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Bento Amaral https://www.ivdp.pt/

Catavino’s Travel Woes: How We Got Screwed by Delta !!UPDATED!!

DeltaIn the course of our lives, we have all experienced difficulties with air travel. Whether it’s a canceled flight, excessive turbulence, poor airline food or rocket high prices when checking in your luggage, we’ve all been there. What doesn’t happen often is when an airline makes you pay twice for the same ticket.

Last July, when arriving to the airport, ridiculously excited to get on our way to the USA to attend the WBC, we made the one fatal error that you pray you never make in your life as a traveler. We misread the ticket and thought the 11:20am flight was actually, 11:20pm. In the hierarchy of stupidity, this rates rather high.

Taking a deep breath to gather our thoughts, we decided to call Delta’s customer service for help, as the office hours in the airport were well over. To our dismay, what we figured would be a healthy penalty fee to change our flight turned into a 2 hour phone battle as to whether or not we should pay the full amount to replace 2 roundtrip tickets to New York, and later to California.

Mind you, we’re clear that fault lies completely on us for being moronic enough to miss our first flight, but to have our ENTIRE itinerary canceled which included any and all future flights was beyond our understanding. Adding insult to injury, despite our pleas to Delta that there was no indication on either their website or the ticket of such drastic measures, we were forced to pay almost double the original ticket to rebook the itinerary a second time. As you all can clearly sympathize, the term “effective monetization” and “blogging” don’t really go hand in hand. Consequently, this was NOT in our budget.

What you’ll read below is our plea to Delta to not only show us where regulations state that a customer must repurchase their entire itinerary, and all related tickets, if they miss the flight, but also for us to receive money back for the purchase of 4 new tickets. We trust after you read the exchange below, you’ll understand our frustration. Mind you, we are not lawyers, and maybe their regulations are legally explicit, but from a layman’s perspective, we wholeheartedly argue that it is not.

Dear Delta,

I am writing you in regards to an experience I had on your airline in late July which has left me with a very poor impression of your company.  Therefore, I am hoping that through my letter, you will not only understand why I am so disappointed with Delta, but also consider recompense for both my time and money.

On Tuesday, July 21st, I was scheduled for an 11am flight leaving Barcelona to JFK. And as a result of a misunderstanding, we arrived at 11pm, instead of 11am. Assuming that your company would be understanding of such circumstances, allowing us to easily catch the next flight to NYC for a nominal penalty fee, I instead was told by your customer service that passengers missing the first leg of their flight would not only have their ticket canceled related to said flight, but also all consecutive flights thereafter. In our case, this meant that I would need to buy two new tickets for my business partner and I from BCN to NYC, from NYC to SFO, from SFO to NYC and from NYC to BCN, leaving the following day. In financial terms, this translated to approximately $4,000, in addition to the $2,000 that was already paid for the tickets.

Additionally, neither on my ticket, nor on your website, have I seen any reference to said policy.

It is not my place to say what policies you choose to enforce for the health and well-being of your company, but as a growing social media business, I can tell you that good customer service is key when deciding if I will support a company. In the past, I have only had good experiences with Delta, but to have a simple, everyday situation such as a missed flight cancel our entire itineraries is very disappointing. Add the fact that your customer service, despite the number of times I called, only reiterated the fact that I would need to purchase two new tickets, and you have one very upset passenger.

My company is used internationally as a travel and tourism reference, and I can only hope that you will recompense me for the inordinate amount of money lost.

Sincerely,

Gabriella Opaz

Co-Founder of Catavino.net, Catavino Marketing.com, Wineblogger.info and The European Wine Bloggers Conference

This letter was sent 4 times, and it wasn’t until November 10th at 6pm did I receive a response:

Dear Mrs. Opaz,

Thank you for your e-mail describing your recent experience.  On behalf of everyone at Delta Air Lines, I sincerely apologize for the delay in responding.

I am truly sorry you were unable to use your ticket as purchased and recognize your disappointment with the restrictions of this nonrefundable airfare.  When customers do not use their ticket as purchased, we reserve the right to cancel any remaining flights. In addition the unused flight coupons have no residual value.  As such, I must respectfully deny your request for a refund. I apologize for any disappointment since I am sure this is not the answer you were expecting.

Mrs. Opaz, I want to thank you, again, for writing.  As a valued customer your business is important to us and given the opportunity of serving you in the future, I am confident Delta will not only meet but exceed your expectations.

Sincerely,

Pamela M. Mendes
Coordinator
Customer Care

Dear Pamela,

Would kindly show me on your website where it states that all related flights to the original ticket will be cancelled?

