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Old Dec 26, 2017, 1:10 AM
DeltaDiamondDave DeltaDiamondDave is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 2
Angry How Delta Stole This Family’s Christmas FLT 1232, 17 Dec 17

How Delta Stole This Family’s Christmas
(To be posted on FaceBook after Christmas)

As many of you know, I have an only child, a daughter, who is very special to me. She is rapidly approaching twenty, and just completed her third semester of college. She is carrying a 4.0 and desires to become an RN. Like all of us, she has strengths and weaknesses. For her, traveling is a bit of a phobia. She is not fond of new places and new experiences. The familiar is where she is most comfortable. But this year she made the decision to venture out of her comfort zone and meet for the first time, her step-siblings, and step-grandparents, in-person, in Greater Seattle. But she needed some help. No, not just a plane ticket -- but some help in making the actual trip. One of her worst fears is traveling AND getting stuck somewhere due to weather, aircraft mechanical failure, a flight crew not making a connection, whatever, so she asked if I could fly out from the west coast and pick her up and escort her to her stepmother’s home in Greater Seattle. So I agreed to that. It would give her some new experiences and perhaps some much-needed confidence about traveling and hopefully a desensitization of getting stuck. Wow, was I in for a shock!!!

So I show up at the airport last Sunday, 17 December, at 10:30am to catch Flight 1232 from Seattle to Atlanta for a connection there to the Newport News-Williamsburg, VA airport. My plans were to arrive around midnight and then stay at an airport hotel and meet her at the airport 10 hours later for a flight back to Seattle via Atlanta. Around 11:41am a 23-minute flight delay was announced due to a temporary power outage in Atlanta. I was not too concerned as that was brief. But then about five or ten minutes later, the delay was changed to leaving at around 1pm. That was cutting it close to my connecting flight time and Atlanta is went to the Delta Sky Lounge to see what other arrangements could be made. I showed-up and waited my turn and talked with the 20-something behind the counter. I told her about my special case with an anxious traveler and that this was not just merely involving this trip, but one with my daughter the next day taking her to Seattle, then back to the Newport News-Williamsburg, VA airport and then my returning to Seattle. She did some checking and said “Well we can re-route you with another airline, but it will have you getting in really, really late to Newport News-Williamsburg, VA airport and I am not sure that you really want to do that. All indications are that the power will be restored shortly and I think you will be better served by keeping what you have.” As I had no qualms about Delta’s truth-telling, I reluctantly agreed to keep what I had and allow this short-term power outage to be restored.

Now I have been a very long-time Delta customer. [In fact, over the years of travel I have become a Diamond Medallion flyer, their top tier. And I have done this for several years in a row. In fact, I am not sure when I first became a Diamond.] But back in the beginning years of my traveling with Delta, oh say about a couple decades ago or so, that had a very disturbing practice: They LIED. Namely, when they had problems -- whether those problems were weather, a crew that had timed-out of the flight window waiting or getting stuck somewhere or equipment problems, you name it, they would say that if I and other customers could “just be patient,” that the problems would magically and quickly be fixed. I was told in those days by more experienced flyers that while they could have just booked us on a competitor, that: 1. They DID NOT want to give the competitor the business, often at a cost that exceeded their fares as it was last minute flying; and 2. They did not want to take the chance that their customers might like the competitor’s service better than theirs. So they would lie and say that they could not book you or that the competitor was sold out, etc., and maintain that they would get you on the “next” plane out as a worst case scenario. Fortunately, I guess they lost so many customers with those lies and games that the last time I think I experienced something like that was 18 plus years ago. Well, I understand that there is new senior executive leadership now at Delta Corporate Headquarters.

