Back “in the day”, one of the best kept secrets that I never blogged about (but did share at events like the Chicago Seminars) was the old direct Platinum Medallion number 218-254-7725 that rang into the Chisholm Minnesota call center. Even if you were not a Platinum you could simply hold and not put in your Platinum (or Diamond) number and get amazing service from some of the most experienced and professional phone agents working for Delta. It was amazing. The phone number still works but no longer does what it once did.
Right now one of the only “tricks,” if you will, if you want to call it that is to use the phone line that is supposed to be dedicated to travelers needing rapid support to avoid sometimes spending many hours on hold.
Delta began to destroy having top dedicated phone reps even before the pandemic but that move accelerated, for obvious reasons, during the pandemic. You are now just as likely to end up being routed to a phone rep’s home as to anywhere else.
I have found the level of both knowledge and power reps have in 2023 is sorely lacking. You can have reps telling you information that is directly the opposite of what is published on Delta.com and even if you read it to them off the site – they are most times unwilling to do what is right – or they do not have the tools to do what is right. This is either due to the software that Delta has pushed for them to use or unwillingness to take the risk of getting in trouble for doing what is right for loyal passages.
Another thing that is dead was the simply over-the-top amazing and professional Delta Twitter support team. I saw them firsthand when I visited the OCC in Atlanta years ago. When I was constantly flying with Delta they were always there to quickly and correctly fix anything I needed and I could put up the request and NOT have to be on hold on the phone – no, I simply typed everything I needed and wait for them to have time to review and fix it. This too was amazing.
That is gone, dead and history. And dead not just for Delta as Mr. Musk, head Twit, is destroying Twitter for every single airline that attempted to keep this avenue of direct support open. So sad.
does did have a very friendly and powerful app that would fix a great many things quickly and simply but they have now made that so ridiculous with the latest update that I am forced to run an older version of the Fly Delta App and now have to take the risk of always manually updating all the apps on my phone just so I am not auto forced again and again to run the new horrid one. The same ugly changes are rolling out to Delta.com as well but at least we have the very powerful schedule change rule to save us under many situations. The latter however only works when there are not unique things like upgrade certificates attached to your reservation then you are back to calling once again and playing phone rep roulette!
So is there a great solution? Delta could rebuild what once was but I just don’t see it happening. They are focused, like with SkyPennies, to drive down value for us as they are selling every seat anyway so why make things better when it is not needed. – René
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Very well put in exactly why I rarely fly Delta anymore
My sense is that no matter what airline a person flies, it might seem fine at first but it will ultimate end in disappointment. It’s no different in the hotel world. Someone gets pissed off at Marriott and moves to Hilton or Hyatt or IHG. Someone gets pissed off at Hilton and moves to Hyatt or IHG or Marriott. Etc. Etc. To the extent a hotel chain loses a member to another chain, it picks up a member from another chain. There’s no consequence and the chain doesn’t care and service continues to decline. Marriott is more concerned about losing revenue from a misbehaving property owner than losing revenue from disaffected customers . . . who don’t matter because they will soon be replaced.
It will take 20-30 years for ATL based employees to achieve the “greatness” experienced pre pandemic. This is observed empirically by being based out of ATL and eating lunch with them on Virginia Avenue. Red Coats on down have trouble assisting a Medallion get rerouted due to IROPS without getting upset, mad, or threatening to call the police. I won’t even mention the flight attendants
Great point. But I disagree with your thought on things getting better in 20 to 30 years. I’d say that the poor service levels we are experiencing right now will be remembered fondly 20 to 30 years from now.
You are 100% correct! I had a connection with one of the “old” Delta Diamond reps (who has since retired) and she told me in order to work with Platinum or Diamond members, they needed to have a minimum of 5 years on the job. Now, as soon as they get out of training, they can be dealing with anyone. I have had so many experience will ill-trained, clueless and snotty reps – it is hard to remember when there was good service. I’ll double down on my comments regarding the lack of in-flight service as well…it’s just not there and they don’t care.
Rene, you are absolutely correct in saying that customer service levels were already going down prior to COVID and that COVID was a reason to lower them even more. But, I would add that we’ve seen this in most airlines, most hotels, etc. In fact, we’ve seen this in most industries. There’s a self-reinforcing loop of consumers wanting lower prices, companies needing to cut expenses, quality drops, consumers wanting an even lower price, companies needing to cut even more expenses. It is the hallmark of a commodity service or product as opposed to a value-add service or product. The vast majority of customers will not pay more for quality. The customers who are willing to pay more are oftentimes stuck.
Million miller and long time Diamond and now a United 1k. Not a fan boy post pandemic and the lounges are way to packed still due to AMEX relationship
My husband and I flew on Delta last week to Key West. The return flight was delayed 30 minutes, so it caused my husband and I to miss our connecting flight. The customer service reps at the ATL airport could not have cared less, except for one. (Shout out to Brandy B. who actually has a heart and cares!) We were really disappointed with the lack of customer service at Delta, both in person, via Twitter, their app, and Facebook (which only redirects you to their app). We kind of expect that from other airlines, but not Delta. It’s time to rethink our loyalty.
I am a Diamond who travels for leisure, typically 5 overseas trips a year and several domestic. I can’t agree with your assessment of Delta customer service. I have enjoyed the attention of several reps post-Covid and have always had any issues resolved. Except for the obviously new rep who didn’t know the rules of using GUC’s. That would have been the only time I didn’t score a rep 5 but didn’t have the chance because I asked her to be transferred to someone who knew their stuff.
I am a Platinum and there has been some deterioration on the phone side since the pandemic, but not that I have experienced in flight. Many times, especially during 2020-21 I was having a conversation with a CSR from her home. As an example today there was a TSA cluster F…. in SYR, in precheck it took me 26 min when it normally takes 8 min max! The flight was boarding before I got through PreCheck, we boarded and the Captain came over the PA stated that he knew we were late pushing but he was going to wait for the passengers that had become delayed by TSA. Then when we landed late in ATL the lead and another FA announced that they wanted to expedite a half a dozen passengers that had to rush to their connections. The FA actually positioned herself in the aisle to row three just past me, to ensure that the subject passengers were off first. Over my forty years of flying I have seen announcements about late connections and have even been the subject, but I have never observed a proactive FA ensuring that it happened. So has customer service dropped into the toilet as I am reading? I have not experienced a degradation other than a one off FA that is having a bad day once in a while but that was true before the pandemic.