Saludos,
Gabriella Opaz

Dear Mrs. Opaz,

Thank you for your correspondence concerning our recent exchange of e-mails.  On behalf of everyone at Delta Air Lines, I, once again, appreciate the opportunity to respond to your queries.

In order to view our check-in rules you need to visit our website at https://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/itineraries_checkin/requirements and scroll down to Security Check-in Requirements from Non-U.S. Cities. This link will provide you the information about our cancellation policy.

Please let us know, if you have any further concerns.

Once again, we thank you for your precious time.  We appreciate your selection of Delta and will always welcome the opportunity to be of service.

Sincerely,

Pamela M. Mendes
Coordinator
Customer Care

Dear Pamela,

Thanks so much for the link, but I’m still not seeing it. Would you mind copying and pasting the text that you are referring to?

Saludos,
Gabriella Opaz

Dear Ms. Opaz,

Thank you for writing and allowing me the opportunity to further review your concerns.  On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I am genuinely sorry my first response was dissatisfactory.

Ms. Opaz, the answer to your question is the last line of the text as follows:

Security Check-in Requirements from Non-U.S. Cities

The recommended arrival time at the airport prior to departure is 3 hours for travel outside the U.S. If traveling outside the United States, you must be checked in and present at the departure gate 60 minutes before your scheduled departure time. This minimum requirement applies to all customers checking-in, with or without baggage. Customers who fail to complete the check-in procedures by these deadlines will not be able to travel on desired flights and change fees may apply.

I hope I have been able to resolve any concerns you have about our check in requirements.  Your future business is important to us, and I hope you will continue to choose Delta for your air travel needs.

Sincerely,

Pamela M. Mendes
Coordinator
Customer Care

Dear Pamela,

Would you please be so kind to tell me how I can have my case reviewed by a superior or how I can appeal to the next level? Thank you.

Saludos,

Gabriella Opaz

Dear Ms. Opaz,

Thank you for your additional comments regarding our recent exchange of correspondence.  On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I apologize that I have been unable to offer a satisfactory resolution.

While I recognize, how important it is for you to speak to my supervisor, please know, our Customer Care team has been designated to reply on their behalf.  I understand you feel I did not adequately address your concerns. I was happy to review your comments again to see if there was something I missed. Respectfully, there is nothing more I can add.  I am sorry to disappoint you, as I understand this is not the answer you were expecting.

Ms. Opaz, again, I apologize.  Your support is important to us, and I thank you for your additional time and effort. We look forward to the privilege of serving your air travel needs again soon.

Sincerely,

Pamela M. Mendes
Coordinator
Customer Care

Dear Pamela,

Please know that I fully respect your position; however, I again politely request to speak with a supervisor who I may share my disagreement with the clarity of the regulations on your website pertaining to the loss of my tickets. I trust you will honor my request and provide me with an individual or contact number at your earliest convenience.

Saludos,

Gabriella Opaz

Dear Ms. Opaz,

Thank you for your most recent communication expressing your continued dissatisfaction with my response.  On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I apologize that I have been unable to offer a satisfactory resolution as yet.

I am genuinely sorry it was necessary for you to write me again.  I was concerned that I missed the purpose of your original communication so I reviewed your comments with my Supervisor.  After a lengthy discussion, there is no further action we will take regarding your experience. Again, I am sorry to disappoint you, as I understand this is not the answer you were expecting.

Ms. Opaz, again, I am sorry your travel was unsatisfactory.  I hope in time you will provide us with another opportunity to restore your confidence.

Sincerely,

Pamela M. Mendes
Coordinator
Customer Care

As you can see from their website, the language is both vague and unclear – if not non-existent. From our perspective, there was no indication that all of our flights would be canceled, but let us know your thoughts!! Is the language clear to you? Do you feel that customers are being treated fairly? Have you had similar experiences? And what would you do in our position?

Thanks you for all of your help!! And if anyone wants to share your thoughts with Delta regarding their “stellar” communication policies and “fair” customer service, we’d appreciate it.

Gabriella Opaz

***********UPDATE*********** 11/26/2009

After this fiasco, I was contacted by a supervisor at Delta (yes, they seem to actually exist) who suddenly was eager to help me:

Dear Ms. Opaz:

RE: Case Number 8496884

Your email to Delta Air Lines has been forwarded to my attention for response.  On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I want to extend my sincere apology to you and your business partner for the inconveniences and additional expenses you incurred on your trip to New York and San Francisco.  I am also troubled that our Customer Care representative was unable to satisfactorily address your concerns.  Be assured this will be addressed within our company.

