Delta caused us to miss our flight and said it's not their problem

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Jul 31, 2016
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#1
My name is Raymond Airey, I flew with Delta in April 2016 to go to the Bahamas for my brother in law?s wedding. We had a less than satisfactory experience with Delta Airlines and my wife has called Customer Support a number of times and keeps getting the run around. She was given a number for a supervisor, Nicole, and was given a complaint number of 17479401. She has called and was told that Nicole would call her back, but has yet to receive this call. My wife, Deborah Airey, my sister in law Roberta Vitek, and I were traveling from Baltimore Maryland to Georgetown, Bahamas for a wedding with 20 other friends and family members. We missed our flight on April 21st due to rude gate agents, an extremely slow agent at the special services counter, and baggage check in which held me up at the counter for an hour, even though I was the fifth person in line. If another agent hadn't come over to help get the line down I would have been in line even longer. By the time I was able to get my boarding pass, baggage checked, and then go through security, I missed the plane by 5 minutes. While I was in line at the service counter, my wife and sister in law checked their bags, went through security, and went to the gate. As the plane was boarding, the gate agent would not allow my sister in law to board the plane without an itinerary showing she was returning to the country. This was the first flight she had ever taken and had no idea of what an itinerary was. She asks what an itinerary was and the agent just kept repeating that she needed it or she couldn't get on the plane but failed to explain to her what the itinerary was. I had the itinerary in my bag, as did my niece who was already on the plane. Our two nieces that were on the same booking were not asked for their itinerary. If the counter agent had been faster, I would have been at the gate with my wife and sister in law and there wouldn't have been an issue. We returned the next day for the same flight at the same time and had no problems, though the agent that was at the special services counter on Thursday was at the gate on Friday and that flight was 30 minutes late leaving due to the agent saying ?She was running behind schedule.? Missing our flight has cost us an additional $500+ in airline fees as well as losing an entire day at Sandals resort. We believe that Delta should reimburse us for the cost of rebooking our flight and the fee charged to have seats together as we did in our original bookings.
 
Jul 31, 2016
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#2
Delta's response was:
RE: Case Number 20408557

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We have reviewed your information and our records indicate that our Customer Care phone agent, Nicole had called you on May 09, 2016 but was not able to reach you and she had left a voice mail.

After reading your email, I certainly understand why you wanted to let us know about this situation. I’m really sorry for the actions of our gate agent who was rude to you and treated you differently. We expect our agents to be helpful and professional at all times. I also understand how upset you would have been when our agent was slow in processing, which caused you to miss your flight. As a result, your comments were disheartening and taken very seriously. When we receive a report like yours, a copy is forwarded to our Airport leadership team, so this incident can be addressed directly. Be assured appropriate action will be taken through education and counseling to ensure a similar situation is not repeated. Again, I hope you will accept my sincerest apology.

Delta Choice Gifts

As a goodwill gesture, I’m sending two $100.00 Delta Choice gifts. You will receive two Delta Choice gift codes, from delta@deltachoices. in separate emails within three business days and can select the gift cards of your choice within 60 days of receipt. Included in the gift option are several merchants that you will be familiar with as well as our new Delta gift cards. Once redeemed, the gift cards have no expiration and may be used by anyone you wish. You will want to add this email address to your list of accepted addresses. Our Delta Choice gift code emails will include a customer ID and instructions on how to redeem each gift. Please check your spam folder if you don’t see the emails in your inbox.

Delta says that it wasn't their fault,"when our agent was slow in processing, which caused you to miss your flight." If it wasn't Delta's fault, who's fault was it? Doesn't Delta stand behind the actions of their employees?
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#3
Can I ask you what time your flight was and what time you arrived at the airport? Your travel agent should have told you recommended time to arrive before an international flight is 3 hrs. If you had been there early enough this may not have happened.

What you can do is use our company contacts at top of the page. Since you have already contacted Customer Service you should write to the first executive shown. Give him a week to respond. If he doesn't, write to next. Continue weekly until you reach the top.

Just an FYI -your real only issue is the rude agent because if you had arrived earlier this probably wouldn't have happened. There have been warnings since the spring about TSA being short staffed causing delays at security.
 
Likes: AAGK

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#4
Ray, if you want some satisfaction from Delta, it would be best if you send them a concise, polite email request for compensation. The facts need to be listed in chronological order. I've read your post twice and am not sure why you arrived at the gate so late, why you were held up in several lines, what you were doing at special services, why your sister-in-law needed an itinerary, etc.

It's important that your request be easily understood by the person reading it so that it gets routed to the proper department and not 'set aside'. Making a 'bullet point' list of the facts is often very helpful. If you want to run your draft letter by us we'll be glad to take a look at it.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#5
I'm sorry but it is your fault- twice. You didn't arrive at the airport early enough. If you were 5th in line 3 hours before your flight, and it took 3 hours to get 5 people through security, then I'm on your side.

