So I sent out the call a few weeks ago for stories, both good and bad, about Delta customer service. I have received over 200 e-mails and not a single one of them has had a positive thing to say about this airline. Typical is this entry from "Mr. X"
I almost always fly JetBlue or Southwest. When forced to turn to one of the members of the old line oligopoly, I avoid Delta because I’ve always considered them the worst of the worst. They always struck me as not just indifferent to the idea of customer satisfaction, but oddly hostile to it.
I thought back to a few experiences I had with JetBlue over the winter when I frequently used that airline to shuttle back and forth between Florida and Boston. One time in January, our morning flight was an hour late because of mechanical difficulties. The gate attendants rolled over a cart of complimentary Dunkin Donuts and coffee to show their concern. A few weeks later, a JetBlue flight was delayed two hours because of mechanical difficulties. I was delighted to receive an email a few days later with a flight voucher worth the total cost of the flight.
And then there was my conversation with David Neeleman, the then-CEO of JetBlue in the wake of their organizational breakdown that stranded thousands of passengers this winter. The pain in his voice was unmistakable. He cared not only about losing customers, but about his airline living up to its commitments. It’s called ethics.
I couldn’t help comparing JetBlue with Delta as my wife and I sat angrily at the Courtyard Marriot, munching on Cheetos while my lungs became congested. Obviously, I’ll never fly Delta again. Ever. Our “Delta Awards” American Express Gold Cards will be cut in half after this month’s bill is paid.
To be completely honest, there is nothing Delta could do to win my forgiveness. I would, however, like Delta to give me my money back for yesterday’s flight just because it would be the right thing to do. I’m not optimistic on that front. When I mentioned the idea to the customer service supervisor, he pretty much laughed in my face.
As far as I’m concerned, though, Delta is dead to me. It’s not a brother, not a friend, and I want two days notice when it comes to visit our mother. But that’s no big deal. I’ve loathed Delta for a long time. But my wife is a loyal flyer and a Silver Medallion member. Or should I say “was.” Delta is dead to her, too. When you treat customers like something you stepped in, there will be consequences.