Martin Agency Exec Drags UPS Client Into Rant About Delayed Delta Flight

Last Updated Jul 16, 2009 4:48 PM EDT

Andy Azula, creative director at The Martin Agency, learned the hard way how not to complain about airline delays after he posted a diatribe against Delta and then -- after it embarrassed himself, his agency and key client UPS -- took it down. Now his blog has filled up with angry reader comments denouncing him as a self-obsessed whiner who thinks that his "Wall Street Journal interview" trumps the nations' ragged air-travel infrastructure.

Azula, who is also the star of UPS's "whiteboard" ads, had booked himself and his family on a Delta flight to Atlanta on June 18. The flight was delayed 13 hours and ultimately cancelled. Delta also refused to allow Azula to book himself onto another flight. While his experience sounded frustrating enough to be worthy of a damaging blog post for Delta, Azula checked his humility at the door before typing. (You can read the full, deleted, post after the jump. You can still see a cache of the original blog item here.) He began:

I am a frequent-flyer with Platinum status on Delta. And one of your biggest fans.

I'm also the guy in those UPS Whiteboard commercials on TV. And I'm not just the actor. I'm also am the creative director at the ad agency who creates the advertising for UPS.

After describing Delta's screwups and the fact the the airline didn't give them any food while they waited, Azula wrote:
Consequently, I missed a few things in Atlanta: The Direct Marketing Association's conference â€" of which I was the guest speaker. It was a paid event and the DMA was understandably shocked, mortified and embarrassed by the situation. They had to offer refunds to all their attendees.

I also missed my Wall Street Journal interview.

I also missed my meeting.

His kids cried a lot too, he said. The blog item was picked up by Consumerist and then Reddit.

But after some initially sympathetic comments, readers turned on Azula. They didn't see a lousy airline needlessly angering its best customers. Rather, they saw an F-list celebrity having a tantrum because he was treated like the rest of us mortals. Here's an early comment:

Although I am sorry to hear about your situation and have heard from many people that Delta's customer service is poor, your post kind of grates because you make yourself sound more important than the average traveler.

The histrionics (crying children and grandparents) and your self-important tone (who cares what your job is?) make it harder for people to sympathize.

Azula took the post down on Wednesday:
It's out there now anyway. The point is it generated a huge response and began a dialogue.
And that started a backlash of dozens of comments that entangled client UPS:
Erik's Books said: OK it generated this big response and dialogue...so where is it? You're even more of a douche now for taking it down.

Nerdtalker said: All it does is make it look like the issue is somehow resolved and/or you caved into (perhaps nonexistent?) demands from Delta to take it down.

Brakiri said: This is going to spread ... I hope you realize that. I can't believe on such public forum you'd identify yourself and more importantly your client (obviously your biggest). This is going to spread on when most of us see those whiteboard commercials the first thing we'll think about is you brought to tears in an southern airport because of a flight delay.

And here:
Nick said: ... you come off as a total egotistical douchebag in your post. I used to think your commercials were cool... now all I'll be able to think about is your whiny boo hoo airline post when I see them. I fly twice a week, have for the past 7 years... these things happen on every airline.
Here's some wild speculation: Azula took the post down after his client, UPS, complained that readers were saying negative things about his ads for the company. Azula is also mentioned in an unrelated lawsuit between Fedex and UPS over whether his claim in the ads that UPS is the "most reliable" service is false or misleading. It may be that with the suit and the blog, Azula is drawing a bit more attention to UPS than the client bargained for. +++
The full text, plus reader comments, of Azula's now-deleted blog post follows:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 Letter to Delta Dear Delta:

I am a frequent-flyer with Platinum status on Delta. And one of your biggest fans.

I'm also the guy in those UPS Whiteboard commercials on TV. And I'm not just the actor. I'm also am the creative director at the ad agency who creates the advertising for UPS.

On June 18th I flew Delta for the last time. As of now, I cannot imagine ever stepping foot on another Delta airplane.

Because on June 18th, things went wrong. Very, very wrong.

On that morning, my wife and two children (7 year old twins), got up at 4 am in order to catch the first flight from our home in Richmond, VA to Atlanta. It was a business trip mixed in with a family vacation. You see, my parents live in Atlanta and my children hadn't seen their grandparents for quite some time. As you can imagine, we were all very excited.

