On Saturday, May 25th, I encountered an extraordinary turn of events at Yosemite International Airport in Fresno when attempting to initiate a flight to Cincinnati via Delta Airlines. Now, a full month having past as of today, the 25th of June, I have decided to share my correspondence with the corporation.
So far, the only respondent seems to be a computer named Michelle.
May 30, 2013
Richard H. Anderson
Chief Executive Officer
1030 Delta Boulevard
P.O. Box 20706
Atlanta, Georgia 30320-6001
Dear Mister Anderson,
With appropriate apology for the tardiness of this correspondence due to a heavy schedule these last few days, I feel it important to bring to your direct attention an absolute horror encountered last Saturday, May 25, when attempting to fly from Yosemite International Airport via Delta.
Booked on a 6:25 AM Delta flight (Delta # 4624) to Salt Lake City with a connecting link to Cincinnati, it was 5:05 AM when my wife and I arrived at the terminal. At 5:35 AM, after having had our luggage checked and tagged at the Delta counter, we proceeded to a long TSA security line
When we finally reached our designated gate at 6:10 AM, we were puzzled to discover no one on duty at the Delta stand and shared our concern with several other passengers similarly chagrined. Adding to an ever increasing level of discomfort was watching our luggage through the terminal window being casually loaded on what had to be “our plane” outside.
Then was 6:15 AM with no one available with whom to address our mounting concerns.
At approximately 6:20, a gentleman who eventually identified himself as a Delta Supervisor named Ray Martinez appeared on the scene and declared we all had “missed the flight.”
Without elaborating on the ensuing drama, including Mr. Martinez’ threat to summon police when my own expressing of outrage reached admittedly heated proportions as we watched “our plane” still parked only feet away with pilots and crew completely ignoring frantic hand waves and other supplicant signals from thus abandoned would be passengers (ALL SIX OF US!) — suffice it to say that our degree of infuriation reached epic proportion when Mr. Martinez finally sheepishly admitted he had boarded a number of “standbys” and there we simply no seats for us on the Salt Lake City Flight.
I now stress in this communication to you that AT NO POINT THAT MORNING WAS ANY ANNOUNCEMENT MADE OF THE SALT LAKE CITY FLIGHT BEING PRE-BOARDED OR BOARDED OR ANY “LAST CALL” ANNOUNCEMENT GIVEN.
Reflecting upon the fact that Martinez repeatedly and insolently lied to our faces about this last factor cannot help but give rise to a strong suspicion that he may well have been illicitly enriched by those he allowed to fly in our place.
Admitting to “Agent Error” after well over an hour of effort, all who would have been aboard having also missing connecting Eastbound links in Salt Lake City, my wife and I were finally rerouted to Cincinnati through LAX, adding four hours to an already long travel day. Several others were less fortunate, plans undone and a Holiday Weekend destroyed.
I obtained the names of two fellow victims who are herein copied and would be, I suggest, available for confirmation of all of the above and, as well, some appropriate compensatory gesture on the part of Delta for the severe inconvenience so miserably encountered.
CC: Christian Ueland — General Manager — TranPak, Inc. — Fresno, CA
Mark J. Dumbeck — Director of Human Resources — Eagle Mountain Casino
Delta Airlines Complaint Link Link
June 14, 2013
Dear Mr. Cavanaugh,
RE: Case Number 9102172
Thank you for sharing your concerns with Mr. Richard Anderson, our Chief Executive Officer. He has asked that I respond on his behalf. We were truly sorry to learn that when you and your wife arrived at the gate, it had already been dispatched. I regret that after your arrival and baggage check, you encountered lines at the security check point and arrived late to the gate. We can certainly understand your disappointment with our check-in guidelines which requires passengers be at the departure gate at least 15 minutes prior to schedule departure time. At this time, all passengers are boarding and the flight dispatched. I realize it was upsetting to arrive at 6:10 and find the gate unattended and the door shut. Please allow me to clarify that it is the responsibility of each passenger to arrive at the airport with sufficient time to complete all ticketing, baggage check, security clearance procedures, and arrive at the gate ready to board within our guidelines. If a passenger has not met the guidelines, they risk having their reservation cancelled and may not be able to travel on their confirmed flight. Respectfully, this requirement applies to all customers checking in, with or without baggage. It is also important to mention that once all passengers who had arrived at the gate on time are boarded and the wait list has been cleared, the door of the aircraft may be closed. We would release seats of passengers not onboard at the 15 minute mark and clear standby passengers. This was correctly done. After the door is closed and as soon as the Captain has received his takeoff slot, the flight may depart the gate even if it is prior to scheduled departure time. Again, I apologize you were not accommodated on your flight due to the missed check in. In the event a flight has departed, our team members