Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Delta Delta Delta Will Not Help Ya Help Ya Help Ya. (Part 2)

Okay, so part two, which is the equivalent of day 2 of our misadventures with Delta Airlines, the most idiotic, thoughtless, inconsiderate and terrible of all the airlines. Part 1 is just below this entry.

8) The following morning, Mom and I show up at the check-in gate at 9:30 to claim our two guaranteed seats. Of course, we were barked at to try the "automated" service, but I said, "No, your airline screwed us over last night and we were told to talk to the agent instead." She backed off us and moved on to barking at the rabbi in front of us, who tried to be patient and kind, but with only a tenuous grasp on success. When Mom and I approached the agent, she handed us "seat requests" and told us we'd have to inquire about boarding passes at the gate. Mom and I both verbally balked, and she said, rudely, "Don't beat me up. I'm just the messenger." Grrrrrrrrrrr. So I replied, "Ma'am, I'm sorry but your airline has been beating us up for 36 hours." She said there was nothing for us to do but go to gate C37 to ask about passes.

9) After a little holdup at the security checkpoint, we got to terminal C. Just out of habit, I checked the departure board. Lucky decision. Our gate was not C37 but C32. Not a huge difference, but another example of the idiocy and lack of basic competency of Delta Airlines. We got to C32 and I inquired about boarding passes. The guy looked at the monitor behind him which said, "Lansing, MI" in order to obnoxiously point out to me that I was early and/or had the wrong gate. I calmly (but not pleasantly) informed him that we were on edge about being messed up again with our flight and I wanted assurance as early as possible that I was getting boarding passes. He told me I'd have to go to C2 to get more information. A full 10-minute walk back the way I had just come.

10) I left Mom sit and booked it back to C2. While in line, I learned about the couple (probably my parents' age) who had been screwed the night before. They had run to make their connection, and the husband made it while the gate was still open. He pointed to his wife who was no more than 30 seconds away, not being able to run as quickly as he could. The DELTA GATE AGENT SHUT THE GATE ON HIM and said, "Too bad." DELTA DIDN'T WAIT 30 SECONDS for a lady to make the connection. Then the plane sat there for 10 minutes before leaving anyway. Yes. Another girl had been trying to get to her destination for two days but had been bumped or had flights cancelled every time. The people behind the older couple had also been trying for two days. This did not bode well.

11) When it was my turn, the lady told me my flight was full. I said the lady last night had told me there were seven and I was guaranteed two. She said, "You shouldn't have been told that. It all depends on weight restrictions and the gate agents choose who would get to go on the plane." At this point, I realize Mom and I are not getting on that flight without a fight. So I pulled out the heavy ammunition: my Huisman temper. I said, "So, you're basically telling me we are fu***d. Is that what you're telling me?" [Ed note: I did not use asterisks in the original conversation. So sue me.] She looked at me evenly and said, "Probably yes." I said, "So the lady last night lied to me about there being seven seats and that I was guaranteed two of them? And that if I showed up at 9:30 this morning, I could pick which seats I wanted?" Reply: "She shouldn't have told you that." My reply: "Well she did. But now you're telling me that, in spite of that guarantee, I. Am. Fu***d." She said, "Yes." Then I really lost it. I expressed what entire bullshit that was and I wasn't accepting this as possible. Then she took my boarding passes--sorry, my "seat requests"--and went to the nearest gate. She spent several minutes there...and came back with two boarding passes.

12) The only thing she said to me when handing them over was, "She shouldn't have told you you had them guaranteed." Oh, for cripes sake. How the heck is that MY problem, incompetent Delta lady? Seriously? So I said, "Ma'am, I'm sorry I yelled, but you have to understand that your airline has terrible customer service, terrible communication patterns, and terrible scheduling problems. Do you see that?" The response (predictably) was, "Yeah. She shouldn't have guaranteed you those seats." ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So I again said, "Well, she did guarantee them to me, but that just proves my point that you have terrible customer service, terrible communication, you lie to people and you are completely unorganized!" She just said, "Yes, it's bad communication." Holy shit. It was like talking to freaking Rain Man. So I just said, "Thanks for the boarding passes," and off I went, leaving all the poor other schmucks behind me begging to get on a plane, any plane. Please just get us where we need to go. That kind of thing. Going back to the first point in the prior posting, when they overbook all their flights, they don't leave any room to deal with the people they screw over by being late. If they're going to screw up their schedule so much that they have permanent areas dedicated to rescheduling, they need to AT LEAST have some seats available (i.e., not overbooked) to accommodate this!

13) Finally, it's time to board, only not. We are told it would be another 10 minutes. Fine. About 15 minutes later, we're told it will be another 10 minutes. About 40 minutes later, we are allowed to board. I mean, really. Would it be so difficult to be honest with their customers? Would it kill them to say, "Ladies and gentlemen, there's a delay, and we're not entirely sure when the plane will arrive. We hope within 30 minutes. We'll let you know more as we get information." Honest and completely lacking in condescension. Ugh. So we finally got home about an hour late. Well. Actually about 18 hours late, but who's counting?

Honestly. This is not exaggerated. This airline is so inept, incompetent, arrogant, rude, and pathetic. One might argue that this is a fluke, but A) the other passengers on my NYC-Detroit plane and in line behind me the following day suggest otherwise, B) the permanent kiosks and overall familiarity with DELTA-specific vouchers suggest otherwise, and C) the similarly rude and incompetent experience I had with Delta last summer from NYC-Minneapolis suggests otherwise. This is a pervasive and ongoing problem. Delta Airlines SUCKS. I personally have vowed never to fly with them again, which is particularly sucky given that I have few options out of La Crosse, and even fewer in general when you consider how many airlines are owned by Delta. But I'd rather stay home than give Delta Airlines one more red cent of my money. And keep in mind that saying this is a person who loves to travel and does it as often as I can.


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