The sequence of events that occurred for the next 13 hours, and then resumed again the next day, is almost too hard to explain.

In fact, as type this, my heart is racing once again.

You see, our flight was delayed due to a mechanical problem on our plane. Over the course of the next 13 hours we sat in the terminal at Richmond as flight after flight after flight all departed on time to Atlanta. Except, of course, ours. An entire airplane full of people â€" all of whom had gotten up early to catch the first flight of the day - watched helplessly as every other plane departed incident-free.

And since our bags were on the plane (we had all already been seated, before we were asked to de-board) we couldn't even get our luggage off the plane and go home. Also, we kept being told our plane was almost fixed.

I took the initiative at noon to book us on the 5pm flight to Atlanta. I called Delta (five times in fact â€" you can check) to confirm and re-reconfirm again. I was continually reassured that my family had guaranteed seats on that 5pm flight. I was, in fact, on the phone with you as the Delta employees at the gate refused to give us our seats - on a flight we had already been confirmed on. And I never even heard an "I'm sorry."

Consequently, I missed a few things in Atlanta: The Direct Marketing Association's conference â€" of which I was the guest speaker. It was a paid event and the DMA was understandably shocked, mortified and embarrassed by the situation. They had to offer refunds to all their attendees.

I also missed my Wall Street Journal interview.

I also missed my meeting.

But much worse than all that, was what happened to my family.

I really wish some one could hear the crying and see the stress on my children's face, as they ask why we couldn't go see grandma and grandpa. And why we couldn't just go home. I wish you could have heard the phone calls as all of us cried as we spoke with my parents. As my parents, who were also crying, tried to console their grandchildren. My children kept on asking why the airline was doing this to them. They kept asking what is was they did wrong.

We finally got our bags back after our 7am flight was officially and blessedly canceled.

At 6pm.

We were NEVER even offered as much as food vouchers for breakfast, lunch or dinner â€" all of which were purchased at the airport, as our flight continued to be pushed back and back. And we were not alone. But at least we could spend the evening in our home.

Again, we never even heard an apology.

The flight the next morning, was of course, delayed. Those passengers, who hadn't been through what the rest of us had, could not understand our collective stress and tears when our gate was changed and then we were delayed. It was a short delay, one that until now, I wouldn't have even given a second thought about. But the stress lasted much longer. I had to promise my children that I would not make them fly on an airplane anytime soon. They used to LOVE to fly. They simply cannot understand why things are so unfair.

Since returning on June 21st, I have flown 5 round trip flights to Las Vegas, Atlanta and New York. None of those flights have been on Delta.

I am now prepping my travels for the next three months, which include multiple flights to Los Angeles, St Louis, New York, Orlando, London, Berlin, Singapore and Shanghai.

In fact, I am literally flying MORE than I ever have in my life!

But until I receive some sort of apology, I will continue to adjust my schedule to avoid Delta. My coordinator and travel agent know not to book me on any Delta flights for the time being.

This is a fixable problem. This is about principle? Yes. It's about my belief in customer service. It's about working with business partners who respect each other. I really believe that. Which is why, until June 18th, I had been one of your biggest cheerleaders.

In the end, it wasn't the actual circumstance that has caused me to avoid your airline. It is the complete and utter lack of compassion.

Regrettably,

Andy Azula UPS Whiteboard Actor SVP/ Creative Director â€" The Martin Agency Posted by Andy Azula at 6:43 AM 57 comments:

megan pants said...

I hear you Andy. Delta did the same thing to my dear friend. They delayed her over night (28 hours) and wouldn't shell out for a hotel or food. JetBlue or die. July 15, 2009 6:59 AM Manley said...

The major airlines (AA, United, and Delta) make government bureaucracy look like utopia. Unfortunately, we all are victims of one of the most backward industries in the history of travel. Sorry to hear your situation. Hope you get some retribution. Frankly, I simply think they don't care any more.

I think I figured out a nuclear option when dealing with such bullshit - demand a full refund, threaten to cancel your reservation. I think you can only do this on check-in, but you can try at the gate. It worked like magic for me when AA claimed I didn't have a seat on a flight though I had CHECKED IN online prior to arriving at RIC. July 15, 2009 7:12 AM chaydeng said...