As for the itinerary, I assume she meant evidence of a Roundtrip ticket. Did sister in law only book a one way? You are flying internationally and when booking it is very clear you will have to show evidence of a return ticket. Your sister in law would need this on her when she presents her passport, and not with you somewhere else. You shouldn't have kept your sister in laws docs, unless she is a kid, especially when you were so late. It sounds like she would've made the flight if you hadn't taken her docs away. Had the agent been polite, you still would have missed the flight. $200 in credits is pretty nice.
 
Oct 5, 2015
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#6
You hear it again and again. Airline check-in agents not enough and too slow causing me to miss my flight. These are excuses for not showing up early for check in. People need to understand staff is limited and there is a long line. Arrive early or suffer the consequences.
 
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technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
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#7
To me, there is a balance. Yes, people have an obligation to show up at the airport 2-3 hours early, but airlines also have an obligation to staff at appropriate levels with competent personnel. It's gotten to the point where at most airports there are multiple kiosks and 1 or 2 poor agents running ragged trying to keep up with the baggage from the kiosks and any questions or issues. The airlines have cut corners and we as consumers absolutely should hold them accountable for that.

We don't know when the OP showed up in this case so we shouldn't judge.
 
Oct 5, 2015
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#8
Well if you look at the airport scene nowadays, especially the lines for INTL flights, they are a mess. There's no point to blame anyone because common sense tells me none of this is gonna improve anyway. So the only thing that is flexible for you to change is your arrival time at the airport. That is within your control.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#9
I always cut it close at the airport, but if I ever did get there 3 hrs early and I missed the plane- I would be furious (I have no idea if that happened here). I definitely agree with Fly that it is best to control as many variables as possible.
Also agree with Techno that there is a staffing issue that must be addressed. I don't know whether the staff is not properly utilized or whether there are simply not enough bodies. I also suspect the bookings have gotten so complex that it takes 2 hours and a PH.D. to sort out for someone who isn't an experienced professional, like Fly, etc, but it is a problem.
 
Oct 5, 2015
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#10
It would be sort-of criminal if the airline knew by putting very few servers, many will not make cut-off time even if they reasonably arrived within the recommended time at the airport.

It would be great to do an operations research study on this. But I am willing to make a guess that the time to service a pax can fluctuate very broadly.

Consider a clueless passenger.

She does not check in online.
She does not bring a printed copy of eticket or itinerary.
She does not check passport expiry. May not even have correct VISA.
She does not check weight and number of check in bags.
She does not check weight and number of carry on bags.
Her luggage is overweight and argues. May not have enough or did not bring enough money to pay.
She placed here Li-on camera batteries in her check in and needs to dig it out.
She wants to repack suitcase to move heavy items around to avoid fees.
I can go on and on ...

If you have several of these ahead of you, then you run the risk of not being on time.
Do you blame the airline or the idiot?
 

technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
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3,416
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#11
It would be sort-of criminal if the airline knew by putting very few servers, many will not make cut-off time even if they reasonably arrived within the recommended time at the airport.

It would be great to do an operations research study on this. But I am willing to make a guess that the time to service a pax can fluctuate very broadly.

Consider a clueless passenger.

She does not check in online.
She does not bring a printed copy of eticket or itinerary.
She does not check passport expiry. May not even have correct VISA.
She does not check weight and number of check in bags.
She does not check weight and number of carry on bags.
Her luggage is overweight and argues. May not have enough or did not bring enough money to pay.
She placed here Li-on camera batteries in her check in and needs to dig it out.
She wants to repack suitcase to move heavy items around to avoid fees.
I can go on and on ...

If you have several of these ahead of you, then you run the risk of not being on time.
Do you blame the airline or the idiot?
Both. The idiots have been around since the first days of commercial airline travel. It's the airlines job to deal with them in a way that doesn't impact the rest of the populace. That includes adequate staffing.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#12
Do you blame the airline or the idiot?
I actually blame the airline as I have seen the counter agents just stand there and continue to wait on group of 6 adults with kids of various ages, argue with each other about the situation and then take several minutes to move stuff around between bags, stopping to deal with a kid issue, stopping to explain the situation to the elderly parents in another language, shuffling around, acting put out and STILL the agent stands there, doing NOTHING.
They should put those people aside and work with the next people in line and get R DUN! Sometimes said agent even calls over another agent and the two of them stand there watching the circus.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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#13
This is one of the reasons why I love and appreciate the upgrades certain airports are doing within the secure areas. If you end up with a ton of time on your hands because check-in and security went smoother than expected, there is usually good food and plenty of places to plug in your devices to prepare for the journey ahead. PDX is awesome about their amenities.....we sat at the gate waiting for our Virgin America flight the other day and just beyond the seating area was a guitarist. He was quite good and played such soothing music that we actually think he had an affect on the crowd, everyone seemed so much calmer and quieter than usual. If my husband and I are super duper early then we plunk down the day fee for an airline lounge.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,617
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San Francisco
#14
Ah, the airlines will continue to cut staff and service until something stops them. I am distilling from these excellent responses above that travellers need to be aware of the reality of travel, they need to know about all these things that are happening now.

