Delta speaks

I take it that Ann Coulter has had her own disaffecting experiences with Delta Air Lines over the years. Tweeting out “My day with Delta” to her Twitter followers, however, she did not merely curse the Delta darkness. She lit a candle with a proposed remedy.

Having shared a few of my complaints about Delta, I feel obligated to post the very personal email message I received last night from Delta CEO Ed Bastian. Bastian’s message is actually part of an email blast to members of Delta’s Sky Miles program. (Not knowing I had received my own, a friend forwarded a blank copy.)

The message comes with the subject line We Know You Expect More – We’re Taking Action: Your Update from Ed. And here I didn’t even know I was on a first-name basis with the Delta CEO. I wanted to respond to Ed, but the return address is Marketing Email Reply Inbox. As far as I am concerned, Marketing can call me Mr. Johnson.

In substance, Bastian’s message coincidentally confirms my complaints (other than my specific billing issues). Thank you, Ed.

One readily infers from Bastian’s message what a miserable experience Delta has on offer for its customers like me. Maybe Delta should suspend operations, apologize to its customers, and abandon the great awokening while it sets its own house in order.

Ed’s very personal message is below the break (emphases in original, links omitted):

* * * * * *

Dear Scott,

After a year of lockdowns, it’s been heartening to see so many of you returning to the skies this summer and reclaiming your lives. While we are pleased to welcome you back, the unexpected pace of the return of our customers has resulted in some unforeseen challenges as we ramp up to meet demand and handle a record-breaking level of calls. As you take a much-deserved vacation or travel to reunite with loved ones, friends and business colleagues, the last thing you want is to experience long hold times when you call reservations or receive a notification that your flight schedule has changed.

We know you expect more from Delta and assure you that these challenges are temporary. The Delta team is here to serve you and is taking significant actions to alleviate these pain points, including:

Accelerating staffing and resources to reduce wait times on the phone and at the airport. With the influx of travelers coming back after more than a year at home, our agents on the phone and at the airport have experienced an unprecedented level of questions about travel policies and schedule changes. That has resulted in significant wait times, which is why we’re rapidly adding staff and leveraging new technology to serve you in a timely manner.

The Reservations and Care team is welcoming back hundreds of Delta alumni to alleviate wait times while hiring 1,300 specialists who will be trained and ready to serve customers by September. We’re also adding a new phone platform that automatically equips our agents with even more details about your travel, so they can address your questions efficiently and get you on your way. In total, we’re hiring more than 5,000 people across the business, including more than 3,000 in Airport Customer Service and other operational areas, to supplement key service areas like catering, wheelchair staffing and our continued commitment to cleanliness.

Expanding digital tools to save you time and give you more control over your trip. Delta.com and the Fly Delta app are your go-to resources to change or cancel a flight, find baggage information and manage your SkyMiles® account. To gain confidence in the process, you can follow this step-by-step guide to cancel or make changes to a trip before your flight departs. Both expiring and newly purchased tickets in 2021 will remain valid through Dec. 31, 2022. And when you’re ready to use an eCredit, it can be redeemed at delta.com/redeem or on the Fly Delta app.

Starting tomorrow, customers booked in Basic Economy can make changes to their flights for travel occurring through Dec. 31, 2021, to help address call wait times as we increase staffing. As with all Delta flights originating from North America, there are no changes fees.

You can also stay updated on entry requirements with our Travel Planning Center or view country-by-country details to plan a trip with our Delta Discover Map.

Getting you to your destination as you originally booked it. As our teams work to accommodate the rapid return of travelers, flight changes are occurring that we know can be frustrating – you deserve to get to your destination at the time that best suits your travel plans. Our network planning teams are focused on minimizing changes in our schedule as we gain additional insights into travel demand amid the recovery.

Your loyalty to Delta has never been more important, and we’re committed to earning it as we move into the recovery and beyond. That’s why as of today, if you have Medallion® Status, you can continue to enjoy it through Jan. 31, 2023, along with any Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates you may have. For those currently traveling to achieve or maintain Status, you will be further recognized for your loyalty with enhanced benefits and continue earning at an accelerated rate. We’re also extending the ability for Award Travel to count toward Status through Dec. 31, 2022.

Our core values include always learning from our experiences and using those insights to constantly improve how we serve you. We are committed to restoring and exceeding the reliability and service you’ve come to expect from us. Thank you for your patience as we continue to do everything we can to improve and enhance your experience.

On behalf of all 75,000 members of the Delta family, thank you for trusting us with your travel. We’re focused on delivering the experience you deserve. Stay tuned for more updates.

Sincerely,
/s/Ed Bastian
Ed Bastian
CEO

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