A very similar (yet nowhere near as heartbreaking) situation happened to my family last weekend with United. Leaving Aspen, we received a phone call telling us our 12:30p flight from Denver to Dallas was canceled, and would be rescheduled for 9:30p. My wife looked at me, and then at our 22 month-old son and 3 1/2 year-old daughter and said, "Bullsh*t." Upon arrival, the United people at the airport could've cared less. I then called and waited an hour for a "customer relations" representative, on three separate occasions. Oh, and they completely lost our luggage. Thankfully, we received said luggage in tact, 24 hours later. In the end, I took my revenge in the form of 4 $400 vouchers. I said that's what it would take for me to fly United again. I'm sorry to hear this happened to you. Having small children who don't live in the same city as their grandparents, I get it. July 15, 2009 9:02 AM Mean Rachel said...

How much does it #fail for Delta that this happened to a marketing guru!

Reminds me of A Few Good Men: "You messed with the wrong marine!"

Sorry this happened to you. Got stuck in DFW on American like this once (7 hours). No kids, thank God. July 15, 2009 9:33 AM Chris said...

Honestly I feel for you, maybe you should have written a short & concise letter to Delta detailing the issues.

Write via the Delta.com feature or call Special Member Services.

I've yet to have an issue not be addressed to my satisfaction that way.

If you even want to, go ahead and send a letter via snail mail. You'll get some response. July 15, 2009 10:03 AM James said...

God bless the internet!

Honestly, it is realy nice to be able to out terrible behavior, but I just wish it was equally impactful to promote "great customer service" as I recently had with Sprint and SUPERIOR customer service with Sonic.

Both companies understand the importance of keeping customers happy.

Sadly, Delta doesn't and that's why I haven't flown delta in many many years and why today I prefer to drive half way across the country rather than fly when possible as while some air lines are better than others, the entire system is messed up beyond my preference to use it. July 15, 2009 10:07 AM daniel said...

I have been mistreated to a similar degree one time or another by all of the US major airlines.

My impression is that singling one out will only unnecessarily restrict your future itineraries. If you fly enough, you will eventually have to boycott so many airlines that practicality will overrule the smug satisfaction a boycott delivers. July 15, 2009 10:11 AM IAGblog said...

Here's a little piece of advice to everyone flying anywhere. ALWAYS have a camera. Record the fracas. YouTube will be your revenge.

Don't get mad, get more than even. Airlines can costs all they want, if they take your money they are obliged to deliver. Its that simple. A smile costs them nothing. Being polite is not added expense.

Trying selling to an airline and see how they treat you. It is eye popping. So don't forget your camera. July 15, 2009 10:12 AM Benét said...

I will watch with interest to see how Delta responds as this post gains traction in the world of social media. We just saw what happened with United Airlines and the smashed guitars... July 15, 2009 10:16 AM Justin said...

I would say I'm surprised, but that'd be a lie. Truth be told, Delta has gone incredibly downhill since the turn of the millennium, snubbing frequent fliers and service in the name of cashflow (though so-called "Budget" airlines are also to blame for these cutbacks in some regards).

My fondest memories of flying were in the 90s with Delta - my Dad was a Million Miler, and we received frequent upgrades to Business or First Class free of charge, visits to the cockpit, free alcohol for my parents in Coach, etc. But when we flew Delta no more than a year or two ago and my Dad showed his MM card at the curbside check-in, he was shrugged off and told he'd have to pay like everyone else, not to mention wheel his own bags up to the check-in counter and wait in line. He tried complaining at the counter, but they affirmed it - MM meant nothing anymore to the company, and was merely a "token of appreciation", much like those paper "diplomas" you get from passing 5th grade nowadays.

Needless to say, we no longer fly Delta unless they have the cheapest fare around. And they never, ever do. July 15, 2009 10:22 AM Mike Wood said...

Similar situation here with Delta. I feel your pain. Here's my story:

http://mikewoodld.blogspot.com/2009/07/our-delta-woes.html July 15, 2009 10:58 AM Trifster said...

I don't know how you wrote that post which what came across as a calm re-telling of an ordinary adventure. July 15, 2009 11:13 AM -G said...