Your points are well made and respectfully, there is little more to be said about the departure time of Flight 95. I understand your main concern is that you were charged for new tickets and feel you should have only been assessed a penalty fee to change your original tickets. As such, I would like to work with you and attempt to alleviate some of your frustration…

Long story short, they agreed to reimburse me for the first unused itinerary, which was a considerable amount less than what I paid for the 2nd itinerary; however, I was sincerely pleased they wanted to help me, appreciating the extra effort they were taking for my plight. I chose to celebrate a small battle, rather than fight the large war. My only request to Kathy was that she please reimburse the credit card walloped with the massive ~4,000 euro fee, rather than the first credit card. Her response was the following:

Dear Ms. Opaz:

RE: Case Number 8496884

Thank you for your comments.  I am sorry for my delayed response.  It was necessary for me to check with our accounting team to see if they could honor your request.

As to refunding money to a credit card other than the one used for payment of a ticket, respectfully, our Contract of Carriage requires that we refund any ticket to the original form of payment. Our Contract of Carriage governs the terms and conditions of every ticket.  The Contract also includes many provisions of travel passengers may or may not be aware of when they purchase an airline ticket, but which are expressly incorporated into each ticket.  Since these provisions are too lengthy to print on every ticket, you can view our complete Contract of Carriage on our web site at delta.com.

In addition, this is a security measure for our passengers.

We are sorry to disappoint you and hope you can work this out with the other party.

Sincerely,

Kathy Johnston
Supervisor
Customer Care
Northwest/KLM/Delta Air Lines

Having spent an inordinate amount of time on this Delta fiasco, I lost my patience, and for the first time in this long ordeal, I made my counter point completely clear:

Dear Kathy,

Just to be clear, you’re telling me that I am not only unable to get the full amount for the itinerary I purchased last minute during the highest travel season in Europe because of your company’s unclear communication in your regulations, but I’m also not getting the correct amount transferred to the credit card that was nailed with the unnecessary 4,000 euro fee?

If this is what you’re telling me, please know that I am far from happy with this situation. From this point forward, if I am not refunded in full for the 2ND TICKET itinerary to the correct credit card, I will continue my social media campaign, and will contact the better business bureau, legislators and all major newspapers and travel blogs throughout Europe and the States.

Saludos,

Gabriella Opaz

Dear Ms. Opaz:

RE: Case Number 8496884

I am in receipt of your additional comments.

Be assured we also want to resolve this issue in a satisfactory manner, and I am confident we will be able to do so.

As you requested I was also going to refund the second tickets you purch,ased, less the 150.00EUR penalty for not arriving for the original flight.  However, just this morning I learned that your travel agency, Saga Travel, already submitted your original tickets to Delta and received a refund. Saga Travel was refunded 422.00EUR for each ticket. This included deductions for the 150.00EUR penalty and the domestic nonrefundable portion of each ticket (242.00EUR). As such, if I refunded your second tickets, we would not be paid for the transportation provided. I hope we have your understanding.

Our accounting team is working on this file, although we feel your travel agency will not return the refund.  We appreciate your patience while we work on a resolution.

Thank you for writing.

Sincerely,

Kathy Johnston
Supervisor
Customer Care
Northwest/KLM/Delta Air Lines

To be clear, I’m a little lost as to what the travel agency’s refund has to do with my refund. I wouldn’t have had to pay the 2nd itinerary if Delta would have made the correct decision and simply charged me a penalty fee without canceling my entire itinerary. Consequently, the travel agency’s refund should have ZERO BEARING on my refund.

To date, I have not heard back from Delta, but as my email stated, I will respectfully hold back my efforts to amplify my frustration online and through traditional media until they have given me their answer. At this moment, I’m going to look at the glass half full and hope that they truly do want to help me.

If you have any thoughts on how I can proceed, I’m all ears. I have received several emails from many of you who have offered great suggestions, and I will happily act on them depending on the next email. Thanks for all of your support!

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  • http://passionatefoodie.blogspot.com RichardA

    Gabriella:
    How did you buy your tickets? Online? Directly through Delta or a ticket place like Expedia?

    Did you have a refundable ticket?

    Did you check out the Risk-free Cancellation process? https://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/ticket_changes_refunds/risk_free_cancellation/index.jsp

    Did you check out the Same Day Travel Changes?
    https://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/ticket_changes_refunds/sameday_travel_changes/index.jsp

    • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

      Hey Richard,

      I’ll send you an email for any questions you have. Clearly, we appreciate any and all help!

