Today's guest post is by Peppercommer and RepChatter Co-host Deb Brown. Be sure to check out Deb's blog, StandUpExecutive.com.
Recently, my husband and I decided to fly Delta from New York City to Prague for vacation. We don’t particularly like Delta, or any airline for that matter. But Delta was the only one that had a nonstop flight available for the day we wanted to leave. So, Delta it was.
When we arrived at the Delta terminal in New York, it was clear to me why airlines have such bad reputations. They don’t even try to understand logic nor do they understand the definition of customer service. We only had one bag to check. One bag per person is free unless, of course, it goes over the weight limit. Our bag went over, but we only checked one bag, not two.
So, here’s where the logic – or lack thereof – came into play. The representative at the counter charged us $100 since it went over by a few pounds. But, I tried to explain that if I took those few pounds out and put them in a second bag, which we were allowed, then both bags would be free. She agreed. But, it didn’t matter, the extra pounds were in the one bag. But, if the same amount of pounds is in one bag or two, does it matter? It’s still the same amount of weight on the plane. She couldn’t grasp that logic and insisted we pay the $100 or we’d fly to Prague without our clothes.
Of course, our lovely experience didn’t stop there. After everyone boarded the plane and we were ready to go, the flight attendants said we’d have a little delay. Apparently, when the plane landed a couple of hours earlier, they realized that none of the six toilets on board were working. I don’t know at what point they realized that for the previous passengers, but that’s another story.
We had to sit at the gate for an hour-and-a-half until they were able to finally fix four of the six toilets. But, again, if you think about this logically, if they knew there was a problem ahead of time, why did they board everyone? Shouldn’t they have fixed the problem first? What was Delta’s backup plan if the toilets couldn’t be fixed and would just…well…back up? Was their plan to fly and tell us just to hold it in for 8 hours?
We eventually took off, and, of course, neither the reading lights nor the entertainment system worked for the entire flight. That was minor when you think about how much worse it could have been without working toilets. But, hey, shouldn’t we at least get something back since the airline didn’t deliver on what it promised – maybe, let’s say, the $100?
In case you haven’t noticed, Delta’s new company slogan is “Keep Climbing.” On one hand, that fits since they have a long way to climb. On the other hand, as their brand promise, if Delta is claiming they’ll enable passengers to keep climbing, they failed. In my case, the tagline doesn’t ring true. Not only didn’t we climb, but we came to a screeching halt and fell off the cliff.
Thank goodness that didn’t happen in the air.
It must be difficult for Delta to find a slogan that rings true. For example, over the years, they’ve had:
• Delta Gets You There With Care (1984-1987): Hmmm…maybe with Care…but with no lights, no entertainment and, almost…no toilets.
• We Love to Fly and It Shows (September 1987): It doesn’t show. And, you may love to fly but we, the passengers, are fed up.
• Ready When You Are (ca. 1992): No you’re not. We were ready and you kept us waiting as you figured out how to fix the toilets.
Instead of “Keep Climbing,” Delta may want to consider this tagline: Delta…just be glad you get to your destination in one piece. Nothing else should matter to you. So, leave us alone.
I realize it’s long and not very catchy. But, it does ring true.
Share some of your airline experiences with us. Do you believe the airlines can change or is it a lost cause?
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Hi Trish — In theory, I understand your point. But, here’s where I disagree. First, they said it had to do with weight on the plane, not to protect someone’s back. My argument is that it’s 50 pounds, whether it’s in one bag or two bags of 25 pounds. Actually, two bags would weigh more because you’d have to throw in the weight of the bag. The $100 didn’t make sense because two bags would have been free. Second, my husband was able to lift the bag himself, so I know that wasn’t an issue. And, third, when we returned from Prague, the bag was free. And, we flew back on Delta. Plus, the bag was a little heavier since we brought back a few souvenirs.
I’d have to agree with them on the bag weight – that’s for the sake of the guys and gals loading the planes. If you can even it out, that’s better for them…. but you can’t have a 85 lb bag and 15 lb bag be equal so you have to draw the line somewhere (for them is 50)…. for the sake of their backs.
Air travel does stink but it’s still so cheap!