Frequent Flier Is Fed Up

September 9, 2010

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

OK, this just happened over the last 3 days so I’ll write it while it’s fresh in my mind.

I was flying back home after spending 7 days in Europe for business. I make it to the airport (way early as usual as I get nervous if I cut it too short) and sit in boredom as I wait for boarding time. We all board the plane on time and everything seemed to be going fine until the dreaded announcement came that there was a mechanical issue with the battery charger (the part that is attached to the engine that charges the battery in flight). We proceed to sit in the plane for 3 hours while they try to fix it. No dice. We all deplane to wait in line for several hours while 2 Delta reps help customers and 4 stand looking on. Five and 1/2 hours after we initially board the plane I am on my way out of the airport to the hotel to spend another night away from my wife and kids.

No biggie, I’ll just get home on Sunday (the next day). I get to the airport and the flight goes off slightly (30 min) delayed. I make it back to JFK with about 1.5 hours until my next flight back to my hometown. We then sit on the tarmac for 45 min waiting for the ground crew to prepare the gate for arrival (apparently we caught them between shifts). By this time I am running ahead of people to try to make my flight. I get through customs, get my bags, recheck and go through security again in like 20 minutes. I rush to my gate and get there literally 5 minutes after they close the doors.

It’s okay, though, I am automatically rebooked for the flight that departs 2 hours later. So… I play the waiting game again. About 1 hour before my new flight is about to take off, it is cancelled (no reason given, weather wasn’t bad, though). I am the first in line for the Delta agent who tells me the best she can do is put me on standby for the next flight (4 hours later) or put me confirmed the next day (Monday). I really didn’t want to spend 3 days travelling home, so I declined and asked for the Delta number so that I could cancel my flight. My wife, in the mean time, rebooked me on a JetBlue flight that was scheduled for 1.5 hours later.

I rushed from the Delta terminal to the JetBlue terminal as fast as I could (for anyone that doesn’t know, the terminals are pretty far apart and you have to leave and recheck through security) and I made it to the JetBlue gate that I needed with 45 min to spare. In the meantime I realize that I have no idea what happens to my checked bag. I call the 800 number for Delta and get a prerecording that “Due to high call volume, your call cannot be taken at this time, blah blah blah.” Apparently stranded customers are not of their concern. I call my wife and ask her to see if she can get through since my cell battery is getting low and I would be boarding soon anyway.

My wife first calls JetBlue about my checked luggage. They say that they do not have an agreement to accept transfers from Delta, but they would make an exception in this case if Delta would send the bag over to JetBlue. My wife then calls Delta and asks if they would, they of course say no and then hang up on my wife because she won’t take no for an answer.

She then calls back and asks to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor tells my wife that if I don’t go and pick up my bag from Delta that they’ll hold it at JFK for 5 days and then auction it off (even though my bag still has theDelta tag telling them that it belongs to be and where it’s final destination is). I, of course, freak out as there are company papers in the bag that I didn’t want to loose, not to mention shoes, clothes, movies, etc.

Then I notice that my JetBlue flight is delayed 1.5 hours. I rush back to the Delta terminal to the baggage claim and talk to an agent there who tells me that it will take 45 min to get my bag off the plane. I ask which plane it’s on and am told that it’s on the plane for which I was listed as standby. I ask them if they could just let it go to my destination and I would pick it up there. They say yes (of course) so I go running back to JetBlue (through security again) and back to the gate.

Needless to say, I made it home at 11pm, 30 hours after I was supposed to be home originally. I talk to the Delta baggage rep about them bringing the bag to my home. He says no because I took a different carrier. I had to go to the airport this morning at 5:30 am to get my bag so I could shave for work this morning. AND my bag’s rolling handle is now broken and Delta’s policy states that they won’t pay for that.

This Delta Skymiles frequent flier is finding another company to fly with. Any suggestions?

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

rerere September 9, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Fly jetblue, it looks like you did good with them.


James September 10, 2010 at 4:11 am

If I am flying to Europe, I fly Virgin Atlantic, or the national carrier of the country to which I am flying. I try to avoid US airlines as much as possible.


Jaci September 10, 2010 at 7:40 am

Believe it or not, I'm switching from United to Delta. United customer service is a nightmare compared to Delta.

If most of your flying is domestic and the only thing you have access to are the legacy airlines like me (small town Wisconsin), you're pretty much screwed. That's probably why I drive most of the time…I'd rather have 10 hours of sanity and control of my destiny than dealing with the nightmare which is flying in the US.


Dina September 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm

United is a nightmare. Never fly them trans-Pacific.


JimBob September 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I have to disagree. United actually managed to get us on our flight on time for our trans-Atlantic hop, the only problem being increased screaning for me (Someone by my name is on the No-Fly List) and the fact that our connection gate was a mile away from our arrival gate. United is good, Delta is a bit worse, but not much, and AA is HORRIBLE. To make a long story short, we were delayed for 1 day because a ticket counter lady pressed button A instead of button B. So, United, JetBlue or KLM. I've liked the service on all of them.


rerere September 10, 2010 at 8:30 am

I agree, United doesn't have great customer service. What do you think Hugh?


The REAL rerere September 10, 2010 at 9:18 am

Gregg, sorry to bother you, but this person is back posing as me again.


Theodore September 10, 2010 at 11:38 am

why did you check in your bag? especially when it contained important documents and connecting through JFK?


Original Poster September 15, 2010 at 10:12 am

Coming back from a European business trip for me usually results in about 4-5 3" binders full of documents. It's not the kind of thing that I want to or am able to haul around the airport so I check my bag, which usually is not a problem 🙂


Mark September 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Southwest Airlines has been the best Airline I've used. Most flights on Southwest I've done have been direct, and I've never had a delay from them, flying into such airports as Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Chicago Midway


Laura September 11, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Stick with SkyTeam. Fly KoreanAir, their service excellence makes up for the shit Delta customers must endure.


CHL July 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

They put your bag ON the plane for which you were only in standby? You're in standby, but not your bag? How secure is that?


Regan August 29, 2014 at 8:30 pm

For domestic flights, use Alaska Airlines, I took them last month, and the flight was great!

For international flights, if your flying to Asia, use Japan Airlines, and maybe United for anywhere else. Air Canada is good if you wanna go to Canada


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