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To My Editors, Whoever You Are

January 7, 2008

Hello everyone, it is Steph once again taking over my husband’s blog to ask for some assistance.

After an eventful flight experience both to and from the Pacific Northwest I decided a letter to Delta was required. Having never written such a letter as this I thought perhaps I could get some much needed help from family and friends who may or may not have written letters like this:

Draft 7: Thanks to those who have left comments. I tried to take them into consideration when writing this draft.

Dear Sir:

I am not the sort of person to complain or be “disgruntled” in anyway. In fact, I am by personality quite the opposite. However, my family’s (My husband, 2 year old daughter, and 1 year old daughter) and my recent journey from Manchester, NH to Portland, OR has given me no choice, but to make my small voice heard as loudly as I am capable of making it.

Now I could spend the rest of the letter going on a long 10 page diatribe of our Delta Experience, but instead of wasting both your time and mine, I will simply give you the lowlights.

  • Our original flights were changed by your company. I spent 2 hours on the phone rearranging our flights so that we would have a layover longer than 30 minutes .
  • The first flight (12/15/07, Delta Flight 4465 from MHT to ATL) didn’t get to Atlanta until almost an hour and a half late due to a “fuel spill” and flight traffic, which may not have been solely Delta’s fault, but was frustrating none the less.
  • We made it to the next flight (12/15/07, Delta Flight 1287 from ATL to PDX) just as they were boarding. However, our luggage wasn’t so lucky. We waited to see if our luggage came on the next flight from Atlanta. When, our luggage did arrive in Portland, it was drenched and the car seats were covered in road grime. Our girls rode home late at night in sopping, cold, wet seats thanks to your baggage handlers. We stayed up a few hours just washing the once clean clothing, that was now dripping wet.
  • Our return flight (1/01/08, Delta Flight 698 from PDX to CIN) went perfectly with one exception, the film choice. Honestly, when you have families on board your plane, do you think it appropriate to show RUSH HOUR 3 on every screen so that whether or not you want to see naked women, you are forced to? What a true lack of class.
  • Now for the worst flight, Delta Flight 5169 from CIN to MHT (scheduled 1/1/08 left 1/2/08). We should have departed at 7:35pm, instead we waited 5 hours before we were actually on the plane and ready to take off. Our first take off attempt failed, and was followed several minutes later by a shaky, 1 am take off. We arrived in Manchester around 2:30 am.
  • When picking up our luggage we found one of our car seats was destroyed. We received a loaner, and claim form with instructions. The following day we were told to disregard the original instructions and instead to purchase a new seat, then return to the airport with the loaner, old seat and receipt (mind you it takes us over an hour to get to Manchester). Once, at the counter we handed over the seats and receipt, waiting for a check. Instead they said they would send it to us. We requested a copy of our receipt and are now waiting for our check.

What a hassle to get back a little of what we had going into this!

Now, I understand that things such as fuel spills and air traffic delays are not directly your company’s fault, but you must understand that as a low income family of four, trying to get by while my husband works his way through seminary, the Delta Experience we had is simply unacceptable. Please, know I won’t be picketing outside your doors. I just want to be heard and to tell you that everyone I know will hear about what a horrible airline Delta Air Lines is and why I will not be flying with you again anytime soon!

Please note that I am posting this letter and picture of our car seat as well as any subsequent replies (with your permission) on my blog.

Hoping to See Changes for the Better to Come,

Stephanie Hutchison
Hopeful future Delta Customer

(insert my address here)

I also will include a picture of the mangled car seat (for effect).

And as per the advice of Laura I think I will be writing it to several more prominent members of Delta Air Lines (see the list below). Thoughts? I don’t promise to use all suggestions, but I welcome them if for no other reason than to see my letter from someone else’s perspective.

