Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Delta Airlines Flight DL4557 - Epic Fail

My wife and I checked in very early to DL2294, as my business had finished up early in Orlando. At the time of our check in, we were presented with the option of potentially travelling on an earlier flight. While an appealing option, the $50 fee per ticket was not appealing at all, so we opted for a leisurely lunch and the original itinerary. What a huge mistake.

We arrived at MSP and were boarded on DL4557. Upon boarding completion, we were informed by the captain of a mechanical issue, and were ultimately informed that we needed to be deplaned. At the gate, it took about 45 minutes for the decision to come down that our plane was grounded, and that we could fly to GRB on one of the regularly scheduled flights the next day.

We headed to the rebooking station where the ONE worker manning the area was immediately overwhelmed with the crush of the entire flight coming into the area. How do you not send additional help to that area, especially at MSP? Unbelievable.

As a professional, I need to be at my job. Waiting until it is convenient for you to accommodate me in your existing schedule is not convenient for me. Arrival at GRB at 11:29 the next day is completely unacceptable.

Left with no other options, my wife and I rented a car and drove the four hours back to Green Bay so that I could attend the important meetings I had scheduled. We spent our Valentine’s night driving across the state of Wisconsin; arriving home just after 2:00AM. Romantic, huh?

I understand mechanical issues, and that safety needs to prevail. What I don’t understand is how a mechanical issue can cancel a flight at MSP. Delta had equipment all over the ground; we could see it from our gate. We had a crew that was committed to fly. And yet nobody could figure out how to get us a plane, so the decision came down to just cancel and try to accommodate the 50 or so of us into your everyday 2/15/2012 schedule. No special flight was considered to get us home at a reasonable hour.

I can accept a cancellation due to mechanical reasons at a secondary or tertiary airport. I cannot accept such an event at a major hub, especially at MSP. As stated, equipment was there. The desire to take care of your customers was not.

Delta, you failed across the board in your decision making on how to handle us on DL4557. The only saving graces were our gate agent who conducted himself with an incredible amount of professionalism and the flight captain who should be writing your procedure manual on how to communicate to passengers in a mechanical delay situation. Both gentlemen performed their duties impeccably, and deserve commendation.

I wish I could say that for others in your organization that could have gone above and beyond to get us where we needed to be at a reasonable hour, but instead chose an easier, cheaper, or more convenient (for you, not for us) path. Overall, you failed.

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