I just had the same thing happen to me on an AA flight to LA on the 12th of July. No apology, no vouchers, nothing!!. I know how you felt. July 15, 2009 11:13 AM Sheridon said...

Andy,

You're a Creative Directory (good commercial btw!) at an ad agency so why not help some campaigns pushing for accountability?

As it stands, the airlines can and do get away with business practices that are not accepted in other areas of American business life.

I'm sure you have an inkling of what it feels like if this situation were much worse and you were on some type of list.

Thanks for speaking out publicly and passionately without prejudice. July 15, 2009 11:16 AM wlturland said...

We encountered the same type of attitude from Continental last year. Their only hub (as explained to us by Continental) is in Houston. My husband was booked on a flight from Houston to San Jose and as the date approached, so did Hurricane Ike.

We called multiple times per day in the days leading to landfall to get instruction from Continental on what to do should Houston be impacted by the storm. Repeatedly we were told that a decision had not been made and that cancellation on our part would not leave us open to refund. Luckily, we booked another (refundable) flight on American, leaving NOLA the same day.

The departure time was less than 12 hours away when Ike made landfall. While the storm raged and Bush International was closed, Continental continued to list the flight as "delayed", not "canceled". The airport did not reopen and Continental flights did not resume until late Monday afternoon.

To this day, that flight is still listed as "delayed" and because of that listing, Continental refuses to refund the tickets. Their refund policy clearly states that Continental will only provide one if the flight is canceled by the airline. One year of "delay" and counting... so far, no way to report the company for fraud. July 15, 2009 11:20 AM Daniel said...

Everyone knows flights get delayed and you can be stuck at airports all day. You shouldn't have booked the flight for the same day as your event. If your paid speaking event and interview were that important, why didn't you leave your family and hop on another flight with a different airline, or hop on another flight with your family and return to the airport later to collect your baggage when the delayed flight arrived?

Sure, booking with a second airline would have been expensive, but the event you were speaking at was obviously very important. One would think someone as high up in the chain as you at UPS would understand how to be proactive. Just because things didn't start out your day doesn't mean it's all Delta's fault. July 15, 2009 11:44 AM Kevin said...

Not that I don't sympathize with you, having three kids of my own, but you are a little over the top with the "my kids kept asking "Why is this happening to us?""/life is so unfair mess. This is when you explain to them that sometimes in life, things don't go as planned and you don't get what you want. You also explain that life is most definitely unfair, but it is unfair in their favor. July 15, 2009 11:46 AM Peter said... This post has been removed by the author. July 15, 2009 11:48 AM Goofydg1 said...

I can't believe they still haven't responded to you. Someone is going to be in hot water. You shouldn't treat people this way on principle alone (though it happens every day) but to do it to someone with some level or media savvy/fame...just not smart.

Can't wait to see it bump up in delicious, etc. :-)

Best of luck for better experiences on your air travel. July 15, 2009 11:49 AM Scarletcat said...

I had an unfortunate experience with AA in 1991 which the response was 2 $100 vouchers (to be used within 24 months). In my letters, I told them I would refuse to fly AA again without a reasonable excuse for the situation. I never received anything except a form letter and the vouchers. I have NEVER again flown AA and will not fly revenue with them in my life time. I'll drive or walk if necessary if AA is the only available option to my destination. July 15, 2009 11:53 AM Bill said...

I had a similar experience with Delta.

They made us sleep in the terminal overnight and then lost our luggage. It took 6 days to get back to us.

Never again. July 15, 2009 11:57 AM Jorge said...

Great letter!. I reproduced it on my site travel site www.placesandtrips.com to illustrate the importance of customer service. July 15, 2009 12:06 PM JoeHasMigrated said...

I can understand your frustration with the situation, but there's always a way out. Last week my girlfriend's sister and daughter were flying out to visit us for 5 days in Chicago on USAir/United. When they reached Phoenix they were informed the United plane they were switching to was on a mechanical delay and was expected to take at least until 7pm to fix, it was noon at the time.

Unfortunately she got angry with the ticket agent and of course got nowhere except a curt "sorry, we can't help you, you'll just have to wait". When she called us and told us what happened during that conversation we thought she might be hopeless for a fix.

