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James & Anne Ronan 47 Wycombe Lane Wooburn Green Buckinghamshire HP10 0HD 02 February 2013 Delta Air

Lines, Inc. Customer Care P.O. Box 20980 Department 980 Atlanta, GA 30320-2980 Delta Europe Customer Care Centre TSA 21235 75564 Paris Cedex 12 France Dear Sir or Madam: Having now had some time to recover from and reflect upon what was absolutely the worst travel experience of my life (and coming from someone who used to travel by air constantly for work and who now lives in the United Kingdom while my family remain in the United States, thats saying quite a lot), I have decided that I am still angry enough to write this letter. Delays are inevitable with air travel there are always going to be times when things dont go quite to plan. But how you handle such events when they do occur speaks volumes and that is what I wish to discuss in this letter. I had not flown Delta Airlines in my adult life and so, when booking tickets for my husband and I to visit my family at Christmas this year, we were impressed with the competitive price and decided to give you a try. On the way to California we flew for the first time with your partner, Air France. We were incredibly impressed it was one of the easiest and most pleasant long-haul flights weve taken. The crew were polite and attentive and we thought that perhaps as a partner airline, our flight back home would be pleasant as well. On our way home, we departed from San Francisco on 28 December. The flight was uneventful. When we arrived in Minneapolis, we went to the gate for our connecting flight and boarded on time. We were on the plane, expecting to take off, for an inordinately long time. It became more and more obvious that something was wrong, but there was no communication whatsoever and in fact the flight attendants disappeared (this was to become a common event over the next day). Finally it was announced that there was a problem with the fuel gauge on the plane and they

would try to fix it. This went on for ages before they decided that they couldnt fix it and instead unloaded everyone. In fact we were on the disabled plane for about two hours before they finally let us off. The announcement was made that a part would be flown in and we would be leaving at 6am the next morning. We made phone calls home (to the UK, at our expense, to re-arrange our ride home from the airport). This was then changed to 3am, if memory serves, but with a new stop over in New York necessitating more re-arranging of our transport at home. At this point we were each given vouchers for $50 each for whatever we needed but were then told that the only thing open at that hour was Subway. However we were reassured that the vouchers would remain valid for 24 hours and so we could use them at JFK as well. We queued at Subway for two hours (feeling very sorry indeed for the two chaps serving a plane full of tired people in the middle of the night) and spent a grand total of $23.54 between my husband and myself, leaving us with $76.46 that we couldnt actually use. I enclose copies of the receipts for your information (or amusement). To add insult to injury, while we were waiting in line, the girls behind us showed us their vouchers for $60 each. So even though they were as useless as ours were at that hour, why were all passengers not given the same amount??? I find that astounding. Whilst hanging around in Minneapolis I used airport wi-fi to access my Twitter account and got in touch with KLM, knowing that they are one of your partners and knowing that they have good customer services. They IMMEDIATELY tweeted back to ask if there was anything that they could do. After hearing about our predicament they suggested I tweet to @deltaassist. Which I did. Twice. And heard precisely nothing and still have heard nothing. As someone who is a keen user of social media and also uses it in my job to enhance customer service and foster good communication, I can tell you that this is NOT impressive or useful. After milling around for another couple of hours in a closed airport, we re-boarded. Only to be told that we wouldnt take off until the new part could be tested. Id love to know why this wasnt done in the first place it may not have been much fun in the airport but it was more comfortable than sitting on a cramped, unmoving plane. Once the part was deemed to be working, the plane was de-iced. And then we sat on the tarmac for what I would guess was yet another hour if not more. I cant tell you why because we were not told. In the air at last, we then arrived at JFK to re-fuel (odd for a flight that was originally meant to be going all the way to London) and change pilots. And again we sat in the plane and waited and waited

