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Freakonomics Column On DL's Questionable Service  
User currently offlinePROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5625 posts, RR: 5
Posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 5681 times:

Interesting read:
http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.co...uld-be-delta-airlines-biggest-fan/


"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRJNUT From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1209 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5575 times:

I loved the 1st comment to the author about "paying too much for his book" LOL!!

Lots of really bad armchair executives commenting to that article, with really absurd notions of airline reality!


User currently offlineFlynavy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5521 times:

From Delta's Contract of Carriage, Rule no. 3:

Quote:
Delta will use its best efforts to carry the passenger and baggage with reasonable dispatch.
Times shown in timetables or elsewhere are not guaranteed and form no part of this contract.
Delta may without notice substitute alternate carriers or aircraft, and may alter or omit stopping
places shown on the ticket in case of necessity. Schedules are subject to change without
notice. Delta is not responsible or liable for making connections, or for failing to operate any
flight according to schedule, or for changing the schedule or any flight.

Rule no. 20:

Quote:
The carrier shall limit the number of passengers carried on any one flight at fares governed by
rules or fares making reference hereto, and such fares will not necessarily be available on all
flights or in all markets. The number of seats which the carrier shall make available on a given
flight will be determined by the carrier's best judgment as to the anticipated total passenger load
on each flight.

I'm not saying he's right nor am I saying he's wrong - but chances are this guy didn't read the contract of carraige when he purchased his ticket.

Delta is not required to contact the First Class passengers in advance in this instance. They were only required to notify the customer at the airport upon his arrival at check-in, which they did. Had his flight been cancelled, then yes, they would be required to notify the customer in advance.

The fact of the matter is he's lucky his flight wasn't cancelled due to the mechanical problem. Read the fine print.


User currently offlineUnitedFirst From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 478 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5507 times:

Stories like this one are very good news, however, if you are in the VLJ (very light jet) business, since that is where business travelers are moving. It could also be good news for Richard Branson, who is on an all-business-class binge at the moment, and is rumored to be thinking about offering all-business-class flights in the U.S., the absence of which I have wondered about before on this blog.

It's amusing because it links the bold portion above to an article which speaks of Branson's desire to create a trans-Atlantic all-business class airline once US-EU Open Skies hits – not, as the author suggests, in the US domestic market.

Branson himself would not even have the option of cracking the US domestic market with such a venture until US-EU Open Skies enters the phase of US cabotage, and that seems to be a big question mark right now.


User currently offlinePacNWjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 955 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5473 times:

Quoting Flynavy (Reply 2):
Delta is not required to contact the First Class passengers in advance in this instance. They were only required to notify the customer at the airport upon his arrival at check-in, which they did. Had his flight been cancelled, then yes, they would be required to notify the customer in advance.

No argument about any of this, but what about refunding the difference between the First Class and Economy fares since the author paid for First but would be flying Economy? Seems like since Delta changed the aircraft on the spot it should offer a refund on the spot rather than requiring the customer to call customer service. Maybe Delta is not legally required to do this, but it would not be an unreasonable expectation on the part of passengers.


User currently offlineSwiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5473 times:

I do agree with his point about chasing up refunds; this happens too much in life, i.e. the firm owes you something, yet you have to go out of your way and spend time gagging for it.

User currently offlineSxf24 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 1257 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5434 times:

The only single class jet DL operates is the Shuttle M-80s, which could have been available as a spare on a Saturday. While its not a F seat, its features very generous legroom.

User currently offlinePilotboi From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2366 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5434 times:

Quoting Flynavy (Reply 2):
Delta is not required to contact the First Class passengers in advance in this instance. They were only required to notify the customer at the airport upon his arrival at check-in, which they did.

As PacNWjet said, this article is not about what is required, it's about what's 'expected' of a good airline. Of course this kind of stuff is not required, but it would be nice to have. It's all about customer service. And I'm not trying to pin anything on DL, after all they are my perfered airline. This has to do with any airline, or any company, for that matter.

Quoting PacNWjet (Reply 4):
Maybe Delta is not legally required to do this, but it would not be an unreasonable expectation on the part of passengers.

That says it all.