  • http://ArgentineWines.Com Daniel Lopez Roca

    Gabriella!
    Just compose a nice pasodoble titled “Delta makes you pay your tickets twice” and upload it to Youtube. hahaha

  • Pat

    Ouch – that is a hefty price.

    Within the last few months I read that a British passenger tried to get a refund from an airline. (sorry I searched for the online article but could not find it) Anyway same result airline said no way are we giving a refund. So this guy set up a website with a similar url and started writing about his experience. After a few months the airline refunded him and asked him to remove his website.

    Worth a try

  • http://www.culinarymedianetwork.com Chef Mark

    The language if this one sentence is clearly (and purposely) vague:

    “Customers who fail to complete the check-in procedures by these deadlines will not be able to travel on desired flights and change fees may apply.”

    “desired flights” to most people would mean the originating flight. The fact that they bring up a change fee means that normally they would charge a PENALTY to change the originating flight and get you back on track with the rest of the itinerary unchanged. After all, the rest of the itinerary was unaffected, since those flights hadn’t departed yet. This would be the fair and proper thing to do, even if they charged you a few hundred dollars.

    I’m just sorry that you they were not flexible in allowing you to buy a full price one-way ticket to New York, and then resume the rest of the itinerary. They like to quote a line of BS about post 9/11 security issues for canceling the rest of the flights if you miss the originating flight, but this is BS. They do the security procedures for EVERY flight, not just the first one.

  • Jim Preston

    In the States we have a small claims court system that is perfect for this type of disagreement. You did not experience “change fees”, your money was stolen.

  • http://artpredator.wordpress.com gwendolyn alley aka art predator

    I see it the same way as Chef Mark.

    I also agree that using social media to put pressure on Delta might work.

    Finally, I suggest you forward your experience to the LA Times travel section. They take up stories like this and try to get them the attention the customer failed to get–and to warn other readers of potential BS like this. (PS Gabriella–Please follow me on twitter! Thanks!)

    • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella Opaz

      You are both followed on Twitter, and a follow-up letter will go out to the Savvy Traveler, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Chicago Tribune and the LA Times – not to mention El Pais here in Spain and the BBC. Why not cover all my bases :) Thanks for the suggestion.

      • SteveInChicago

        Unfortunately, the airline pricing model has changed from charging a fair price for flights and working with customers who need itinerary change to a model of charging below-market fares and making everything else up with add-ons (paying for food on the plane, baggage, etc.) Even worse, they recognize that distressed passengers (those who have missed a flight) really have no recourse, and they are absolutely predatory about it.

        ATA did the exact same thing to me a few years ago, and I never flew them again. I’m going to take a moment to dance on their grave.

        The only thing I’ve ever been able to do to get any effective compensation was to write letters to everyone at the airline in an escalating chain until things got solved.

        You’ve started with their customer service people. Now shag a copy of their annual report from investor relations and contact all of their C-Level people and board members. Where there’s a hierarchical relationship, tell them that your next step will be to send a copy of the same letter to whoever they report to. Then send the letter and follow it up with a phone call telling the supervisor that the underling asked them to call, because if they didn’t solve your problem, they did. Be tough — they recruit everyone in the entire chain of responsibility from people who were beaten with model planes in their childhood. Get them on the phone and don’t let them leave until you get transferred to someone more able to help you.

        There is really no effective US government of any portion of the airline industry except safety, so your only recourse is to become enough of a problem to them by blogging and inconveniencing their executives until they are willing to fix the problem.

        Finally, if they did partially refund your travel agent and they didn’t pass the refund on to you, I’d say you should start there. Also, add tripadvisor and lonelyplanet to your soapboxes.

        Good luck!

  • B

    If a customer of yours droped a bottle of wine would you give him another… Perhaps your argument is “yes” if he blogged about it.

    • http://www.ryanopaz.com Ryan

      Actually the more appropriate analogy would be if I bought a case of wine in a wine shop, and on the way home dropped one bottle, breaking it on the floor. In the case of Delta they would come over and smash the rest of the wine, since I didn’t have a full case anymore!

      • B

        Ryan, actually its not like your case of wine analogy!

        Did you expect Delta to resell your seats when they realized you did not show up on the first part of your flight?

        Remember flight seats are a perishable commodity.

        Just like the courteous Delta representatives I feel sorry for you. It truly is an unfortunate mistake.

