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Business Travel Travel Industry

Kudos to Delta Air Lines: It’s the Little Things

My husband is a Delta Platinum Medallion member due to his frequent business travel, and has come to live and breathe for the free upgrades to first class (or at the very least, Economy Comfort) that this status often provides him. On a recent crowded flight, his status was of no help to him and he ended up in a middle seat towards the back of the plane. Of course he complained to me about it, but we both understand that unless you actually pay for the upgrade, you can’t complain or expect too much!

A few days after this flight, he received the following email from Delta:

SOOTHING THE MIDDLE-SEAT-ON-MONDAY BLUES.

SORRY YOU GOT STUCK IN THE MIDDLE SEAT.
HERE’S A 500-MILE BONUS FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.

Mondays are tough enough as is, and yours didn’t get any better when you got stuck in the middle seat.

Loyal Platinum Medallion® members like you deserve our best seats. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible.

In appreciation of your understanding and flexibility, we added 500 miles to your account.

We hope to see you flying in a Preferred Seat or First Class on your next flight — but know that we’ve got your back regardless of your cabin or seat.

And we’ll always do what we can to make things right.

Pretty cool, right?  Of course 500 miles isn’t a huge amount, but the fact that they were even aware of him (one of their millions of customers), that he had been in a middle seat, apologized for it, and then tried to compensate him for the inconvenience really went a long way in making him an even more loyal customer.

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Business Travel

Airlines: when they do well in the midst of travel frustrations

Complaints about airlines, rental car companies, and hotels seem to be more the norm than the exception. Certainly, most of us have had an unsatisfactory experience with some travel service provider. However, I recently found myself pleasantly surprised with how well my airline reacted to what could have been a very frustrating situation.

On a Delta Air Lines flight from Washington D.C. to Seattle, I missed my connection in Minneapolis due to weather. I arrived at the Minneapolis airport at 11:00 p.m. and there were no other flights to Seattle until the next morning. Since the delay was due to weather, the Delta was not obligated to make arrangements for their passengers. However, all the hotels near the Minneapolis airport were sold out. I could have stayed at a hotel downtown, but by the time I’d have arrived, I would have only had a couple hours to sleep before needing to go back to the airport to catch my early morning flight. Another option would have been to take a later flight, but then I would have been traveling most of my work day. I decided to spend the night in the airport.

It was amazing to see how Delta did their best servicing us through an unavoidable event. A wonderful agent let those of us who’d decided to sleep over know that Delta had futons, blankets, and pillows for us. She guided us to a business center area, where cubicles became our overnight station. We only had a few hours to sleep but that little bit of extra comfort went a long way. The agent also brought us snacks and water from the aircraft. It certainly wasn’t the best of conditions, but it was better than trying to sleep in a seat in the airport waiting area or staying up all night.

Weather delays and airport sleepovers can make even the nicest person a bit cranky, but it helped that Delta’s staff was pleasant and helpful. So yes, we all will experience the negative aspects of travel at some point, but maybe if we try to see the positive sides of things, those frustrations would be smoothed over much more easily.