A Travellerspoint blog

1. Sofari, not so Goodie

Want to come along?

Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Sunday, August 2, 2015

B4 and I are again off on an adventure. We are headed for South Africa. If you would like to come along with us, please do. If not, just mark this email as junk and you won't be bothered for the next ten days.

There are those who save dessert for last and those who eat it first. Those who eat dessert first cannot deal with delayed gratification. So it is with me; but substituting problems for desserts. I would prefer to get problems out of the way first so that I can enjoy the delights of my life without anticipation of whatever may go wrong--because it already went wrong and was already dealt with.

Delta Airlines has assisted me in this. Delta has presented B4 and me with a host of problems before our journey has even begun.

1. Yesterday, it was time to check in but we could not check in. Unlike other carriers, DL will not allow internet check-in for overseas flights. AA will do it and check your passport later. DL, we experienced, will not. Fine. Deal with it. Check in at the airport.

2. Also, yesterday, DL sent me this text: "Dear Mr. Russell, We understand the importance of providing pre-assigned seats for our customers and try to honor all seat selection requests. However, (you could hear that "however" coming, couldn't you?), seat assignments are not guaranteed. For your upcoming travel, your seat assignment was been changed due to seat duplication. We have done all possible to accommodate you in a similar seat. Please review your new seat assignments in your reservation on delta.com. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. (You could hear that coming as well, couldn't you?) If you have any further questions, please contact Delta Air LInes at 800 221-1212. *******THIS IS AN AUTO_GENERATED EMAIL. DO NOT REPLAY TO THIS EMAIL, YOU WILL NOT RECEIVED A RESPONSE******* Sincerely, Delta Air Lines. We had first class seats together in row two; now we have first class seats but on the bulkhead. The only problem with that is that we are traveling over 9,000 miles with only carry-on luggage. Taking away the under-seat stowage that I had planned for (in row two) means that we need to get four bags overhead. It's a small thing but it's not a small thing.

3. This morning, DL sent this email: "Last Minute Information about Your Trip. We are trying to contact you because times have changed for your flight on August 2." In essence, DL was telling us that our 12:24pm departure was pushed back to 2:21pm. So now, instead of arriving in ATL at 3:30, we are scheduled to arrive at 5:27. That means that our comfortable connection in ATL to our non-stop flight to Johannesburg is no longer comfortable. We should still make it but now the leisurely stroll from Terminal B to Terminal A will be more of a hurried walk. Not a jog, you understand, but a fast paced transition.

4. In an attempt to find out what was really happening with our aircraft, I went on the web. Delta.com offered no information. Weather.com showed no weather in Kansas City or Atlanta or anywhere in between. So, I did what DL told me to do earlier in the day; I called them. I'm no fool, however, I didn't call the main 1212 number because I knew I would be put on hold forever if I did. I called the DL Million Miler Special Private High Priority Best Customer No Waiting Line. After being on hold there for 44 minutes, I got a real person on the phone who could not give me any further information, could not get my seats reassigned off the bulkhead and, it turned out, could not read a clock because she told me that the aircraft we would ultimately fly on from MCI to ATL was already airborne because it was scheduled to depart at 1:02pm EDT and it was already later than that. The problem was that the call was taking place at 10:45am CDT which is 11:45 EDT. She told me that, where she was, it was already after 1:02pm EDT> I asked where she was. She told me that she was in ATL. We discussed what time it was in ATL but she said the clock she was looking at told her that it was after 1:00pm there--even though it was only 11:45am there at the time. I lost confidence in her at that point.

5. I asked to be transferred to a supervisor. That irritated everyone because the supervisor was downright nasty. By the time I had her on the phone, she began to lecture me about asking her one question at a time. By that time, B4 and I were in the car service on the way to the airport. I had the DL call on the speakerphone and our driver said, "Wow. I used to run a call center for DST and nobody should ever talk to a customer that way." I concurred. cc9b1ab0-2e80-11ea-b4a3-9b4d3abf0dd3.jpg

6. At the airport, Sally at the Sky Priority Desk, was loopy. She asked me three times how many bags I had to check after I had told her that we had no bags to check. She insisted that the television monitor that said DL had an earlier flight to ATL was wrong; there was no earlier flight. (there was--but it was oversold so we couldn't have gotten on it).

7. At the gate, the agent was the savior. She said she could not get us on the earlier flight but that she would watch for passengers who checked in for our flight to see if anyone would trade seats with us so we could get off the bulkhead. Whether or not she does that is of no concern to me. The fact that she showed empathy and offered to help is quite enough.

As I write this, it is an hour past our schedule departure and we have another hour to wait before our delayed flight is schedule to push back from the gate and there are no DL aircraft here--either for the "earlier" flight that is of questionable existence or our delayed flight.

A quick look at flightaware.com (a nifty site) reveals that our inbound aircraft has just crossed form Arkansas into southern Missouri and is scheduled to be here at 1:38, 2.5 hours late. Why DL can't tell us these reassuring facts, I do not know.

What this has achieved is singular. There is never anything to write on these travel blogs from your departure city because nothing interesting ever happens. Today is different.

Here is a customer service idea. I suggest that every institution stop saying, "We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause." They should, I think, say instead: "We know we have caused you an inconvenience and we are sorry. We will try to make it up to you."

In any event, we are off to an interesting beginning for our safari. So far, not so good.

Posted by paulej4 15:32 Archived in USA

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