Delta Airlines Complaint - Delta Air Lines Ruined My Christmas Holiday All Inclusive Vacation
CINCINNATI, OHIO -- I am writing this review to ask for your assistance with my complaint
against Delta Air Lines. Ultimately, I am requesting that Delta Airlines refund me $1797.71 Canadian and $175.00 U.S. for the loss of my all-inclusive Cuban vacation and additional costs caused by the delay
of my 2 pieces of luggage. I am greatly dissatisfied with Delta Air
Line's April 14, 2005 response to my compensation request. They sent me a
cheque for $377.09 and a transportation credit in the amount of $350.00. This doesn't even come close to fairly compensating me for the great
loss and inconvenience that Delta Air Lines caused me. Delta Air Lines is the
responsible party. As such, I expect them appropriately compensate me
for my significant loss and inconvenience.
Below is the original letter submitted to Delta Air Line's Valerie Henry on January 12, 2005
Re: Baggage Delay/Lost reference Number YYZOH33239
I am writing this letter to complain about the business practice of Delta Airlines. Additionally, I am requesting that Delta Airlines refund me $1797.71 Canadian and $175.00 U.S. for the loss of my all-inclusive Cuban vacation and additional costs caused by the delay of my 2 pieces of luggage.
My stepfather passed away on October 4, 2004. He had been fighting colon-rectal cancer for 2 years. After the cancer had gone to his brain, liver and lungs, he lost his fight to the disease. Naturally, his death has been incredibly difficult for my mother (his wife) and my siblings (his biological children). My stepfather and mother were making plans to take a trip to Cuba just before his cancer escalated in September and went to his liver and lungs. In order to assist my family with their grief and the holiday season, I planned an all-inclusive trip to Cuba for the four of us. We were all thoroughly looking forward to this special trip. Delta Air Lines and the nightmare they caused horrendously changed our travel plans starting on Friday, December 24, 2005.
Delta Airlines delayed my December 24, 2004 11:50 a.m. flight until 10:30 p.m. Additionally, I checked my 2 pieces of luggage at approximately 1:00 p.m. on Friday December 24, 2004, but did not see them again until around noon on Thursday January 7, 2005. The whole ordeal brings back feelings of anxiety, anger and disappointment as I tell my story again. As soon as I heard about the flight delays, I contacted my family in Toronto. My mother was fretting. Unlike me, she is not a regular traveller and worried about travelling without me. I assured her that I would make it even if I had to drive to Toronto.
Delta Air Lines re-issued me a new ticket to replace the cancelled 5896 flight and suggested that I check-in 3 hours before due to delays. I would now be departing Cincinnati at 2:40 p.m. on flight 4098. I felt relieved until my husband drove me to the airport at 11:30 a.m. and I noticed a crowd of people outside the departure doors. I discovered the reason why after standing in the check-in lines for 30 minutes. A loud siren and the announcement system told us to evacuate the airport due to a fire alarm (it was their second that morning). Re-entering the building was mass chaos because people were pushing and shoving to return to their original spot in the queue. About an hour later, I checked my luggage and obtained my boarding pass. My heart continued to race, but I tried to be positive. I began to worry after speaking to other Delta passengers who told me that Delta had been cancelling and re-issuing and cancelling tickets all morning. Supposedly, only one of Delta’s morning flights had departed. The other passengers were correct, my nightmare wasn’t over yet. At approximately 2:40, Delta Airlines cancelled flight 4098.
The only thing the Delta Air Lines clerk could do was place me on a standby 6:50 p.m. flight 5903 and confirm me on a 11:09 p.m. flight 5906 to Toronto. I had never flown standby, didn’t know what it meant, but accepted both options. I called my husband and family in Toronto and updated them on my situation. I considered my options. Option 1: I could wait for the standby flight, but there’s a 50% chance that I wouldn’t get on the flight. Option 2: I could wait for the 11:09 p.m. flight, but there was a chance it would also be cancelled. Option 3: Drive to Toronto and get there in time to make my flight from Toronto to Cuba. After reviewing my options, I decided retrieving my luggage and driving to Toronto was the best choice.
