Travel Experiences with Delta Airlines

It’s with great regret I have come to the point of making this experience with Delta Airlines public. I have been a happy customer with Delta for many years. Other than a couple of annoying experiences I have been loyal to Delta because I have always been able to count on them to manage situations and I aways felt confident that I was in good hands. On this last trip I was faced with more than one encounter which has me convinced that I realy am no longer in good hands and unfortunately part of this is due to the escalated situation of racism in the USA. Delta, in Atlanta, is in the heart of an area which has very strong stress regarding race relations especally with the rise of groupls like Black Lives Matter and other powerful influences. It was this feeling that was made very clear to me on my last trip when I was clearly singled out for being a very white male. More than one situations came up where being white definitely influenced the decisions of staff members and there was clear favoritism towards other black customers while one staffer had made it blatantly clear that she wasn’t going to be lifting a finger to help a white male passenger.

This is disapointing. I have never made race an issue in any aspect of my life. I have been singled out when I missed opportunities due to minority hiring quotas or government programs which eliminated me categorically but never so blatantly by a company providing a service.

Last month I sent Delta a letter regarding my situation on their flight and was met with an anwer that I absolutely did not expect. Even in their response they contradict themselves by how they state that their guidelines work.

I will repeat in advance that other passengers were given options while I was not addresses at all and when I did address my situation about a connecting flight I was told  to “Run Fast” and “:Good Luck!”. That was Delta’s solution even when I notifed them in advance of the situation which absolutely could have been prevented if a single person had made the smallest effort on my behalf.

Here is the string of correspondence from Delta.

_________________________

Hello Charles,

 

RE: Case Number 20955629

I’m really sorry we’re so late in getting back to you. I know it’s frustrating to wait for a reply. I see that Kari Bakken replied to your message on September 15, 2016 at 12:23 PM. I have included her letter below.

Thank you so much for your feedback. It is greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards,

Emily Newman

____________________

Hello Charles,

RE: Case Number 20xxxxxx

Thanks for your email letting us know about the disappointing service you received while traveling with us from Chicago to San Jose on July 6. I can certainly understand your frustration when your flight was delayed because of the weather and you missed your connection in Atlanta. Our goal is to always get passengers to their destination as quickly and as safely as possible and we understand how inconvenient it is when travel plans don’t go as smoothly as we would like. I was also disappointed to hear that the flight attendants and agents were rude and unhelpful, and they didn’t provide you with the First Class service you expected. I’m really sorry you didn’t receive the caring service you should have received from our staff. I was also disappointed to hear that you felt as though both flight attendants and agents treated you differently because of your skin color. As a global airline that serves thousands of customers from around the world every day, your experience is not one we wanted you to have and I’m sorry this happened.

We expect our agents and flight crews to be helpful and professional at all times, and it is our policy not to discriminate against any customer on the basis of age, race, religion, sex or national origin. On our end, this incident has been addressed with our employees and we have received a report from their managers. The report states that the flight crew and agents didn’t recall the specific situation, but the flight attendants stated that they always provide snacks and beverages throughout a delay and use their guest service tools to check passengers’ connections. They stated that they strive to make the delay as pleasant as possible for all passengers. They stated that during a delay, agents will monitor connections and if passengers will miss their connection, they will look at all options to ensure the passenger arrives at their destination as quickly as possible. It’s unclear where the passengers were traveling to that the agents pulled off the flight, but it’s possible that there was an option to rebook them through a different city other than Atlanta. Passengers traveling to SJO must connect through Atlanta.

The report goes on to say that when passengers have close connections, they will advise the gate agent when the flight lands, and if assistance is needed, they will provide that assistance to the customer. All passengers are treated with dignity and respect. Neither agent in Atlanta has received any complaints of this nature. We understand we disappointed you; however, we cannot conclude there was any discriminatory intent. I’m really sorry for the way this situation made you feel and that you arrived SJO much later than planned. I have passed your comments on to the appropriate leadership teams to ensure our service is the best that it can be.

In regards to holding your flight – I completely understand how disappointing it is to have to change your travel arrangements at the last minute. It must have been really frustrating to miss your flight by just a few minutes. Your time is valuable, and I’m really sorry we couldn’t hold your connecting flight. As a rule, we require passengers to be at the gate and ready to board 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. In looking at your flight information, Flight 977 – ORD to ATL arrived at 9:33 AM and your connecting Flight 900 – ATL to SJO departed at 9:44 AM which unfortunately, would not give you enough time to get to the gate. Respectfully, the agents are not able to hold flights. I’m really sorry for the inconvenience this experience caused you.

