Did Delta go the extra mile for me?


As an Amex-branded Platinum-level frequent flier for the better part of the last decade, Carolyn Stover Harvey counts herself among Delta Air Lines’ best customers. The kind of customer Delta would go the extra mile for.

You’d think.

But Harvey wonders if Delta really did go the extra mile for someone with as many miles as she has. She wants me to tell her – and you to tell her – and she promises to abide by our decision.

Oh, the pressure! OK, here it goes.

Harvey flew from Atlanta, where she is based, to Fresno, Calif., via Salt Lake City.

Her outbound flights encountered numerous problems. A mechanical delay made her miss her connection in Salt Lake City, she arrived in Fresno six hours later than planned, and her luggage arrived 24 hours later.

When she tried to check in for her return flight, she found her itinerary had “vanished.”

“Delta had no record of my trip home,” she explains. “Apparently it disappeared when my re-booking was done. I was ultimately returned to Atlanta via Salt Lake City, but not without problems.”

As if that wasn’t enough, she was seated in the least desirable seat on her flight back to Atlanta: in the last row of economy class near the galley. Of course, her in-flight entertainment system didn’t work.

Harvey wrote a letter to Delta’s chief executive, complaining about the problems she encountered on her California trip and reminding him of her elite status. She asked for a full refund of the clothing and toiletries she bought during her baggage delay, plus a double-refund of the Skymiles I paid for her ticket, or 65,000 miles.

It looked as if the person who reviewed my complaint did not understand the problems at all. I received a full refund of what I spent on my emergency supplies, but only a 5,000 Skymiles refund. I just find the entire treatment of my very valid complaint insufficient.

Harvey thinks she understands why Delta didn’t compensate her more. She paid for her flight using miles, which means it was a nonrevenue tickets. But did Delta do enough for this super-elite customer? Did it follow its own rules for compensating her — or did it brush her off?

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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