(Long) Terrible experience with Delta this weekend!

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by Dodie, May 28, 2003.

  1. Dodie

    Dodie <font color=green>Survived the big crash<br><font

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    My husband and I had a short, three night trip to Disney World planned to celebrate our anniversary, as he has no vacation time with a new job, we were taking advantage of the holiday weekend and only had three nights in Florida.

    Our May 23, 2003 Delta flight from Indianapolis to Atlanta (2005) boarded on time, but the captain immediately told us that there was some trouble with the brakes, so we'd be on the ground for a little longer. (We had a one and one-half hour layover in Atlanta, but were okay at this point.) After about 55 minutes of waiting while the mechanics worked on the brakes (which I totally understand and appreciate), the captain announced that everything was okay now, but we would have to wait for them to finish some paperwork before we could take off. Thirty minutes later we finally taxied to the runway. Thirty minutes of paperwork? We were delayed by almost an hour and 30 minutes.

    There was a group on the plane who were trying to make a connecting flight to New Orleans in Atlanta. The flight attendants assured them that their flight was going to be held 15 minutes so they could make it.

    The flight attendants told us that, if we missed our connection, there would be an 11:40 flight, so we “were okay.”

    We arrived in Atlanta to see that our flight to MCO had departed 5 minutes earlier. (Thanks to the thirty minutes of paperwork, we had missed it.) The other flight could be held for 15 minutes, but ours couldn’t be held for 5?

    The uniformed Delta representative at the gate told us to report to the area across from Gate 18 to determine our next steps. We hurried the long distance to this desk, where we were told that that we had been placed on standby for the 11:40 p.m. flight to Orlando and are #2 and 3 on the list. We should “go to that gate and wait.” Our other option was to stay overnight in Atlanta but “the flights for the next day don't look too good.” We would be on standby for a flight to TAMPA (Tampa? No mention was made of how we were to get from Tampa to Orlando…) on Saturday and if that didn't work, we would be on standby for the next Saturday flight to Orlando (around 11:00 a.m.). As it was a holiday weekend, they are careful to warn us that neither of these may work out. GREAT! So, Delta will put us up overnight in Atlanta and there’s a CHANCE that they can get us to Orlando the following day. Maybe. Thanks a lot.

    We went to the gate for the 11:40 p.m. flight (at the other end of the airport – of course) and checked in at the desk. The person at the desk said, (and I am quoting her here) "Oh, you'll get on! There are at least 4 people who didn't get on their originating flights and you two are #2 and 3. Just hang out here for an hour. You'll get on."

    An hour later, the full plane took off with no room for any standby passengers.

    Don't tell me "Oh, you'll get on! Just wait." if I am not going to get on. This was another hour wasted!

    At this point, we are understandably angry, but the guy at the gate was totally useless, rude, and could have cared less. He actually said (quoting again), "It's a Delta problem. We're not Delta. We can't do anything for you. You need to go back over to the Delta desk." Everything at the gate said Delta, Delta Express and Delta Connect, but apparently this flight was actually Comair(?) He sent us back to the desk across from Gate 18. (At the other end of the airport – of course.)

    The whole airport is dead. There is NO ONE at the Delta desk across from Gate 18. It is closed. We wandered around the airport for several minutes before we finally found an airport operations person who showed us where the Delta representatives are "after hours" (down in baggage claim).

    It is midnight and we are faced with NOTHING. No options. We can stay the night in Atlanta and MAYBE get to Orlando (or Tampa) tomorrow afternoon if the standby works out. This Delta person was fairly helpful, but his message was basically - "tough luck." Delta could make no other arrangements for us. Their partner carriers' flights were booked too. (Of course, we could try standby with them too.) He wasn’t surprised at the attitude of the Delta Express (or Comair?) employee who wasn’t any help at all. He suggested that we document that in a letter to Delta’s main office. (Believe me, I'm mailing my letter today, demanding some sort of reimbursement.)

    With no other options, no real help from Delta, and a loss of one night of our vacation already, we ended up at National Car Rental at 1:00 a.m. renting a one-way car to Orlando. My husband and I drove all night, taking turns, resting when we could, and arrived at Walt Disney World at 10:00 a.m.