Bonus Miles
I realize this doesn’t make up for the time you lost when you missed your connection; however, as a goodwill gesture, I’m adding 15,000 bonus miles to your SkyMiles account. They should be transferred into your account within three business days.

Charles, as a SkyMiles member, we appreciate your long time loyalty to Delta. While it’s clear we didn’t meet your expectations on this occasion, we do hope you will give us another opportunity to provide you with better service the next time you fly Delta.

Kind Regards,

Kari Bakken

Previous Reply Follows: ———————–

Dear Charles Mason,

RE: Case Number 20955629

Thanks for writing about your trip to San Jose and the treatment you received in Atlanta and onboard the flight from O’Hare. We will investigate your concerns and get back to you as quickly as possible. We ask you to be patient as it may take up to 30 days to respond.

Regards,

Michelle S. Samuel

Original Message Follows: ————————

 

Delta Air Lines Customer Care Form

 

 

Title: Mr

First Name: Charles

Middle Name: Fenton

Last Name: Mason

Suffix: II

Reply-To Email Address: chuc@chucmason.com

Airline Program:

Frequent Flyer Number: 9x0x54x6x0

Address: xxx xx xxxx

Address Line 2:

City: Denver

State/Province: CO

Postal Code/Zip: 80223-1619

Country: US

Telephone Country Code: US

Phone Number: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Flight Date: 07/06/2016

Flight Number: DL0909

Origin City: ord

Destination City: sjo

Confirmation Number:

