nycflyer
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Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:26 am

Yesterday my gf and I came back from vacation in AUA, to NYC. Going down there we went nonstop on CO from EWR. However, since it was a very cheap ticket from cheaptickets.com, we were routed via SDQ on return, first on Aeropostal (VH 822, CCS-AUA-SDQ), then on DL 524, SDQ-JFK.

It was one of the most bizarre transfers of my life (up there with switching from AF to Yemenia in Cairo), worthy of its own trip report, but since this is the aviation forum, I'll stick to a few main points.

1) there was no transfer desk for DL. in general, it seemed like no one really knew what to do with pax who were transfering airlines. We had to check-in w/DL in the main departures area upstairs. but that's the least of it.

2) our flight was at 5pm, and we were collecting our bags from VH at 3:40pm. Plenty of time, right? A VH rep rushed over to us to say that DL had stopped allowing check-in with luggage for our flight, and that we could get boarding passes from DL, but that the VH agent would personally have to hand-deliver our bags to the DL rampers. I thought he was full of it and just wanted a small tip from us, but the guy was very official and never seemed to linger for a tip.

3) Sure enough, we got upstairs to check in, and other pax who were arriving to check bags had to have their bags taken from them (not checked in and put on the conveyer belt like normal) by porters with carts and hand-delivered to DL rampers. This is all despite the fact that there was a functional conveyer belt behind the check-in desk, as normal.

4) The main DL check-in guy spoke next to no English. To be honest, I was appalled. I said to him, "can I please give you my Continental Onepass number," and he said back, "no, no, Delta number. Delta 5-2-4," simply repeating the flight number to me. Basically, he had no idea what I was saying.

Then I said to him, "why don't you accept bags for check-in right now? when do you stop accepting bags? one hour before the flight?" And he stutters back to me, "no, flight at 4:55pm," repeating the departure time back to me.

While I know SDQ is more of a VFR destination with relatively few tourists, DL is still an American airline, and I was shocked at how poor this guy's English was. I have had check-in staff with fluent English on non-U.S. (and U.S.) carriers in LatAm, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

So basically I'm just wondering, what's up with DL's operation in SDQ? Does anyone have a thought or response to any of the issues I've mentioned here? Thanks.
 
gift4tbone
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:30 am

Well, when I was in NAS on NK, I wrote up a trip report about the poor customer service in NAS by NK, and I was told by an employee of NK, that they did not work directly for NK, so possibly the same thing here? I dunno, just a thought.

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Top 3 airports: PVD 23.9%(138 flights), PHL 14.7%(85 flights), PHX 10.2%(59 flights)
 
Cory6188
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:58 am

Well I can't speak personally about SDQ, as I've never been there, I can tell you that the vendor that works the CO flights out of STT is really bad. Talk about disorganized - they had no clue what the heck they were doing, and there was one poor CO supervisor (the only real CO employee as far as I could tell) that was forced to handle a zillion problems.

I think it's a Caribbean thing in general. The contracted employees are most definitely on "island time," and they simply don't have the same sense of efficiency that you find in the US. While I don't think that all outsourced vendors are bad (the CO ones in HNL were totally competent) - they simply don't have the finesse that the real CSRs have...
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:07 pm

Quoting NYCFlyer (Thread starter):

So basically I'm just wondering, what's up with DL's operation in SDQ? Does anyone have a thought or response to any of the issues I've mentioned here? Thanks.

It's not a DL problem. DL has excellent staff in a couple of South American countries (at least)-- staff so good they put some in this country to shame.
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tjwgrr
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Tue Mar 28, 2006 11:30 pm

Quoting Cory6188 (Reply 2):
I can tell you that the vendor that works the CO flights out of STT is really bad.

I concur- Last May the CO agent at STT was clueless when my wife and I walked up with our internet generated self check-in boarding passes. Actually she had started to check us in again and re-assign us seats. They had never seen them before I guess. Luckily they weren't busy and the supervisor nearby was familiar with them....

Always a good idea to arrive at the airport and check in early when everyone's on island time.......
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LGA777
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:10 am

I travel regularly between NYC and SDQ non-rev usally on AA and US but once each on CO and DL. While I belive all of AA's SDQ check in staff are AA employees most of the other carriers are mostly handling companies. I believe US has either 2 or 3 of it's own employees per flight and the rest are Swissport but in full US uniforms and nametags, most passengers would never know. Never had any problem on US or AA. On my one DL flight it was more obivious that the employees where Swissport, did not see or encounter one actual DL employee at SDQ. My DL flight was on a 763 to JFK, booked about 75 pct full in Y with zero out of 24 booked in J. As DL is really great about upgrading Other Airline (OA) employees if space is available I asked both at the counter and gate and I was told firmly that DL does NOT upgrade OA employees period, sorry sir. Dissipointed with the empty J cabin as I walked thru to my seat way, way back, I showed my OA employee ID to a friendly DL FA and asked about moving to another (Y) seat and he said "What are you doing Back Here" you should be in J and moved me up. I recieved great service and all the Flight Attendents where surprised about non-revs not being upgraded by SDQ. And BTW maybe just a coincendance but the two Swissport/DL employees I spoke two at SDQ seemed to speak less English than the agents at AA/US. As typical with my AA flights to/from SDQ, about 95-97 pct of the passengers appeared to be of Dominican descent althogh I am sure many where US citizens.