    We had lost a night of hotel cost that could not be refunded by Disney. We had lost an entire night of sleep. We were out the cost of the rental car and gasoline. We lost even more of our precious vacation time because we had to sleep for four hours upon arrival just to be coherent.

    I understand that it was a busy holiday weekend, but I will NEVER understand why we were run all over the Atlanta airport multiple times, were lied to and treated rudely and/or indifferently by the Delta subsidiary employees, and were given no viable options.
     
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  3. cpl100

    cpl100 DIS Veteran

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    That's sounds horrible. So sorry your vacation was upset like that.
     
  4. alexturner74

    alexturner74 Mouseketeer

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    Sorry to hear about your bad experience.

    I'm surprised that you weren't compensated at all (hotel, the rental car to MCO, etc.), although I'm not sure how that stuff works when a connection is missed. I would have thought that since it was their fault, that they would have done something for you.

    The 11:40 flight is actually operated by Comair, not Delta Express. Delta Express doesn't operate out of Atlanta. Regardless, Comair is still owned by Delta...

    At the time you were told that you would get on, it probably actually looked like you would. However, things change very quickly and sometimes it doesn't work out.

    As far as the paperwork...paperwork rules the airlines, mostly at the requirement of the FAA. The paperwork must be in order verifing that the repairs were done properly, per the correct procedures, everything signed off, etc. It may have taken 30 minutes for the paperwork, although some of that may have also been ATC clearance or something else.

    Hope you get a favorable response when you write Delta.
     
  5. cpl100

    cpl100 DIS Veteran

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    Yes, please be sure to come back and post what Delta replied and/or did for you.
     
  6. pokeysmom

    pokeysmom Mouseketeer

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    The last time that we flew with Delta we had significant problems because Atlanta was having bad weather we were in Jacksonville because we got the cheapest flights that way- ha! They weren't willing to help us with hotel or anything. At first they told us they would get us out in a couple hours, that was at 4pm. They kept telling us that the flight was delayed, finally at 11pm it was cancelled, they booked us on another flight for the next day on another carrier. I tried to get seat assignment and found out that flight was overbooked and we wouldn't of been able to get back home on that one either, i blew a gasket with Delta and we were put on other flights with 2 connections. We finally got home the next day, with 3 kids missing a day of school and my husband and I missing work. We found out later that they could of done this same combo of flights the day we were supposed to leave but it was costing delta more to do it this way because it was with another carrier and out of the way, so it was a last resort. We were out quite a bit of money because of this and they didn't care, i wrote them and tried to get some compensation but got nothing, i will never fly Delta again. Sorry this was so long but I'm still mad at delta:mad: :mad:
     
  7. alexturner74

    alexturner74 Mouseketeer

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    Sorry to hear about your ordeal as well Pokeysmom, however, Delta has no liability for flight delays/cancellations caused by weather (or other "acts of God") except to refund any unused portion of the ticket. They did get you to where you were going, otherwise you would have been even more upset. However, because you did get home, no compensation was required.

    This is included in the Contract of Carriage.
     
  8. Tigger Woods

    Tigger Woods DIS Veteran

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    alexturner74,
    I don't believe any of these posters asked to see a Contract of Carriage from Delta Airlines. They are venting about TERRIBLE experiences Delta Airlines has put them through.(See subject line) It helps others (like me) make decisions on which airline we may or may not want to use in the future. Your 'it's not the airline's fault' attitude is out of place and IRRITATING. Regardless of Delta's legal liability, these situations could have been handled better. If you want to shill for the airlines, perhaps a job at a reservations desk would be more suitable than posting in this forum.
     
  9. beattyfamily

    beattyfamily DIS Cast Member<br><font color="purple">Has Oodles

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    So sorry to hear both the OP's story and Pokeysmom's stories. That's why I try my hardest to get non-stops. I'd be so afraid this would happen especially since we travel in December a lot.

    Anyway, I like to hear these stories too (so I know what's going on) BUT I also like to hear things from the airline's persective or what the airline is obligated and not obligated to do and I see NO problem whatsoever with alexturner74's posts.

