Saturday, June 30, 2007

Delta Airlines is a nightmare

Two days ago I was scheduled to fly from BWI to Boston on Delta Airlines. I was due there for work. See my boarding pass above.

A total nightmare ensued from the customer service point of view.

I am not looking forward to flying Delta again. Even if I have to pay more, I will avoid them in the future.

Unfortunately, I still have flights on Delta to come this summer.

Anyway, here is the story:
  1. Flight DL 5414 to Boston is delayed from 6:50pm to 7:25pm.
  2. It's not exactly a long delay. We all get on board. Ready for take-off.
  3. Announcement comes over the PA. Hang on says the flight attendant. The flight might be illegal.
  4. Everyone has to get off. Flight is canceled because the FAA has rules about the maximum number of hours a day.
  5. People are not pleased. Shaking their heads in disbelief. But they have no idea what is going to happen next.
  6. Back in the terminal building. Bad news. There is no room for us on the remaining flight out tonight.
  7. They are flying a reduced schedule on Saturday. That's tomorrow. More bad news. No room for us on Saturday either.
  8. Long line, all the people from the plane. Two customer service representatives only, so a long wait.
  9. When I get to the front of the line. Sunday is offered. Two nights stranded at BWI waiting on a flight to Boston! 2 nights! Unreal.
  10. No compensation is offered. No other airlines are offered. I don't want to spend two nights stranded at BWI.
  11. I asked for a refund. They can't do it for me on the computer at the gate. Told me to go back out through security to the check-in area and line up there.
  12. Go outside. Line up again. Line #2. Very slow. Only two people working.
  13. Nearly to the front. Customer service representative asks me why am I lining up? I need to call Delta Direct to get my ticket portion refunded. I said I was told to line up!
  14. Go over to courtesy phone. All representatives are busy... About half an hour on the phone. Eventually, I'm told my problem is fixed.
  15. Go downstairs. Pick up my two checked bags. Wait for shuttle bus service to rental car center.
  16. It's 9:30pm now. Rented a car from Budget. $126 + gas + tolls.
  17. 410 mile drive. An all-nighter. From BWI up I-95 to Boston. Heavy traffic in parts.
  18. Dawn arrives. 6:30am next morning. I arrive at my hotel in Cambridge MA pretty exhausted.
Delta Airlines? I'd still be stuck in BWI. And Delta never brought out any more customer service representatives to help out. I've never been treated so poorly.


  1. If this is the way of the airline industry today, why does anyone wish to fly?

    If an airline cannot provide a scheduled flight, the airline should, by law, be required to reimburse passengers for minimum of overnight stays at local motels/hotels.

    While one must go through multiple lines to acquire a refund, this is yet another sign of a sagging, non-customer responsive system.

    In other words, airlines are there for your money, not your satisfaction.

  2. Would you like to hear Jet Blue horror stories?

    Didn't think so.

  3. The air transport industry is so competitive with any number of airlines on the brink of bankruptcy at any given moment due to hair thin margins on seat sale tickets and such that they can't afford the extra staff to deal with their own fuckups. It's a sad state of affairs but with consumers demanding the lowest price the first thing to suffer is always customer service. I don't know that there is a solution in the current market place. Price fixing at a reasonable rate? Minimum service policies that force airlines to charge what they have to to maintain customer service?

  4. I think they would have made money on my seat. That segment cost me $197 from BWI to BOS.

    I must have been subsidizing my fellow passengers :-)