Regards

LGA777
 
FlyDeltaJets
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:20 am

At SDQ there is usullay 1 or 2 actual DL employees. I was out there in December and I didn't have that muck of a problem with the communication. Check -in for luggage is supposed to cut off an Hour before departure so 3:40 is kinda pushing it with all of those (not to be racist but we all know what bags from latin america look like) ultra -sized bags. But as for transfers SDQ is handled as a terminating point for DL as there is no DL or DL codeshare that goes any further. That might be why the no transfer desk. But if I remember correctly As you are walking down to the arrivals hall there is a Checkpoint somewhere on the left that I believe is used for connection flight but I might be wrong.
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USPIT10L
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:36 am

Yes, most of the stations in the Caribbean are contracted out. Most of these stations only get two or three flights a day at most, so the need for mainline people is virtually nil, especially with the down time during the day. It's good to see US Airways takes this market seriously, along with AA, but it's disappointing to see DL take such little care of things like that after ignoring the Caribbean for so long. Ditto on CO.
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DLPMMM
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:49 am

The communication problem could also be caused by a NY accent by the traveller. It is not easy for someone who speaks english as a second language to understand all the different accents that english is spoken with. Heck, I have problems understanding some people with heavy accents, and english is my first language.
 
nycflyer
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:17 am

Thanks for all your comments. These guys were probably contracted, not DL employees. Oh, and similar to LGA777's comment, my gf and I were not given the seats we had requested a week before the flight. We weren't even seated next to each other. When we protested, they got us seats that were, oddly, the aisle and window of the same row. They had given some other random person the middle seat, which is really weird. (no problem switching seats with her).

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 8):
The communication problem could also be caused by a NY accent by the traveller. It is not easy for someone who speaks english as a second language to understand all the different accents that english is spoken with. Heck, I have problems understanding some people with heavy accents, and english is my first language

LOL, for the record, while I am a native New Yorker, I have a totally neutral American accent. You wouldn't know where I was from, to hear me talk.
 
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SLCUT2777
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:26 am

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 7):
Yes, most of the stations in the Caribbean are contracted out. Most of these stations only get two or three flights a day at most, so the need for mainline people is virtually nil, especially with the down time during the day. It's good to see US Airways takes this market seriously, along with AA, but it's disappointing to see DL take such little care of things like that after ignoring the Caribbean for so long. Ditto on CO.

Service to the DR beyond SDQ is primarily seasonal to places like PUJ and POP where traffic in and out of all-inclusives rule the flight-lines, so contracting out isn't such a bad idea. Just hiring a contractor who will assure the people know how to speak English (Not hard in the DR by Caribbean standards!), and meet DL's standards is what is mostly needed down there.
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deltagator
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:51 am

Quoting NYCFlyer (Thread starter):
there was no transfer desk for DL. in general, it seemed like no one really knew what to do with pax who were transfering airlines. We had to check-in w/DL in the main departures area upstairs. but that's the least of it.

How often do they have transfers from one carrier to DL at this airport? I would doubt very often. I would also hazard a guess that there are only a few DL flights a day so why not funnel everyone to the main desk?

I'll use my flight into EWR from SIN as an example. I had to leave the international area, go outside of security, check-in with DL, turn over my bags, and then go back through security. Why staff one or two people at a desk that is rarely used?

Quoting NYCFlyer (Thread starter):
While I know SDQ is more of a VFR destination with relatively few tourists,

What does VFR mean in this instance again? I know it isn't Visual Flight Rules but some other industry slang that I just don't remember right now.

Quoting NYCFlyer (Thread starter):
our flight was at 5pm, and we were collecting our bags from VH at 3:40pm. Plenty of time, right? A VH rep rushed over to us to say that DL had stopped allowing check-in with luggage for our flight

Could be the time limit to check in before an international flight. Not really sure but I would think there is a cutoff point at some point for security reasons, etc.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
nycflyer
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:28 am

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 11):
What does VFR mean in this instance again? I know it isn't Visual Flight Rules but some other industry slang that I just don't remember right now.

VFR = visiting friends and relatives. It implies a route that is more of an ethnic route, rather than a business route or a tourist route, though obviously you'd get a mix of all three on most flights.
 
deltagator
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RE: Weird Experience W/DL In SDQ

Sat Apr 01, 2006 3:29 am

Quoting NYCFlyer (Reply 12):
VFR = visiting friends and relatives.

Thanks. I'll file it away for future knowledge.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."

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