        • http://www.ryanopaz.com Ryan

          No we would have taken the seats. we only missed one leg of the journey so it is EXACTLY like my ananlogy. One flight lost, we would have even paid to change to another flight, but we could have taken all the other flights without a problem…So they would have had full seats for all the flights, except the first one! And have sold us another ticket. Making extra money. Instead they lost a customer, and it appears a few others! :|

  • http://www.wineontherocks.com Finkus Bripp

    The firt & last time I flew with Delta was approx. 11 years ago – I hated the plane, I hated the service, I hated the food (OK, not difficult anywhere), just everything. When I flew to NYC last year I had the possibility to fly with Delta for € 150,00 less per ticket but chose KLM instead.

    Delta’s measures are more than drastic – cancelling everything and then a penalty fee to boot? Is this even legal? What if you felt like taking a boat/walking/biking/driving to your destination after having booked and flying back?? The ticket’s paid!! I would have this checked by a lawyer. There probably isn’t even a loophole and I’m sure they’re banking on the fact that most people won’t go to the trouble of disputing it legally.

    Now we know how these companies are staying in business!

    I’m so so sick of companies who plaster “customer care” on everything but don’t practice what they preach. It should be possible to sue such companies for false advertising or disallow them to use such claims if they have a complaint rate of “X” at consumer protection boards… or too many bad blog write ups ;-)

    I personally boycotted Delta 11 years ago and am glad I did.

    —-

    Quote from Delta website: We’re expanding our horizons, so you can expand yours.

    http://www.delta.com/planning_reservations/plan_flight/destinations/travel_getaways/index.jsp

    • http://jerezwine.com Justin Roberts

      I agree with Daniele. They are probably hoping you don’t bother to fight this. I had the same experience with Vueling not so long ago, involving a MUCH smaller sum of money, but on principle I was determined to get it back.

      Due to a cancellation Vueling re-booked me onto a flight of THEIR choice, on a day I could not fly, and then insisted I pay the full amount for another ticket if I wanted to fly a different day. I tried reasoning with them for nearly 4 weeks to no avail.

      The Air Transport Users Council (www.auc.org.uk) in the UK helped me get the result I was looking for. I’m not sure if they could help in this case, but there must be a similar organisation in the States? There isn’t one in Spain, you have to file a complaint directly with AESA (www.seguridadaerea.es). I’m not sure if US airlines are covered, but as the flight originated in the EU they might well be.

      Good luck!

  • http://www.alfonsocevola.com Alfonso

    Wow- what a mess

    If there is any consolation it is that you at least had a person iwth a name. I recently had an experience with American Airlines and never even got to a person with a first name so I could pursue my issues further. Sorry for your experience for you guys.

  • Tommy Ronquillo

    Gabriella try the Aviation Consumer Protection Division a Dept. of the DOT. http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/flyrights.htm
    I would also try writing a letter to the better business bureau. Another great tool to show Delta their policy is unbending and not in their best interest is to start a face book fan page sharing your story and telling people why your boycotting Delta Airlines in regards to I believe their unjust and unfair customer service practices. Maybe you can get some momentem going, I’d be the first to be a fan as I’ve been screwed by airlines before too.

    Good luck!

    • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella Opaz

      I agree on both accounts. I have been waiting to contact the better business bureau until I heard back from Delta. Now that I have, I’ll contact them asap. As for a facebook page, not a bad idea!

  • http://reignofterroir.com Ken Payton

    Just as the fellow who had his guitar destroyed by United got some satisfaction after writing a series of humorous songs shaming the airline, so do I think finding a creative way to put pressure on them might prove decisive. Blogging about it is a good start.

    We’re not talking about small sums of money here, not for the traveler. I can easily imagine someone having their travel plans completely dissolved because they didn’t have the resources to re-book.

    If it is any consolation, I personally will choose an airline other than Delta unless and until this matter is more productively resolved for you guys.

    Shame on Delta.

  • Ed Lee

    Gabriella, You may want to check out http://www.elliott.org/ has these great customer service “cheat sheets” to help you if you have a dispute with your airline. CEO contact info, how to hack their phone trees, email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, it’s all there.

    I just sent them a copy of your your article for their reading enjoyment.

    Buena suerte con eso cabrones!

    • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella Opaz

      Hey Ed, you’re the second person to reference elliott.org! Thanks so much for the recommendation and I’ll get on that today :-)

      • Ed Lee

        I received this email from Delta commenting on your article. I think these bozos live in a different world than the rest of us.

