This morning I sit at my laptop in the Delta Sky Club in the A Terminal at the Atlanta airport. I had planned to be just waking up in my med at home today after a long day trip to Raleigh. However, the flight delay gods were to have something else planned, and, well…here I am.
I live on the road. I’m a 1K with United (their highest tier of Elite), a Platinum with Marriott (their highest tier of Elite) and a Sapphire with Intercontinental Hotel Group (their highest tier of Elite). I have spent more than 1/3 of this year away from my family (not something that I am proud of) and while I enjoy traveling around the world for work, the pace has been really rough this year, and I am exhausted. With that exhaustion comes the tendency to be short-tempered and VERY demanding of airline and hotel people. So when I, a “nobody flyer” to Delta gets stuck because of flight delays, I find my blood boiling. I just knew I was going to get the shit end of the stick. But I kept my mouth shut and just prayed that I would have the patience to just be a good witness for Christ in my day to day…especially yesterday.
Let’s start in Raleigh. It was clear that the gate agent has done this a long time because he did a great job of processing those that were certain to miss their connection, and kept everyone else up to date. When it was time to board he made an announcement that I’ll never forget. “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to board, but before we do I want to tell you that we really try to be nice to everyone. We try to greet you with a smile and such. But you want to get to Atlanta and about half of the plane has connections. So please understand if we board you quickly and don’t give you that relaxed service with a smile it isn’t because we don’t like you. It’s because we want to get you on the and on your way so you’re not stuck in a hotel over night.” BAM! Expectations set and everyone was good with it. And true to his statement, the boarding was pretty quick.
Now I am on the plane, in the air and happily jetting toward Atlanta and a really tight connection to Tampa. However, the schedule being what it was, there would be no connection. While I was still in the air I received a text message (using wifi) telling me that I could book a hotel at Delta’s expense using my phone. So I clicked the link, and it took me to a website (hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud) that allowed me to pick from six or eight hotels (all very nice) near the airport. Before we landed I had secured a room at the Hilton Airport (beautiful hotel) and I thought “well, at least all I have to do is stand in line to get rebooked”. Nope. Delta has these kiosks around the airport that do all kinds of things, and in this case, you scan your boarding pass and they print the details of your rebooking. How cool is that? How many people did I talk to? ZERO (except for the Delta agent from the airport who called me on my cell to make sure I was all taken care of). How much time did I waste? ZERO.
This morning I hopped up, dressed and got on the shuttle, got my new boarding pass at the airport and am now comfortably sitting in the club waiting for my ride. I don’t know if I’ll ever leave United because I have always had excellent service and I have my status. But I have to give Delta real props here. They did it right, and I appreciate that a nobody passenger like me had a flawless experience.