So an hour later, as I am sitting on the floor at the gate, I noticed that as 1pm approached that the departure time was pushed back to 2pm. And then as 2pm approached, it was pushed back for another hour. My heart sank. Then it was announced on the network news programs that a contractor had hit a power line and knocked out the airport. I ran back to the Sky Lounge to see if I could still book that “very inconvenient flight” thru another airport with a competitor airline. Of course, no such luck. The young agent told me that all possible routes were just oversold and there was no chance of getting out Sunday or any day as “we just don’t know when Atlanta will open up and we cannot book with another airline until we know more information.” While I do not think that the agents behind the counter were out-and-out lying to me, I am very much convinced that the new leadership at corporate KNEW EXACTLY what had happened and that this was NOT going to be a quick, minor event. HOW COULD THEY NOT KNOW??!!! They just did not want to lose the business. So we are back to lies and games, aren’t we Delta management? For the next 3 hours we would hourly get reports of another 1-hour delay until 5 pm, at which time the flight was suddenly cancelled. Still, ever the optimist and talking hourly with my daughter, I spent over an hour and a half in lines at the Sky Lounge in three separate lines (another disgusting set of stories of customer service fails in itself) to learn that they just could not find any flights to get me to Virginia airports with Delta or anyone else. Also, I should note that during the day that I tried to call the “exclusive” Delta Diamond Desk about 10 times only to get an annoying fast busy dial tone after calling and being identified by name by their automated v-mail system. The management knows when to take the phones off the hook.

So I called my wife to pick me up from the airport and take me home. I called the Delta Diamond Desk the first thing the next morning to see if any flights could be had to quickly get me to Virginia in the next 24 hours to pick up my daughter. This time they DID answer. They apologized [but did not explain it] for their fiasco with that desk the previous day. I very carefully described the situation with my anxious traveler daughter (once again!) and she started typing-in possibilities. Unbelievably, the agent on the phone tells me that they can get my daughter to Atlanta yet that day and on to Seattle as long as she doesn’t mind traveling alone. She asks, “Are you sure you don’t want to take that offer?” Incredulously, I responded “ABSOLUTELY! You have proven her case that flying is TOTALLY unpredictable. Do you really think she or I would be willing for her to fly unaccompanied at this point????????” She then informs me that I/we are in luck(!): She can fly me out of SEATAC to Virginia on Wednesday evening, I can then pick--up and fly with my daughter on Thursday across country back to SEATAC, spend ALL of Friday with the family -- and then put the two of us on a plane Saturday (which would have been yesterday, the 23rd) as previously planned and I return to SEATAC Christmas eve, as originally planned. So thanks to Delta’s lies and lack of candor, our holiday four days and two nights with her step family would become one night, and one day, plus a ride to the SEATAC airport. I told that agent I was done.

So that is the story of how Delta has stolen our Christmas. I am hoping that this newly-revived old and evil practice of airlines lying to their customers is isolated to Delta. I am now looking at the routes of American Airlines and United for my 2018 trips.

Say, Delta competitors: I am a loyal customer until lied to. Anyone want to status match a Diamond? I am serious!
D.B. Plummer [email protected]
Old Dec 30, 2017, 8:04 PM
Burgers Burgers is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 104

20 years old and can't deal with flight issues? and to think we have 18 year old's mature enough to go off to war.
Proud graduate of the Naval Academy and veteran.
Old Dec 30, 2017, 8:24 PM
DeltaDiamondDave DeltaDiamondDave is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 2
Default Dear Burgers

First, congrats on graduating from Annapolis. Second, thank you for your service. I am a former AD Army officer myself. And while you and I have enjoyed, presumably, good mental health, not everyone has. Almost 20% of all Americans have a mental health issue in any given year. Her's happens to be anxiety with the unfamiliar, in general, and travel, in particular. She sees a therapist 2x a month and is on meds and thankfully her anxiety is well-managed except when challenged with a direct challenge. And she has both asthma and no interest in military service. She is putting herself thru college -- without a scholarship -- and with very little help from me or her mother -- as that is her choice. I had to take out loans for my education and you got your education compliments of taxpayers and your own hard work at the academy. Everyone's circumstances are different.
delta lies, delta new management, delta ruins christmas, delta steals christmas, looking for status match

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