Delta Apology to Passengers – “We’re Sorry. Here Are 20,000 Bonus Miles.”

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For those who’ve been waiting for a tangible Delta apology for last week’s drama… check your inbox.

The operational delays that crippled Delta Airlines last week were largely overshadowed by a teeny little incident onboard a United Airlines aircraft on Sunday.  But many have not yet forgotten that chaos.

While that took the public relations focus away from Delta, it didn’t alleviate the sting.  Passengers were still stranded for hours – and in some cases days.  That followed several days of receiving customer surveys from Delta Airlines asking me to provide feedback on operations.  It also came after mixed messages about the company asking passengers to volunteer to help stranded passengers at the airport.  (That latter move left a bad taste in the mouth of some disgruntled flyers.)  Luckily for Delta, United deflected much of the public eye away from the situation in Atlanta giving them much-needed time to recover and regroup.

The result was an announcement earlier this week that they would be reaching out to a select group of affected passengers to offer a goodwill gesture in the form of either a voucher or miles.  It appears the outreach effort is now officially underway.

Delta apology

The Delta Apology

While an initial Delta apology came in the form of blanket public statements, this more personal gesture came via email:

20,000 MILES TO SAY WE’RE SORRY.

Last week, severe weather and tornadic activity at our Atlanta hub caused a major disruption in our flight operations and your travel plans. Our response in the days following was out of character, and I am sorry for what you experienced. It was an accumulation of events that began with unprecedented severe weather in Atlanta on April 5th, when seven storm cells, including tornadic activity, passed over the airport and shut down our operation for much of the day. Our recovery was hampered by a lack of available seats resulting from heightened spring break travel volume, as well as an inability of our crew-tracking systems and processes to adequately position our people to do their jobs.

I have heard from many of you who feel like we let you down. In acknowledgment of what you endured, 20,000 bonus miles will be added to your SkyMiles account in the next 48 hours.

Thank you for your patience and your loyalty. We will continue to review all aspects of this disruption and develop a plan to avoid a similar situation in the future, ensuring we deliver on the reliability and service you expect and deserve from Delta.

Sincerely,
Ed Bastian

Received on April 13, 2017 via email (Gold Medallion member)

How We Received This

I received my own copy of this email last night.  Personally I think the 20,000 miles is a nice gesture.  I did not think I would be eligible based on the original criteria.  But I did have both ends of a ticket affected by the operational issues.  One flight delay occurred early in the week.  Then a second delay two days later turned into an outright cancellation.  While I ultimately made other plans, the delays would have caused significant disruption.  I would have been stranded potentially for two to three days due to the late timing of the second event.  Luckily I had flexibility based on how late into the meltdown the cancellation occurred.

The Delta apology goes a long way toward securing my continued loyalty to the airline.  For me, it demonstrates that the airline is willing to go the extra mile to make things right. I do believe they should have been proactive in addressing many of the issues in real-time.  There are serious technology flaws that must be addressed with Delta’s systems to prevent another catastrophic system failure from occurring.

This is the second 20,000 mile Delta apology I have received within the last year.  I received the first one during the IT failure that crippled operations for several days in 2016.  During those issues I was also able to rebook my travel and refund my ticket.  Both times the 20,000 miles ultimately came at no personal cost to me.

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last eighteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 47.5 US states. Although she averages 200 days a year on the road, she loves to return to “the homestead” in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and cocktail mixology.

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