I had driven to Toronto at least 20 times since living here and figured it to be my best option of getting to Toronto to catch my December 25, 2004, 6:10 a.m. flight to Varadero, Cuba. I called my husband and asked him to bring his cell phone to the airport because mine needed recharging. He took my carry-on and I waited 2 hours in the baggage enquiry line. The beating of my heart was slowing down. I would get my luggage, drive to Toronto, fly to Cuba and everything would be okay. Wrong! Delta Airlines refused to release my luggage to me.
According to Joy Elliott, a clerk at Delta Airline’s baggage claim department: “ Hon, I used to check-in passengers at the boarding gates, your luggage is scheduled to be on the 5903 flight. Many passengers haven’t even checked in yet. You’ll get on the 6:50 p.m. flight along with your luggage.” I truly believed Ms. Elliott. Still, there was an uneasy feeling in my stomach. My husband suggested that I drive to Toronto without my luggage. I couldn’t! Everything I needed for my trip was in there: bathing suit, sarong, satin pillowcase, casual short-sleeved shirts, sweaters, dress shirts, shorts, underwear, casual shoes, dress shoes, flip flop for shower, raincoat, bed slippers, skirts, always sanitary pads and panty liners, tweezers, shower scrunchie, beach towel, snorkelling mask and flippers, wash cloth, toilet paper, extra camera battery, 7 rolls of Kodak film, running shoes, casual and dress capris, jeans, socks, sandals, gym shorts, gym shirts, hat, dresses, light backpack, handerkerchief, pajamas, robe, body wash, money belt, flashlight, school supplies for the poor Cuban children (10 packs of pen, 10 packs of pencils, packages of notebook paper), items for Cubans that are rationed (packages of bar soap), Imodium, Pepto bismol, first aid kit, travel iron, umbrella, hand wipes and so much more. Since Delta Airlines would not give me my luggage allowing me to drive to Toronto, I had no other choice, but to wait for the 6:50 p.m. standby flight.
I contacted my family in Toronto once again and informed them of the possibility that I may not make it to Cuba and they should go without me. My mother replied that she was not going without me. I felt awful, my heart was racing, my stomach had butterflies and my nervous diarrhea started. I waited and waited and waited. 6:40 p.m. came and went. It wasn’t until an hour later that the notification board listed the flight as delayed until 9:30 p.m. I had returned my husband’s cell phone to him and had mine, but it still needed re-charging. I called my husband from a nearby phone booth and informed him of the delay. I hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst. I had disappointed my brother, mother, and sister. They would have to spend Christmas at home grieving for my stepfather. That’s when my diarrhea got worst. I couldn’t even take Imodium because it was in my checked luggage. I thought of taking a taxi to the nearest drugstore, but didn’t want to chance missing this flight.
The 9:30 p.m. flight was delayed, but arrived about 30 minutes later. Luckily, there was room on the plane for me. There were actually at least 3 empty seats on the plane. I felt relieved to be on the plane, but didn’t want to get too excited. During that day, I’d heard of other passengers boarding a plane only to find out an hour later that the flight was cancelled and had to deplane. Shortly before 10:30 p.m., the flight attendant announced that they required passengers to volunteer heavy carry-ons to be placed in the front of the plane. I along with the gentleman next to me thought it was a strange request, but complied. After 10+ hours waiting in the Cincinnati airport, I was finally on a plane. I felt better, but worried about my luggage.