After calming her down we looked up the contract of carriage and found that the company must provide food vouchers for the delay if it's not an "Act of God". We also knew that the company wants her and the rest of the passengers out of there because if they cancel, now they pay for hotels. So we looked up other flights, PHX-ORD and sure enough a USAir flight was leaving at 3pm. After approaching a completely different agent, she very politely asked to be placed on that flight, and sure enough, she was. The original flight still went, but at 730pm.

I've had friends use this move many, many times. BOS-ORD full for 4 days due to snow. How about a ticket on Midwest BOS-MKE instead? Sure!

90% of the time, if you're really nice, and do the hard work for them (flight numbers, times, destinations, etc), they will get you there another way. I've also seen people blow up at agents for problem that aren't the agents' (overbooking) and those are the one that lose their seats. Know your rights according to that airline's Contract of Carriage, every gate agent has it. Just asking to see it will often get stuff done, don't get pushy though, they don't appreciate it. And they invariably have tougher skin than the people yelling. July 15, 2009 12:23 PM Gary said...

I just recently flew from Akron to Atlanta on Airtran - rode standby on an early flight with NO problem whatsoever (original flight was 1pm and early flight was 10am). I got to Atlanta at 11:30am with a confirmed seat on a Delta flight at 4:30pm. I went to the desk to ask to get on an earlier flight and they wanted to charge me $50 for same day standby. They said all airlines charge it, but being a frequent flyer too, I knew the agent was full of it. I paid the $50 to get out after requesting her to waive it several times. In fact, your same problem happened to me on my flight from Atlanta to Akron 2 days earlier - mechanical problem - hours on the plane (not even in the airport) and then flight finally canceled after 8 hours of waiting. No offer of food, hotel, nothing - only offer was to put me on a plane the next morning (with no hotel of course). And we had been offered $200 in travel vouchers to get on the later plane when we boarded - DELTA SUCKS AT CUSTOMER SERVICE - and all of these encounters are completely avoidable. July 15, 2009 12:24 PM yourhrstats said...

Been there Andy so I can appreciate your post. Had a similar experience with Delta when my husband and I hd to fly to Florida to for his mother's funeral. We paid full freight. Yet as the day went on, (weather delays where we were connecting)it appeared that we would not make it in on time to make our connection. We finally wound up dashing over to Southwest and being given the last two seats on the plane. Thankfully, we never checked our luggage. We were also grateful that we left the kids at home (6 and 7) as they would not have tolerated the stress that we had to endure.

By the way, like your commercial! July 15, 2009 12:25 PM d said...

Instead of crying over a situation you could not control, it seems like this would have been a good opportunity to teach your children about patience, staying calm, and how to adapt and overcome adversity. There is an alarming trend of entitlement among the younger generations. Your plane was broken. I am sure the company would have loved for your flight to go off without a hitch. It sounds like you are due an apology but you should also apologize to your kids for not being a stronger role model. This world is only getting crueler and you're doing your children no favors by breaking down and crying and pitching this rambling complaint for the entire world to see. Your ads are clever. But, now I won't be able to view them without thinking of you crying like a little baby in an airport all because your little airplane was delayed. July 15, 2009 12:27 PM susanbeebe said...

WOW, just wow! What an absolute nightmare for you and your family. As I read your blog post, I was shocked and horrified of what your family had to experience on Delta.

Thanks for the warning. Now, I won't fly Delta either. I couldn't imagine putting my family through that ordeal.

I hope Delta has the sense enough to contact you and your family to make proper restitutions to you, if even possible on that grand a scale.

wow.

@SusanBeebe http://susanbeebe.com July 15, 2009 12:58 PM jonathan goldstein said...

I cannot believe the "blame the victim" tone of several of these comments. Sorry to hear about the nightmare you endured. As you mentioned, it's not the fact that they had tech problems, it's their utter gracelessness in how they dealt with you in the light of their technical problems. July 15, 2009 1:01 PM Steve said...

"I'm also the guy in those UPS Whiteboard commercials on TV. And I'm not just the actor. I'm also am the creative director at the ad agency who creates the advertising for UPS."

Wow, somebody is impressed with himself. Is this supposed to make your plight extra relevant to United? "You can't delay my plane ... I'm in advertising!" July 15, 2009 1:06 PM karthi said...