Ticket Number: 0062347609189

Class of Travel: first_business

Response Required: yes

Message: This is a difficult topic to summarize in a minimum amount of words. It has taken me over a month to think about how to address this situation. The reason it is difficult is that I have had to try to determine if what I experienced was an issue of racism or if it just involved terribly inconsiderate, over worked, tired, underappreciated personnel. Unfortunately it involves all of these things. Please understand that I am being brief because of space limitations and that I could write many chapters on this experience. If I must I will. For now, I am giving a summary. 1.) I arrived at the airport 2 hours early as recommended by the airline. The ticket counter opened an hour before the flight was to depart. For such an early flight I was not thrilled about arriving an hour too soon. Irritating. 2.) I was flying first class for the first time in my life. I was treated like a refugee in the baggage hold at all points of my Delta First Class experience. 3.) On more than one occasion black customers were given preferential treatment in situations that were clearly racially motivated by myself and other non black customers. 4.) The flight was delayed over an hour. This is where the problem begins. 4.) a.) 3 other passengers in 1st class, 2 black, one foreign, were asked if they wanted to be put on another flight so that they would not be late arriving at their destination. They left the airplane and were offered direct flights and alternate flights. I was ignored even when I asked to be given another option. I knew at that time, many hours in advance, that I was going to miss my connecting flight and no one at Delta lifted a finger to help me make accommodations at the same time they were stumbling over themselves to help the other 3 people in FIRST CLASS to move to alternate flights. During the flight other passengers were constantly given more attention with drink refills and food while I was consistently ignored. My glass was usually empty during the flight and spent half the time being thirsty. FIRST CLASS SERVICE. Not impressed. When we arrived in Atlanta I asked the flight attendant what can be done to help me get to the connecting flight so that I don’t miss my connection. I was literally told “GOOD LUCK! RUN!!”. Nothing she could do. No one (yes, I understand the “RULES”) could do anything to call ahead and let someone know that a FIRST CLASS PASSENGER is RUNNING to the next gate. Literally the time it took for the 8 people in front of me on the plane to de-board is the time that would have allowed me to make my connecting flight. After RUNNING and almost having a heart attack I arrived dripping sweat, barely able to breathe as they were closing the jet way door!!! The airplane was pulling away from the gate. MINUTES that could have been saved if ANYONE had bothered to help me obtain one of those golf cart services to get me to what ended up being one of the furthest gates that Delta could find for this departure. No dice. No help. I missed the flight. So now I ask the woman (not lady…Woman) at the gate to help me rebook or get me on a flight as I have 4 bags and do not want to be stuck in San Jose Costa Rica with $1000s worth of belongings. I want to get home. She told me there was nothing she could do. This is where I had to think about how to address Delta in a minority city when we have a country that is cursed with racial tensions on every corner. I am trying to respect that problem as I am NOT a person who is affected by the color of someone’s skin in any respect of my life. It does not register with me. However, in this situation, I was met by a woman at the gate who absolutely refused to do anything and it was very clear by her tone that if I had not been a white man that she might have done something to make any sort of an effort to help me. Her approximate quote was that she “was not going to put her job on the line to be doing special favors for folks”. WHAT!?!?!?!?!!? YES. Correct. And that was included with a dirty look. She then gave me excuses and directed me to the RED PHONE where I called for help. The person on the phone did more to try and help then I was able to get in person. I eventually was referred to a “red coat”. I then explained my situation to this person, and others at the desk, and they recorded the name of the black woman who I have since forgotten her name. I believe there is record of it. In the time that people spent crewing around I missed any opportunity to catch any flight that same day and was forced to get a flight which required I sleep in San Jose Costa Rica that night. I live 5 hours from the airport in Costa Rica and the fact that I missed all of these connections made it so I had to find a way to get back home the next day using alternate methods. These were preventable errors caused by staff who refused to do anything. I do understand the rules of calling a gate, asking for an airplane to wait, and all that good stuff. I also know that people have the ability to try to help. The same way that favoritism allowed select passengers to be moved to other flights to make sure they arrived at their destinations on time. First Class? Far from it. Finally someone was able to get me on a place arriving later. They kept trying to put me in coach and were suggesting that I ask for a refund for the difference. I PAID for FIRST CLASS!!!!!! I don’t care if I get a downgrade but the way that I was being treated as a first time First Class customer was so disappointing. No effort was made to do anything to help me. I still had no assurance of my flight but I went on to the gate where I was going to be departing. Once I arrived at the gate I was met by a man who I recognized from the original “red coat” desk near the gate. He greeted me and handed me a First Class ticket. Please see attached photo of the man sitting at the counter. He was the awesome man who finally made the change to get me on a plane and to change it to the FIRST CLASS ticket I paid for originally. I wish I could recall his name. I did write these things down but a piece of paper hit my laundry and I lost all of my notes. I would arrive in Costa Rica that night but was going to have to sleep overnight because it was impossible for me to get home with a 5-6 hour drive in the middle of the night which no sane person would attempt in Costa Rica with the valuables I had. This experience with Delta was a great disappointment. I am not a first class customer. I am quite happy in Coach. This time I bought First Class for the sake of baggage and convenience. I do not need a lot of attention. I am humble. I deal with a lot of mistakes and am very forgiving for delays and other factors that happen during the natural course of a trip. What I did not appreciate were the way that things were handled when I asked more than once for attention to certain matters. I did not appreciate that other passengers were given privileges that were not offered to me even though we were all in First Class. For that matter anyone on the flight should have been offered special attention to get on another flight. I did not appreciate the racist attitude of the black woman who was rude to me and un helpful in Atlanta. I am very familiar with Atlanta and always get very good service. My apologies for anyone reading this or for whoever needs to handle my situation but with all due respect to my friends in the black community this woman has a serious problem with white people. She had it written all over her face and made it very clear in her attitude towards me. She was 100% racist and should NOT be working at a location where she is expected to be assisting passengers. I WAS IN A CRISIS and she refused to lift a finger to help me. In the situations to follow I can’t believe how much effort and begging I had to do to get basic service. I can’t believe that the airline was so quick to downgrade my ticket with no offer of credit. I ended up spending over $200 in hotel and extra transportation costs because of this deficiency of service that was not the result of a weather delay. This was a result of people who refused to be proactive and to make any effort to help a situation be avoided after being asked many times. I only fly Delta. I go out of my way to fly Delta. This was disgraceful and especially to think that for my first experience in First Class to see how you treat First Class customers. I would have really expected a slightly higher level of service. I was treated like trash. I hope that my next flight on Delta includes a free upgrade to First Class to try and see if you can do it right next time. If I fly Delta again. Thanks Chuc Mason

 

Submitted: Sun Aug 21 2016 21:44:28 GMT-0600 (Central America Standard Time)

Original Message Follows: ————————
Good evening,

It’s coming close to 30 days and quite some time since I originally filed my original complaint about my encounters with Delta employees and their neglectful and racist conduct during my travel.

This is the first time in my life I have ever had the privilege of flying first class and it was the absolute worst travel experience I have ever had in my life aside from each time I have ever used Amtrak. That’s a whole different type of bad. The worst. And I have flown in and out of 3rd world countries in blizzards to give you an idea of how awful this was. Aeroflot has treated me better than Delta treated me during this adventure of mishaps and incompetence. I paid for First Class not 3rd rate stowaway status. I felt like one of those people in the bowels of the Titanic locked in a cage with the luggage.