        They say “Our goal is to surpass your expectations in each and every way” and “We also recognize that quality customer service is essential to the continued success of our company.” If this is customer service, then they must be close closing their doors. Anyway enjoy the letter.

        November 23, 2009 REF #7970329

        Dear Mr. Lee:

        Thank you for your correspondence to our CEO, Mr. Richard Anderson,
        along with the other top executives, including a blog post of a recent
        experience with Delta by a fellow passenger; they have asked me to
        respond on their behalves. I apologize for the poor imagine you may
        have of us.

        Our goal is to surpass your expectations in each and every way. We
        expect our employees to provide helpful, courteous service at all times.
        When we fail to do so, we will work even harder to make it right for
        you. We also recognize that quality customer service is essential to
        the continued success of our company. Your feedback is important to us,
        and I have shared your comments with the responsible leadership team.

        Again, we appreciate your forwarding us the blog posting. Given the
        opportunity of serving you in the future, I am confident Delta will not
        only meet but exceed your expectations. All of us of here at Delta wish
        you and your family a happy Thanksgiving.

        Sincerely,

        Tyler Adams
        Coordinator, Customer Care

        • http://www.ryanopaz.com Ryan

          Wow, well I give them credit for actually responding…but we are now in the next rounds of dealing with this…an update will follow soon!!!

  • http://vinosambiz.blogspot.com Fabius

    Do you think that Ms Pamela M.Mendes is actually a human being? The language used in her/its replies suggest an automated computer reply program. Note the way she/it repeats the same thing over and over again without actually dealing with the problem.
    I would use your social media power/presence to publicise your experience as far and wide as you can. The reasonable, common sence, diplomatic approach hasn’t worked!
    I wish you the best of luck and “please know” that if I ever have to fly to the US I certainly won’t be using Delta!!!

  • http://www.1winedude.com 1WineDude

    United breaks guitars, and Delta breaks wills!

    According to Maddox.xmission.com, US Air “still sucks d*ck”.

    A wise man once told me that when it comes to air travel the best that you can hope for is that the experience doesn’t totally suck.

    Cheers!
    -Joe

  • http://www.njmonthly.com Susan Guerra

    The wording is vague to say the least.

    The first and the last time I ever flew Delta was 20 odd years ago when I flew out to Colorado to ski. My skis and all of my ski clothing and gear landed in Hawaii and never arrived. I will spare you the details but suffice it to say that the way it was handled, I have never flown Delta again.

    I am hoping that you guys get some resolution because canceling all the flights is not a fair penalty.

    Sue

  • http://vinosambiz.blogspot.com Fabius

    At least the new entity, Kathy Johnston, seems to be a human. An unhelpful one, but at least she doesn’t repeat the same things over and over again as much as the automated computer response program! Good luck, keep at it, have patience, have another glass of wine!!

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

    For anyone interested, the article has been updated to include recent events with Delta. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, we’re all ears :)

  • http://www.cortesdecima.pt Carrie Jorgensen

    I know of many wineries who are scared to get online with Facebook, Twitter, etc., as they feel it could backfire upon them. I also know of an example of one of California’s most successful winery bloggers, located near San Diego, who was forced to make his blog private, due to unfriendly and negative comments being made by certain people with a personal axe to grind.

    The internet has enormous power, and can be used positively for a business or negatively, if it is used to whip up the frenzied masses into a fervor. We respect that power as much as we fear it!

    Catavino has been instrumental in convincing us to take the plunge and get involved with social networking, and I openly recommend and support other wineries to follow our example, to do the same. I am full of praise and admiration for what you guys at Catavino have done for Iberian wineries. But I would have preferred seeing this personal issue with Delta conducted on another ‘non’ Catavino platform.

    I once had a personal issue with Continental. I arrived at the airport in Lisbon with 2 small kids in tow, heading off to visit grandparents in San Francisco. Upon arrival for checkin, I discovered in my haste, that I had grabbed the kids expired passports! Continental of course refused to let us fly without valid documents. However, they gave us seats on the plane the day after, entirely free of charge. It was an extremely nice gesture, and made me pro-Continental ever since. No need to point out to anyone, that the airline industry, like the wine industry is in dire straights these days. Unfortunately, they can’t afford too many nice gestures, no matter how much they would like, as they head for bankruptcy. It is a difficult tightrope to walk.