should assist passengers in rescheduling their travel on the next available flight. We apologize that you and your wife arrived later than expected. Also, I was dismayed to hear that our agent threatened to contact the authorities due to the heated and stressful situation. After reading your comments, I understand why you wanted to bring this matter to our attention. We expect our team to be helpful and professional at all times. Please know I will be sharing your comments with our Airport Customer Service leadership team for internal follow up. For future reference, I encourage you to visit our website at delta.com for the latest information regarding the check-in guidelines for both domestic and international travel. Mr. Cavanaugh, while we normally do not offer compensation when a passenger arrives late to the gate, we understand your concerns. Therefore, as a gesture of goodwill, I have issued you and your wife each a Delta Choice gift in the amount of $25.00. Your Delta Choice gifts will arrive under separate cover and will include the gift codes, customer IDs, and instructions on how to redeem the gifts. Again, we are very sorry for the flight disruption due to the security delay and the missed gate requirements. Your business is appreciated and we hope to have an opportunity to regain your confidence in our service.. Sincerely, Michele Schrader Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care Delta Air Lines
June 15, 2013
Dear Ms. Schrader,
I find myself singularly bedazzled by the hopelessly gratuitous, woefully inadequate response you have submitted on behalf of Mr. Anderson to the issues outlined in my May 30th complaint concerning Delta service in Fresno at Yosemite International Airport.
Your correspondence ignores any number of salient points brought to Mr. Anderson’s attention, including the demonstrable fact that others and I were at the appropriate gate “15 minutes before schedule departure time” with no agent in site or “stand by” passengers being processed.
The undisputed fact that no Pre-Boarding Announcements, Boarding Announcements or “Last Call” Announcements were given in relation to our flight also remains unaddressed.
The terminal public address system was fully functioning.
Unmentioned in the May 30th letter to Chairman Anderson was my willingness and that of others to allow a number of passengers seeking to make an earlier Delta flight to Phoenix ahead of me in the T.S.A. security line when their boarding time and “last call” were loudly announced.
I herein demand satisfactory compensatory rectification for the May 25th incident at Yosemite International Airport and your preposterous note of June 5th, which adds insolent insult to inofficious injury.
cc: Richard Anderson
Mark J. Dumbeck
Edward H. Bastian
Roy J. Bostock
June 18, 2013
Dear Mr. Cavanaugh,
RE: Case Number 9102172
Thank you for writing and allowing me the opportunity to further review your concerns. I am sorry you were dissatisfied with our response. Again, we are very sorry for the missed flight from Fresno. I can certainly understand your frustration when you arrived at the gate and found the flight had been dispatched. After reading your correspondence again, I understand why you feel I did not adequately address your concerns. I apologize if I overlooked some of your comments based on the reservations data. While Flight 4624 operated by our Delta Connection partner, SkyWest, left the gate 1 minutes earlier than scheduled, there seems to be some confusion as to the time the door was closed. I understand from your messages that you arrived within the checkin requirements. Further, we apologize if announcements were not heard regarding the flight’s boarding at the terminal or security area. I can certainly understand your frustration when you let passengers ahead of you in line in security and only to arrive and find the agent had already left the gate. Mr. Cavanaugh, while we cannot erase your poor impression, as a additional gesture of concern for the late arrival to your destination, I have issued you and your wife each an Electronic Transportation Credit Voucher (eTCV) in the amount of $150.00. Please note the voucher numbers and associated Terms and Conditions will be arriving in a separate email within 24 hours. I encourage you to add Delta Air Lines to your receiver list so the voucher documents are not misdirected to your spam folder. Please keep the voucher numbers and the Terms and Conditions since the numbers are required for redemption. It is also important to mention that there is no Direct Ticketing fee for reservations confirmed online at delta.com. Further, I have also received additional correspondence from other passengers. Therefore, I will be responding to Mr. Ueland’s and Mr. Dumbeck’s concerns directly. Again, we are very sorry if there was a discrepancy at the boarding gate in Fresno on May 25. Your business is valued and we hope to serve your future air travel needs. Sincerely, Michele Schrader Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care Delta Air Lines
June 18, 2013
Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care
There is no “confusion as to the time the door was closed” on the part of anyone involved except, I must conclude, those whose inexcusable negligence, abuse of authority and cavalier behavior now add blatant dishonesty to their own untrue accounting.
