Delta Airlines: Learning To Say I’m Sorry

I am always amazed how one or two people can ruin the reputation of an entire company. Last week was exciting – I was on my way to Huntington Beach to meet with the very talented Thermador team, and I woke up to a snow and sleet storm in Dallas! I made it to the airport safely and on time, but our flight ended up leaving 1 1/2 hours late. When I got to Salt Lake City and ran for my Delta connection there was no gate attendant in sight – she was out on the bridge chatting with the crew. When she finally did come back she said the gate was closed and I couldn’t get on the plane. Come to find out that the plane had to come back and 2 hours later there I sat – on that plane. They let us off while they try to fix the plane, and this young girl who was flying alone and didn’t have a cell phone was asking the gate agent if she could call her parents to tell them she was going to be late.She was crying, and Kahl the agent informed her that her parents could just look online and turned away. I took her aside and let her use my phone and she was able to get in touch with her parents.

So many customer service crisis’ could have been averted that day, but the Salt Lake City Delta employees – Kahl, Ronald R and Andrea B chose to just “do their jobs” and not go the extra mile. Instead of stepping up and treating those customers like they would treat their own family members they turned it into a customer service nightmare. I arrived late, missed my first meeting and to add insult to injury they lost my luggage!

Here I am today on another flight heading to Las Vegas for the International Builders Show. On Delta. Trust me, if I could have changed to a different airline I would have. When they asked would I would like to drink, I asked for coffee and they said they didn’t have any made. I was fine with that, but then a few minutes later the flight attendant came back with a cup just for me. Later he came through the cabin asking if anyone was a doctor – apparently there was a medical emergency onboard. I started watching him –  he was calm, efficient and made me feel like everything was under control. When I asked for his name when I left (Ashante) I think he was surprised –  I told him he was a rock star and he was! I’ll fly with him anytime, anywhere.

Delta, like so many companies needs to balance the good and the bad. Every employee can’t be an Ashante, but I will never forget or forgive how Kahl treated that young girl. I’m sure that it will be a long time before she chooses to fly again. A simple I’m sorry or some compassion could have made a difference in any of these circumstances. For me, I’ll remember it as a very valuable lesson for my own Lifestylist Brands reminding me how important it is to treat people kindly.

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