    I think everyone needs to take a chill pill and relax and not yell at each other.
     
  10. DianeV

    DianeV DIS Veteran

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    Uh, where did you see anything about Delta "getting them where they needed to be"? They had to pay for a rental car and drive there as there were no promises made for the next day.

    I cannot believe anyone would stick up for this and there were no 'acts of God" here. It was their mechanical delays that were the cause and you will never convince me or anyone else that they are not responsible for that.

    Dodie: If I were you I would call their Customer Service immediately and ask to speak to a Supervisor. You deserve at the least reimbursement for the rental car and gas and your hotel room for that night that you lost. This was a Disney hotel and they would not help?
     
  11. beattyfamily

    beattyfamily DIS Cast Member<br><font color="purple">Has Oodles

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    FYI...

    He was replying to a different poster, Pokeysmom, when he said "getting them where they needed to be" and "acts of God".
     
  12. Yzma and Kronk

    Yzma and Kronk <font color=darkcoral>I survived the Pie-fest<br><

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    Dodie - I had experience from "the other side" as does alexturner74.
    I'm really sorry to hear of the problems you had trying to have a long weekend. It's really infuriating when things like this happen. It's also too bad that Airline CSR's (Customer Service Reps) have evolved into Customer NoService Reps given the state of the airlines these days. There are some good CSR's out there but unfortunately they are the exception now a days.
    Anyway, I can help with some suggestions when writing Delta.
    - Write a letter to DL, do not be emotional (even though it's hard not to) just state clearly (and nicely) what happened, and make it as short as possible (it is good to use point form here)
    - Be as specific as possible with what you want compensated for. Attached copies of your receipts - do not send you originals - keep those and send copies.
    - Keep track of when you sent the letter and your replies, and if you don't hear back within a reasonable time, write back with copies of your original letter.
    - Did you use a travel agent? If you did send a copy to him/her and ask they forward a copy of your letter - with their comments to their DL contacts. Have them asked to be copied in on any replies directly to you.
    I hopes this helps you at least get your out of pocket costs back.

    As far as airlines - everyone should remember that 99% of the time everything works out. If your schedule is really tight - you should always look at non-stop flights if possible. You will probably have to pay more, but it may be worth it.
    After years of flying I try as much as possible to look at the overall big picture (our as this thread is heading - both sides of the story) Yes, you pay for the service and it should be rendered. However, if it is mechanical problem - it's better to be safe! If it is weather - basically out of the airlines control.
    I just try to think of the times when everything went smooth and I got off the plane and said, "That was a great flight!" and a great vacation!
     
  13. Tigger Woods

    Tigger Woods DIS Veteran

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    I agree. I would like to hear the airline's perspective. But, since no poster to this thread has identified his or herself as an airline employee, that hasn't happened. My point is: regardless of what's in the contract, these people were treated like crap.

    Oops, I take that back. I think there's an airline employee here after all!
     
  14. beattyfamily

    beattyfamily DIS Cast Member<br><font color="purple">Has Oodles

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    Point taken, but I just thought your reply to alexturner74 was a bit harsh.
     
  15. goofy4tink

    goofy4tink No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator Moderator

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    While I do understand the rules of the contract with the airlines, I sometimes think that we, as paying customers, are getting the short end of the stick. I make my reservation, pay the airline my hard-earned money for a service. I pay for a certain flight, arriving in a certain place at a certain time. While I understand that mechanical/weather type things happen, I don't think that the airlines always give the best substitutes. I base my entire vacation on the times I have 'arranged' to fly. Now, I have booked my room and since the flight times have changed, I can't be there to enjoy said room. I have had to actually add a day so that I could get to WDW and not lose a day to traveling. I just think that if we have to fee a fee if we want to change our flight plans, then the airlines should be expected to act a little more compassionatly when making their changes. THis is a big reason why I insist on direct flights if possible. If that's not available, then I want the lay-over to be a lenghty one. or close enough to where I'm going that I could actually rent a car to finish the trip! I know the airlines would like us all to be happy travelers. Maybe they should look at their business practices.
     
