The Difference is Customer Service

The Difference is Customer Service

Air Travel & The Weather

I had a recent flight booked for a business trip from Minneapolis Minnesota to Kitchener Ontario, via Chicago.  Flying back into Kitchener is a treat as the airport is small, not crowded, quick with Canada Customs and close to where I live.

 Flying back into Kitchener is a treat as the airport is small.

 The connection in Chicago was only 65 minutes, just enough time to change terminals and exit, then re-enter security as is required for an international flight there.  A massive snowstorm coming through this November day caused some major delays and my last flight of the night wouldn’t have made the connection in time.  No one can control the weather so patience is necessary.

Two things happened to me that made this particularly messy day one that ended up being only a minor inconvenience:

1. The service from my airline, Delta. 

Image Delta AirlineAfter hearing the news about the departure delay and how it would cause me to miss the connection, I was directed to Sylvia M in Special Services.  I explained to Sylvia that I needed to get back to Kitchener that night as I had a very busy schedule the following day.  She had some built in complexity to deal with as this was an American Airlines flight that had a Delta connection.   However, she smiled and explained that this was a challenge she was up to, and would figure out a way that she could make this happen.

She had some built in complexity to deal with as this was an American Airlines flight that had a Delta connection. 

http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/support/talk-to-us/customer-care-offices.html

Sylvia had to make 4 phone calls and work with someone on their support team to make this happen.  Air travel is complicated and over the past 20 years, airlines have lost money in as many or more years as they have made money.   I understand given the combination service how it was difficult to solve, but Sylvia just made that happen. I sent a note to Delta at the link above to let them know about this amazing service and how well Sylvia dealt with it.

2. I was able to use Driverseat to relocate my vehicle to the other airport. 

Image Driverseat Airport Drop-offWhile it seems like this may be shameful self-promotion for a company that I co-founded, I have to share this experience as we didn’t even imagine how amazing this service was in situations like this. Sitting in the airport in Minneapolis, it could have been difficult to accept Sylvia’s offer to get me to Toronto given where I live (100km / 60 miles west of there)  and knowing that my vehicle was parked at another airport.  I would have had to use an expensive car & driver service at over $200 for the trip or would have had to ask my wife of 21 years to get up late at night and make the drive to Toronto.  One of the many reasons we are so happily married is because she would do that for me, but I would always try to find an alternative first.  

For $25, he was able to to pick up my spare set of keys and retrieve my vehicle.

Instead, I was able to call Shawn who owns our Driverseat franchise in Kitchener.  For $25, he was able to pick up my spare set of keys and retrieve my vehicle.  For $55, he was able to send a Coachman to Toronto with my vehicle to pick me up.  All in, my total expense was $80 which was half the price of staying an extra night in the hotel and less than half the price of a car & driver service.  And, I ended up with my vehicle in my driveway the next morning.

… which was half the price of staying an extra night in the hotel

When Canadian musician Dave Carroll released “United Breaks Guitars”,  it went viral becoming an immediate Youtube and iTunes hit.  It currently has almost 14 million views. This is an excellent song and video detailing a horrible experience with United Airlines.

We have all had bad airline experiences and it isn’t difficult to search the internet to find many more.  This video in particular was one that forced United to wake up and understand how their actions can impact their business (with 14 million views, it has had major exposure).

However, the airline business is a complicated one with many moving parts, and when an airline like Delta does something outstanding, it deserves to be praised.

Brian Bazely is co-founder of Driverseat, a vehicle transportation company, specializing in Designated Driving, Airport Drop-off, Elderly Accompaniment and Special Event Transportation.  www.driverseatcanada.com

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