Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Dear Delta (an potentially other airlines), I fear that you may be losing touch with the customer. Hopefully not a similar fate of the American auto industry.
First, I would like to assume some of the blame (for not getting to the airport sooner) - but I truly believe that if there was time wasted or spared - that fell on your shoulders.
I arrived at the airport at 7:15am, for an 8:35am flight. I "checked-in" the day before - via your website. I tried to use your kiosk, but it failed to find me in its database. I contacted a nearby employee, who instructed me to goto the service desk. Upon reaching the roped-off line-area, your employee promptly asked "What are you doing here?" (I have to admit, I was a little taken back by such a basic question) But I replied "I'm here to fly on a plane" (she let me thru). Then I patiently waited as time crept by (noticing similar concerns by other people in the line (I did see another couple walk up, was directed to another area - and walked by me on the way to the gates - and I found happiness for them). I finally was called to the service desk at 8am. Your associated informed me that I would not make my flight, and I would be charged an additional $50 "administration fee" to change my flight (which I was told "could not be waved"). I expressed my dissapointement, explained what happened, and asked to speak to a manager. He was very polite, apologized, and called for a manager.
Joe * came over, introduced himself, and said the same thing as your associate. But he would not admit any problem on Deltas fault, and stood by his statement of "we need at least 45mins before your flight to process you". I tried to explain to him that he wasted that 45mins while I waited in line - but it fell on deaf ears.
I chose the only option presented me ($50 to catch the next flight), thanked the service desk guy for his patience, and he thanked me for my attitude (I guess the way I handled it) - and went my way.
The solution to the problem:
I've experienced this before - so it's not out of the question: an employee at the check-in lines looking at each ticket - prioritizing passengers (based on flight times).
Another possibility? Why not address each ticket holder outside the airport as they are coming in (to assess each situation, and capture their arrival time & flight info)? Then another at the entrance of the service desk line (another scan of ticket info). This will only help Delta track process times & passengers with more detail.
I mean after all, you don't really know how long I (and other customers) waited in line - and I would think - you would want to know that info.
What do I want out of this?
A change in service/policy, an apology, $50 refund (for my additional charge), a free round trip ticket? I would be happy with any one of these.
Take Care of Your Employees, and your customers will be taken care of? http://academicearth.org/lectures/take-care-your-employees
I also sent this to Delta, if I get a response from them, I will try and post it.