Tuesday, May 7, 2013
I am avid United customer. I felt like I needed to be upfront about that before we really get to know one another. I can fly direct on United between my two home bases of Chicago and Charleston, SC, so they always get my business. Until this weekend.
As I boarded my delayed flight this past Friday night, I knew in my anxious gut that I'd miss my connection to Charleston and would then be stuck in Atlanta overnight. I was already not a happy camper. I'm not the best traveler so being stuck somewhere is cruel and unusual punishment for this worry wart. My trip was short enough already and now you were cutting into my time with the people I love. Not a smooth move for this United fan.
When the pilot announced that we'd be landing in ATL in roughly 30 minutes, I checked the time and it was 10:20. My flight left for Charleston at 10:50. Not gonna happen. Stranded. Anxious.
The minute my feet hit the ATL airport terminal, I was directed to a bank of courtesy phones which held my travel fate. About 30 seconds into the call, the friendly voice shared with me that I had already been re-booked on the first flight out the next morning. While I was still in the air, a team was working on the ground to get me to my destination. Stranded but impressed. This point is usually where I'd fight tears, if I can even contain them, but this time, I actually felt a bit of relief. Stranded but Delta had my back.
Although we couldn't get to our checked luggage, I was given a hotel room, meal voucher, and an overnight kit. Toothbrushes equal a thankful traveler in this girl. Ain't nobody got time to sit next to a funky mouthed passenger first thing in the morning. Thankful. Once I reached my hotel room, I realized that I didn't have anything to sleep in. That's when I opened my overnight SkyTeam case and realized that there was not just a toothbrush in the case, but also an XL Delta t-shirt. Stranded but with pajamas and fresh breath. Man, Delta, you think of everything! Stranded but growing increasingly more impressed.
About 4 hours of sleep later, I woke and headed back to the airport. I enjoyed my breakfast that Delta bought me and boarded my final flight to Charleston. I was about 10 hours late, but surprisingly I wasn't anxious, upset or cursing Delta's name. And trust me, when you're stranded, without clean clothes or make-up and going on only 4 hours of sleep when you usually require 8 to be a pleasant human being, this is no small feat. Someone was doing something very very right.
And, Delta, on the creative and branding side, you dress to impress. I never encountered anyone in your uniform that didn't smile and seem happy to help. AND your flight instruction video= brilliant! I've been flying since I was a youngster. I'm now 34 and I NEVER pay attention to those safety instructions as I could probably do the demo in my sleep. BUT your new video had me at hello. I laughed, I listened and my heart got all happy and warm when I saw my favorite red-head wag her finger from a passenger seat with the no smoking portion. I kept thinking to myself "did that flight attendant change jackets? Was she wearing glasses the whole time?" You're brilliant, my new friend.
So in closing, I'd like to consider taking our relationship to the next level, Delta. I think you've got what I'm looking for~ creativity, follow through, friendly faces, and t-shirts that make wonderful pajamas in the clutch. Your pilots are charming and I loved hearing their personalities through the PA system. They put me at ease and I knew I was in good hands with two retired Navy officers. Thanks for a great weekend. You turned a travel plan disaster into a not so horrible situation and I'm forever a fan.
I just might even friend you on Facebook and make us official!
Your newest SkyTeam member with complimentary fresh breathe