to <st1:State w:st="on">New York</st1:State> from vacation in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region>. In addition she also indicated that we would not get any reimbursement to purchase emergency clothing nor toiletries while stranded in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region>. I think our call with XXXXX XXXXX was recorded so you can verify this exasperating conversation with your customer service agent who obviously didn’t grasp the concept of customer service. On Dec 24<SUP>th</SUP> we spent about $450 on emergency clothing and toiletries as the local Barbadians had explained to us that the island celebrates Boxing Day on Dec 26<SUP>th</SUP>. Most stores in <ST1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Barbados</st1:country-region></ST1:place> would therefore be closed for an extended weekend from the Thursday (Christmas Day) until the following Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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On Friday December 26<SUP>th</SUP> we finally got a surprise call from Delta that our luggage had arrived in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region>. At that point we had not only spent several hundred dollars on emergency clothing and toiletries but we had also incurred a large international telephone call bill trying in vain to resolve and track our luggage with your customer service agents back in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">USA</ST1:place></st1:country-region>.
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The trip got worst on our way back. There was there a one hour departure delay on our connecting Delta flight #488 out of Port-of-Spain in Trinidad to JFK, <st1:State w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">New York</ST1:place></st1:State> on Jan 2<SUP>nd</SUP>. In addition when our luggage arrived at JFK, <st1:State w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">New York</ST1:place></st1:State> two pieces of our luggage were badly damaged. On December 3<SUP>rd</SUP> I filed two damaged luggage claims #XXXXXXXXX and # XXXXXXXXX. Upon filing these two claims I was told I now have to find a FedEx office to ship the damaged luggage back to your facility in <st1:City w:st="on">Carrollton</st1:City> in <st1:State w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Texas</ST1:place></st1:State>. This is just another inconvenience for us relating to this already horrible trip experience with your airline.
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I apologize for the length of this letter but I think you can sense we are highly annoyed with this extremely poor level of service that we received from Delta. I did a quick scan of the internet tonight to determine whether they were any online websites we could also post a copy of this letter on so that we could expose a wider swath of your current and potential customers to our recent trip experience. We found the following websites:
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  • http://www.consumeraffairs.com/travel/delta.htm
  • http://www.airlinecomplaints.org/
  • http://www.my3cents.com/
  • http://delta-airlines.pissedconsumer.com/
  • http://www.complaintsboard.com/
  • http://www.complaints.com/
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Upon browsing these websites it appears this poor level of customer service has also been experienced by several other customers of your airline. I’ll spend some time over the upcoming weekend to make sure I post this letter on these online websites and with the relevant identifying personal information redacted. Delta has been a disappointing service provider for this recent trip. You are very aware that word of mouth is vital to companies such as yours operating in an industry that is very competitive. My wife and I will also make sure that we share this Delta flight experience with as many friends, family and colleagues that we come across over the upcoming months.
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At this point we are merely asking for some compensation to recoup the money we spent on emergency clothing and toiletries in <st1:country-region w:st="on">Barbados</st1:country-region> and to recover the cost of the lengthy international telephone calls we made to Delta’s customer service bureau in the <st1:country-region w:st="on">USA</st1:country-region> from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><ST1:place w:st="on">Barbados</ST1:place></st1:country-region> as we tracked our missing luggage. I think you’ll agree that some reimbursement would be a small gesture of goodwill as your airline almost ruined our fond memories of <ST1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Barbados</st1:country-region></ST1:place>.
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If you have any additional questions I can be reached at XXX XXX XXXX.
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Sincerely,
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XXXXX XXXXXXX
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c.c: Stephen E. Gorman, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
  #2  
Old Jan 12, 2010, 2:25 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Very sad handling of the whole situation by Delta. I do hope you enjoyed what you could of your vacation and holidays.

The letter is very well-written, explained the whole scenerio and you asked only for what you were put out. I think it would only be fair you get all of what you are asking for. Good luck and post your results here.
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  #3  
Old Jan 12, 2010, 4:45 AM
mars6423 mars6423 is offline
 
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it looks like you wrote a very well written letter and described what happened, you were doing all you could to get down there to have a great vacation and you were told that everything would be down there for you and that there would be no problems

they should have found a flight for you since it is their fault that they overbooked and they should have to cover the cost of that flight, and they should reimburse you the money that you had to buy for clothes and nec.

i doubt that they will do much in the means of reimbursement and compensation, prob say it was a busy time sorry for inconv.

i wish you luck and hope u had a great time whilst you were there
  #4  
Old Jan 12, 2010, 5:08 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars6423
they should have found a flight for you since it is their fault that they overbooked and they should have to cover the cost of that flight,
Agreed 100%. DL was responsible. However, below is quoted from the OP so in the long run, it sounds like they didn't pay extra to get there, if I'm reading it right, just a tremendous hassle to try to find 2 seats. That should have been done by DL.

