Sunday, May 19, 2013

Keep Climbing, Delta. And maybe throw me some sky miles along the way.

I flew down to Costa Rica 8 days ago and my luggage was lost (or as Delta Airlines put it "delayed"). They sent me a customer service survey and specifically asked me if I had any additional comments. Here is the feedback that I sent them. And, yes, I already received the automated email reply...

I have been flying on Delta flights for the last 26 years and this is by far the worst experience I have ever had with your airline. The first time I flew, I was 6 years old and headed down to Florida with my family. I got one of those pins with the wings on them and even got to visit the pilots in the cockpit whereupon I was made an honorary captain for the flight. THAT was a good experience. My "delayed" bag experience from my recent trip to Costa Rica, not so much. 

I wouldn't call myself much of an athlete (stay with me in this). I try to run a few nights a week and have completed two half marathons. I'm more built for comfort than I am for speed but that being said if you put a nearly unobtainable goal such as free beer at the end of a race or giving me 39 minutes to make an international connection at Hartsfield airport in Atlanta, you better believe I'm going to do all that I can to reach said goal, as foolish as it may sound. Well, the years of running paid off because I was able to run through the nightmare that is Hartsfield and catch my flight to Costa Rica with about 90 seconds to spare. All because my flight out of Nashville was delayed for no real good reason. 

Upon arriving in San Jose, my bag was nowhere to be found. But I was greeted by a customer service agent who informed me of the situation, assured me that the bag would be delivered that night to anyplace I would be staying, and to call the customer service number in case I had any issues. My bag was not delivered that night, no one answered the customer service phone number I was given, and the only contact that I was able to make with anyone to help get this resolved was through twitter (marking only the second time in my life I have ever found it to be useful). The person answering my twitter inquiries was very nice but was basically full of shit like the rest of your customer service team. I provided the name and location of my hotel and was promised that my bag would be dropped off that night. I knew it had made it to San Jose because I used the luggage tracker. 

I went to bed hopeful and smelling like Dove women's deodorant because of the free toiletry bag you gave me (recommendation: put a fresh pair of socks in those puppies going forward). I speak just enough Spanish (much to my surprise) to inform the hotel's night clerk that my luggage would be arriving that night via courier and asked if they would hold it for me until I stumbled down the stairs to the front desk the following morning. 

The Costa Rican suns appears very early in the morning sky so when the hallway started to illuminate, I awoke, and (just like I promised) stumbled down the stairs to the front desk only to find no luggage of mine. I headed back up to my room and called the customer service number which still wasn't working. My friends woke up a bit later and we decided to make our way back to the airport so that I could actually talk with someone. 

Have you ever been to the San Jose airport? It's quite nice but finding where the lost luggage section is a nightmare. Two information desks, a security screening, rapid fire questions being asked of me in Spanish which had by and large gone unused since I got that B- in Professora Smith's Spanish 103 class in college, and a very confused look on a customer service reps face when I tried to tell her that someone was supposed to come bring my luggage but I think it came out as someone was supposed to eat my luggage ("comir" and "come" are awfully close and I may have jumped back and forth between English and Spanish on that exchange). 

I was lead through the bowels of the airport which was actually pretty fun to another customer service desk and a gentleman who spoke fluent English (you guys were about 1 for 9 on the customer service thing in case you were keeping track). He had me wait at the desk, turned around, disappeared for a few seconds into a broom closet and produced my bag. LORD, IT WAS A MIRACLE!  I then asked the customer service rep if the bag had been scheduled for delivery before I picked it up and he just looked at me and said "No."  So... 1 for 10?

I still plan on flying with you, Delta. The cheapest direct daily flights to and from Michigan (where I travel to and from the most) and all those sky miles that I get from my bank are hard to pass up. But if you want to make it up to me aside from having me fill out an online form which, I'm confident, will be followed up with an automated reply thanking me for my time might I suggest the following:
- Free sky miles. However many you'd like to credit my account with would be great. 
- Free food and drinks on my next 10 Delta flights. I'd much rather have this than a first class upgrade. 
- Another one of those pins with the wings on them. It would let everyone on the flight know how important I am. 
- Visit to the cockpit on my next flight. I know there's probably some FAA regulation that outlaws the cockpit visits nowadays but I figured it would be worth asking. 
- In lieu of a cockpit visit, free flying lessons. Not only would that be fun for me but think of all the women I could impress! 

I hope this feedback has been useful and I'm sure I'll be flying Delta again sometime soon.