Most people have experienced flight delays and cancellations and they are absolutely frustrating. Sometimes they can be so severe they leave you stranded away from home. Airlines’ customer services departments are there to help, but maybe they are not getting the job done. Maybe your cancellation is due to inclement weather and airlines are not obligated to provide compensation. What do you do then?
According to The Guardian, one customer was stranded in North Carolina for 2 days after her return flight got cancelled due to bad weather. She decided to e-mail the head of Delta’s customer service about her trip and got a surprising response.
The passenger in question was grounded for two days after her flight got cancelled due to bad weather. Since the airline is not responsible for the weather, they are not obligated to provide any assistance other than re-booking. Many provide hotel discounts and overnight kits, but not usually compensation. The passenger in this case began e-mailing higher level executives at Delta using the FirstName.LastName@Delta.com format. Within the same day, she got an e-mail back, and received “£400 in cash, £900 in flight vouchers, 45,000 miles, and Gold [Medallion status].”
Frankly, I am taking this with a grain of salt. I don’t know why anyone would make this up, but that amount of compensation seems overly generous. Assuming this is true, though, I have to wonder what message Delta sends with this kind of a gesture: that their customer service is so bad that you need to get to the executive level for something to be done? Or that if you want something beyond what company policy allows, go e-mail a CEO or VP directly?
Apparently, people contacting CEOs and VPs to complain are not all that uncommon. The UK-based website CEOMail.com even gathers information about top level executives from companies around the world. And in some cases, people do get responses! Apple CEO Tim Cook is known to respond to emails, with one instance where the company’s hold music got changed. A reporter once called the Comcast CEO’s mom to complain about poor service, and the next day a Comcast truck magically showed up on time.
The Guardian did some further testing themselves where they tried to e-mail CEOs from a few companies, including airlines, to see how long, if at all, they respond to customers’ emails. You can check out their findings here.