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A Delta passenger asked a simple question. The answer was a disaster

At what point do airline customers completely give up?
chris-matyszczyk
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer on
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Can't answer the simplest questions?

(A screenshot from a Delta ad.)

A screenshot from a Delta ad

The airlines survived the latest holiday weekend, likely better than some of their customers.

The airlines are almost getting bullish now.

Why, Delta and United both insist that problems with flight delays are largely the fault of Air Traffic Control rather than, say, the fact that airlines let far too many competent people leave during the COVID-19 pandemic while they trousered billions of taxpayer dollars.

Now they're furiously hiring. The question some might ask is: who exactly is taking these airline jobs?

I only mutter the thought after seeing the angst of a Delta Air Lines passenger who tried to ask a simple question.

No, it wasn't. "Does my plane have a pilot today?" It wasn't even "Will my plane take off at some point today, within ten hours of its scheduled time?"

It was merely this: "Hi there. Please can you confirm whether or not Premium Select passengers at Heathrow have access to Fast Track security?"

FlightRadar24's Jason Rabinowitz asked the question, and it's a question many business flyers might be asking as they hurtle through airports on the way to doing something important. Fast Track security saves time.

Rabinowitz posted his text exchange with Delta's customer service on Twitter. It's an exchange that flew swiftly sideways.

It started well, though. Delta's customer service responded: "Sure. I would be happy to do that; please allow me a few minutes to check."

"OK," replied Rabinowitz. But then came Delta's response.

"I am sorry, but I am not sure about it. Could you please elaborate," said the airline.

This is what you might call a warning sign. To whom are you talking? And, perhaps most importantly, how long has this person been working for the airline?

Rabinowitz was clearly patient. He explained: "Sure. European airports have Fast Track security that comes with certain tickets. I am asking if Premium Select includes Fast Track security for use at Heathrow T3."

Also: I always thought Delta was reliable. Then came these five disastrous flights

Delta had not prepared its cabin for landing. For the airline replied: "I am sorry but this of things [sic] not come with Delta tickets."

Was this a human? Was this a bot? Or was this just a complete mess?

Once Rabinowitz had posted the exchange to Twitter, Delta tweeted a response with more coherence. Somewhat. It explained that, sadly, Premium Select passengers weren't availed of the Fast Track privilege.

Rabinowitz pointed out that the airline's website suggests something different. Delta promised it would report it so that it could be updated.

Yet Rabinowitz accurately expressed his frustration like this: "I just want to know if I should expect a 20-minute wait for [sic] 3-hour wait for security, and nobody can tell me for sure."

That's one thing passengers wish they had from airlines right now. A certain certainty. For their part, airlines certainly fail too often, certainly apologize and certainly have their pilots picketing for a new contract.

For Delta customers, what's saddest is that the airline was, for so long, known for its reliability -- something for which customers were prepared to pay more.

Now, the airline looks the same as the rest.

It must be Air Traffic Control's fault, right?

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