Saturday, April 1, 2017
PART 3 – DELTA AIRLINES
It’s Happening Again…. And the Delta Difference
Around this time, Delta ups the offer to $800 in travel vouchers, plus the other stuff. Still need 8 people. I see a handful go to the counter. A few minutes later Delta repeats the $800 offer, asking for just 2 more people. Clearly 6 had taken the offer.
I start to really need to use the bathroom.
Another few minutes, and Delta is now asking for one more passenger to volunteer to give up their seat. Just one more. I see a family of four – father, mother, and two young girls – hovering near the counter and not getting in the passenger line, waiting.
They finish boarding the plane. I wait a couple minutes, but the plane does not move, the walkway doesn’t even move back from the plane. I look at the family of four, and think to myself there are clearly three empty seats on the plane now. Why doesn’t one of the parents take the girls and go today, and the other go on the flight tomorrow morning? Then I thought, oh no, what if the 8 -whatever am flight is now full?
Finally, I can’t safely hold it anymore. Seeing no activity going on, and seeing the bathroom right next to the gate, I pick up my youngest and dash off to the bathroom. She starts fussing from hunger. I promise after Angel’s plane takes off, we will go get dinner. I use the bathroom, quickly, and rush us back to the gate.
As I’m pushing the stroller back up, I see the plane is still there and attached. I also see the father from the family before at the gate counter. He is reaching out with one hand, leaning into the counter an arm’s length away, and he is clearly using every last ounce of strength he has to not lose his $h1t. His head is half bowed down, an angry frown is etched into his face, and the tension in his face and arm muscles is visible.
A good 20 feet away, back by a row of seats, the mother is holding the youngest child up on her side with one arm, and is holding the older child’s hand with her other hand. All three are still and quiet. The youngest child is resting her head against her mother’s shoulder. As I walk behind them, an aisle behind them, towards the windows, the youngest lifts her head and says, “Mommy, are we going to get to go to Disney?” My heart breaks a little for them.
“I don’t know,” the mother replies. And now I’m in tears again. It’s happening again!! I’m watching the same thing that happened to us happen to another family! They are going to be denied getting on the plane! This is awful!
A minute or two later, a lone woman comes gently walking up the walkway from the plane carrying her jacket and pulling behind her a rolling carryon. She heads over to the gate counter, and says something I don’t hear to one of the attendants there.
The attendant behind the one the woman is talking to, turns and waves the family of four up to the counter. Then she keeps waving them past the counter, to the boarding pass scanner lane. THEY’RE IN! THEY’RE GETTING ON THE PLANE! I’m SO elated!
The father gives the woman a deeply heartfelt “Thank You,” twice, as he guides his family by. The mother also says thank you as she goes past. They hurry on to the plane.
After a moment, I go around the open area in front of the counter, and come up to the woman from her left side (even though I started on her right). “I want to say Thank You, also,” I tell her as I reach out to her arm but do not touch her.
She looks at me and says, “They offered a thousand dollars, once we were all seated on the plane. They asked for just one seat. I talked with my husband about it. I said there has to be children involved. So I offered to stay the night, and he’ll pick me up in the morning.”
“Thank you so much,” I reiterate.
And there is the difference between Frontier and Delta. Frontier made a policy required effort to get volunteers, but no more. They didn’t care.
Delta made well more than two attempts at the gate, and raised the offer amount twice, from 600 to 700 to 800. Frontier never raised the offer amount. AND, once everyone was onboard the airplane and settled, Delta made one last plea for a volunteer and raised the offer even more, to 1,000. Frontier did not make a request on the plane, I know, because it was boarded and departed too fast for an offer to have been made and given time for someone to accept.
Delta tried hard for their passengers, and in the end, Delta got everyone on that flight without denying boarding to anyone.
Frontier made no such efforts, and could not have cared less.