Quote:
we would be refunded for the portion of our flight down to Barbados
Quote:
The two last minute JetBlue flight basically cost the same as the one-way ticket refund that we received from Delta for the cancellation of our seats to Barbados.
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Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.
  #5  
Old Jan 12, 2010, 8:32 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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If they are denied boarding, are they not entitled to compensation in addition to a refund of their ticket prices. I would strongly urge the poster to send this very well written letter to the DOT. Delta failed to assist this customer and treated them appallingly. Standard customer service for Delta, but they should be held to account. If they fail to reimburse the customer in full, he should take it to small claims. They havn't got a leg to stand on.
  #6  
Old Jan 12, 2010, 9:06 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jw
If they fail to reimburse the customer in full,
I agree with everything you said, jim, up until this point. Why would they reimburse the passenger in full (meaning the full price paid for the round-trip, right?) if they still held the return reservation and indeed, the passenger flew Delta on the return. They were given a refund on the front half of the trip which sounds like it covered Jet Blue's fare. I'm not excusing DL for how this was handled. Just the opposite, I would still follow your advice if I were the OP and pursue this. My point is the OP is not entitled to a full refund AND the return trip back home. If they received a full refund, they would have to find the whole roundtrip on their own.
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Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.

Last edited by The_Judge; Jan 12, 2010 at 9:08 AM.
  #7  
Old Jan 12, 2010, 9:15 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Troy,
I meant the amount they are claiming in full. They should have received $800 per person if my understanding of the feeble rules are correct. However, they are also entitled to compensation for their subsequent losses such as the costs of calls to get the deltamorons to deal with the problem and the cost of purchasing emergency supplies. If Delta has any sense (as if) they would compensate on top due to the particularly egregious conduct of their morons. The rules are weak and Delta's conduct towards this passenger is outrageous.
  #8  
Old Jan 12, 2010, 9:38 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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They never stated how much the refund was. OP......was it 800usd per ticket?? If it was above that (which I doubt) they would be entitled to nothing more and got the better deal with the refund. If it was not 800usd, they would have been entitled to 800 in compensation. I don't know if by accepting the refund they have shot themselves in the foot to pursue it legally or not. Not my field.

I would, however, not let it go until you get at least what you are asking for in the way of reimbursement for purchases and phone calls.

Edit.....actually I want to adjust my numbers a bit.......it would be 2x the amount of the one-fare UP TO 800usd maximum.
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Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.
  #9  
Old Jan 12, 2010, 11:24 AM
NewJerseyDevils NewJerseyDevils is offline
 
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Can an Airline just say we overbooked, tough luck and find your own way getting to your destination. Does the passenger have any rights and what should passenger say/do if they find themselves in the same situation.
How do you overbook by 30 seats. 3 maybe, but 30?
  #10  
Old Jan 12, 2010, 11:57 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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To answer your first question, no. The airline also have entered into a contract and are required to get their customer from A to B or compensate them accordingly.

Yes, the passenger has rights. It's a lopsided contract for the airlines but a well-informed traveler will make out ok in "events."

I am a bit hesitant to believe overbooked by 30 also. I didn't do any research to find out the aircraft size but 30 is alot but not uncommon. What is uncommon is that 30 people actually were denied. What I mean is, airlines routinely overbook. But if they actually have more people than seats, it's usually a very very small number, less than 5. Less than 30 certainly.

I'm curious if there was a down-grade or equipment change and in that case, if memory serves me correctly, the passenger is due nothing. It's totally unfair but I believe that to be correct. I wish our DOT rep was still around to verify that.
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Yes, the rules and policies favor the airlines unfairly. I do not dispute that.

Last edited by The_Judge; Jan 12, 2010 at 11:59 AM.
  #11  
Old Jan 12, 2010, 10:44 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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The airline assumes that a certain number will not turn up. It seems that at holiday times, they do not appear to adjust for the greater liklihood that people will travel. (Leisure travellers are more likely to turn up than businessmen). They are supposed to assist you to get to your destination, if necessary booking you onto other carriers. Delta totally failed to meet their obligations in your case. I strongly urge you to copy your letter to the DOT. If they did not make you aware of your rights to compensation, they also further breached the rules. I think you have a very strong case for full re-imbursement of your additional costs and if you did not receive $800 per person, and were not made aware of your rights, you have a legal case against them.

There are Delta employees who come on here regularly to respond to passengers. Lets see if they are willing to come on now and explain your rights and their conduct. It is utterly indefensible.
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