Dear Delta Airlines

Please allow me to share my experience with one of your standout customer service agents, today. Feel free to use this incident in the unquestionably effectual training program this person must have completed. If I may be so bold, I'd recommend titling this exercise; "The ROI of Hiring Ass Hats."

Looking at my flight history, you'll notice I have 35 travel segments with your airline year-to-date. I'm not sure I can more adamantly emphasize how appropriate the term "history" applies with regard to my patronization of your airline.

Today, I was called home for a family emergency. A trip I neither planned nor desired. I was previously booked on a flight this Friday. Silly me, of course, putting you out by occupying an empty seat on a Tuesday afternoon and freeing up a seat on your typically full Friday flights.

For inconveniencing you, I was penalized by being made to purchase another ticket for an additional 300 dollars. Not only was I charged for another ticket but, because of my exquisite planning skills, I am able to purchase flights in advance at a discounted rate meaning, of course, I am due no refund of the seat I will not use. My apologies for putting you out. I can assure you it won't happen again.



In fact, as soon as I use the remainder of my well-planned itineraries, rest assured you will be rid of the blight of my frequent impositions. Not only did your emissary of empathy charge me for the flight, she neglected to put my frequent flier number on the sparkling new voucher she sold me. She also bristled when I demanded my share of the Friday seat I purchased, that you will no doubt resell to some other vagrant who dares to fill it for you. I can only advise you to spend your windfall wisely as it will take considerable investing savvy to make up for its cost to you.

I'm not really good at math, but given my documented flight schedule, the average price of one of your golden tickets, plus the 15 years, if I'm lucky, until retirement, I am certain one of your highly trained policy makers can compute just how much pinching me for three bills will ultimately cost your esteemed organization. Of course, you'll need to factor the additional and occasional $8 beer you somehow sell me without the courtesy of a reach around.

Do not, for any reason, respond to this email. I am uninterested in speaking to "someone who can help me." That authority should have been extended to the agent who "helped" me today. I've included my frequent flyer number only so you can watch my segment total dwindle to zero for the rest of the year.

I'm not unreasonable. If you'd like to talk, you can find me any Monday morning at whatever Tampa International Airport gate AirTran departs for Atlanta from.

By the way, please pass on my regards to the ticket agent who tolerated my intrusion on her conversation with another employee, today. I'm certain she is due some "up sell" revenue generation award.


Michael Williams
FF# 22173xxxxx

3 comments about "Dear Delta Airlines ".
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  1. Doug Pruden from Customer Experience Partners, June 22, 2009 at 11:02 a.m.

    Probably 15 years ago I had a colleague who worked in our Chicago office (I worked in New York). When he was in for a meeting that ended early he would quickly phone the airline and get on an earlier flight (at no additional charge). He did fly frequently with that airline but what I remember most is his telling me that whenever he called them he had the feeling that his name came up on the screen in a box with stars or dollar signs floating around it because he always got friendly, helpful treatment.

    In any case, even in those early days of customer databases it seemed that somebody thought about long term customer value. I've got to believe that the Delta database tracked Michael Williams' frequent flying history. The story leaves me wondering whether he was a victim of failed staf training or costly short-term driven policy from management.

  2. John Gaudio from A Better Blogsite.com, June 22, 2009 at 1:16 p.m.

    Excellent Description of a corporate culture that just doesn't get it. Most of us learned before we were six to treat people well so that all can thrive. It takes an MBA to unlearn those basic truths, and have the short sighted arrogance to treat your customers like marks, and expect them to keep coming back.

    See more at http://abetterblogsite.com/public/item/235185, and Google Delta Hell, for five million or so related pages.

  3. Harvey Beliveau from NorthStar IT Systems, LLC, June 30, 2009 at 6:23 p.m.

    Delta is headed by the same guy that was at the helm of Northwest that pushed them to bankruptcy. What can be expected.

    Customer service and satisfaction doesn't seem to be their priority otherwise they wouldn't set the pricing structures and rules as they have. I've flown over a million miles (most of that domestically) in the past ten years. Not once that I can recall have they presented ideas to their top customers for feedback, they just 'put it out there like it or not'.

    Today I reviewed a 'reply' to a complaint I submitted online to the Delta web site. Two paragraphs sandwiched between a greeting and a thank you that absolutely responds to nothing I'd talked about in my complaint. They will no doubt be taken aback at the pointed response they will be receiving later this evening where I will respond and point out their lack of reply as well as their inability to spell my last name with only two e's not three.

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