Three weeks ago I was scheduled to fly to Denver, Colorado for my friends Sheri and Asher’s wedding that was to be held in Boulder, Colorado. As much as I would love for this post to be about what a wonderful weekend I had and how happy I am for my friends, unfortunately it is not. Below, I will share the letter I recently sent to Delta Airlines summarizing how they nearly ruined part of this almost perfect weekend through miscommunication and lack of communication. The only thing about the weekend that was not perfect, was the disaster of an experience I had with Delta the night of July 29th and the morning of July 30th.
The following is the letter I recently sent to Delta about my less than stellar experience:
To Whom It May Concern:
On Friday, July 30th I was scheduled to fly from Newark to Denver via Minneapolis. On the evening of July 29th I decided to visit the Delta website in an attempt to change my seating location on my flight between Newark and Minneapolis. Much to my surprise I was greeted with a message stating one of my flights was canceled. I then called Delta Customer Service to inquire about the canceled flight and attempt to be rebooked on another flight.
The first call I made was at 11:13pm. When I finally got through to a customer service representative I explained my situation and was hung up on. I called back at 11:20pm. Once I was connected to another representative, who unfortunately I did not get the name of, she was surprised to hear I did not receive an email or phone call regarding my flight status. She began to search the area airports for a flight that would get me from the New York City area to Denver by 1pm the next day as I had an appointment that I could not reschedule in Denver. Unfortunately, after 20 minutes we were disconnected. I called Delta for a third time at 11:45pm and spoke with xxxxxx. He searched for available flights that would have me arriving in Denver as close to 1:00pm as possible. After searching for a couple of minutes he asked if I would be okay flying United as he found a flight that would arrive in Denver at 12:23pm. As soon as I said yes, he put me on hold and contacted United. After a long wait Mr. xxxxx announced that he had me booked on United flight 731 direct from Newark to Denver with the confirmation number of XXXXXX. I thanked him profusely and hung up.
While on the phone with Mr. xxxxx I received an email from Delta noting the flight cancellation and that I was rebooked on a flight that would arrive in Denver at 8:26pm. While I am sure an automated system put me on that flight, how is it okay to book someone on a flight(s) that would have them arrive eight hours after their original flight was supposed to land? Additionally, I received an automated phone call from Delta at 5:15am that my flight had been canceled. This was six hours after I had originally called Delta about my flight and three hours before the flight was supposed to depart Newark. How is this acceptable?
I arrived at Newark airport at 8:30am for my flight on United. I attempted to check in via their self-service kiosks and received a message to pick up the phone located next to the kiosk. I spoke to a customer service representative that said I had to check in with an agent. I stood, somewhat impatiently, in line and waited for the next available representative. Once one finally became available to me it was 9:00am. The gentleman I spoke with said that United never received my full transfer reservation from Delta although they had the confirmation in the system and that I would have to go to the Delta Terminal to get that from Delta. This was an hour before my flight was due to take off. Knowing that I would not have time to go to a new terminal and return, I called Delta for help. I received none. I went back up to the United counter and asked how much it would cost to buy a ticket on flight 731. The answer I received was $1,200. Knowing I had to be in Denver and could not wait around to hope that I would be able to get on another carrier for less money and knowing that the flight was due to take off within 30 minutes I gave the agent my credit card and paid $1,277.70.
Meanwhile I was tweeting about my experience as I had begun tweeting about it the night before. @DeltaAssist and I were in direct message contact when they told me I would be booked on the later United flight that would not get me to Denver until later in the afternoon, this was after I already paid for my seat on flight 731. Thanks to my tweeting about the service I was receiving, many of my followers will not be flying Delta any longer.
On Sunday, August 1st I checked into my flights back to Newark via Detroit and noticed that my previously assigned seats were no longer assigned. I again called your customer service and was told that because of the problems on Friday I would have to receive my seat assignments at the gate. Flying between Denver and Detroit instead of having an aisle seat I was assigned a middle seat.
This, by far is the worst experience I have ever had flying your airline. I have been a loyal customer for many years and sometimes even go out of my way or pay a little more to fly Delta. The fact that I was not accommodated at all disgusts me. I will be flying your airline one more time on September 8, 2010 because of a previously booked flight and then probably never again. There is no reason I should have been made to pay almost $1,300 for a mistake by Delta and I expect to be reimbursed fully, as this was your airline’s mistake. Additionally, I am appalled that after I tweeted about the problems I had and even direct messaged with your @DeltaAssist I was not contacted by any member of your customer service team after my trip to inquire about my travel issues. Would you have treated a medallion member the same way? Would I have been treated any differently had I paid for my flight and not redeemed skymiles for it? Maybe I should have listened to my gut and flew direct to Denver on Continental.
You have lost a loyal customer.
As of press time I have not received any correspondence from Delta regarding my letter or the refund I am demanding.
that sounds horrifying 😦 … i hope they answer you quickly. unbelievable.
in other news, if i ever have a bad experience with anything, i know who i’ll be asking for letter-writing advice!
It was less than fun. You know where to find me (in multiple ways) should you ever need my letter writing skills. 🙂
Nightmarish. Imagine if you hadn’t serendipitously discovered the evening prior that your flight had been cancelled? Unfortunately, customer service suffers in our Walmart society, and I find often that I am standing at the intersection of apathy and incompetence.
Be the squeaky wheel and push it till it breaks. They will try to give you credit instead of $, I’ll bet. I would make up a story about a family emergency in Denver, hence absolutely necessitating the 1277.00 outlay. (But…I am the King of the Little White Lie.) I could tell you some stories, sis!!
Good luck. A really unfortunate experience.
Direct and to the point!
Well written Stef. Do not give up. Keep the pressure on Delta. Maybe another phone call? Fax the letter to somone at Delta.
LinkedIn must have a P.R. Person or someone you can speak to?
Maybe your followers can help by blasting emails?
Just trying to think what we can do.
I’d hate to see you lose $1,300 for their mistake.
$1,300 is peanuts to them.
Shocked they haven’t made this right yet.
Apologies again for your travel experience. That is not the way we want anyone’s trip to go and our customer care team will respond to your letter with a formal apology.
Susan Elliott, Delta Air Lines
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