User currently offlineSpoke2Spoke From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 190 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5406 times:

Quoting Flynavy (Reply 2):
Delta is not required to contact the First Class passengers in advance in this instance.

Ok maybe not based on the conditions of carriage. But would you agree that Delta should contact pax in this instance, as this is the right thing to do?



...carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks. - Wilbur Wright
User currently offlineCrewchief From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 5406 times:

Quoting Flynavy (Reply 2):
I'm not saying he's right nor am I saying he's wrong - but chances are this guy didn't read the contract of carraige when he purchased his ticket.

I'd guess only a miniscule percentage read the contract of carriage. Instead, they trust the airline to deliver to the customer's expectations. Violations of trust lead to customer disillusionment and defection.

Quoting Flynavy (Reply 2):
Read the fine print.

I think any airline that relies on that defense will soon find itself in financial trouble. The fine print may be legal protection, it does nothing for customer satisfaction and retention.


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 5265 times:

A couple of points to the author:

  • Pulling an airplane because of "light loads" is illegal as well as dumb on the airlines part - just because YOUR flight is only 40% full doesn't mean the return flight the plane will be flying is the same way. And if DL has to bump pax because the scheduled plane is now smaller, that's more of a headache for them!

  • If you are flying first class, and you are paying first class, wonderful! You are entitled to a full refund for the difference in fare. If that's really too much trouble for you to do, well, have your staff do it for you.

  • If you are flying first class because of an upgrade or your miles, you can use them again for an upgrade at a later time.

  • If DL still gives you a headache and there's a fare hassle, contact your credit card company. They will put a hold on the charge until the matter is resolved. If you DID pay and DL won't refund the difference, you have a legal right to get what you paid for or get a refund. Credit card companies will help you with this.

    Otherwise, I really can't feel sorry for you.



  • Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
    User currently offlinePilotboi From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2366 posts, RR: 9
    Reply 11, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 5160 times:

    Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 10):
    Pulling an airplane because of "light loads" is illegal as well as dumb on the airlines part

    Interesting, I did not know this. Do you have a source that it is illegal? I am not doubting you, but I am just curious as to what the rule says exactly and where it is.

    I do agree that it is dumb though. To switch out aircraft causes a lot of work for the agents. I'm sure they try to avoid this as much as possible.


    User currently offlineAirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 12, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 5075 times:

    Quoting Flynavy (Reply 2):
    Delta is not responsible or liable for making connections, or for failing to operate any
    flight according to schedule, or for changing the schedule or any flight.

    Quoting rule #3, why do airlines say stuff like that? If they are not responsible for changing the schedule, who is? This illustrates the sad state of airlines in the US who don't really care about passengers.

    And for the refund, who wants to bet the difference in fare will be the difference in what he payed for his F ticket and a full-Y walkup fare that day? Equally sad.


    User currently offlineADent From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 1356 posts, RR: 2
    Reply 13, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 5042 times:

    Quoting UnitedFirst (Reply 3):
    Branson himself would not even have the option of cracking the US domestic market with such a venture until US-EU Open Skies enters the phase of US cabotage, and that seems to be a big question mark right now.

    What is the question on cabotage? It is not going to happen in the US for a long time.


    User currently offlineTeamAmerica From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 1761 posts, RR: 23
    Reply 14, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 5008 times:

    Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 10):
    You are entitled to a full refund for the difference in fare. If that's really too much trouble for you to do, well, have your staff do it for you.

     sarcastic Exactly the kind of attitude we mere mortal passengers are fed up with. If it's really too much trouble for an airline with a computerized billing system to handle, we should take our business elsewhere.



    Failure is not an option; it's an outcome.
    User currently offlineACVitale From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 922 posts, RR: 11
    Reply 15, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 4994 times:

    Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 10):
    Pulling an airplane because of "light loads" is illegal as well as dumb on the airlines part - just because YOUR flight is only 40% full doesn't mean the return flight the plane will be flying is the same way. And if DL has to bump pax because the scheduled plane is now smaller, that's more of a headache for them!

    It is hardly "illegal" however, there are significant consumer protections and rights that would apply. Yet the conditions of carriage are the guiding document as they are the contract. This statement is not correct or factually accurate. On flights to/from the EU there are additional protections including compensation and ammenities that apply but, again hardly illegal. For the most part an airline can cancel any reservation 14 days or more prior to departure and not have any compensation or other obligations other then the refund of the cancelled portion.

    Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 10):
    If you are flying first class, and you are paying first class, wonderful! You are entitled to a full refund for the difference in fare. If that's really too much trouble for you to do, well, have your staff do it for you.

    These days, particularily on domestic flights, there are F and C class tickets that cost less then full Y fares. Because of this and the airline policies it is unlikely one will be successful in collection of any significant fare differentials.

    Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 10):
    If DL still gives you a headache and there's a fare hassle, contact your credit card company. They will put a hold on the charge until the matter is resolved. If you DID pay and DL won't refund the difference, you have a legal right to get what you paid for or get a refund. Credit card companies will help you with this.

    This will work until the airline responds and with the conditions of carriage the charge will appear right back on the bill. Trust me been there on both sides of the disputes.


    User currently offlinePacNWjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 955 posts, RR: 0
    Reply 16, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4940 times:

    Quoting ACVitale (Reply 15):
    These days, particularily on domestic flights, there are F and C class tickets that cost less then full Y fares. Because of this and the airline policies it is unlikely one will be successful in collection of any significant fare differentials.

    Unlikely perhaps, but not impossible. My wife and had a similar thing happen on Delta when we purchased First Class but were downgraded to Economy when an aircraft on one leg was switched from a two-class 737 to a single-class regional jet. We called Delta and were able to get the difference between F and Y refunded.


    User currently offlineModernArt From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 17, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4917 times:

    Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 10):
    If that's really too much trouble for you to do, well, have your staff do it for you.

    Not to belabor the point, but it should be an automatic refund on the airline's part. And the flyer should receive an immediate email and followup phone call. But the airline hopes you don't call, or that you realize in 30 or 60 days that you are owed a refund. Free interest earned for Delta.


    User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 9
    Reply 18, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4805 times:

    Quote:
    Quoting rule #3, why do airlines say stuff like that? If they are not responsible for changing the schedule, who is? This illustrates the sad state of airlines in the US who don't really care about passengers.

    Weather, mechanical, ATC delays...the list goes on.

    If it were possible to do so, passengers would depend on making their connections regardless of the delays, and then hold the airline responsible.

    Basically that rule is there to say, "don't blame us for weather in Chicago when you didn't make your connection to that all important meeting!"

    Quote:
    And for the refund, who wants to bet the difference in fare will be the difference in what he payed for his F ticket and a full-Y walkup fare that day? Equally sad.

    Agreed, but first class passengers are usually frequent fliers. I think the chances are good that IF this person paid full Y class fare, the airline will be quick to rectify the situation - customers that still pay for the front seats are getting rarer and rarer. If the person upgraded, then it should just be credited as such.

    Quote:
    This will work until the airline responds and with the conditions of carriage the charge will appear right back on the bill. Trust me been there on both sides of the disputes.

    In most cases, yes - but if you paid for full first class fare and it was not given, that is a legitimate reason. One must be firm, but polite.

    Quote:
    Not to belabor the point, but it should be an automatic refund on the airline's part. And the flyer should receive an immediate email and followup phone call. But the airline hopes you don't call, or that you realize in 30 or 60 days that you are owed a refund.

    I agree, but nothing is automatic in this world anymore - you MUST take care of your own business!! Be firm and insist on what's coming to you. Don't trust anyone to do it for you. Be vigilant.



    Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
    User currently offlineIncitatus From Brazil, joined Feb 2005, 3994 posts, RR: 13
    Reply 19, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3941 times:

    The latest Conde Nast Traveler magazine has Delta in last place in its business traveler poll among the large US carriers when it comes to domestic first class service - behind Continental, United, American, Northwest, Hawaiian and Alaska. Delta has the honor of being ahead Sun Country and Spirit!

    User currently offlineRwSEA From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3076 posts, RR: 2
    Reply 20, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3865 times:

    Quoting Incitatus (Reply 19):
    The latest Conde Nast Traveler magazine has Delta in last place in its business traveler poll among the large US carriers when it comes to domestic first class service - behind Continental, United, American, Northwest, Hawaiian and Alaska. Delta has the honor of being ahead Sun Country and Spirit!

