Monday, March 28, 2011

Delta Airlines

The long and short of what I do at the airport is I help students between the ages of 10 and 13 who are arriving and departing from BWI without their parents, get to and from their airplanes. They are coming in to BWI to attend a leadership program in DC. Two days a week, we get them from their planes and take them to their program directors. The other two days, we take them from their program directors, check them in at the ticket counter, take them through security, and put them on their airplanes. That's my job. And that's about all you need to know about my job in order to understand why I believe that Delta Airlines is the most substandard, slipshod, sad, stinking, scroungy, second-rate, small-time, two-bit turd of a company the world has ever seen.

Allow me to illustrate.

All of our kids have paid for their tickets. Let's say 55 of them are flying on Southwest. All of the southwest kids will be checked in, boarding passes in hand in 40 minutes. A few weeks ago, after three hours of standing at the check-in counter, not one of our 13 students flying on Delta had been checked in. Not one. However, the people who got in line behind our students were checked in.

This was also on the day Delta cancelled one of their flights on which 8 of the students were supposed to fly. Which means they ALL had to be re-routed. Not one of our students got on the plane their parents booked for them.

My most arduous ordeal with Delta came when checking in a student flying later in the day than the rest of the group. He had to be checked in later as well. I went to the counter with his program director, and the ticket agent (who looks exactly like Jonathan Winters, only it was St. Patrick's Day and he was wearing a fake red wig and a green argyle cap and a green argyle kilt) informed us his flight was cancelled. So he needed to be re-routed. Jonathan Winters, despite our vehement protests, kept trying to fly him into JFK. We would have been fine with that, but there were no flights to the student's destination from JFK that day. Jonathan Winters did not seem too concerned about leaving the student alone in New York, however, and reminded us five times, "There's room on the flight to JFK. It would get him there about five o'clock."

After he got it through his thick, Jonathan Winters skull that the kid needed to be in Minneapolis, and sending him to New York for the night alone (remember, the kid is 12) was in no one's best interest, he proceeded to one-finger type the same three characters repeatedly on his computer terminal, frowning at the screen, his fat, obnoxious hand shaking three times over each key before he struck it.
shake shake shake "S" shake shake shake "]" shake shake shake "enter"
shake shake shake "S" shake shake shake "]" shake shake shake "enter"
shake shake shake "S" shake shake shake "]" shake shake shake "enter"
shake shake shake "S" shake shake shake "]" shake shake shake "enter"
FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES!!! He didn't say what he was doing, or what he was looking for. Just kept shaking his swollen, pudgy hand and tapping away. I tried to interject a few times, to try to remind him of his goal of getting a paid customer to Minneapolis (not JFK), to which he replied, "I'm just seeing... S ] enter."
He seemed serenely unaware of how close he was to being stabbed with my pen.

I started daydreaming about Delta's mission statements and training programs. What the shit are they teaching these people? I figured they may as well be honest with their employees so that we, the customers can see it coming.

Telephone etiquette: "Thank you for calling Delta Airlines, how may I make you rectally uncomfortable today?"

On schedules: "Our schedules are more of a rough outline than a firm time frame. 'When are you due to return, sir? No, Tuesday won't do. How's August?'"

Ticket counters: "Thank you for choosing Delta. I've got all day and you better had, too!"

Helpful phrases: "I know you have a ticket in your hand, but it's not in the computer and there's nothing I can do about it. Okay?"

On dealing with adversity: "If a customer becomes visibly upset, type random characters on your computer terminal for ten to twenty minutes and frown at the screen, so that the customer has time to calm down. If the customer asks what you are doing, give him another ten minutes of frown-typing. If the none of the above seem to work, put the customer on a plane to JFK, and see if he can figure it out then."

Company slogan: "Delta: We Hate Your Fucking Face... and it shows!"

After what felt like a fortnight, the kid got booked to Detroit and had twenty minutes to make it to his next plane to Minneapolis. It was a good thing I had Ninja Pooped prior to this ordeal, or Jonathan Winters and I would have ended up in the newspapers the following morning. I'm not sure if the kid made it home that night, but there is one thing I do know.

Delta BLOWS.

My lips to yours.


  1. And the lost luggage ordeals! The lost luggage ordeals!

  2. I made the mistake of flying Delta when I went to a conference in New Orleans. Of course, we had to fly through Atlanta, where we were informed our connecting flight was delayed. For hours. There were no updates. There was no attempt at service recovery. There was no one who said "I'm sorry." My fellow travelers and I determined then that Delta stands for Doesn't Ever Leave The Airport. I vowed then I would never again fly Delta.