with no word about arrangements. We must have sat for a good two hours while again the flight attendants disappeared and virtually no announcements were made. In the end we werent allowed off and so the remaining compensation for this miserable experience could not be used. And again we had to try to get in touch with our relatives in London who were picking us up and hope that they could re-arrange their schedules to collect us despite the incredible delay and no concrete information as to when we might actually arrive. So, for our misery (and I dont use that term loosely), we had $23.54 in Subway sandwiches and $76.46 in unusable vouchers that presumably went back into Deltas pocket. It was clear that there was nothing open in Minneapolis, nowhere to buy a glass of wine or even a toothbrush. In retrospect it seems likely that everyone also knew that there wouldnt be an opportunity to use the rest of the money in New York, so it was an exceptionally empty gesture. Oh! But a fellow passenger did discover that we could have used the full $50 each to enter the Delta lounge (thereby re-routing the $50 from Delta to Delta), but of course then we would have had to pay the Delta lounge for some food. During the flight to London we were told that for our inconvenience we would also receive compensation in the form of vouchers REDEEMABLE ON FUTURE DELTA FLIGHTS. Given that the customer service was the most appalling Ive experienced from an airline, we wont be flying Delta again and therefore this was adding insult to injury yet another attempt at compensation that in the end is of no use to us whatsoever and was seemingly designed to cost the airline the least amount of money and trouble. On the way to London the stewardess looking after us told us how she was called in on a day off as she was on call and that the flight from Minneapolis to London wasnt a typical Delta route but had perhaps been put on for Christmas. Whether or not that had anything to do with the appalling organisation and communication I do not know, but it is no excuse. As icing on the cake of this horrific journey that eventually took well over 24 hours for us, the landing in London was easily the most frightening of my life. Even the stewardess remarked that the pilot seemed to be going very fast as he came in to Heathrow. Again, I absolutely realise that things go wrong with planes and that sometimes delays cannot be avoided. I also understand that we were travelling at a very busy time of year, which perhaps compounded the issues. All of this is perfectly reasonable and this letter is not to complain about the delay so please do not use that as an excuse. This letter is about the appalling lack of customer service, which I will summarise for you: 1. Communication was horrid. We spent an inordinate amount of

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time on the plane going nowhere and the number of announcements to keep us informed of the situation was not adequate. We spent most of the time wondering what was going on both in Minneapolis and in New York. We were allowed to re-board the mended plane in Minneapolis before they had tested the new part, resulting in MORE time sitting on an immobile plane. During all of the time sitting on unmoving planes in both Minneapolis and New York, the crew was nowhere to be found. It seemed quite obvious that the more frustrated passengers became, the longer they spent in the back of the plane. My husband and I both thought it felt as though they were hiding. There were no attempts to make us comfortable or informed. At one point we had to seek out drinking water on our own because no one was to be seen. In my opinion, cabin crew should have been going out of their way to see that people were made as comfortable as possible. Your Twitter account @deltaassist was totally unresponsive. Even if there was nothing they could do at the time, the whole point of a Twitter feed is to reassure your customers that they are being heard. To date I have had no response to my tweets. The compensation was woefully inadequate. The vouchers for $50 each felt like a slap in the face like an empty gesture that Delta knew it would not actually have to pay out because it was quite obvious that no one on the plane could possibly spend it. Had we had actually been given $50 each it might have felt more genuine, but in the end we cost you a total of $23.54 between us. We saw with our own eyes that some passengers received more than others. The vouchers may have been useless, but surely they should have been equal. The second attempt at compensation was equally ridiculous taking money off a flight that we dont intend to take is useless to us. And even if we were willing to fly with you again, a bit of money off of a future flight that we may or may not be in a position to take doesnt exactly show a lot of remorse for a horrible experience it just ensures that IF we want to use it we will also be forced into buying the flight from you. In the end, either you have to spend nothing to compensate us if we dont use the vouchers, or WE have to spend money with you in order to redeem the compensation. After all of this misery, your pilot landed horrifically at Heathrow, capping off an awful journey - icing on a bitter cake.

So again, this letter is NOT a complaint about delays or broken plane parts or unexpected stop-overs. It is about still feeling rotten a month on. We were not compensated properly for an incredibly bad

experience and I dont know that you even realise just how awful an experience it was and why. Ultimately it is your job to get people from A to B, but I would like to think that you as a company would treat your customers the way that you and your family would want to be treated on a journey, and that you would want to provide a service that encourages your passengers to think to themselves: even though there were delays and problems with the flight, I felt sincerely looked after and sympathised with. I do not feel that way even remotely. So what do I want from this? Ideally both my husband and I would like proper compensation not vouchers to use with you because I can assure you I do not intend to fly with you again, but at least something that would take away the bitter taste in our mouths. I also would like to think that my comments were taken to heart that perhaps in future when an inevitable delay occurs, passengers will be communicated with and sympathised with that the staff wont hide in the back of the plane and pilots wont avoid making announcements as passengers sit for hours with nothing to do, wondering when it is they might actually get home and where they can get a drink of water. Oh, and you might consider that your inappropriately named assist Twitter account should deign to respond to unhappy, stranded passengers. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Anne Ronan