Old May 1, 2022, 9:24 PM
SaigonDesign SaigonDesign is offline
Join Date: May 2022
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Default Our Hawaiian Horror Vacation

We recently had the misfortune to fly Delta for the first time on our family trip to Hawaii. I’d like to share with you our experience and ask for feedback and reimbursement from the Delta team. Forgive me for the long diatribe, but I felt it essential to detail the experience completely as this was our first family vacation in 2 years.

I’ve shared my experience on Twitter as well, but no one has responded. So I thought I’d share it and ask how to reconcile Delta’s #1 Customer Satisfaction rating with our real-world experience.

In general, we found some of Delta's staff amazingly helpful. Yet others were so unsympathetic, inefficient, and just unconcerned that it soured us on Delta altogether.

Let’s start with our day of departure. Our flight was in the morning, so we (my wife, 10-year old son, and myself) were at the airport by 0630. The flight was delayed due to a maintenance issue.

We had 2 connections prior to our flight to Kawaii, which we weren’t going to make. The Delta agents at DCA were great, doing their best to get us re-scheduled. They offered us two options:

1) Go home and come back tomorrow, and start again.
2) Take a non-stop flight to Seattle, spend the night at a hotel, then fly out the next day (only 1 flight/day, which we had already missed).

We chose Option 2, as we reasoned it was better to be on the West Coast and closer to our destination than have to suffer any further delays the next day.

However, this meant we forfeited a day of hotel and a day of car rental. While the hotel wasn’t as big a hit, the car rental was, as there were no cars available after we arrived. So instead of having a car for 3 days to explore Kawaii, we had a car for only 2 days. Not only could we not explore the island and enjoy it as we had it planned, we were also now locked in paying a higher weekend rate as we arrived on a Friday instead of Thursday as planned.

Now, Delta did pay for the hotel and provided us meal vouchers for one meal, but this was small consolation to actually being in Kawaii.

NOTE: We flew from Kawaii to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines. There were apparently a few people who needed to make tight connections, so the flight crew made an announcement and asked people to stay seated so those passengers could deplane first. This will be relevant later.

Leading up to our day of departure, I was concerned as our connecting flight in SEA was scheduled to depart before our flight from HON even landed.

Thankfully, or so I thought, Delta re-scheduled the flights multiple times (I have at least 5 text messages highlighting the changes) so we had apparently 40 minutes between flights. Great, right?

I inquired 4 (FOUR!) times of Delta representatives if this was feasible.

Check-in agent: Fine, no problem.
Gate agent: Fine, no problem.
Flight attendant on boarding: We’ll actually be arriving early. No problem.

Cut to prior to landing. I asked a flight attendant the same question.

“Oh you should be fine.” I asked if we could deplane earlier or get some priority. Her reply, “Nothing I can do. Sorry!” She almost curtsied as she flounced away, with not a care in the world.

We landed, and then waited to deplane. And waited. Finally, we disembarked and sprinted across the airport from Terminal A to Terminal B. Then we couldn’t find the flight. Why? Because Delta changed gates and didn’t update us.

Our flight was scheduled to depart at 0710. We arrived at the gate at 0702. The gate agent said the doors had closed and we were basically ****-out-of-luck. Her lack of empathy, coupled with the flight attendant’s, was galling and aggravating.

We, and some other passengers similarly stranded, stood in line for the sole Delta agent at the HelpDesk.**After at least 30 minutes, we spoke to Dennis, the ground supervisor, who was unconcerned that we had flown 6 hours and were now basically stranded due to Delta’s incompetence in scheduling.

He insisted that we had 40 minutes between connections. That’s great, but that’s between the plane landing and the connecting flight departing. That conveniently also ignores the fact that the doors close 10 minutes before departure, so now you only have 30 minutes to make the connection. Couple that with the flight crew’s unwillingness to help, and now you may understand why we had to sprint, with a child, from one end of the airport to another.

I was livid at this point. Dennis couldn’t care less - he repeated his comment about the 40-minute window, which is very convenient for Delta, but not workable in reality. He did, however, book us on a connecting flight to MN and onward to DCA and give us a meal voucher.

To add insult to injury, our checked luggage made it on the flight, even though we didn’t. I’m not sure what TSA thinks of sending unaccompanied baggage across the United States, but this seems unsafe.

We finally arrived at DCA around 10PM and had to retrieve our luggage from the Baggage Desk. By the time we had everything, it was almost 11PM and we were exhausted, having spent almost the entire day on a flight or in an airport.

Rather than returning from vacation relaxed, we arrived exhausted, annoyed, and angered.

I am happy to share the multiple boarding passes and flight changes if you wish, as well as any documentation you need.

I’d like honest feedback as to if this is what Delta touts as “#1 in Customer Satisfaction”. I’d also like feedback on the feasibility of the 40-minute connecting flight rule, as this seems unfeasible when flight crews are unhelpful and gates keep changing without notice.

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