One of the chapters in my book Creating Magic focuses on ensuring as an organization you have policies and procedures which are reasonable and make sense for your customers. That chapter is titled, Eliminate Hassles.
I had a an experience this week which finally proved to me why I for a long time have felt Delta Airlines was really the worst airline out there. I travel a lot and the one airline I have problems with over and over again is Delta. The attitude of their ground crews is the worst I experience when I travel, especially if you have to deal with Customer Service in Atlanta. they seem to have continual mechanical problems, can’t get the door open upon arrival, can’t get the ramp out to the door, etc, etc.
I really can not wait for Southwest to complete the integration of their purchase of Air Tran so I have more Southwest choices and have to select Delta less often.
Earlier this week Southwest was again selected as the best airline while Delta, United and American were way down the list. I personally have had good experiences with United and American but Delta is consistently poor, for me anyway. I do have good experiences with flight attendants at Delta as they are usually very professional.
The experience I had this week just shows how Delta just does not care about their customers. Earlier this year I purchased four coach tickets and two business class tickets from Orlando to Boston and then on to Paris for my grandchildren, their mother and my wife and I. I also bought additional tickets for a return on Delta from Johannesburg for our whole famiy plus a round trip for my son from Orlando to Johannesburg round trip. The total cost of the tickets were around thirty five thousand dollars.
This week I had a chance to give a speech and earn a nice fee in Boston on the departure day for our vacation to Paris. I called Delta and Air France, Delta’s partner airline and asked them if I could drop the Orlando to Boston segment since I would already be in Boston and I just wanted to board the flight to Paris in Boston with my current ticket. I did not want one other thing. I expected to pay for the segment I was cancelling and was willing to pay the increase in the fare since I origninally booked the flight which is another customer negative policy they have but I understand and was willing to pay whatever and I expected the upcharge to be one or two thousand dollars. Price was not an issue for me. Again all I wanted was to not board the plane in Orlando and pay for it anyway.
Here is the good part….Everyone said, ” NO, you can not change anything and Delta and Air France both blamed it on, “The POLICY.” They went on to tell me, “if you don’t board the Delta flight in Orlando on June 10th we will cancel the rest of your tickets.”
This is one of those policies Delta and Air France as partners have which shows how little they care about their customers.
On the other hand I had two changes this week on Southwest flights coming up and it was a breeze. I just went into their website and in seconds made the changes without any penality. Saying you care and caring are two different things. It is obvious Southwest has excellent leadership and in my opinion from my experiences with Delta they must have pretty poor leadership. Delta says they are getting bigger and better. From where I stand they are certainly getting bigger but not better.
I wonder why Delta continues to lose lots of money each quarter and Southwest makes money? I don’t think it is the price of fuel although that is a convenient excuse.
Thank you Southwest for doing just about everything right. Another great airline I have traveled on recently is Virgin America and I like Jet Blue too. Slowly but surely I am sure Delta and the other legacy airlines will vanish, at least I hope they do. Have a good weekend everyone and please go back and evaluate your policies and procedures so they are customer friendly as far as possible or at least make sense at a minimum….Lee