Day in and day out, I feel as though I’m the only pro-Delta blogger left on Upgrd.com and one of the few in the blogging community. Although, I told myself I would divorce Delta in 2012, I am now having 2nd thoughts and in fact I must say Delta has remained my favorite airline in 2012, and only 2 days into 2013, they have proven to me why I should stay loyal to them and continue flying Delta, despite their skypesos program!
I will make this as brief as possible. 2012 was supposed to be the year that I left Delta for another airline. I failed miserably at that and only qualified for United Silver (and I had bad experience, after bad experience on United) and didn’t re-qualify for any status under American. However, somehow I boosted my status from Gold and qualified for Delta Platinum by just 220 miles in 2012 giving me Platinum status through 2013! Now I know many of you wouldn’t get excited about that, but flying from San Diego, I’ve been upgraded on about 70% of my flights as a Gold Member which tells me Platinum in San Diego just got that much better! Anyway, that is not the purpose of this post.
The purpose of this post is to tell you why I love Delta and how they rescued me this week. If you’ve been following me the last few weeks you know that I’ve been traveling. I left on a trip from the USA to SE Asia and have been traveling all over South East Asia on a mix of United and Delta Miles; my posts thus far have been titled “Getting away on Miles: fill in the blank w/ the route or lounge. If you follow those posts then you would have notice that when it’s time to fly back to the USA, I was supposed to fly Malaysia Airlines back from the Philippines (MNL-KUL-NRT-LAX-SAN) and I redeemed Delta Skymiles for that segment of the trip. Although I’ve not finished all my reviews for the entire trip report, I’ll give you a quick heads up, I ended up not flying MAS home and had to leave Asia 3 days early! This is when Delta saved me.
At 3am on the 2nd of January, I received an email informing me that due to unforeseen circumstances I had to be in NYC by late night Friday/Saturday. I had a ticket awaiting my departure from San Diego and I was expected to make the flight, hell or high water! No problem right? WRONG! Major problem! My flight from Asia wasn’t going to get me home till Sunday at 5pm, how would I ever arrive in NYC by Friday night or Saturday?!??!
I rushed to Expertflyer and started doing searches for award availability. At this point, I didn’t care if I had an economy or business class seat; I just needed to get home ASAP! I couldn’t find anything there so I then moved my search over to the Air France site and also searched the Malaysia Airline site for flights; still nothing! The last trick in the book was to search segment by segment on Delta.com hoping I would find something I couldn’t see by searching the entire length of the trip. Highly stressed, I was finding nothing! I was about to buy a ticket for over $2,000 when I decided to call Delta and explain to them the situation.
I got on Skype and called the Platinum award desk (Thank god I am platinum now!). The woman who answered the phone was extremely friendly and helpful. I explained to her that I was having a personal emergency and needed to get back to San Diego ASAP. I also told her I was looking online but couldn’t find anything, but was desperate to get home. She put me on hold, told me she would request space manually from China Southern and Malaysia Airline and also search the Delta system segment by segment in a mix of economy and business class to see what she could do.
I sat on hold for over 20 minutes as the lovely woman searched. I was getting more and more nervous by the moment. As she was searching, I was also searching and I wasn’t finding anything. She came back on the phone and said to me, “Mr. Horan, can you be at the airport in the next hour?” I agreed and she then explained to me what she did.
Somehow, (I’m not religious, but for lack of better expressions) God only knows how, booked me 3 segments on Delta: Manila-Narita in coach, Narita-Seattle in Biz, Seattle-San Diego in coach (On Alaska). She then informed me that although she could not get me Biz Class on the other segments, I should talk to a Delta agent at either Manila or Narita and see what they could do. She said Airport agents have more control and as long as they are real Delta agents and not contractors (there are Delta employees in both Manila and Narita) then I should not have any issues for I’ll be on their turf and not at the mercy of the horrible machine! She then informed me that although there was no low level availability on Delta aircraft, she confirmed a number of seats available that were going to fly empty, therefore she overrode the system and did not charge me extra miles for my return trip even though only mid/high availability was available and on some flights zero availability. She, like me, thought it was crazy that Delta was only releasing high/mid level awards less than 3 hours before departure with a number of seats available in both coach and biz!
I profusely thanked the lady on the phone, packed my bags, and rushed for the airport!
I arrived at MNL a full 2 hours before my flight. This is not something I usually do, however with the circumstances, I was nervous something might go wrong and wanted to give myself plenty of time, just in case. When I arrived at MNL for check-in, I explained the situation to the gentlemen and he was very happy to help me and get me a better seat. He quickly went to work alongside with the ticket reissue agent. It took them about an hour, but they reissued me a ticket, 100% in Biz class MNL-NRT-SEA-SAN! Not only did they reissue me the ticket, but my original layover in Seattle was 11 hours, and they were able to reduce it to 4!
At this point, I was ecstatic and loving Delta airlines all over again! They really went above and beyond for me and just proved to me that Delta is there for you when you need them the most! Not once did they ask me what my emergency was or hesitate to help. They understood the direness of the situation and everyone from the phone agent to the staff at Manila went to work quickly to get me home as fast as possible!
Other than that, I have nothing much to say other than, Delta has regained my loyalty and I will continue to fly them through 2013. We were only 2 days into the year and Delta proved to me why they deserve to be the #1 airline in my book! And honestly, the story only gets better from here…
Once I boarded in Manilia, the station manager boarded the plane. He found me in my seat on the upper deck and introduced himself. He then apolgized for how long it took his team to reissue my ticket and thanked me for flying delta (WOW, talk about personalized service!) Then as we pushed back from the gate, leaving MNL ,there was a delay due to maintenance on the B747 and the delay out of MNL almost made me changed my mind, thinking Delta was no longer #1. But then I stopped and though about it. Every airline has maintenance delays and its better safe than sorry. Not to mention, due to the IROPS, I could change my routing on Delta.com without any issues or questions. This meant I was able to change my flight from NRT-SEA-SAN to NRT-LAX-SAN and instead of flying on A330-300 w/ angle flat seats across the Pacific, I was going to enjoy a B777-200LR w/ lay flat seats for my first time! This is by far a better hard product than the A330 and the angle flat seats offered by Malaysia Airline.
So in the end, I love Delta. Everything today really worked out in my favor. I was sad to end my vacation early, but Delta went above and beyond for me only a few days into 2013 and reminded me why this is my airline of choice!
Thank you Delta! I’m glad you still care about your customers!