There is no excuse for the way I was treated at so many different checkpoints during this trip. No excuse.

I am being patient of course because I have no other option but as a long time and dedicated/loyal customer of Delta for more years than I can remember I hope that am amicable solution is proposed to me soon. After what I experienced with Delta I am really not happy as you can imagine. I have never actually been a victim of racism so this is a first. And on THREE separate counts on the same trip which must be some kind of a record.

For the record: I despise the use of racism in conversation and also despise people who claim that they have been victims of racism. I believe that using this term has become too common in our country and it really makes me ill to have to even use it in this complaint. It is not a word I use. Ever.

With that being said I hope to hear from someone soon..

I hope and expect to be well compensated or a credit for another FIRST CLASS trip (same route SJO-ORD-SJO) to try to make up for the catastrophe that Delta caused during my 3rd RATE 1st Class flight experience.

Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

Chuc Mason

From: Contact Delta [mailto:ContactUs.Delta@delta.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 25, 2016 8:14 AM
To: chuc@chucmason.com
Subject: Re: CC-Past Travel Compliment or Complaint-Complaint-Other (KMM63439130V17960L0KM)

Dear Charles Mason,

RE: Case Number

Thanks for writing about your trip to San Jose and the treatment you received in Atlanta and onboard the flight from O’Hare. We will investigate your concerns and get back to you as quickly as possible. We ask you to be patient as it may take up to 30 days to respond.

