Delta Airlines Customer Service Gains Altitude

Delta Airlines Customer Service Gains Altitude

Last summer, I wrote a scathing blog post about Delta Airlines. They deserved every word of it. Read it HERE.

As this summer is coming to a close, I am happy to report a few reasons why I think Delta Airlines is on course to a recovery in their customer commitment.

While writing this, I am on the second leg of a flight between Kansas City and the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in southern New Hampshire. This leg of the flight originated in Atlanta.

First off, the planes during my trip (four in all, round trip) all left a little bit earlier than scheduled instead of being late. Sure the weather was nice, but not everywhere in the US. In fact Denver has had horrible weather with biblical rain and flooding. Still, Delta has flown on time.

The level of doubt that I had that I would actually be on this fight was high. I had 33 minutes between connecting flights. We arrived 10 minutes early, however, and I made it to my gate in time enough to walk right onto the plane, I even had time to grab some dinner in a bag along the way.

The Kate Effect

The biggest delight so far has been the lead flight attendant on the final part of this trip. I have been away from my wife and daughter for most of the week and half the weekend and I am anxious to get home. Her compassion is appreciated.

The flight attendant’s name is Kate. Her demeanor is so kind and warm. She is delightfully chatty. We exchanged stories about Ireland and Scotland when she made the proper assumption that I am Irish.

Kate also chatted with the young dad-to-be in the row behind me. He had to leave his young, pregnant wife back in Colorado where their home is surrounded with flooding and their water has been shut off for health and safety reasons. Duty called for his job and they shipped him out to urgently fix a laser thing-a-ma-jigger.

“Oh dear, bless her and those poor people in Colorado,” Kate says with sweet and sincere sympathy.

When one of the other flight attendants on the flight offers beverages and snacks, she offers the young dad-to-be a free mixed drink, wine or beer compliments of the crew. It is a simple gesture that Delta is thinking about its passengers. Although I bet the guy’s wife could use the drink more than he could, but she is pregnant, so bottoms up, on Delta.

Delta Airlines appears to genuinely be trying to recommit itself to its customers. It is not the same airline is was last summer and that is a good thing.

DeltaBusinessEliteCoffee_thumb

Better, but Not Perfect

Is everything perfect? Nope.

The coffee sucks. It tastes like someone boiled water in the Sperrys I have been wearing without socks all summer. They also supply their planes with non-dairy creamer. Nothing is more offensive to me than bad coffee; worse if you add a bunch of chemical crap to top it off. I will even endure mediocre coffee, but there is no excuse for bad coffee; ever.

On each leg of this journey, I sat in the exact same seat on an exit row with a flight attendant jump seat next to me facing the opposite direction. This encouraged the chat between Kate and me.

On the way to Atlanta from Kansas City, I sat with a flight attendant who had a resemblance to Wednesday from the Addams Family (not the cute kid from the 1960’s show, but the Goth kid from the more recent movies.) 

This flight attendant did not respond to any of my charming quips which I can assure you are irresistible (unless you have been married to me for 30 years or have been one of my kids for between 10-29 years, then I am just plain annoying.)

This woman was a downer. If I were Delta I would trade her off to United or USAir or better yet, Dunkin’ Donuts where she will fit well with other miserable human workers. No, wait! I would shackle her to Kate! Yeah, that is it!

No, wait again! She could break Kate because she was that miserable. Trade her!

They Simply Listened

So hats off to Delta Airlines. Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner! They read the comments from their customers and improved. They read the surveys and fixed things. They read my blog and said, “We can’t piss Al Getler off anymore.” I bet they even put Kate on my flight to impress me (see ‘delusional’ in the dictionary.)

You know, I may even write a letter to the CEO of Delta about Kate. It will be charming and filled with quips and he will find me irresistible.

 He will probably hire me to speak to the Delta Airline employees around the world. He may even have me consult Delta on how to fix their coffee problem. Mostly, he will probably find me annoying and offer my wife and kids free tickets to escape from me for a few days.

Shutting down as we approach the airport…earlier than scheduled. Delta Airlines customer service has reached new heights.

 Note: Once I shut down my laptop, I handed the young, dad-to-be my card and told him about this writing. Turns out he is a Marine that served our country as an Embassy Guard in some of the world’s most volatile places. A true hero with an amazing life story. I hope he reaches out to me. I would like to tell it to you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Carol Ann Riordan

    Spot on, Al! Your trip was a living case study of great (and not-to-great) customer service.

    Kate, the flight attendant, embodies employees who love their jobs and set out every day to make a difference for their customers. It comes to them naturally. So does warmth, kindness, professionalism and the secret sauce of added value. Would the U.S. work force have more people like her. We’d be in a lot better shape.

    I doubt that you’ll ever forget your travels with Kate. She made a potentially grim flight delightful. And, yes, the coffee still needs serious work, but that will come in due time.

    • AlGetler

      Thanks Carol Anne! The good news is Delta tweeted me and will followup with Kate.

      I couldn’t agree about our US workforce. I do get discouraged at times, but people like Kate make it better.

      Be well!

  • George Karalias

    Good to know, Al, since I’m flying Delta tomorrow!

    • AlGetler

      Save travels George. Hold off on the coffee…

  • Jen Miller

    Al: Kate is one of my very best girlfriends and yes, she is a kind and caring person. She always has a listening ear, compassion for others and sound advice. She is also fun, exciting and her charisma makes her the life of a party. So glad to call her my friend. Thank you for letting Delta know what an asset they have in Kate!
    Jen Miller (Cincinnati, Oh)