While United Airlines’ stock took a hit from bad customer service, Delta is taking great care to do right by customers.
Laura Begley Bloom, a columnist for Forbes, was scheduled to fly to Florida with her family last weekend. However, when she boarded the plane, flight staff informed her that the plane was overbooked, and that passengers would have to deplane in order for flight crew to board if the aircraft was going to take off at its scheduled time. But even though Bloom volunteered to have her plans changed at the last minute, she was able to negotiate her way into a great deal that made the sudden change worthwhile.
Because a rash of storms on the East Coast delayed or cancelled thousands of Delta flights, there were suddenly dozens of passengers with standby tickets hoping to score the flight from New York City to Fort Lauderdale, Florida that Bloom had already booked months prior. She was able to negotiate with Delta for $1,300 per seat in order to delay her flight by a day (Delta also provided an impromptu pizza party for passengers stranded on the runway in one instance).
When she returned to LaGuardia Airport the following day, Bloom noticed the same situation had arose once again — dozens of passengers on standby were trying desperately to get on the flight she had been moved to. When she told the gate agent that she may be willing to sell her seats for $1,000 per person in order to cancel her trip altogether, the agent agreed, and Bloom walked away a richer woman.
As Bloom wrote, through an extensive back-and-forth with the airline, she eventually convinced the company to pay her a total of $11,000 in American Express gift cards in order to agree to be bumped from her previously scheduled flight and to have her following flight plans cancelled the next day.
While Bloom’s case is obviously a byproduct of bad weather and fortuitous timing, Delta’s actions are a stark contrast to how United decided to approach bumping passengers from its overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville this weekend. According to reports from the ground, when nobody volunteered to leave the plane, United was only willing to part with a paltry $800 for a passenger to change their travel plans. The viral confrontation that happened after United flight staff called Chicago Airport Police eventually cost the company $1 billion on Wall Street and a sullied reputation.
Compared to $1 billion, $11,000 doesn’t seem so bad.
Jamie Green is a contributor for the Resistance Report covering the Trump administration, and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.