Okay…so hate may be such a harsh word. I guess it’s more appropriate to say that I strongly dislike, loathe, and avoid Delta Airlines as much as possible. Despite my loathing, I still find myself on a Delta flight anticipating the worse. This semester, I’m traveling more than ever. Although I did manage to score a Southwest flight, there are a few Delta trips on my travel itinerary that make me nervous.
I dislike Delta because of bad experiences I’ve had during my travels. Some issues have been out of Delta’s control like planes malfunctioning or delays due to weather. I get it—stuff happens. However, as a customer I’ve come to Delta with legitimate concerns or issues and I’ve felt casted away because I was young and obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about. The core of my problem with Delta has been the communication I’ve had with the organization and its employees. Either I’ve been ignored or there has been no communication whatsoever.
I’m not afraid to admit it, but I’ve turned to tweeting my dissatisfaction and I’m not ashamed to tag @Delta and @DeltaAssist in those tweets. From the Delta propaganda also known as a safety video to verbiage I see on advertisements and websites, Delta strives to make flying an excellent experience for its guests. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to have a positive experience with Delta so I can’t vouch for this so-called excellent experience. Deep down, I hope that Delta will prove me wrong one of these days. Until that moment arrives, I’ll roll my eyes when anyone tells me they are a Delta fan.
In case you’re wondering why my beef with Delta runs deep…
My bag was MIA. Here I am a teenager (granted I was nineteen) but I was flying the first time solo. My bag was not on the baggage claim. Being already terrified that I was trying to figure out how to navigate travel by myself, it freaked me out more that the people I was on the flight with me were gathering their bags and mine was no where to be found. I located an employee who told me to chill out because I was overreacting. An hour later and still no bag…of course I’m going to ask questions. Instead of helping a girl out, the employee just rolled her eyes at me. Luckily, my bag finally showed up without any encouragement of the employees. Still to this day, I have no clue what happened to my bag. If no one is going to help me locate my belongings, why even bother checking my bag with Delta if they are going to take my bag on some magical mystery bus tour without my knowledge. If I ask for assistance, I don’t want to be judged, Delta….I JUST WANT TO BE HELPED.
I’ve had to be “one of those” running through a terminal. When I book my flights, I look for good prices and enough connection times during layovers so I can locate where I’m going and not miss the next flight. I’m not about being “one of those” running through the terminal with my carry-on knocking down everyone in my way. Flying from St. Louis my junior year, a malfunction happened with the plane. Of course, we were flying into Atlanta and my departure gate wasn’t released until I was in the air. I didn’t have access to any Wi-Fi, had no smart phone, and no way of checking where I would be able to connect. I knew the flight out of Atlanta was the last one for the day to Indy. I had an 8 AM the next day I could not miss. I knew with my St. Louis departure being delayed, there was a possibility of cutting it a little too close for my connecting flight to Indy. When I nicely asked the stewardess if she could tell me where my departure gate and time was, she said she would get back with me. She never came back. As we were making our way to the gate in Atlanta, I learned that my flight was two terminals away and boarding in 30 minutes. By the time I got off the plane, I had under 20 minutes to maneuver Atlanta’s airport, knock down a few small children with my bag as I yelled my apology behind my shoulder, and barely made my flight. I wish my stewardess had communicated with me more because at least I could have been prepared to hustle or made some sort of other arrangements. But to obviously ignore me? Not sure if that’s the excellent experience you promised there, Delta.
Please just tell me why my plane is going in circles. Last Spring Break, Brenda and I headed to Vegas, but had a quick stop in Atlanta for our connection flight. We boarded, we took off, and my thoughts towards Delta were starting to shape up. On my head seat TV, I turned on the map feature. We were heading towards Las Vegas, but then we turned around towards Atlanta. I noticed that we were then above Atlanta circling. Other passengers started to notice and became extremely worried. We didn’t receive any notification of what was going on until 20 minutes after we turned around. Then, the circling wasn’t explained until after we landed. Many of the other passengers started to panic that something had malfunctioned that prevented a safe landing. Speculations were murmured throughout the cabin…but then AFTER we landed the pilot nonchalantly said fuel had to be burned before landing. Okay, I get that, but a lot of passengers were panicking. That could have been explained while we were in air and avoided some anxiety attacks. I was handed a $25 comp receipt for the gift shop in Atlanta because we had to wait four hours for a new crew to arrive. No one was called until we landed. We were in the air circling for over an hour and half. I feel that a call or some sort of communication could have happened before we touched back down. I get that things don’t go right and I’m thankful the staff was on top of making sure we were safe, but I would like to know what’s being done when I can see we are flying in circles thanks to the head set TVs. Don’t act like I can’t notice. Don’t allow panic to arise. Just address it and we are all good, Delta.
Even Delta social media ignores me. In one of my PR courses, we were discussing companies that seemed to never address issues. Another student in my class brought up how Delta never assisted with a broken bag, messed up flights, and no communication. Both he and I tweeted about the discussion to the Delta Assist Twitter account around the same time. Delta followed up with him, which is GREAT PR and I say kudos to reaching out to him. However, my tweets were completely ignored and never addressed. At this point, I noticed a trend…I was ignored with my concerns and issues. All I want is Delta to communicate with me, reach out to me, and at least pretend that they care about my travels, but the social media sealed the deal—I came to the conclusion that Delta obviously doesn’t care about an excellent experience because no employee has taken the time to listen to my concerns or legitimately help me out. When it comes to reaching out, please, Delta, stop ignoring me. I just want to know someone cares!!!
My jacket was left behind and was “never turned in.” I vowed to never fly Delta again because I felt I was excluded from this excellent experience club, but my university booked Delta to New Orleans this past November. As we were landing, the steward joked that if we had a lost item, head to EBay because he’s trying to make money for his retirement fund. Lame joke, yes, but it got some laughs. I partially believe he wasn’t joking because after I accidently left my blazer behind, it was “never turned in.” I approached staff an hour and half before my flight back to Indy departed. I asked if they could check with lost and found, I had my ticket and flight number from three days prior. After only being on the phone for two minutes, the woman who helped me told me nothing was there. Two minutes? Seriously? It takes me at least five minutes to find the shoes in my room for the day so looking through things for two minutes isn’t enough time at an airport, right? As I asked for more assistance, the two staff members informed me there was nothing they or I could do. I asked for headquarter’s number or a contact I could reach out to, nothing. They coldly wished me a good flight back home. Here’s the thing, Delta, I want to feel like my concerns are your concerns and not an inconvenience. I want to feel that your staff really was interested in assisting me with locating something I misplaced. Even if the jacket was truly lost or already uploaded onto EBay, I want someone to spend more than two minutes trying to actually help instead of shooing me away.
So here’s the deal Delta, please COMMUNICATE with your customers…especially this one. I don’t know if it’s because I’m young, female, obviously a college student, but I’m constantly ignored by Delta staff. I’ll admit that my recent tweets about your airline have gotten a bit too sassy, but I keep hoping that maybe, just maybe, someone will reach out to me or actually help me when I run into a complication. I haven’t had an “excellent experience” on your airline and I dread any time I have to fly Delta. I found out today that I have to take a Delta flight from D.C. to Indy. Delta is definitely not my choice of an airline, but I’m hoping that maybe one day, just one day, I’ll have a so-called “excellent experience” with Delta. Until then, here’s clinging onto my carry-on like Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents and hoping that I make my connecting flight without running like a mad woman to the next terminal forty miles away.