DL + KLM trip report (disappointment)

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by autolycus, May 6, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    I will try to get around to a trip report on my actual destination(s) later, but I thought I would go on and post something about my significant disappointment in Delta on my recent trip. My wife and I flew Delta ATL-AMS, then KLM from AMS-BUD (Budapest), and returned home on Delta MUC-ATL. We had paid for economy comfort for the two DL flights--thanks Amex Platinum for reimbursing those fees!

    The ATL-AMS flight was on an A330-300. We were in seats 11AB, the second row of economy on the left side. The seats themselves were alright, and the extra legroom was helpful. That's about the extent of my compliments for that flight. The flight seemed pretty full and one of the FAs either called in sick or had to leave before the flight for some reason, so they were one person short. Of course, instead of letting the business people make due with "only" 3 FAs for their 40ish passengers, one of the FAs from coach was pulled up to the front. The remote for my AVOD was completely non-functional. I could not even turn on the overhead light, adjust volume, etc. I asked for assistance from a FA. They reset my unit but never followed up on it and never made any additional efforts to make the unit work or offer me another seat with a functioning system. My wife's remote mostly worked, but the "up" button took quite a lot of finagling to get it to register a button press. That made it quite difficult to navigate the menus, but between the two of us we were able to get her into the movies she wanted. Service was overall quite poor. We were only offered drinks other than water twice on the entire flight, both times were immediately prior to the meal and snack service. I get that it was an overnight flight, but at least offer a full can of drink if the FAs aren't going to be coming around again for 6 hours! At least 6 hours into the flight, they finally started making rounds with cups of water, but I had already had to go all the way to the back to get drinks for myself. The FAs at the back seemed annoyed that I had dared ask them for a drink.

    KLM was a totally different experience. This was my first time flying with them. The FAs were friendly and attentive. We were offered drinks 3 times on our <2 hour flight. That's more than we were offered on the entire 9 hour flight from ATL-AMS!! They even managed to serve sandwiches, cookies, and do a Duty Free cart run in just the 2 hours. They were hustling and seemed quite happy to do it.

    DL flight from MUC-ATL was an almost entirely different experience than ATL-AMS. It was on a 764. We were in seats 17AB, the third row of EC. The seats seemed much more comfortable than the A330's EC seats. They were the newer style that slides forward a little as you recline. I thought that made a big difference. The FAs were also MUCH more friendly and attentive. The flight did get off to a bit of a rough start for me, as my AVOD system (the touchscreen ones this time) didn't have working audio while playing a movie but did otherwise. I let the FAs know, they tried to restart my system. It didn't work, but the FA followed up with me as soon as the drink and meal service was done. A second restart did work, and I was able to enjoy AVOD for all but 2 hours of the ~10 hour flight. On this flight, we got drink service twice before the lunch service and at least twice more during the flight. They had water cups going around every half hour to hour the entire flight. When I went back for a coke between the lunch and snack, the FA was very happy to help me even though she was trying to heat up a baked potato for her own snack. She was even chatty. That crew seemed to actually enjoy their job and take pride in doing it well. That was a big contrast from the first group of FAs.

    Now possibly the worst part of the whole trip: It took us over 2 hours from the time we got off the ATL-MUC flight until we were out of the airport and on a MARTA train. 1 to 1 1/2 hours of that was waiting for our luggage to get to the customs carousel so we could take our bags through customs. We are in Global Entry and were through the passport control in about 2 minutes. Delta made no effort to let us, or the other 10-15 passengers from our flight stuck in the same situation, know what was going on, and thank goodness neither of us needed a bathroom because we were in an area that wasn't designed for people to spend any time. After several of us started pestering one of the Delta reps in the area, they finally made an announcement that more bags were coming from our flight, but they gave no information about the timeline for that. They implied it would be very shortly. 20 minutes later and not a single new bag had shown up from our flight, so my wife--who was literally in tears because of an injury requiring surgery a few months ago and all the swelling from the flight and from standing for an hour and a half--bugged the woman again and forced them to call the ramp crew to find out what was going on. Finally we got our bags and the Airserv people were nice enough to let my badly-limping wife skip to the front of the security recheck line. The TSA employees were quite nice as well and actually physically assisted my wife in walking through the metal detector and security checkpoint. Then we had to wait AGAIN for our bags at the south terminal baggage area. I understand that's not on Delta, but it's such a ridiculous system. I'll be only partially happy when the new Int'l Terminal is opened. We'll avoid the re-check, but we'll now have to deal with a crappy shuttle to get to MARTA. I saw at least one report that it took over a half hour to get to MARTA during the trial run. If that's the case, it's actually a big step backward, as far as I'm concerned, because at least with the current system you don't have to deal with getting your luggage on and off a shuttle bus.

    So, pretty poor showing overall by Delta, no? I fully intend to let Delta know how disappointed we were with them and to ask for compensation. I just haven't decided if I want to use the form, find an exec to email directly, call, or send an actual letter to corporate HQ. I'm leaning toward a letter to corporate. I'm also not sure what would be reasonable for compensation. I think compensation for the non-functioning AVOD for a 9-hour flight and for 2 hours of the 2nd flight is completely appropriate. I also think compensation for the >1 1/2 hour delay in getting our luggage to the customs checkpoint is appropriate. In the end, the story they gave us was that they had trouble unlatching one of the luggage containers on the airplane.
     
    DLroads and sobore like this.
  2. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    IME, baggage to E and then from E to the South Baggage claim is often abysmal...I would not expect compensation for it. For the AVOD, they'll throw some miles at you...but an exec/corporate is not going to handle and AVOD related complaint.

    Your best start is through dl.com....they usually respond within a couple of days.
     
  3. DLroads
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    DLroads Gold Member

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    And your second is also @deltaassist.
    In my experience, if you tweet it in real time, and update in real time, one of two things will happen (both happened to me)
    (a) they will DM you and contact the airport to see what's going on
    (b) they will see it as official documentation of the problem and compensate you (miles only, though)

    I had that happened with 1h10m waiting time at the SP line in TLV airport. They tried calling 'live' the supervisor, and when that one did not reply (and I requested her/him to identify herself/himself as well, with no success), they took it as documentation, and I got an apology four days later. The comp. was far from appropriate, but I was just happy it went with an action (10,000 miles, that's what it was worth).
     
  4. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    Yeah, I figure I'm not going to get a lot, but I do think I should get SOMETHING. There is no justification for it to take an hour and half to get bags from the plane to the carousels in E. None at all.

    I also think they should know that the service on the first flight was awful, whether it gets me anything or not.
     

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