Delta – No Longer Ready for Anything

Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Beth Starkin

Thumbnail.aspxWe all remember the days when Delta was "ready when you are."  While the airline has its flaws, (they all do,) they were the airline who won me over with the care and concern of their employees- and I would go to bat for them because of that.  Recently, though, I’ve noticed that care has gone from genuine to forced.

For example, take my flight Friday.  I woke up at 3am excited for my 6:20 am Delta flight from San Francisco to Charleston (with connection in Atlanta).  I was off to visit my boyfriend– he’s in the Navy and we don’t see each other very often so when we do, every second is precious. You can imagine my dismay when at 3:30 I received an automated call from Delta.  A calming computerized voice told me my flight had been rescheduled to 8:30.  Not delayed… rescheduled.  But they had “protected me” and rebooked my connection on a later flight.  No option to speak with a representative. No explanation for the delay. But, also, no worries, because I was comforted that they had “protected me.”

Only they hadn’t.

Hopeful fool that I am, I went to the airport in time a 6:20 departure (I was up already anyway).  The gate agent, while nice enough, wasn’t terribly helpful.  See, while they did rebook me on a later connection, there weren’t any specific seats to be booked on that flight, so they could't guarantee I would get on.  Details.  But no worry, she put in a seat request for me – window. But only if there are seats of course.  She also could provide no information on why the flight was rescheduled despite good weather on both coasts. (I later learned, that my plane had a flat tire, and the new  tire had to be trucked up from LA – confounding, but another issue for another day.

While I was miffed about the delay, I did understand that things happen, and delays are part of travel.  What makes me crazy is this false care.  Sugar coating a bad situation doesn’t make it go away, or even make it better.  Companies are much better to just tell it like it is – we’re sorry for the inconvenience, and we’ll do what we can to help you.  Don’t say you’ve “protected me” when you didn’t.  It comes across as disingenuous and deepens my distrust of your company.
For a company that claims to be 'Building a Better Airline, Not Just a Bigger One,' Delta seems to be falling short.  Automated calls with no options to speak to a representative and gate agents who don’t actually know what’s going on speaks volumes about a company that’s grown too fast to continue to provide quality customer service.  Perhaps it would be more appropriate if they reversed their tagline to read 'Building a Bigger Airline, Not a Better One.'

4 thoughts on “Delta – No Longer Ready for Anything

  1. Actually, the brand promise becomes worse than laughable, Beth. It could force customers to go out of their way to find and fly a competitor just to spite Delta.

  2. Couldn’t agree more, Ann. But if an airline is making a claim that it’s building a better airline, they are going to need to do something to address the lacking customer service. Without the action to back-up the words, their brand promise simply becomes laughable.

  3. Great visual, as seems to be the norm for the RepMan blog. It seems to me that such problems as you experienced, Beth, (Seriously? No tires available in all of SFO??) have become so commonplace that airline employees become inured to passengers’ frustration. It’s like the surgeon who has dealt with so many cancer patients that he can no long empathize with the very people who are keeping him employed. They at least are required to take sensitivity training periodically to remind them they are messing about with fellow human beings’ lives. I don’t see airlines shelling out the money for that anytime soon.