Customer E-Mails Delta’s VP for Weather Cancellation, Gets ~$2000 in Compensation

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.

Delta Air Lines 757 in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Photo by Aero Icarus. Used with permission.

Delta Air Lines 757 in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Photo by Aero Icarus. Used with permission.

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.

Comments

  1. 1. The Guardian is not known as a reputable source of information.
    2. We don’t know the details of the customer complaint. Was it a rain delay and then they failed to put her on a flight for the next 48 hours (though they could have?)
    3. They refunded her in British Pounds, so was this an international flight? Do EU laws require that she be put on the very next available flight?
    4. Did she have to resort to buying her own ticket on Delta or another airline to finally get home?
    5. The compensation is seemingly too high compared to what they usually give out, but it is fair, isn’t it? Especially if the reason for her being there over 48 hours isn’t really weather.
    6. Many people have the same first and last names, so the firstname.lastname@ scheme doesn’t work most of the time. Companies use middle initials to differentiate. However, it took me all of 5 minutes to Google search the name of Charisse Evans, the Delta Vice President, Reservations and Customer Care and her email address.

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