One of my good friends was in town this past week visiting friends and family. She was flying back to Mississippi on Saturday when she found out her connecting flight from Atlanta would be cancelled and she wouldn’t get home until Sunday morning. She texted me and asked if she should receive a voucher in this situation. Absolutely!
My friend was flying Delta airlines from MSP to ATL and then to a small regional airport in Mississippi. When she arrived to the airport at MSP, she was informed that Delta was having mechanical issues and that when she arrived in Atlanta she would have to spend the night. They had offered to put her up in a hotel for free, but she didn’t think that was enough compensation. I completely agree.
What to do when your flight is cancelled?
First, stay calm. It happens and it’s not the end of the world. It does not matter what airline you fly with, it happens to every single airline company at one time or another. Just like all cars break down, it’s something that’s unavoidable.
Wait in line to talk to the gate agent. Once it’s your turn, ask what they are doing to compensate passengers in this unfortunate event. If the problem is in fact the airline’s fault (i.e., mechanical issues) then I would not settle for anything less than a voucher for a free airline ticket in the future.
My friend tried talking to the gate agent, but they were not able to provide her anything more than a $100 voucher. Whatever the gate agent provides, I highly recommend taking it! If you still feel this is not enough, try finding someone in a red coat (if you’re flying Delta). Other airlines will have different levels of customer service representatives.
Delta has brought back the red coat to help with customer service. They can’t wave a magic wand and make all your problems go away, but they do have more authority than a gate agent.
The power of Twitter
If talking to the gate agent and management fails, then I recommend hopping on Twitter. Twitter is a VERY power tool that has solved many of my problems when companies fail to deliver exceptional customer service at level 1.
Example of Twitter
As an example of what Twitter can do, I ordered cheesecake directly from NYC for my family Christmas party in 2014. UPS failed to deliver the cheesecake to the correct address on Saturday morning. I called the 1-800 UPS number and naturally they opened a case and said I would hear back from them on Monday. By that time the cheesecake would be bad and my party was that day! This is why I paid for overnight delivery.
I hopped on Twitter and explained to UPS what was going on with our cheesecake order. The UPS customer service rep behind their Twitter account must have got ahold of someone in the Minneapolis area, because within an hour and half I received a call from a UPS manager who was driving around trying to find out where the driver mis delivered our package.
In the end we got our cheesecake on time and everyone at our party loved the authentic NYC cheesecake! (FYI, the cheesecake was from Junior’s. I HIGHLY recommend checking them out if you’re every in the NYC area!)
E-mail the airline
Visit the airlines website, and make sure to voice your opinion! You don’t have to be nasty in your e-mail, because that’s probably going to get you no where. However, if you’re polite and you explain what happened, you might surprised and FINALLY receive your free voucher that you should have received in the first place!
I complained to Delta last year about my worthless First Class meal to and from Boston, and I received 7,500 miles! In my complaint e-mail, I NEVER asked for compensation. I just wanted to provide feedback on their lousy vegetarian options. Delta stepped up and offered me roughly $100+ worth in miles.
E-mailing the airline does take a few days for them to respond. So if you don’t hear anything right away, you’ll have to have a little patience.
Whatever you do, don’t give up! Airlines don’t want to give out free money, but when the fault is on them, you need to be persistent! You can’t let the airline get away with providing a lousy certificate and thinking everything is fine after that.
I wish I would have followed my own advice 6 years ago when I was traveling home from Hawaii. Delta delayed our flight by more than 7 hours! As we walked off the plane they handed us a $25 voucher. I was so mad that I crumpled it up and threw it away. I didn’t fly Delta for more than 5 years because of this incident, but I’ve now gone back to them.
I don’t think airlines realize that when they screw customers over, they end up losing business in the long run. Had Delta done the correct thing and offered me a certificate for their mechanical issue, I probably would have taken numerous Delta flights over the course of those 5 years.