And there was not a problem “hearing” any announcements before, during and at a point of “last call.” THERE WERE NO ANNOUNCEMENTS MADE. PERIOD.
I must suggest this sad incident clearly now requires accentuated executive review.
With ever mounting frustration,
cc: Mark Dumbeck
June 20, 2013
From: Contact Delta
Sent: Thu, Jun 20, 2013 5:11 am
Subject: Re: CC-Past Travel Compliment or Complaint-Complaint-Other-FAT (KMM24333654V30270L0KM)
Dear Mr. Cavanaugh, RE: Case Number 9102172
Thank you for your most recent message. We apologize for any misunderstanding. The confusion and discrepancy with the time the door closed is on our part. Unfortunately, it seems the computer time shows the entries for your seating, the standby clearance and other seat discrepancies almost an hour after your flight departed. I apologize for any errors with our system and the gate agents handling of the flight departure. My explanation only intended to advise you of the reasoning behind my earlier comments and not as a excuse. I truly regret you felt this was cavalier behavior or dishonesty. Further, while we understand your frustration, there were boarding announcements in the gate area. Respectfully, this flight departed the gate with 43 passengers onboard at 6:24. It would be impossible to board and dispatch a flight without any announcements or contact with the passengers. However, it seems the messages were not broadcast throughout the terminal or security area. According, we are sorry that the announcements were not heard in the rest of the terminal or security area. This concern has been forwarded to our Airport Customer Service Leadership team for internal review. Again, I would like to emphasize that we are extremely sorry for the situation that you experienced, and that our position on the matter has had such an impact. We have tried to apologize in the sincerest manner possible with assurances of internal follow-up in the areas of service which you identified. I am sorry for your continued disappointment. Mr. Cavanaugh, we regret the disruption to your travel. I hope in time you will provide us with another opportunity to restore your confidence. Sincerely, Michele Schrader Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care Delta Air
June 20, 2013
Michele Schrader Coordinator
Corporate Customer Care
Delta Air Lines
“It would be impossible to board and dispatch a flight without any announcements or contact with the passengers. However, it seems the messages were not broadcast throughout the terminal or security area. According, we are sorry that the announcements were not heard in the rest of the terminal or security area.”
Again, Ms. Schrader, I am ever more disappointed with your escalating defense of this inexcusable incident.
It is certainly possible to “board and dispatch a flight without any announcements” since THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT TOOK PLACE.
My “dishonesty” reference was to those providing you with altered information.
You were not there.
I and five others ready to testify were.
ashley swearingen — fresno.gov/Government/MayorsOffice
June 20th, 2013
From: Delta Air Lines
Sent: Thu, Jun 20, 2013 5:00 pm
Subject: Delta Customer Care – Tell Us How We Did
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Delta Customer Care
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June 23, 2013
Dear Mr. Cavanaugh
RE: Case Number 9276860
Thank you for taking the time to write. On behalf of Delta Air Lines, Air France, and KLM we appreciate the opportunity to review your comments. We assure you we will reply within 30 days. Please know we strive to meet a goal of responding within 7 days, however, due to the complexity of some correspondence, we may need additional time to respond and appreciate your patience. If you need assistance with a current reservation, please contact Reservations directly at 1-800-221-1212 or visit delta.com for our international reservation offices. They will be happy to assist you. Sincerely, Customer Care
June 24, 2013
Dear Mr. Cavanaugh,
RE: Case Number 9102172 Thank you for your email dated June 20.
I understand your continued disappointment. Respectfully, as you have indicated, you were not at the gate when Flight 4624 was boarded. Our records indicate that 43 passengers were onboard when the flight was dispatched. We understand you feel that our agents did not make any announcements in the gate area and the passengers boarded with our instructions from our personnel. After additional consideration, I regret we have been unable to resolve this matter to your satisfaction. Again, thank you for writing. It is my hope we can put this matter in the past. On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I apologize we were unable to fully resolve your concern. Sincerely, Michele Schrader Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care Delta Air Lines.
June 25, 2013
“It is my hope we can put this matter in
the past. ”
We’re now moving this into your future.
cc: Christian Ueland