Flight 5903 arrived in Toronto about 11:30 p.m. You’d think that was good news. Unfortunately, my nightmare returned with a bang. All the passengers on my plane were lining up in front of the Delta Baggage Claim booth and they were yelling. Delta Air Lines had placed us on the plane knowing that no one’s luggage had accompanied them. I could not believe it! I was in Toronto and would make the 6:10 a.m. Cuba flight. However, I would be travelling to Cuba without any luggage. I reported the baggage loss to the Delta Airlines clerk who told me not to worry… another flight was scheduled to leave Cincinnati and arrive Toronto before my Skyservice flight departed. According to him, my luggage would make that flight. Additionally, he recorded on his computer where the luggage should be sent in Cuba if it did not make the 6:10 a.m. Skyservice flight. It was 2:00 a.m. Christmas morning and my luggage still had not arrived in Toronto. I located a pay phone and called my mom to inform her of the situation. They had already left for the airport.
I checked in at the Skyservice booth at 3:00 a.m. and explained the delayed luggage situation to them. They were sympathetic, but could not do anything. It wasn’t their problem. It was Delta Air Lines’ problem. My hopes were no longer useful. We boarded the Skyservice plane for Varadero, Cuba at 6:10 a.m. without my luggage. I still couldn’t believe it. My trip was ruined. Delta Air Lines had ruined my all-inclusive vacation to Varadero, Cuba.
I was in Varadero, Cuba without my clothes, shoes, everything that I need. I reported my baggage loss to the Lost and Found office at Varadero airport and the Signature Vacations representative. The clerk in the Lost and Found had the information in her computer, but could only suggest that I wait for the luggage to arrive. Signature Vacations could not help me. It was Delta Airline’s responsibility to get my luggage to Varadero, Cuba. I remembered what the Delta Baggage claim clerk had said in Toronto. “Delta Air Lines will send my luggage to me in Cuba.” I started to feel hopeful again.
After 5 days without my luggage, I started to lose hope. I had emailed Delta Airlines’ Baggage Service consistently since I arrived in Cuba. No one had taken the time to respond to any of my emails. I felt bad for my family because they had to deal with my unhappiness. They wanted to make the situation better for me, but could not.
My mother wore cloth size 16+ and shoe size 9/10. My sister wore clothe size 8 and shoe size 10/11. I wear size petite 0. I could not borrow anything, except for my sister’s underwear which hung off of me. Not having my luggage affected me psychologically, physically and emotionally.
I cried a lot and was very depressed throughout the whole trip. My clothes are one of the things that define who I am. Part of the reason, I find living in Cincinnati difficult is due of the lack of shopping. I purchase most of my clothes in Toronto. If I do buy clothes in Cincinnati it’s at The Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, or J. Crew. Cuba is a lovely place, but it’s a third world country limited by a U.S. trade blockade. More so, as a U.S. resident, I can travel to Cuba, but I am prohibited from spending any money there. Also, Clothing items and sizes are very limited. No one goes to Cuba to shop for clothes! My mother purchased 5 t-shirts, a pair of shorts, and 2 pairs of underwear for me. We tried to find a bathing suit, but the sizes were too big. Most stores did not accommodate petite sizes. I had to alternate between the clothes my mom bought me, my sister’s underwear, and the clothes that I wore on December 24th: one pair of grey underwear, one pair of black wool socks, one pair of black wool Ann Taylor pants, and one pair of black insulated Steve Madden shoes, a black wool Banana Republic winter coat, a red cashmere scarf, a black pair of leather glove, and a black bra from Victoria Secret. Not having my clothes made me feel humiliated.
I watched as my family and other people changed their clothes regularly. I wore one of 5 Cuba t-shirts daily and the same blue shorts. In my luggage were 3 sets of clothes for each day: beach clothes, day clothes, and evening wear. On Thursday, December 30th, I gathered up enough courage, took off my shorts and went into the beautiful ocean wearing a t-shirt and underwear. I felt ashamed and embarrassed, but the beautiful seawater felt wonderful against my skin. New Years Eve was the hardest. All the tourists and my family had wonderful formal wear on. I wore the same clothes I wore on December 24th: one pair of grey underwear, one pair of black wool Ann Taylor pants, and one pair of black insulated Steve Madden shoes. My sister’s clothes couldn’t fit me, so I had nothing else. I have made many trips to at least 20 different countries, and this is the first time I’ve felt depressed.
