TO: The President of Delta Airlines
Dear Mr. Richard Anderson,
I am writing this letter after taking 7 days of agonizing attempts to gather the energy to write Delta Airlines. Writing this letter is one of the most difficult things that I’ve had to do because it requires time, energy, resources, and re-visit to the horrible day and chain of events that exhausted me while leaving me depleted emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
On Memorial Day, and a monumental day it will always be, I was prevented from completing my travel route to Costa Rica where I would serve teaching yoga to adults and children at a retreat center outside of Puerto Viejo. It had been a long journey prior to the 23 hour lay over in Atlanta. Life re-arrangements were required to make this expedition possible. From resigning from my post, spending over a thousand dollars for necessities, to the stress of having to sublease my house, to explaining and helping my 10 year old son understand that he will not be able to reach his mother for the entire summer.
I arrived in Atlanta to discover that the hotel that I booked (through hotels.com-which should have been 2 miles away from the airport according to their website and booking agent) was actually over 26 miles from Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, demanding additional expenses when shuttles between airports and hotels are normally free.
Waking up well ahead of time the morning of Memorial Day to be ready for the shuttle bus (which I confirmed the night before at a 20 minutes after every hour arrival), I soon learned that a reservations was needed. No thanks to the Atlanta Shuttle driver who never informed me of that one piece of information and the Hyatt Regency’s hotel’s employees who failed as well. What I learned was that the holiday threw everyone off and that normal working days required no reservations.
Meanwhile, my luggage had spent the night at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport without my prior knowledge. I was wrong to assume that my suitcases would go to San Juan, Costa Rica since it was my final destination. No thanks to your ticket agent who did not advise me or inform me as a passenger of Delta Airlines. (All travelers are not created equally.)
I did arrive at the airport 1 hour and 15 minutes early. The signs indicated that international flights needed 60 minutes of check-in time – at the very least. I have never been in line at an airport whereby passengers with the most immediate departure time were not taken care of immediately. There were other angry, frustrated passengers in line who left later than I but refused to allow me to step forward. In addition, the screaming and “down talk” from your employee was nerve wrecking, frankly crude and far away from what quality customer service should represent and symbolize.
Given the fact that the airline industry has declined drastically and that the homeland security laws are an added burden to the comfort and safety of paying passengers, I have never seen such horrific and poor customer service organization and support from any other airline as I have seen with Delta Airlines. Your airline ruined my summer job/vacation and refused to put me on the next flight to San Juan without demanding a $450.00 change/cancellation fee that was well hidden when I purchased my ticket. It was my understanding and according to the written terms that I would need to pay a $100 fee in the event that I cancelled or changed my reservations. I had already begun my journey. I was in the middle of the first way of my journey why not put me on the next flight? Why demand more money or else?
When I called the reservations line to book for the next flight (after being told that I could not make the flight) I was advised of the $100 dollar fee and was told that given my circumstances it would be wise to ask to speak with a supervisor at the airport counter. Again, no $450 fee that includes the $100 fee was mentioned by the reservations sales rep. I was prepared to pay the $100.00 fee but not $450.00. Doing so would have caused my mortgage check to bounce as well as other financial disruptions on my home front. What an inconvenience! Not everyone can afford to pay astronomical unexpected charges that are slapped on to travelers for the sake of profit and gain. Where does compassion, respect, consideration and a positive approach to customers come in with Delta Airlines? I have yet to see it.
What is even more disturbing is that this is not the first time I have had a horrible experience with Delta Airlines. Returning from Liberia, Costa Rica 4 years ago left a very sour and bitter after taste during my return trip to the US via Delta. And please know that I have bitten myself for forgetting the ordeal and going back to after all that happened. In a nutshell the flight crew during my return trip was insensitive and downright rude and threatened to land the plane. Traveling with me was my (then 6 year old) son. We sat a row or two after the first class cabin and in economy. The bathroom closest was in first class. My son and I needed to use the rest room urgently. Stretched in the back was a long line to the other bathroom. It would only make sense to use the nearest rest room but this effort was met with resistance by a flight attendant who so brusquely tried to prevent my child and me from using the lavatory. I know that many flight attendants have no children and thus the maternal instinct may be in delay mode but who in their right heart and mind would prevent a mother and child from utilizing the toilet on a plane that is thousands of miles high in the sky. I was prepared to return to my seat and have my son *** on the floor. Why would a simple attempt to answer one of nature’s frequent calls create such a disaster in the air?
How did I forget that ordeal, I ask myself? But the biggest question that keeps coming up is WHY did I forget? Did I need to re-affirm, re-confirm, re-journey to wake up to the realization that over the years Delta Airlines and the travel industry has only gotten worse. That there are so many others who need to know and become more informed consumers in order to make choices that support and dignify their rights as humans.
As a consumer, and as one who was a passenger of your aircraft I speak up so that my pain, my frustration, my anger, my disgust over the experience that I had on Memorial day will not be forgotten; so that it will not eat away at me inside as such experiences have resulted in the stress related diseases and imbalances that humans unnecessarily and regularly endure.
In addition, it is WE, the people, the passengers, the consumers who are mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, sisters, brothers, etc who make Delta Airlines possible. What is an airline or a business without passengers and customers? It is our collective dollars that fuel your planes and pay your employees. Shouldn’t it matter that we, the passengers and customers are treated with care, respect - knowing that it really is a partnership? Partners treat each other with respect. If one partner is primarily focused on financial gain then the relationship is a one-way street to a dead end.
The damages I have suffered are all encompassing. The break down at the airport counter would only indicate a peak in my experience. I am still emotionally and mentally distraught and have sunk into depression as a result of this ordeal and prevention of carrying out my summer plans. I have receipts of the money I had to spend to make this trip possible. The damages and suffering I continue to endure are economical, physical, emotional and mental. Having re-awakened the ordeal from 4 years ago, it has been even more strenuous for me mind, body, heart and soul.
My summer job & vacation was destroyed by Delta Airlines. But I was not the only one that was inconvenienced as a result of the cancellation of my trip. The nature and yoga retreat center has been inconvenienced by my absence, the sub-renter of my house has inconvenienced; I have spent over $2,000.00 towards making this trip happen and only to have lost it all. I deserve some sort of compensation to begin the healing process.
I started off blindly with trust and faith in Delta airlines, even after the less than humane treatment of my child and I during the last return trip from Costa Rica in the summer of 2004. I trusted Delta Airlines for the second time and all I got in return was a ticket agent supervisor saying… “So what are you going to do, when you leave this counter you loose the value of the entire ticket?” After taking three deep breaths, I was left with the only choice - to return to Washington, DC my point of origin and where I live.
Review about: Delta Airlines Flight Attendant.