    Not surprised. Up until now DL's domestic F product has been pretty crummy. Old outdated seats without any modern features (e.g. headrests, lumbar, etc.). One meal choice only, that rarely changes, and is served with plastic cups and silverware.

    Looks like the service is finally going to be changing here soon (better meals and real silverware again). Not a moment too soon. Hopefully they're going to be installing better seats with some of the reconfigurations they have planned.


    User currently offlineWhiteBirdFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 21, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 3722 times:

    Quoting RwSEA (Reply 20):
    Looks like the service is finally going to be changing here soon (better meals and real silverware again).

    From Delta's website under Food and what to expect in First Class on flights of 3.5 hours or more:

    * Complimentary meal served with glassware and metal cutlery

    And from the same section in regards to the JFK to SFO/LAX and other transcon routes:

    * Choice of two entrees, created by Delta Chef Michelle Bernstein, served with glassware and metal cutlery


    The glassware and real cutlery seems to have already come back. I'll be on a transcon DL flight this week in F and will be happy to see if this has happened.

    Cordially,
    WFB


    User currently offlineACVitale From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 922 posts, RR: 11
    Reply 22, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3668 times:

    The IFE improvements recently installed make it unlikely that we will see a change to seats with wing headrests, footrests, and lumbar support.

    I would personally like to see meals in F or J (On the few business class domestic flights) on stage lengths of 2 hrs or more. Basically you need to fly ATL to PHX/LAS/SLC or further. On connections you can spend half a day travelling with no meal options in F.


    User currently offlineFlynavy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
    Reply 23, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3504 times:

    Quoting Spoke2Spoke (Reply 8):
    Ok maybe not based on the conditions of carriage. But would you agree that Delta should contact pax in this instance, as this is the right thing to do?

    The world isn't perfect. The author of the editorial thinks he knows it all, and quickly jumped to conspiracy theories on the part of the Delta. What IF his aircraft was actually grounded for a mechanical problem? Jumping to conclusions without knowing the facts (common practice in the media) to generate hits on a story is basically what this all boils down to.

    He'll get his refund and rightly so.

    If indeed it was the case the first class-equipped aircraft was down for a mechanical problem and the flight was outright cancelled, we probably would have seen a similar editorial bashing Delta for some other reason.

    EVERY airline operates in accordance with their Contract of Carriage. Period, end of story.

    If you want the laws changed, contact your Congressman.


    User currently offlineMike89406 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1458 posts, RR: 3
    Reply 24, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3316 times:

    Quoting Incitatus (Reply 19):
    The latest Conde Nast Traveler magazine has Delta in last place in its business traveler poll among the large US carriers when it comes to domestic first class service - behind Continental, United, American, Northwest, Hawaiian and Alaska. Delta has the honor of being ahead Sun Country and Spirit!



    Quoting RwSEA (Reply 20):
    Not surprised. Up until now DL's domestic F product has been pretty crummy. Old outdated seats without any modern features (e.g. headrests, lumbar, etc.). One meal choice only, that rarely changes, and is served with plastic cups and silverware.

    DL might have been rated last but since the re-emergence from Chapter 11. DL seems to be making bigger strides towards better service even in Y class I got 2 snack services on ATL-LAX 1st one was the infamous cheese cracker pack and a choice of 5 snacks and beverage on the second one I know not much to write home about however I'm told thats better than most legacy carriers are doing in the US for snack service.

    I can't speak about they're F or Y class but I hear BOB is coming for economy.

    Back to the subject though no airline in the US is perfect even CO has it problems and customer service issues so I've read and heard as of lately. If anyone is going to cross DL off the list of carriers they prefer thats the persons perogative. However I see DL become one of the better Legacy carriers in the future it will take time to build a reputation.

    You can't judge an airline by 1 or 2 articles in the news. My point is you cant compare the past DL crummy service to the present things seem to have changed.


    25 RwSEA : I agree wholehartedly that the service is improving (I pointed that out in my post, in fact). The biggest thing they'll need to do is upgrade the sea
    26 Post contains images Pilotboi : Go Delta!
    27 Tootallsd : Given how complex fares are, I don't see how that is instantly possible. We know the price of the ticket that was used. So we need to compare that to
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