  16. pnelson

    pnelson Guest

    I had a similar experience flying last May. We missed our connection in Atlanta by 5 minutes. In fact, when we pulled up to the gate, I saw a Delta plane pulling away from the gate. I knew it was our plane and inside my head I was yelling "Wait! Wait!". We were also put on standby on the next flight and confirmed for a flight out 12 hours later. I was beyond upset!! They were absolutely unbending!! We did get on the next flight, but if we hadn't we would have been out a day of vacation. What made me mad, was we wanted to extend our vacation by a day because of this but they would not waive the change fee on our tickets-something I definitely felt they should do because they couldn't accomodate us on another flight. It worked out, but Delta was not the most accomodating. But I also don't believe it's just Delta-I'm sure any other airline would have had the same attitude. I'm very nervous about our flight in December-we only have 50 minutes between connections and that just doesn't seem quite long enough if there is a delay!
     
  17. Lewisc

    Lewisc <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    I don't work for the airlines but I agree the response to alex turner is a little harsh.

    It's useful to know what we are entitled to (contract of carriage) vs what we expect as a gesture of goodwill.

    It is evident that most of us look for the lowest possible fares. As a result many of the airlines have responded with the lowest possible serivce.

    Jet Blue and SW seem to be about the only airlines that can make money, give good service and have good fares.
     
  18. Dodie

    Dodie <font color=green>Survived the big crash<br><font

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    Wow! I started a debate. I've never done that before.

    I just wanted to vent (and share) my terrible experiences with Delta. I think that's the only way consumers really know what they can expect from any service oriented organization.

    We were jerked around, without a doubt. I'll see what comes of my complaints, although I'm realistic about the probable lack of outcome.

    Lessons learned:

    1. Stick to ATA (with whom we have never personally been disappointed)

    2. Direct flights only from now on! (Unfortunately, not an option this time around.)
     
  19. TammyC

    TammyC DIS Veteran

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    I usually do not make plans for my day of arrival, even though we fly early in the day. We thought about buying tickets for MVMCP for our first night.. scheduled to arrive MCO art 2:26, then I thought about all the "what ifs" and didn't want to risk buying tickets and being too late to use them!
     
  20. Yzma and Kronk

    Yzma and Kronk <font color=darkcoral>I survived the Pie-fest<br><

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    Tigger Woods - an Ex-airline employee!!! I wasn't at the airport, but dealt with problems......I was with a very good international airline. I left the travel industry a few years ago to do something different.

    As I've said, I've seen both sides.

    Bottom line, it's just sad that the airlines are in the state they are today. Unfortunately the poor attitudes go right down the chain of command and the frontline people are left to deal with problems with no autonomy to make decisions, no budget to compensate, and their only alternative is to become "customer no-service reps"

    I know it's been said before, but the big airlines should take a look at the smaller carriers - JetBlue, AirTran, etc. These are the ones who are doing great, with I'm sure very little complaints.

    Great debate Dodie - on the trans board! Your points I'm sure will help others when making their decisions.

    Enough said from me :D
     
  21. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

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    Kids missed a day of school? Nothing you or anybody could have done about it except make up the work. One quick phone call to one school's vopice mail saying you got stranded is enough advance notice.

    You missed a day of work? If you are exempt from getting overtime pay, you cannot be docked the day's pay (most states).

    50 minute connection time? TOo short, try not to do that again. In years past I have booked flights with plenty of connection time but also did standby for an eralier seond flight if the first glight came in early.

    Change your return flight to be a day later to make up for the loss of a vacation day because of all this? Really the airline ought to do that for you free of charge, assuming you ask right away at the time of rebooking the missed flight. I would feel free to book the modified return flights anyway, and write a letter for a refund of the change fee later if needed.

    For the folks who rented the car to get to orlando, maybe that was the best thing to do but quicker, but also first asking for a prorated refund of the itinerary for the flight segment that was misconnected. Generally the airline has to make this refund. while leaving the rest of your reservation intact. I don't think they owe you the cost of the rental car but you can ask anyway.

    Disney hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/disney.htm

    And here I am trying to make contingency plans for hotel and rental car reservation changes in case I want to take a voluntary bump on the flight to WDW (Nov 03).
     

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