After educating themselves, they have to don a mantle of zen: prepare as much as possible ahead of time but be ready to calmly deal with issues. And there will be issues. I often resent getting to the airport early, especially for those 630am flights. But I remind myself to think about some ancient lady having a meltdown in the security line because her little dog jumped out of his basket and is now running amok through the airport. How much time will it take to deal with that situation as I stand in line? How are we going to get this word out so people stop missing flights?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,655
12,679
113
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www.promalvacations.com
#15
My wife received this from JetBlue a few days before she recently left to go to a conference;

YOU WILL LIKELY ENCOUNTER LONGER WAIT TIMES AT SECURITY CHECKPOINTS.

Due to current Transportation Security Administration (TSA) capacity, you will likely experience longer-than-usual security lines at your departure airport. To ensure you make it to your gate in time, please plan to arrive at least 2 hours before your flight, as wait times could be up to an hour or more. While we know this is not ideal, planning ahead for these possible outcomes should make for a better travel experience.

If you are on an early morning flight and are checking a bag or need additional assistance, please be sure to check the ticket counter hours for your departure airport.
 
Oct 28, 2015
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#16
Can I ask you what time your flight was and what time you arrived at the airport? Your travel agent should have told you recommended time to arrive before an international flight is 3 hrs. If you had been there early enough this may not have happened.

What you can do is use our company contacts at top of the page. Since you have already contacted Customer Service you should write to the first executive shown. Give him a week to respond. If he doesn't, write to next. Continue weekly until you reach the top.

Just an FYI -your real only issue is the rude agent because if you had arrived earlier this probably wouldn't have happened. There have been warnings since the spring about TSA being short staffed causing delays at security.
Neil: I must have forgotten - but do Delta flights to Bahamas depart from a separate international terminal at BWI with separate check-in and security? What 3 hours has to do with anything if it does not.
I am afraid that the victim is blamed advocates here again! Really? - they should have known to have the physical paper with "itinerary" to show to the gate agent or else they don't fly? What happened to e-tickets. It might be that Bahamas passport control wants the "itinerary" - so shouldn't the airlines provide it at check-in? In old days we had paper tickets to show - but now it still is airline's responsibility to give us the paper if required on the other end. Please, stop blaming the victim. Did you all go to trump university?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,655
12,679
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#17
Neil: I must have forgotten - but do Delta flights to Bahamas depart from a separate international terminal at BWI with separate check-in and security? What 3 hours has to do with anything if it does not.
I am afraid that the victim is blamed advocates here again! Really? - they should have known to have the physical paper with "itinerary" to show to the gate agent or else they don't fly? What happened to e-tickets. It might be that Bahamas passport control wants the "itinerary" - so shouldn't the airlines provide it at check-in? In old days we had paper tickets to show - but now it still is airline's responsibility to give us the paper if required on the other end. Please, stop blaming the victim. Did you all go to trump university?
It doesn't matter if there is a separate terminal or not. International flights take longer to check in because the passports have to be scrutinized. That's why you need extra time for an international flight.

And you have a perfect example right with the mother having to produce a return ticket. If they were traveling within the US she wouldn't have had to show the return ticket. If they were there 3 hours before they would have had plenty of time to find the return ticket.

So you are actually picking the wrong thread to criticize. Plus if you go back and read other complaints we have had that are similar it's always because they arrive too late at the airport.

Plus the TSA themselves are advising those am arrival times.
 
May 17, 2016
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#18
It would be sort-of criminal if the airline knew by putting very few servers, many will not make cut-off time even if they reasonably arrived within the recommended time at the airport.

It would be great to do an operations research study on this. But I am willing to make a guess that the time to service a pax can fluctuate very broadly.

Consider a clueless passenger.

She does not check in online.
She does not bring a printed copy of eticket or itinerary.
She does not check passport expiry. May not even have correct VISA.
She does not check weight and number of check in bags.
She does not check weight and number of carry on bags.
Her luggage is overweight and argues. May not have enough or did not bring enough money to pay.
She placed here Li-on camera batteries in her check in and needs to dig it out.
She wants to repack suitcase to move heavy items around to avoid fees.
I can go on and on ...

If you have several of these ahead of you, then you run the risk of not being on time.
Do you blame the airline or the idiot?
Well put!
 
Likes: AAGK

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,655
12,679
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#20
My wife has friends that work for the airlines and the stories they tell about passengers and how so many have no clue what they are doing is actually frightening.

We have had clients that have never flown before and we have gone as far as come up with a primer on what to expect at the airport, what you need to know before you travel, etc. My wife has even been in the phone with one or two directing them when they arrive in exactly where to go, how to check in, how to check their luggage, etc.

Those are the ones you are happy to not be behind. So you can't always say the agents are shortstaffed. If you have a passenger with a problem at one or two agents windows for 10 or 15 minutes it affects everyone behind them.

But I agree with passengers getting upset when they see employees standing around seemingly doing nothing. You do want to open your mouth and ask what their jobs are.
 
Likes: jsn55