The airline industry is a joke. Their pricing structure and setup is contrary to how 90% of most businesses operate, they overprice everything, charge a la carte for routine services, have lousy customer service, knowing that us suckers have basically zero choice in travel options.

Being a frequent flier (i.e., "status") means even less nowadays, as they continue to cut benefits for us regular travelers.

Couple all this with the deep discounts going on this summer, filling flights with people who NEVER travel, screaming kids on every flight, limited business class options for us frequent business travelers, etc. etc., and it adds up to a complete crapshoot when you fly, nowadays.

Very sorry to hear about you horrible day. July 15, 2009 1:12 PM Paul said...

Although I am sorry to hear about your situation and have heard from many people that Delta's customer service is poor, your post kind of grates because you make yourself sound more important than the average traveler.

The histrionics (crying children and grandparents) and your self-important tone (who cares what your job is?) make it harder for people to sympathize.

Just sayin'. July 15, 2009 1:12 PM Rich said...

I sympathize, but I'm not sure why anyone would attempt (in the current miasma of bureaucracy, "security," and corporate malfeasance) to fly to any domestic destination less than 12 hours away by car.

If you'd gotten up at 4 am and hit I-85, you'd have been at grandma's for lunch. And you'd control your own destiny to far greater extent.

I live in Florida and wouldn't consider air travel unless I needed to get west of the Mississippi or north of, say, DC. July 15, 2009 1:13 PM Shruti Goradia: Design Diva, Social Media Marketing Marketing Professional said...

My family and I have been similarly snubbed by Delta multiple times - to the extent that I avoid Delta as well. EVERY time we fly back from India and have a connecting flight from NY/NJ in the evening - they cancel the flight citing bad weather, while all Jet Blue flights on the same route are right on schedule. Once they cite bad weather they are not liable to accomodation or meal vouchers and probably no compassion either.

What is worse is that our bags are checked through to Rochester, NY where we live - so we DO NOT get the bags till we land in Rochester - a day or two later!

We have to jump through hoops to get ourselves booked on to another flight with the invariable over night stay (at our expense, without our bags) and put up with shoddy customer service and rude agents - while Delta hides behind the shroud of 'nature'. July 15, 2009 1:13 PM The Mac Book Editor said...

It is for similar reasons that I will never step foot on a Northwest Airlines jet -- ever -- and if I have another bout of bad flights from American, they'll be next.

I'm not a Delta employee, but I am sorry you and your family had to go through this, Andy. And if it weren't for the power of Twitter, I never would have known this happened or found your blog. Keep writing!

Kind regards, Chuck July 15, 2009 1:16 PM kimberly said...

Just curious, what was their excuse for not letting you on the 5pm flight? July 15, 2009 1:22 PM David Hughes said...

A similar thing happened to me on American. My family and I were flying to Lima from Chicago. While we didn't wait 13 hours, we did wait 3 hours for our first flight to Miami and our second to Lima. The kicker is that we didn't spend the time in the terminal, but on the plane, in the seats. We couldn't leave the plane and the airline ran out of food and water to serve. Noone got a voucher or an apology, just the shaft. July 15, 2009 1:22 PM tali said...

Wow. Crazy story. I think we all have one though. My honeymoon was singlehandedly (multihandedly?) destroyed by American Airlines and they offered zilch as reparations. Two years and many flights later, I have yet to step foot on one of their airplanes again and hope to never again.

Thing is - With your story, my own, and the many others posted here (noting different airlines with similar problems) - I think we'd all be hard-pressed to find an airline that hasn't had similar scenarios, doesn't repeatedly eff everything up or (yeah-right)CARE(aside from Southwest which sadly doesn't fly internationally).

There's most definitely a gap in the system somewhere - of course all the airline can blame it on is terrorists or the economy rather than god-forbid THEMSELVES. How about some accountability??? July 15, 2009 1:23 PM Alex Rodriguez said...

Sad part is they don't give a crap. They will just run themselves into bankruptcy AGAIN and ask for a bailout and then introduce the "new" Delta. July 15, 2009 1:27 PM Jason said...

In this economy, especially, customer service is crucial.

In solidarity with you, I too am dropping Delta. July 15, 2009 1:27 PM 1918 said...

