Overall Delta experience
by Tara B. - Posted Sat March 17, 2007 @ 12:00 PM
It is with great regret that I am writing to you regarding my experience that I had last month with your airline. I do not usually fly Delta Airlines, but thought I would give it a try when I decided to visit with family in NJ last month. The trip to Atlantic City was uneventful, but the flights back to Los Angeles were among the very worst, if not, THE WORST airline experience I have ever had. My flight from Atlantic City, NJ to Atlanta (flight 4381) was delayed three hours due to what I was told by a Delta representative as 'backlog/traffic' at Atlanta's airport. I expressed concern then that I could miss my connection to LA, but was assured that there would still be plenty of time for me to catch a later connecting flight. I returned to the airport three hours later and boarded the flight, only to wait another hour on board while we waited for what a member of the flight crew informed me were 'releases' that needed to be signed. It wasn't until after 7pm - four hours after we were supposed to be flying - that our plane finally took off for Atlanta. I knew that I would have about 55 minutes to make the next connecting flight in Atlanta, so even though I was not completely comfortable, I thought it would still be okay. I had no idea how wrong I would be. When we arrived in Atlanta around 8.45 pm, we taxied to our gate, only to have the plane turn around with apologies from the pilot to taxi to another gate. And then another. And another. I believe that we approached at least FOUR gates before we found one that would take us. While the captain was certainly profusely apologetic, I and the other passengers started to grumble that it should NOT take almost another FULL HOUR to find a gate to deplane. By the time we got to a gate (and after circling the entire Atlanta airport), it was after 9.30 pm. I rushed off the plane with my hand luggage to the first available Delta customer service representative to find out what the next flight to LA was. She informed me what gate it was leaving from, but said she didn't know when it was departing. When I asked her if she would call ahead to let them know I was on my way, she said that she 'could call, but that they probably wouldn't pick up the phone'! After hearing that, I ran as fast as I could from Terminal E to Terminal A, only to find that the flight had closed it's door TWO MINUTES AHEAD OF TIME, and was already on it's way to the runway. After that, I was ignobly pointed to the customer service desk a few gates down. As I stood in line, a young couple behind me with their three-year old daughter were talking in amazement to each other about how rudely they had just been handled by another Delta representative. After running to try to make their flight, the woman at the gate told them to 'save their last breath' since they were 'going to need it' since the last flight to where they were going had already left. I understand that there is only so much customer reps can do, but RUDENESS of any kind should NOT BE TOLERATED. As I stood in line, I listened to other customers talk about what they had been told by Delta representatives as to what the reason for all of the delays. As I listened to them, I realized that although many of us were on the same flights, we had been told DIFFERENT things, which leads me to the conclusion that we were just being given excuses, not REAL reasons, to justify what can only be seen as gross incompetence by Delta. I had to stand in line for about 30 minutes before I was told that there was nothing that they could do for me and that I had to stay the night in Atlanta and take the 7.30 am flight the next morning. When I asked if they would put me on one of their competitors' airlines to fly me back to LA, they said that that wasn't what they did, and was not Delta's policy. To be quite frank, here, I really DON'T CARE if it's not Delta's policy! I booked my flight so that I would be back in LA to go to work the next day, and because of Delta, I lost a day's worth of pay, which is really NOT my policy, either! When I asked if I would at least be able to collect my check-in baggage since I had nothing at all in my carry-on (extra clothes, toiletries, etc.) they said that I should be able to collect it at baggage claim. I waited at baggage claim with others from my flight for another 45 minutes before the message on the carosel changed from saying my flight's baggage could be collected here to NO MESSAGE AT ALL. By now it was 11 pm and I had NO IDEA where my belongings were or when and if I would see them again. I then waited in another line near baggage claim to see if I could manually pick it up, and was curtly informed that if I 'really wanted my bags', then I would have to wait another 'three to four hours' to pick them up, and did I 'really want to do that?' When I said 'yes', they said that they weren't going to be able to help me with that and to just go to my hotel. I exited the airport and waited with dozens of other people outside in the cold around 11.30 pm. Families with small children, soldiers, business travellers alike waited endlessly in the cold night air. It wasn't until almost MIDNIGHT that I was able to take a hotel shuttle to the Holiday Inn North where I had my voucher given to me for. I thought that the end of my night would finally be there, but when I arrived, all I found was a line of tired and irritated Delta passengers, waiting in a line that was so long, it STRETCHED OUT OF THE DOORS OF THE HOTEL to the outside!!! By 12.45 am, I was literally at the end of my rope. I was exhausted, hungry, and more angry with the unbelievable way that I and my fellow passengers had been treated. It was then when the hotel informed us that they had 'run out of rooms' because Delta had sent too many of it's passengers there, and that they 'didn't know' what they were going to do with 'the rest of us'. Just to add a human face to the ambiguous 'rest of us', that included a woman in a wheelchair with her daughter that was standing in front of me, and an elderly man who looked like he was in his early 80's and was suffering from some sort of dementia who was standing with what may have been his grandson behind me. What did Delta think was going to happen to us??? People started talking about going back to the airport just to sleep there, or to just find another hotel and pay for it themselves just to get a few hours of sleep. Several verbal altercations erupted between various travellers who were at the end of their ropes, as all of us were. It was then that I left the hotel and just started walking down the road at 1.00 am. I went to the first hotel I came across and was lucky enough to find the first shred of customer service I had found that entire day in the form of the girl at the reception desk, who kindly accepted my Delta voucher and let me stay in one of the rooms there. By the time I got a room, I only had TWO HOURS to sleep before I had to wake up and get back to the airport, just to ensure that nothing ELSE would go wrong. I got to board my flight and arrived back in LA around 10.45 am, Thursday, February 22nd. My entire ordeal with your airline took almost 23 HOURS just to fly from Atlantic City, NJ to Los Angeles, CA. I also lost not one but TWO days of work due to this as well (one due to having to fly out a day later, the other due to me coming down with a cold due to standing outside in the cold in the middle of the night and missing another day of work). I would like some sort of restitution for the the incredible amount of unprofessionalism, incompetence, and considerable anguish that I experience because of your airline. I am a Federal employee of the US Government, and will not hesitate to let it be known to ALL that I work for and with to never fly your airline again if I do not receive some sort of satisfactory response from you for this horrible experience. I do hope that you can salvage some dignity by addressing what I and many others had to endure because of your airline and that some sort of compensation can be made. This is DISGRACEFUL. Please, show me that this airline actually gives a DAMN about it's customers, because that is NOT the message that I (or many other passengers) received that night. Thank you for your time and consideration to this situation.