Regards,

Michelle S. Samuel

Original Message Follows: ————————

Delta Air Lines Customer Care Form
Title: Mr
First Name: Charles
Middle Name: Fenton
Last Name: Mason
Suffix: II
Reply-To Email Address: chuc@chucmason.com
Airline Program:
Frequent Flyer Number: 9307546680
Address: 123 W Archer Pl
Address Line 2:
City: Denver
State/Province: CO
Postal Code/Zip: 80223-1619
Country: US
Telephone Country Code: US
Phone Number: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Flight Date: 07/06/2016
Flight Number: DL0909
Origin City: ord
Destination City: sjo
Confirmation Number:
Ticket Number: 0062347609189
Class of Travel: first_business
Response Required: yesMessage:
This is a difficult topic to summarize in a minimum amount of words. It has taken me over a month to think about how to address this situation. The reason it is difficult is that I have had to try to determine if what I experienced was an issue of racism or if it just involved terribly inconsiderate, over worked, tired, underappreciated personnel. Unfortunately it involves all of these things. Please understand that I am being brief because of space limitations and that I could write many chapters on this experience. If I must I will. For now, I am giving a summary. 1.) I arrived at the airport 2 hours early as recommended by the airline. The ticket counter opened an hour before the flight was to depart. For such an early flight I was not thrilled about arriving an hour too soon. Irritating. 2.) I was flying first class for the first time in my life. I was treated like a refugee in the baggage hold at all points of my Delta First Class experience. 3.) On more than one occasion black customers were given preferential treatment in situations that were clearly racially motivated by myself and other non black customers. 4.) The flight was delayed over an hour. This is where the problem begins. 4.) a.) 3 other passengers in 1st class, 2 black, one foreign, were asked if they wanted to be put on another flight so that they would not be late arriving at their destination. They left the airplane and were offered direct flights and alternate flights. I was ignored even when I asked to be given another option. I knew at that time, many hours in advance, that I was going to miss my connecting flight and no one at Delta lifted a finger to help me make accommodations at the same time they were stumbling over themselves to help the other 3 people in FIRST CLASS to move to alternate flights. During the flight other passengers were constantly given more attention with drink refills and food while I was consistently ignored. My glass was usually empty during the flight and spent half the time being thirsty. FIRST CLASS SERVICE. Not impressed. When we arrived in Atlanta I asked the flight attendant what can be done to help me get to the connecting flight so that I don’t miss my connection. I was literally told “GOOD LUCK! RUN!!”. Nothing she could do. No one (yes, I understand the “RULES”) could do anything to call ahead and let someone know that a FIRST CLASS PASSENGER is RUNNING to the next gate. Literally the time it took for the 8 people in front of me on the plane to de-board is the time that would have allowed me to make my connecting flight. After RUNNING and almost having a heart attack I arrived dripping sweat, barely able to breathe as they were closing the jet way door!!! The airplane was pulling away from the gate. MINUTES that could have been saved if ANYONE had bothered to help me obtain one of those golf cart services to get me to what ended up being one of the furthest gates that Delta could find for this departure. No dice. No help. I missed the flight. So now I ask the woman (not lady…Woman) at the gate to help me rebook or get me on a flight as I have 4 bags and do not want to be stuck in San Jose Costa Rica with $1000s worth of belongings. I want to get home. She told me there was nothing she could do. This is where I had to think about how to address Delta in a minority city when we have a country that is cursed with racial tensions on every corner. I am trying to respect that problem as I am NOT a person who is affected by the color of someone’s skin in any respect of my life. It does not register with me. However, in this situation, I was met by a woman at the gate who absolutely refused to do anything and it was very clear by her tone that if I had not been a white man that she might have done something to make any sort of an effort to help me. Her approximate quote was that she “was not going to put her job on the line to be doing special favors for folks”. WHAT!?!?!?!?!!? YES. Correct. And that was included with a dirty look. She then gave me excuses and directed me to the RED PHONE where I called for help. The person on the phone did more to try and help then I was able to get in person. I eventually was referred to a “red coat”. I then explained my situation to this person, and others at the desk, and they recorded the name of the black woman who I have since forgotten her name. I believe there is record of it. In the time that people spent crewing around I missed any opportunity to catch any flight that same day and was forced to get a flight which required I sleep in San Jose Costa Rica that night. I live 5 hours from the airport in Costa Rica and the fact that I missed all of these connections made it so I had to find a way to get back home the next day using alternate methods. These were preventable errors caused by staff who refused to do anything. I do understand the rules of calling a gate, asking for an airplane to wait, and all that good stuff. I also know that people have the ability to try to help. The same way that favoritism allowed select passengers to be moved to other flights to make sure they arrived at their destinations on time. First Class? Far from it. Finally someone was able to get me on a place arriving later. They kept trying to put me in coach and were suggesting that I ask for a refund for the difference. I PAID for FIRST CLASS!!!!!! I don’t care if I get a downgrade but the way that I was being treated as a first time First Class customer was so disappointing. No effort was made to do anything to help me. I still had no assurance of my flight but I went on to the gate where I was going to be departing. Once I arrived at the gate I was met by a man who I recognized from the original “red coat” desk near the gate. He greeted me and handed me a First Class ticket. Please see attached photo of the man sitting at the counter. He was the awesome man who finally made the change to get me on a plane and to change it to the FIRST CLASS ticket I paid for originally. I wish I could recall his name. I did write these things down but a piece of paper hit my laundry and I lost all of my notes. I would arrive in Costa Rica that night but was going to have to sleep overnight because it was impossible for me to get home with a 5-6 hour drive in the middle of the night which no sane person would attempt in Costa Rica with the valuables I had. This experience with Delta was a great disappointment. I am not a first class customer. I am quite happy in Coach. This time I bought First Class for the sake of baggage and convenience. I do not need a lot of attention. I am humble. I deal with a lot of mistakes and am very forgiving for delays and other factors that happen during the natural course of a trip. What I did not appreciate were the way that things were handled when I asked more than once for attention to certain matters. I did not appreciate that other passengers were given privileges that were not offered to me even though we were all in First Class. For that matter anyone on the flight should have been offered special attention to get on another flight. I did not appreciate the racist attitude of the black woman who was rude to me and un helpful in Atlanta. I am very familiar with Atlanta and always get very good service. My apologies for anyone reading this or for whoever needs to handle my situation but with all due respect to my friends in the black community this woman has a serious problem with white people. She had it written all over her face and made it very clear in her attitude towards me. She was 100% racist and should NOT be working at a location where she is expected to be assisting passengers. I WAS IN A CRISIS and she refused to lift a finger to help me. In the situations to follow I can’t believe how much effort and begging I had to do to get basic service. I can’t believe that the airline was so quick to downgrade my ticket with no offer of credit. I ended up spending over $200 in hotel and extra transportation costs because of this deficiency of service that was not the result of a weather delay. This was a result of people who refused to be proactive and to make any effort to help a situation be avoided after being asked many times. I only fly Delta. I go out of my way to fly Delta. This was disgraceful and especially to think that for my first experience in First Class to see how you treat First Class customers. I would have really expected a slightly higher level of service. I was treated like trash. I hope that my next flight on Delta includes a free upgrade to First Class to try and see if you can do it right next time. If I fly Delta again. Thanks Chuc MasonSubmitted: Sun Aug 21 2016 21:44:28 GMT-0600 (Central America Standard Time)