I'm in the same mindset - no more Delta for me. I booked a 4:45 flight, and when I asked if I could change to the 3:45 flight so I could book my son on the flight, they said yes - but I would have to pay $181 change fee (the orginal ticket was $178).

Needless to say, my son is flying down alone on JetBlue.

The kicker, they day of that 4:45 flight, I was there early, and they put me on the 3:45 flight.

Goodbye Delta, see you in bankruptcy court. July 15, 2009 1:28 PM John said...

you can draw airplanes and trucks really well. July 15, 2009 1:34 PM M. Stephen said...

Final a complaint with the BBB. Delta just received huge fines for failure to "compensate" individuals how have been affected by shoddy service. I used to fly twice a month with Delta, but have since changed airlines after experiencing your same problem. July 15, 2009 1:50 PM Dennis said...

Thanks for taking the time to write such a wonderful, reasonable letter. Ps - I love the UPS ads and I knew you did both creative parts. Good luck with Delta (I wasn't being sarcastic) July 15, 2009 2:01 PM Shack95 said...

Be a little green - looks like it was only an 8 hour drive from VA to GA. July 15, 2009 2:18 PM m o t said...

QQ July 15, 2009 2:21 PM Myshele said...

Similar horror story with Continental/KLM, with panic attack and threats of arrest added for good measure.... Sent a letter to the airline, got a reply about a year later saying the letter had gone to the wrong office and someone would deal with it, but that's the last I heard from them, over 18 months ago now. Full story here: http://www.myshelegoldberg.com/cms/journal.php?itemid=223

Seems like there really needs to be some sort of customer service standard enforced for the whole industry - with all the safety rules, it would it be so difficult to also enforce some basic rules of courtesy & respect? Especially the business of food vouchers & hotel stays. July 15, 2009 2:32 PM Beth said...

I am a travel manager and I had a client who had a similar experience. I obtained the name and e-mail address of the head of customer care from elliott.org and wrote to her. My client received a huge apology, a refund of three tickets, $400 in vouchers, and a check for $100 to cover a hotel. You might try writing to that contact. July 15, 2009 2:35 PM zebake said...

Seriously? You represent yourself as "The UPS Whiteboard Actor"???

What I really don't understand is the need to bring your client/employer into a situation that happened to you and your family. If Delta screwed anyone over, it was you, your family and the less conceited individuals who were also booked on your plane. Delta did not screw UPS over, so why even mention what you do for a living?

You were not successful at earning any empathy from me. And, in fact, this really reflects poorly on UPS, because now every time I see a UPS Whiteboard commercial I am going to be too busy thinking about what an egotistical douche you are, for their marketing to even work.

Nice one. July 15, 2009 2:37 PM Leetie said...

I'm sorry you had a problem with your flight. It sounds like a nightmare. But as I was reading, I kept on wondering why you had to add all the melodrama to your post. I have to agree with some of the other commenters... Delays happen, whether or not you have children with you, whether or not you have a meeting to attend, whether or not you are visiting your poor lonely grandparents, you *specifically* booked "that" flight, or you are "that guy." Yes, it is a load of inconvenience, but your plane wasn't fit to fly for some reason. How is it so unfair that other people got to take off and you didn't? Unlucky, yes. You just happened to pick the plane that broke, which happened to be the first one scheduled to depart. Everybody KNOWs that when you purchase a ticket, there is a huge risk of airline nightmare. The bigger problem seems to be that 5pm flight that they didn't let you on. I do hope the airline at least tries to rectify that somehow. MANY things in life don't work out the way you plan them. I think you've been lucky so far. July 15, 2009 2:47 PM vinbarnes said...

I got stranded in Cincy for 30 hrs and arrived at my parents on xmas day. Not fun at all. I'm no Delta fanboy, but when the crew, yes the crew (meaning flight attendants, captain and co-captains loaded luggage onto the plane, in the snow, after midnight I was mightily impressed. And as I was "suffering" during my unexpected overnight, I could only feel slightly pathetic glancing at family's with newborns that were running out of formula. I wasn't offered anything by Delta for my troubles. But seeing their employees go above and beyond the call of duty was more than enough reimbursement for my woes. Sorry I'm not more empathetic, but them's the ropes... Might want to leave a day before your meetings next time around. Cheers.