Edward H. Bastian (President, Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer)

Glen W. Hauenstein (Executive Vice President of Network Planning and Revenue Management)

Richard H. Anderson (Chief Executive Officer and Director)

Daniel A. Carp (Chairman on the Board of Directors)

Richard H. Anderson (Chief Executive Officer, and Director on the Board of Directors)

Edward H. Budd (Director, Chairman of Audit Committee, Member of Executive Committee, Member of Finance Committee and Member of Personnel & Compensation Committee on the board of Directors)

John F. Smith Jr. (Director, Chairman of Finance Committee, Member of Audit Committee, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Corporate Governance Committee on the Board of Directors)

David R. Goode (Director, Chairman of Personnel & Compensation Committee, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Finance Committee on the Board of Directors)

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2008 8:12 pm

    I’d probably leave out the details that weren’t necessarily Delta’s fault (air traffic control, fuel spill). They made the flight worse, but you might glad the things that caused those delays are in place. I’d also probably trim the narrative a little. Go Jack Webb, with just the facts – bam bam bam. Has more of an impact than personal stories (not that they don’t care – just squeezes together what they did wrong).
    Yes, include the best photo of that seat. Wow.

    I hope you get some compensation or miles or something out it!

  2. Laura permalink
    January 8, 2008 12:41 am

    back in the day of cave dwellers, i took a business writing class where we learned how to write a letter of complaint….ask allen (if he remembers) how i scored a summer’s worth of movie passes from century theaters for one bad movie experience.
    anyway, the key, like fogey suggested, is be concise.. write this to the big kahunas because they seriously hate dealing with such disastrous service their business provides. oh yeah, include a visual aid or two. another thought is include your appreciation for what they might argue with you….weather, holiday travel, what have you…but remind them that given the cost of travel for a family of four on a starving graduate student’s budget, that this “delta experience” is unacceptable.
    good luck!

  3. January 8, 2008 12:31 pm

    Laura
    Would you suggest people such as:
    Edward H. Bastian (President, Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer)
    Glen W. Hauenstein (Executive Vice President of Network Planning and Revenue Management)
    Richard H. Anderson (Chief Executive Officer and Director)
    Daniel A. Carp (Chairman on the Board of Directors)
    Richard H. Anderson (Chief Executive Officer, and Director on the Board of Directors)
    Edward H. Budd (Director, Chairman of Audit Committee, Member of Executive Committee, Member of Finance Committee and Member of Personnel & Compensation Committee on the board of Directors)
    John F. Smith Jr. (Director, Chairman of Finance Committee, Member of Audit Committee, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Corporate Governance Committee on the Board of Directors)
    David R. Goode (Director, Chairman of Personnel & Compensation Committee, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Finance Committee on the Board of Directors)
    To send the letter too???

    I am also still revising to limit my letter and not have so much useless writing.

    Thanks to you and Fogey for the input!

  4. January 8, 2008 12:53 pm

    I found a typo, which spell check will not pick up.

    Flight 5169 paragraph: “Finally, our plan arrived in CIN. ”

    Plan/Plane…I read it correctly, but you know…they’ll toss your letter for a simple misspelled word.

    Like others have said, be direct to the points relating to Delta only, and photos wouldn’t be a bad idea. Also, I would suggest pointing out that you will be blogging about this bad experience, and the replies (or potential lack there of) from Delta will be included.

    Neal

  5. January 8, 2008 12:54 pm

    DOH!

    Another thought as I hit submit. Doesn’t Phil Long still captain a Delta ship? Maybe a quick email or phone call to Vancouver would provide some insight on whom to send letters of complaint to.

  6. January 9, 2008 12:05 am

    Very well done!! I read the first draft and I think your changes make the letter clear and to the point, and yet still give a personal narrative of your horrible flights. I can’t believe your luggage was soaking wet! What if you had expensive text books in there? Or presents! I hope they provide you with some compensation; at the least an apology.

  7. Krista permalink
    January 10, 2008 5:52 pm

    Make sure to change Delta Costumer, to Customer 🙂

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