Delta Might Just Be Trolling Me Now

Delta might just be trolling me now, and I might have to admit to being a bit impressed.

A few weeks ago, I noted my frustrations about a travel experience on a Delta flight from Helena to Istanbul, in which my the cancellation of my flight started a series of frustrations that basically haven’t come to an end.

After a few weeks of processing my frustration, I sent a complaint into Delta’s corporate offices on January 12 (an act suggested by the one helpful representative I dealt with on the day of my cancellation). The canned response said that, while most e-mails are responded to much more quickly, that “usually [passengers will] hear from us long before 30 days have passed.”

On day 32, I contacted Delta support and Twitter, and was told that that meant thirty business days, not thirty days. Surely, a corporation with a multi-billion dollar valuation can’t be expected to write an accurate e-mail response, so I waited again. On the 31st business day, Delta’s support system on Twitter told me that they’d get back to me when they complete my case. Thirty days, business or no, it seems just weren’t enough to figure out how to respond to my complaint.

On Thursday, though, I finally received a call from Delta. As I was teaching class, I returned the call 15 minutes later during my free period. After waiting on hold, I was told that the supervisor I needed to speak to was “on his lunch” and not able to take the call. I suggested a time when they could call back, was told I would receive a call, and in a shocking turn of events, did not receive one the rest of Thursday or on Friday. When I called the number back on Friday after work, the office was closed for the day, and I still haven’t heard back other than an apology and an offer to “send a message” to that department on Twitter.

Saying you’re sorry is one of the most powerful or most disengenuous acts a person can offer. When it’s meant, it’s an acknowledgement that another person has actual value to you, enough that you are willing to recognize that you have treated someone badly. On the other hand, when it’s thrown out pro forma as a way to deflect criticism and avoid responsibility, it’s probably among the least respectful things you can do to a person, because you’re trying to use your faux apology to prevent honest discussion and decent treatment.

Left to decide between the reality that Delta is really this disinteresed in treating customers reasonably well or that they have decided to troll me for having the temerity to question the service I received, I have to assume the latter is true. At least that means they’d be paying attention.

And that would be a welcome change.