P.S. I dig the whiteboard commercials. Great job! July 15, 2009 3:14 PM Strommsarnac said...

Give me a break. Tears from your kids and parents JUST because they weren't going to see each other this time? WOW. Have you ever told your kids NO? Why are you teaching your kids that they deserve everything and that someone is always to blame for their misfortune?

Crap happens, get over it. I'm sorry you missed your flight, but that happens. It's sad that no one apologized to you, but that happens. You don't have the right to use your kids as ammo against anyone.

Being a parent, I hate seeing stories like yours where people think being a parent is giving their kids everything they want. I've had similar things happen to me. Did I make a big deal out of it? No. I told my kids "these things happen, we'll figure something out and go on with life".

Grow up. July 15, 2009 3:48 PM Samuel said...

Totally unacceptable. I've stopped flying Delta entirely after getting stranded in Prague. Mechanical problems forced us to deplane, the problem was fixed, and the plane took off. They were in such a hurry they left about 100 or so of us at the airport. Next flight? Two days later. I do most of my flying to Europe and now use Lufthansa/Swiss exclusively. They know how to communicate -- even when it's not in their native language. And the money they've earned from me and my company should make Delta cry. July 15, 2009 3:55 PM WolfenM said...

My deepest sympathies on your horrific experience! Mine, while frustrating, wasn't nearly so bad -- actualy, I'm not even sure if it was Delta, or if it was Continental. I had to use one of them to fly from Florida to Chicago a few years bacl (I *had* to move and I don't drive, and those two were the only airlines that allowed rabbits). The ticket alone cost me twice as much as a flight on the other airlines I normally use (ATA or Air Tran). Once on the plane, just before take-off, I was informed by a stewardess that there was an airline regulation against having two pets in the same area of the plane -- there was a cat a few rows away. They took my poor rabbit away and stuck her under an empty seat in the back, but wouldn't let me move back to be with her (which meant being far away from my mother, who was travelling with me) until 30 minutes into the flight (I still don't understand why I couldn't have gone with her before we left the ground). Imagine having a scared little child taken away from you and left alone in the back of the plane! :( Traumatic for both me and my little sweetheart .... Oh, and the reason one of the other airlines I called gave for not allowing rabbits when they do allow cats or dogs? They said they were worried that the rabbit might escape and chew the wiring. I kid you not. XD July 15, 2009 4:12 PM Russell Jones said...

I would gladly shell out 2x or 3x the price for tickets on a plane that guaranteed I would land within 120% of the planned travel time (ie: if it is a 10 hour flight, no more than a 2 hours) or offer me a refund. July 15, 2009 4:20 PM Christopher G said...

I am disappointed, but not surprised by Delta's issues with customer service. After flying with them a few times, I learned quickly why people complain about them.

I actually had a very similar issue as yours with a flight on South West. We boarded the plane, had our bags loaded up, and were waiting to pull onto the runway when the captain said they noticed a technical problem and we would have to wait to see if it needed fixing (a little unnerving there).

Eventually, after 30 or so minutes waiting on the plane, they deboarded (is that a word?) us and had us wait in the lobby of Ontario airport as they attempted to fix it.

The main difference between my experience and yours is, though I was delayed about three hours waiting in limbo to visit my parents (for the holidays no less), South West actually took over another flight that came in and put all of us stranded passengers on it.

A minor inconvienience, but much better than a complete disregard for their passengers. July 15, 2009 4:23 PM James said...

Come on...what did you want them to do? Delay other flights because "you guys deserved it more". You can't control 95% of you life, and this falls in to the 95% category. What should Delta do...say "hey arent you that UPS guy with the crappy haircut? Ok, this plane full of people whose aircraft is ready for flight will be displaced because you guys deserve it more." It just so happened to be that it was your flight that was delayed, take life with a grain of salt and get over it. By bumping someone elses flight i'm sure you would have crushed another pair of expecting grandparents. 'Platnum flyer' or not. They were handcuffed and unfortunately they have to deal with people like you and their blogs that will have zero impact on their business. July 15, 2009 4:29 PM George Reed said...

I quit flying Delta for their total disregard for customer service. I have similar Delta horror stories.

George R. Reed Former Platinum Medallion Million Miler Lifetime Silver Medallion July 15, 2009 4:34 PM