“Tarnished Medallion Program: When Awards Are Punishment”
Flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake City
- Round Trip
- Number of Stops:
- 1 stop in Los Angeles, California
- Date of Flight:
- February 2010
- Seat Class:
Had to get to a funeral. I was dismayed to see that the same seat(from ATL to SLC) on sale that week for $108 including fees, RT, was priced at nearly $800 for a 1-day advance purchase on February 11.I went to Delta's website to see if I could do any better using my miles. The only itinerary I could afford to get to the funeral was priced at 42,000 miles. I toyed with Delta's ridiculous “Pay with Miles” scheme. That would have run me over 55,000 miles! I called, waited TWO HOURS and got a “bereavement” fare quote of $600 and change.If Delta sympathizes with its bereaved passengers, why not charge them the average fare for the route? I used the miles.I spent a total of SIX HOURS on hold in order to put my trip together. I left home at 4:30 AM to get to my 7:30 AM flight. Delta's Medallion Flyer security line was a joke. Since nobody was checking it and as long as the regular line.During my last two trips, I have selected a seat from Delta's online diagram, clearly marked as an exit row, only to find that my selected seat on the aircraft was a regular cranny, one row to the rear of the exit row seat I wanted. Delta's gate agents are much too harried with cramming standbys and oversale victims onto the plane to worry about an incorrect seat assignment. With every flight I’ve taken lately, Delta's “Breezeway” boarding line has been inoperative because the scanners for the second boarding line are broken (or so the gate personnel would have us believe!) Once aboard the 7:30 AM flight on February 12th, we pushed back, and the pilots, obviously going through their pre-flight checklist, found a malfunctioning circuit board. Back at the gate, we sat for an hour while it was fixed. Inexcusable.
Inexcusable because the first plane to fly out in the morning should have been pre-inspected to be certain that at least the first flight of the day takes off on time. This shows unwillingness to control a variable that can be controlled, not good business practice.I was routed through LAX. To have gotten a direct flight to SLC would have cost me a great deal more than the 42,000 miles I had to part with. There wasn’t a single itinerary for 25,000 miles available!
While I’m at it, what is it with Delta's “Weekly Fare Specials” E-mail? I just got one advertising ATL-SNA for $98 each way ($196 RT). The “best” price was actually $328 RT for the days I need to fly. Another time-wasting scam. Why should one have to be a lucky detective, able to spend hours to find the secret day and time the come-on price actually applies? That kind of deception only makes people angry with Delta.Because of the aforementioned mechanical problem, I (and many others) missed my connection in LAX. Exhausted, I had to stand in line for an hour to get to the front of the line of passengers (being served by only two agents!), I was in tears when the agent told me that she could get me to SLC the next day, AFTER the funeral! Why was I flying? To throw my hard-earned miles down the toilet? To be jerked around by Delta Air Lines? Delta needs to heed and take to heart American Airlines’ slogan: “WE know why you fly!” Delta doesn’t seem to care. Delta applies the same kind of brutal, care less, bottom-line logic to passengers as it would to a pallet of rocks.
That kind of indifference to the suffering and human misery caused by Delta's wretched flight offerings, disorganization and subsequent late departures, ever-smaller seats and carry-on bins and boxcar–like flights may help its bottom line for a while, but—trust me—it will not work over the long haul. I used to love to fly, but now I drive whenever possible. And I speak for thousands of Delta customers.
After clicking silently away on the keys for a half hour, your LAX re-booking agent finally came up with a “solution” for me—to wait in LAX for FIVE AND A HALF MORE HOURS, then fly to Las Vegas, wait for ANOTHER THREE HOURS, then fly to SLC. I was in transit for EIGHTEEN AND A HALF HOURS when it should have been EIGHT AND A HALF HOURS! And really, if Delta treated loyal customers as they should be treated, I should have been able to get door to door in FIVE hours—for your highly ballyhooed 25,000 miles for a free trip within the continental U.S. But spending exorbitant amounts of miles to fly direct, I could not do. I was forced to accept an itinerary that was unacceptable, in exchange for a number of miles that was unacceptable. I was grateful to that persistent agent for her efforts, because she was working against a system that does not serve the needs of the passenger. Otherwise, I should have been livid. By the time I finally reached my destination and lay down to sleep that night, I had been awake for a total of FORTY-TWO HOURS!
Delta has cut back so drastically on the number of flights, that it has become nearly impossible to get anywhere on Delta at the hour you need to fly.