    • http://www.ryanopaz.com Ryan

      We don’t need the nice gesture as much as we need them to be clear about what they offer. As most people have said, their “regulation” is not obvious. If the regulation said “You always will have your flights canceled if you miss the first one” we’d be mad, complain, but admit fault, and never fly with them again. That said, we aren’t in that situation, so we are using the only soapbox we have to deal with a problem, that MANY others have had too. Sadly they started to listen to us, and actually respond with human voices after we did this. So I feel bad for all those who do not have a place to publish their stories to a large enough audience. For them it is: Sorry you don’t matter.

  • Brian Social

    That thread raised my blood pressure. Happy holidays!

  • Chris

    Now let me see if I get this straight:

    They sent my job overseas, took my livelyhood away, caused numerous divorces, financial ruin upon their employees, stripped a once debt free corporation of all assets, leveraged the same corporation to the hilt, asked for bailout money, declared bankruptcy to break their contracts and pay pennies on the dollar to everyone they ever did business with and all of the previously mentioned given the go ahead by the White House (Bush and Co.) as well congress/senate and you don’t think you were dealt with fairly?

    Duhhh.

  • Thaisfakiani

    Delta sucks.

  • Thaisfakiani

    Here’s my “fun” delta flight and letter I wrote to them:

    I have avoided writing this since my return trip because I hate complaining and it causes me much stress. However I not only dealt with many discrepancies and inconsistencies from your sales agents but such caused me such distress I consider never flying Delta or even flying again.

    I’ll start by saying that I had various sales agents give me different sizes of pet carry-on needed for in-cabin. I called many times and got many different answers. At some point a sales agent actually told me I needed to buy the carry-on first and then after to find out what the carry-on size should be. At some point I asked for a manager to ask what was on with the inconsistency and what was the size of carry-on I needed to purchase. After I spoke to her, I called again. I called again because I needed to make sure she knew what she was talking about. The sales agent after her told me the manager gave me the “minimum measurements” but the aircrafts I was going to be on (outbound and inbound) allowed for bigger sizes. So I ended up buying the sizes I wanted. The biggest amongst the sizes I had been given given your website doesn’t state any sizes for that.

    I asked for a window seat and was given a seat without a window on my way down to Atlanta. Given I had been pre-assigned the exact seat for my return, I called Delta about two weeks prior to my return date to switch to a window seat instead. I was assured by the sales agent that my return aircraft was different and that the seat was going to be a window seat. I had the exact same seat I was on before and that had no window whatsoever.

    The fun part will begin now though. I only booked delta because I was assured by many agents again that my pet could fly in-cabin. I was told it had to be in the carrier at all times but that once the seat-belt light had gone off, I could put the carrier on my lap, I could offer it water, I could pad my pet and it could pop its head out. I want you to make a note that is the only reason I booked delta. I also want you to note that such was the only reason why I decided I wasn’t going to tranquilize my pet. I also want you to point out the reason why I called many times and spoke to various sales agents was exactly because this was my very first time flying with my pet and because I was paranoid about something going wrong with it.

    On my way down to Atlanta things went smooth and as I had been told by your sales agents.

    On my way back as soon as I boarded the plane one of the attendants was quite rude in asking me to put my dog all the way inside the carrier and closing the zipper. The dog was already inside however her head was popping out. I said okay, and continued walking down the aisle towards my seat as I obeyed her order. She repeated herself again this time I looked at her said okay and continued one more time. She asked me to stop and do so before I continued walking through the passengers.

    Once seated I had the flight attendant manager come talk to me and tell me my dog was going to have to be inside the carrier underneath the seat at all times. I would once more like you to understand I am a very friendly person and that’s why I don’t understand that woman’s attitude. I need you to understand I did not argue with her, I did not give her attitude, I did not challenger her. However I was puzzled given again your sales agents’ information and my flight down to Atlanta, so I tried to talk to her. Big mistake.

    The flight attendant manager interrupted me over and over again as I tried to explain to her I had put the carrier on my lap on my way down to Atlanta (I didn’t even get to this point she just kept on interrupting me and repeating, “the pet has to be inside the carrier and underneath the seat at all times”). She sounded very bossy, had an police like tone of voice and looked threatening. I then told her I was going to give my dog a pill I had on my pocket and put the carrier underneath the seat (I made clear I wasn’t challenging her because I could see she felt I was – even though there was no reason for her to feel that way) but still I asked her If I could ask her a question. At that point she said, “if you have a problem with this I can help you get escorted out of the plane”. Without an answer or hesitation she called the pilot.

