Is Delta The Worst Airline To Book Tickets With Right Now? [Roundup]

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Interesting take on Chase’s acquisition of new media companies though I’m not sure it captures the vision behind their buying The Infatuation (HT: Hans M.)

  • Not a new article but I just came across it, a fascinating look behind the scenes at the strategy and development of Bilt Rewards sort of a step-by-step evolution of why and how it was ‘built’.

  • It’s hard to get through to airlines, especially without status. Still a pretty good reason not to book Delta which has been worst on this throughout the pandemic.

    Hint: you can often get through to English language international call centers (Eg for Delta – Singapore) – that’ll work better than doing what Delta’s CEO suggests.

  • Bank of America Amtrak card no longer available to new applicants

  • Priority Pass lounge The Club at ATL locked the doors to keep people out rather than turning them away at the desk due to crowding. But that also meant people were locked in, and had to be let out one-by-one.

  • Missed connections

    The day after Christmas (December 26), I was on a flight home to DC via BWI. A polite man in a D.C. running club black hoodie and Cleveland Browns hat gave up his seat so my daughter and I could sit next to each other.

    During my conversation with this charming good-looking stranger, I laughed so hard that I could barely breathe. I had so much fun that I wished our flight was longer! Sadly, I didn’t catch a name.

    Far better when it goes like this:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. > Is Delta The Worst Airline To Book Tickets With Right Now?

    Most likely. IMO, since Ed Bastion became CEO, Delta has shown nothing but contempt for its customers.

  2. Delta: 4 hour hold times during worst of pandemic

    Air Canada: hold my beer. Never ending hold times, always.

  3. So how is this news? Delta had 8+ hour hold times 6 months ago. Just one more reason why foreign air carriers need increased access to US airports, an end to cabotage, and to start flying city-to-city in the US. Oh, and let’s recoup some of the billion $ payout to the Big 3 air pirate conglomerates.

  4. Tim j
    First, “worst” is a term of ranking which implies there is data that can be used to come up with a score.
    Call wait times and completion ratios are qualitative metrics but there isn’t a soul – you, Gary, or anyone else- that has that performance for every US airline – if even one of them although the companies themselves certainly have it.
    Second, no business wants to be short of help but if there is an area of an airline that can get by with short-staffing better than in other areas, it is reservations. The vast majority of customers do not need to use reservations to complete a booking – which is what this statement is about – and they don’t ever need to talk to reservations from booking to completion of their journey.
    Third, metrics like on-time, completion ratio, baggage handling and customer complaints are tracked by the DOT and made available to anyone that wants to see them. Delta consistently ranks at the top of the industry in just about all of those metrics. American consistently has one of the highest rates for misplaced baggage, United has one of the highest consumer complaint ratios and JetBlue has one of the lowest on-time percentages.

    Call handling anecdotes, while certainly real to some people, simply are just that – anecdotes – involving a relatively small percentage of customers while other metrics affect far more people and Delta does better than most other airlines in them.

  5. Frank,
    now that the world has outsourced a large chunk of manufacturing to China and we are now paying the price for the control they have been given, there is no way I will allow control of any industry to be turned over to foreigners.
    And, btw, the reason cabotage – operation of foreign carrier flights within another countries domestic market – will not happen is because there is no other country that has any kind of domestic air travel market that is willing to open their markets to foreign airlines.

  6. Good call here Gary. My question is where did the Delta call back feature go? Why are we waiting on hold for hours – Ive done it and agree with Geoff – the text feature is far better. Didnt they used to call you back after 2-4 hours? Come on Delta, be better.

  7. Another pile on Delta, post by Gary Leff! Clickbait! Hold times for all of the US carriers has been far longer than usual. Not just Delta!!!

  8. Fortunately for Delta they don’t have a 20 minute speak to an agent or get 2500 miles guarantee like their baggage guarantee. Otherwise they would handing millions of miles . Then again it doesn’t really matter because a million miles might get you from Boise to Salt Lake City in economy with SkyMiles . 🙂 🙂
    Happy New Year All !

  9. This is just one data point, but when my daughter’s Christmas Eve flight was cancelled at the last minute she was able to rebook easily without having to talk to anyone on the phone. Delta had rebooked her on another flight that didn’t work for her, but offered a helpful link to follow if you wanted to try to find a better choice. She was presented with an alternative that got her to us just an hour later than the original flight (albeit with a short layover). A few clicks and she was rebooked and got to spend Christmas Eve with her family.
    Anytime you have an airline scheduling disaster it will result in an overwhelmed call center. I’m not sure it’s fair to blame the airline for that. We really appreciated that they provided an easy-to-use online alternative.

  10. You’d have to be a complete Moron to book a flight with Delta Airlines. Any airline that would leave it’s passengers standard on a Christmas Holiday and shut down customer service deserves to be in Bankruptcy. The CEO should be fired immediately!! Total lack of respect to accommodate it’s loyal customers should be that very last straw to show how much they truly care about it’s customers. Heed the warning!! If you book again on Delta you deserve every bit of shit they throw at you, the lies they tell you and the games they’ll play with you. I’m not writing this to advocate for any other airline. Simply put, what they did to their customers was down right horrible. The CEO is a complete Joke to allow this to happen. I bet he made it home for Christmas.

  11. Actually, in ANY kind of adverse situation, ALL airlines SUCK! Come to think if it, there doesnt necessarily have to be an ADVERSE SITUATION.
    They experience NO consequence for poor treatment of customers and even get rewarded for their incompetence and arrogance with government BAILOUTS!

  12. All the carriers are having issues with weather and Covid, now! Gary, are you going to retract or revise this post to reflect that it isn’t just Delta?

  13. @JohnB – Delta is consistently worst for dealing with by phone among the US majors, this isn’t a post about cancellations. This has been true throughout the pandemic and isn’t just newly an issue either.

  14. Gary,

    I have been on the phone with Delta, twice this month. I have not held longer than a hour. I am not an elite. In all my experiences with airlines, Delta has been the best, followed by United, with American being the worst. I have never flown Southwest because I have drive 170 miles to an airport they service. Besides, when was the last time you flew Delta? Or had any engagement with Delta? Or United?

    Gary, you piled on United as having a meltdown. But the fact is that all the carriers are having issues from weather and Covid. Not just United, not just Delta. Yesterday, Southwest had the most cancelations, 16%, of mainline US carriers. JetBlue canceled 13% of their flights in the 10 day holiday period. I personally don’t think these cancelations will let up until this Omicron wave deceases.

    Gary, you think you are a thought leader, but in reality you are discussion leader.

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