Imagine going on holidays and not having photos as a reminder of the trip. My camera was in my carry-on, but my 7 rolls of film were in my checked luggage. My family took some photos, but I usually take at least a roll of film per day when I travel anywhere. I guess in this case, remembering the trip brings back feelings of disgust, sadness and humiliation. Cuba is a lovely country, but my trip was horrible.
I need to return to Cuba under different circumstances – with my luggage – with my clothes – with my self-esteem. I left Cuba and Looked forward to getting back to Toronto. Shortly after arriving in Toronto, I went shopping for some clothes to tide me over until I returned home. I felt a little better, but still disgusted with Delta Air Lines for ruining my Christmas, all-inclusive Cuba vacation and New Years. On January 2, 2005, I checked my email and received my first response from Delta Air Lines. They had located my luggage in Toronto.
On January 5, 2005, prior to boarding the plane for Cincinnati, I informed the check-in agent about my missing luggage. He told me that it was down stairs and asked if I wanted it. I told him that my luggage has been out of my possession for almost 2 weeks. There were no locks on the 2 pieces of luggage. Who knows what’s in there or not in there now? I told the Delta Airlines check-in clerk that I wanted Delta Airlines to deliver my luggage directly to my permanent address.
My luggage arrived at my home on Thursday, January 6, 2005. I spent the day unpacking clothes I didn’t wear, ironing clothes I didn’t wear and crying. Why did Delta Air Lines ruin my trip? Why did Delta Air Lines ruin my Christmas holiday?
I have told my story to a number of people. A common response is: “That’s Delta Air Lines!”
Prior to this incident, I was generally content about travelling with Delta Air Lines. My husband is an engineer with Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America and used Delta Air Lines for most of his business travel until about a year ago. After reading numerous Delta Air Lines complaints on sites such as Consumer Affair.com, My 3 cents.com, infoplease.com, complaints.com and others, I’m beginning to think that delayed flights, delayed luggage and bad customer service is a common practice with Delta Air Lines. I don’t want to believe this, but what else can I think? I am still greatly disappointed about the loss of my all-inclusive Cuban vacation. That trip was very important to my family and me. I want my all-inclusive Cuban vacation back!
To resolve the problem, I want a refund of the following:
$1550.86 Canadian for the loss of my all-inclusive Cuban vacation
$246.85 Canadian for the subsistence apparel purchases in Canada
$75.00 U.S. for 5 Cuban t-shirts purchased by my mother in Cuba
$30.00 U.S. for 2 pairs of underwear purchased by my mother in Cuba
$20.00 U.S. for a pair of shorts purchased by my mother in Cuba
$10.00 U.S. for the Always Sanitary pads and panty liners I borrowed from my sister in Cuba
$40.00 U.S. for the 20 emails sent to Delta Air Lines while in Cuba (cost of $4.00 U.S. for 30 minutes)
I have enclosed the following documents to assist you with your enquiry:
Copies of 27 emails sent to Delta Airlines
Copies of 5 emails received from Delta Airlines
2 Delta e-ticket receipts for original flight and replacement for cancelled flight
Copy of Delta baggage Information form
Copy of Delta baggage claims for December 24, 004 and January 5, 2005
Copy of Delta Boarding Passes issued on December 24, 2004
Copies of all-inclusive travel vacation invoice and itinerary information
Copies of receipts for purchases made in Canada: 1 pair of winter boots, 1 travel bag for purchased clothes, 1 pair of jeans, 2 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of socks, 4 shirts
I look forward to your reply and a resolution to this problem, and will wait until January 26, 2005 before seeking help from consumer protection agencies or the Better Business Bureau. Please contact me at the above mailing address, email or by phone.
I submitted my complaint to the Better Business Bureau. Delta Air Lines still refuses to compensate for the great loss and inconvenience they caused me.