Delta Airlines ~ Is This Any Way to Run an Airline? WTF

At last I was about to start the adventure of a lifetime – two weeks in Kolkatta (Calcutta), India, for a photographic workshop and two more weeks in Bangkok and Bali with family. It started out as the adventure of a lifetime all right but not one I would care to repeat. I arrived dutifully at the Fort Myers, FL airport (RSW) on Tuesday, October 27, at 6:45 AM for my, thought to be, uneventful 8 AM flight to Atlanta, where I was to catch my Korean Air flights to Seoul, Bangkok, and ultimately Thai International to Kolkata, India. This is where the fiasco begins.
  • We sit in the plane for our 8 AM flight for 45 minutes until it is decided a computer is broken and a replacement must be flown in from Atlanta, thus essentially canceling the flight.
  • The Delta agent puts me on an 11 AM Delta flight to ATL arriving there in time to catch Delta flights to Tokyo and Bangkok, instead of my Korean Air flights to Seoul and Bangkok, allowing for just enough time to connect with my Thai International to Kolkata (CCU). But as he is printing my boarding passes he sees discovers that flight is also delayed for several hours. Delta just can’t seem to get anything in the air this morning.
  • The agent then informs me that if I hurry to the AirTran counter I can spend $364 of my own money (you see, Delta won’t make good on their screw up)  for a ticket that will get me to ATL in time to catch the Delta international flights.  Mr. Agent Man promises to get my checked bag on to the AirTran plane and I am the last one on the plane just as the door is shutting. While my bag is checked on the Delta flight I have no record of it being transfered or checked on AirTran. All’s well that ends well. Right? Not so fast.
  • In ATL I have to walk a half mile, take two escalators, a train, and go through security before I get to the Delta gate by which time my flight to Tokyo was ready to leave and once again my name is being called out over the loud speaker. There simply is no time to check on my bag.
  • Upon arriving in Tokyo some fourteen hours later, I check on my luggage at the Delta counter. Yes they see I have a checked bag, no it is not on the plane, and no they do not know where it is,  but not to worry. No offer to help with lost bag claim.
  • Now for the real pisser. I am on the plane for my Toyko – Bangkok flight still hopeful that I will make my BKK – CCU connection. However, Delta, in their infinite wisdom, decides to hold the flight for an hour and a half for a few late arriving passengers, with absolutely no concern for their other passengers who had ongoing connections to make in BKK. Furthermore, we have to fly over the Philippines, which is way out of our way, to avoid turbulence from a typhoon! I missed my BKK-CCU flight by more than an hour.
  • In Bangkok a Delta agent, who met me at the gate proudly tells me she has re-booked my BKK-CCU flight for the next evening – some 22 hours later. By no it is 2 AM local time, some thirty hours since my scheduled departure. I am thinking to myself that I am too old for this shit. I ask her what she thought I should do in the meantime – “sit here on the floor of the terminal and wait.” After a huddle with other agents it is decided Delta should get me a room for seventeen hours (I have to check out by 7 PM though my flight does not leave until just before midnight) at the airport hotel where I am now writing this (September 28 or is it 29) and waiting for, what I hope is, the final and uneventful leg of my journey to Kolkata.
  • * As for my checked bag, some five hours later someone in Ft Myers notices it sitting on the tarmac and calls our home phone number on the luggage tag. They ask my wife what to do with it. “Get it to India, now” is her response. Finally, it is sent to Kolkata (CCU), my final destination, through Atlanta and Dubai on Air Emirates. It will arrive there some sixteen hours before I do.

Because of Delta I have lost a day of my workshop, the cost of a night’s stay at the Calcutta hotel, and the cost of the AirTran flight from RSW to ATL. I find it unconscionable and arrogant for an airline to hold a flight for ninety minutes for a few passengers to the detriment of others. Whoever said “It is the journey and not the destination” is deluded.

* This is the way it was supposed to happen, but alas, it was not to be. But the saga of the lost luggage will have to wait for another post.

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  1. By SUNDAY POST : Architecture | Ron Mayhew Photography on November 19, 2012 at 4:57 am

    […] don’t get me started on airlines. Thanks to Delta Airlines I was stuck in Bangkok’s airport for 24 hours last year while trying to get to Calcutta, […]