I fly to New York between three and four times a year and Delta has a flight that leaves Tampa at 7am and lands at LaGuardia at 9:30. It''s like time travel that flight. I wake up in my own bed but can be walking down Fifth Avenue by ten in the morning. I loathe early morning flights as a rule but with that particular flight, I can fly up on a Friday morning, go to meetings all day and then have the weekend to just be in New York.
I have a speaking engagement in New York on April 30th. I'll be sitting in a roundtable discussion at the annual meeting of the American Society of Journalists and Authors at the Roosevelt Hotel (if you're in New York please come!) Sitting at that table with me will be Dominique Browning, former editor of House and Garden, Michael Cannell from the New York Times House and Home section, David Farley from the New York Times, the Washington Post and National Geographic Traveler and Saxon Henry who's published more work than any of us combined. And oh yeah, then there's little old me, the internet guy from St. Pete. No pressure.
Anyhow, I went to go buy my airline tickets for this conference on Sunday after I paid my taxes. I'm a Delta frequent flyer so I went to their site immediately rather than deal with Expedia. I booked my ticket for a departure on 4/29 and a return on 5/2.
As soon as I approved of the transaction I realized that I have a meeting in New York on 5/2 and that I meant to fly home on 5/3. Crap!
Changing a flight after booking carries a $150 charge and I was already on edge from the fact that my TPA to LGA flight cost $50 more than it usually does.
Three minutes after I booked that flight I called Delta's customer service number and was connected with a human being immediately. On the other end of the line was Hilary, someone who deserves a raise and a commendation. I explained to Hilary that I'd just booked myself on a return flight for the wrong day and that I needed to change a three-minute-old transaction.
She told me not to worry, that she'd take care of everything. She waived the change fee with the wave of her hand and proceeded to cancel my old reservation. She booked me on a new return flight, seated me in the aisle both ways and saved me five dollars in the process.
I was already a fan of Delta Airlines but Hilary made me a raving, rabid fan. I cannot imagine another airline that would forgo a handful of fees to make a customer happy.
Thank you Delta, you saved my long weekend in New York and you've earned the distinction as the official domestic carrier of Kitchen and Residential Design.
Besides, they have a safety video that's actually worth watching:
Pay attention to when she warns the audience about smoking on the airplane. Priceless!