    I was quite frustrated. I had not been allowed to speak a single word. I had been humiliated. For no reason at all. The gentleman beside me left. Once the pilot arrived I was the one who told him I was going to leave the dog inside the carrier (that really wasn’t my issue anymore at that point) however I was trying not to scream as I was so frustrated when I explained to him that wasn’t what I had been told I could do, and wasn’t what I did on my way down to Atlanta and that “that woman’ had mistreated me for no reason. I also told him I would want to take care of this once in Toronto and get the crew names.

    My flight as you can imagine was hell. My dog cried the entire time. I didn’t give her a strong tranquilizer from the vet, just some Dramamine so that really did nothing for her. She cried the entire time and to avoid so, I spent the entire 2 hrs bent over peddling her (not letting the crew see it in fear they would give me a hard time) so she wouldn’t disturb your customers. I couldn’t drink, I couldn’t eat due to stress. I could not look at that woman’s face. I was crying.

    Once in Toronto I waited for everyone to leave the plane and approached the flight attendant’s manager. She refused to give me her being quite rude and sarcastic about it also. She kept on following me and blabbing something I couldn’t understand as I approached the pilot.

    The pilot explained in order to complaint I should just speak to the “delta guy outside” and went off explaining about pets and allergies of clients and such… he kept on interrupting me only to stop talking when I was the one who finally interrupted somebody explaining I was too frustrated for not being allowed to speak. After I had a talk with him and explained the situation he apologized and explained his job was only to keep the plane moving.

    At the Toronto airport I called information’s and spoke to Steve at Delta. Your sales agent Steve said the only restrictions he saw about in-cabin pets where that they had to be inside the carrier so he saw no problems about placing he carrier on the lap and allowing the pet to pop out their head. Steve didn’t know I had just arrived from a flight. I asked Steve to transfer me to a Manager. Ms Lopes came to the phone. Ms Lopes assures me I’d have no problems flying with my pet and placing the carrier on my lap once the seat belt light went off, giving water to the dog and so forth once again. She also said such rules wouldn’t change if the flights were from Toronto to Atlanta or vice-versa, or that it didn’t matter who you booked the flight with as long as it was Delta. That was on Oct 10th.

    On Oct 12th I called again. I spoke to Pamela. Sales agent. Pamela assured me I could not only fly with my little dog in cabin but also place the carrier on my lap once the seat belt light had gone off and allow her to pop out her head. I asked for a manager. Pamela was worried. She came back to the phone after putting me on hold and she said after confirming with her manager, I would actually not be allowed to put the carrier on my lap. I again asked to speak to the manager. Jim, the manager, comes to the phone. This time I told Jim to give me a precise answer. I made Jim aware his answer was going to be on this report. I voiced my frustrations to poor Jim. I told Jim this entire book. Jim told me I was not allowed to put the carry-on on my lap at any time during the flight. I explained to Jim Pamela only checked her answer with him because I asked for a manager. Jim understood well I could have bought a ticket from Pamela because of her “yes” previous answer. Jim understood well I in fact had booked myself previously because of such answer. Not only one single answer. I apologized to Jim for complaining and asked to pass such inconsistencies over if he cares the least for the airline.

    I’d hate to be on a delta flight with the same crew I was on the 10th of Oct. It is irrelevant whether I was right or wrong. That woman had no interpersonal skills. At all. I thought that was a pre-requisite to work as a flight attendant. Never mind that, she’s their manager.

    Your people don’t know what they are selling. Your flight attendant have no interpersonal skills. I have a condition. I hate flying. My dog calms me down. My condition drives me paranoid about my dog and about flying. Your flight agents and crew drove me and are still driving me up the wall.

    And on top of this all I had to spend an hour or more writing this report.

    Thanks Delta. It has been a wonderful experience. As a flight agent I don’t see why I should book my clients on your flights amongst so many others.

    As you can see I am still really frustrated and when I remember I don’t see this going away. I hate complaining and I don’t see how this can be many other’s fault. I understand I can’t blame many people for other’s mistake. However again I feel I am a decent person and I treat people decently so I had to put this through. I never had such treatment before and I’d never treat my customers in such manner. Not even close.

    Sorry for the long Email.

    Ms Fakiani.

    NOW: So far I got a cut and paste reply from a rep (a “coordinator” from customer care) who gave me fifty dollars (jokes) and apologised garanteeing me this would be passed foward. I am thankful I found your blog because I have already sent another report w/ my tkt number asking for a “real” supervisor and as I see, they pretty much don’t care…

    Nxt time I’ll drive. And if I have to fly, it won’t be Delta. Like I said earlier, Delta sucks.

    Sorry to hear your story and yes, I’ll help you pass the message to media blogs and such also. That’s why I’m here.

    Cheers.