This "first draft" letter was composed by a fellow member of IAMTW (International Association of Media Tie-In Writers). This is fact, not fiction. Read on:
Dear Sir or Madame,
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of flying Delta to various
destinations with minimal trouble.
(pic of hot flight attendant is not in the letter — I just put it here because…well, she’s hot — BB)
Unfortunately, my last flight was
anything but smooth. In fact, it has been the single worst experience
of my life as an airline passenger (counting my experiences aboard
Egypt Air and Alitalia).
On August 13th, 2006 (a Sunday), I was
waiting for Flight 5297 for a 5:10 PM departure from JFK. The trouble
started with the late arrival of my flight and its delayed departure to
6:40 PM. The flight was then left sitting on the tarmac for an
additional hour and a half, aboard a plane with little air
conditioning. It was uncomfortable.
At first we were told that the
baggage handlers were still loading the plane, but then the pilot
informed us that they’d exceeded Federal regulations for their hours on
duty. We were then told to return to the terminal. What bothers me
about the incident so far is that I feel we were being deliberately
delayed on the tarmac because Delta/Comair already knew they were
canceling flight 5297.
After returning to the terminal, we were
told that the next available flight was 8:50 AM Monday morning from
LaGuardia, and that it would take too long to fly in a crew from
Comair’s headquarters in Cincinnati. The problem here is that 1) the
FAA requires the airline to have standby crews ready to fly planes in
case of this very thing, and 2) Delta was responsible for flying us out
on the soonest flight available (regardless of whether it was with a
competing airline, not the soonest Delta flight).
were given a voucher for one night at the Ramada, a measly $7 meal
voucher that covered half the cost of a Ramada sandwich, and we were
told that transportation would take us to LaGuardia the next morning.
We were then told to proceed to Baggage claim to reclaim our luggage.
After that we were, for all intents and purposes… abandoned. Only half
the passengers received their luggage, while the other half were told
their luggage would arrive in Montreal. The staff manning the Delta
Baggage Claim booth had no idea what was going on, and only a woman
named Mary proved to be anywhere near helpful. She was kind enough to
provide me and a couple of other people with toiletry kits for the
Delta/Comair did not provide a representative to handle
transportation to the Ramada or from the Ramada to LaGuardia. Instead,
I and two other passengers were left to handle the arrangements for a
group of people that spoke little English. We had to call the Ramada
ourselves to send enough transportation enough to pick up a plane full
of people. That was your job, not ours. We had to escort everyone on
the Air Train to the proper pick-up point. That was your job, not ours.
We had to wait 45 minutes before the first shuttle appeared. After
that, I had to help a mother carry her luggage because her hands were
full with an exhausted infant. Again, not my job, but one I did gladly
because Delta had failed its customers.
Once at the Ramada, the
staff proved rude and unwilling to help (for which Ramada will receive
a separate letter). I had to interpret French into English for several
passengers, I had to assist a mother with her baby up to her room. I
had to help an Israeli mother and son who spoke very little English in
getting a room and arranging their wake-up call. And, to add insult to
injury, Ramada informed us that there was only one shuttle to reach
LaGuardia, and it left at 5:00AM in the morning. The staff at the
Ramada was unwilling to help us arrange for more shuttles. Nobody from
Delta had called them to tell them an entire planeload of passengers
would need transportation and Ramada refused to call Delta to clear the
matter. This wasn’t my job, but I did it because Delta/Comair left us
As a passenger, I had to tell people to get up early to
catch the shuttle. I myself gave up my shuttle seat for passengers who
didn’t understand English or weren’t carrying money. I and several
passengers paid out of our own pockets for a taxi to reach LaGuardia.
Upon reaching the Delta terminal at LaGuardia, I met with more
problems. All international flights were being routed through two or
three ticket agents, one of whom took her time to engage in lengthy
conversations with coworkers between each ticket. She didn’t even
notice when someone flagrantly cut past the entire line and went to her
for help. People were late for flights and every five minutes, more
people were being shuttled to the head of the line, pushing those of us
already waiting for an hour, further back. The excuse I was offered
there was that Summer is always busy. Well if you know Summer is always
busy, then why doesn’t Delta hire more staff for their peak periods?
After finally clearing through security, I arrived at the gate to
discover that Flight 5006 out of LaGuardia was further delayed. Again,
we sat in a stifling airplane for over 40 minutes, waiting to take off.
Finally, once in Montreal, I had to fill out a form for my lost luggage
and assist those passengers who needed help. My luggage arrived Tuesday
when I was told it would arrive for Monday afternoon.
All in all, I
am horribly dissatisfied with the service I received from Delta and
from Comair. I acted as the passenger representative that Delta should
have provided, and I refuse to accept any excuses concerning how this
was a Comair matter. I purchased my ticket through Delta, therefore it
was your responsibility to handle the situation and to ensure your
passengers suffered the lest amount of duress, not the most.
sorry to say that this experience has left such a foul taste in my
mouth that I may never hire your airline again. I am even considering
registering this complain through the FAA Consumer Hotline.
Gee — do you think he should complain???
Next time perhaps he should use an AEROCAR!!!
(click to enlarge photo)