Monday, May 2, 2011

This was easy

A few months ago, I posted about Delta's new ad campaign from Wieden+Kennedy concluding with this:

"...But when you walk up to a Delta counter to find that you've been bumped from your flight and the agent says, "Sorry, there's nothing I can do but put you on the first flight out tomorrow." the promise is broken. The passenger says, I guess you're really not any different. And the millions of dollars spent to communicate the brand promise has been wasted."

This happened to a friend of mine on Friday as he and his family were to travel home from Michigan to Connecticut. They showed up at the airport with their infant child with plenty of time to board their flight. They checked their bags, checked in, and found their way to the gate. After a short wait came the announcement. Their flight had been cancelled and passengers would be rebooked.

After waiting in line they got to the counter and were offered a $50 voucher and a flight out the next day. No overnight accommodations. Oh, and their luggage was already on another plane and couldn't be retrieved. Worst of all, they had timed there trip so they could be home to attend a friend's wedding which they would now miss.

Delta's explanation for this inconvenience? The crew didn't show up. Surprised my friend asked, you mean they got stuck in another city? And the gate agent said, "no, sometimes people don't show up for work, you know how that is."

That's when he got angry. This wasn't a mechanical problem. This wasn't an act of god. It was the representatives of a brand not doing their jobs and a brand not holding them accountable. A brand that had promised their passengers that they had their backs.

Delta failed on the most fundamental level. And if you've ever flown, you could see this coming from miles away.


  1. This has happened to me too. I was frustrated, but the cavalier way in which the gate agent explained the situation told me that no amount of ranting would fix it. Apparently it's par for the course. Good thing Delta spent the money to have their LGA hub equipped with iPads at every seat and retrofitted to look like a coffeehouse. (How's my sarcasm level? Is it translating???)

  2. Your onto something. Delta's new "we care" campaign has about as much heart in it as an Orwellian Big Brother messaging program. Don't then know we all fly and are sick and tired of being fee'd, probed, squashed, nutrition deprived, etc. I would gladly pay the going rate not to have go through this idiocy. Why play this silly game, then spend millions to pretend your brand is different.