Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Delta Update

Hmm...make that 3 posts today.

I received this link from Sara @ Sara Plays House on Facebook this morning. It is Delta's blog. The first blog post of the morning addressed the concerns and anger that many people had voiced through various social media. Their social media/public relations coordinator, "Rachel", spouted Delta's policies on checked baggage for military personnel (which is 3 checked bags for coach and 4 checked bags for first class/business). I can tell you that the only time Neal ever flies first class is if someone gives up their seat to him (or if the plane is chartered and the officers are given first class seats...although he has been known to give up his first class seat to an enlisted Soldier). In fact, when he and I flew to Phoenix for an Army conference last spring, the attendant was willing to move him to first class (but my husband is a unicorn and wouldn't leave me behind because I was not offered any such deal). So, they almost always fly coach. 3 bags. That includes your weapon - which is housed in a special case that leaves little room for socks, underwear, and shampoo.

Also, I understand that Delta was apologizing for the "confusion" and misunderstanding regarding policies, but I can tell you that information flows down the chain of command as precisely as possible to avoid this very thing from happening. So, what that tells me is that someone from Delta misinformed the commander. That's on Delta, not on our military. The Delta representative actively made a decision to charge these Soldiers anyway...even though computers can be and are often overridden. It was a shocking and appalling choice, especially since "Rachel" is quick to claim her status as Army wife of a Reservist in Atlanta. They also brag of their affiliation and support of The Fisher House and the U.S.O. But as they's not bragging if you can back it up. Delta did not back it up yesterday.

But our voices, emails, tweets, and Facebook statuses have been heard because the following change in policy was posted on Delta's blog today:

After careful consideration, effective immediately, U.S. military personnel traveling on orders in First Class and BusinessElite can check up to five bags at no charge and 4 bags in economy class. This change also adds dependents traveling with active military on orders. Each bag may weigh up to 70 lbs. (32 kg) and measure up to 80 linear inches (203 cm), which offers added flexibility over the standard 50 lbs. and 62 linear inches (157 cm) allotment. Because of weight, balance and space constraints, Delta Connection carriers will accept up to four bags at no charge. You can read the updates to the travel policy on

Here's the thing: I understand that policies are in place for a reason. Just because a rule was misunderstood does not mean they necessarily need to change it. They should just apologize for the misunderstanding, eat the cost, and try to communicate better in the future. But I agree with this policy change because if you have ever traveled with a servicemember and all of his/her gear, you know that 3 bags is really not enough. Add a weapon and it's definitely not enough.

I also appreciate that dependents are included in this change. My only suggestion would be to allow weight overages for dependents traveling to meet their Soldier during r&r. Neal has approximately one tshirt and one pair of jeans with him currently. Oh and some swimming trunks because I think they still have a pool. I have to bring everything else. Upon returning from Italy, I was stopped in the JFK airport and interrogated about why I had so many bags for just me. How do you explain to a non-military security officer that I have to bring a suitcase of civilian clothes with me? Eventually they get it...but only after I have almost missed my flight.

So, to the best of my knowledge, I think Delta is reimbursing each Soldier's $200. I don't know how long it will take or if it will be the full $200. But I do know there are more than a few businesses out there who would have turned their back on the deluge of complaints. At least Delta is doing something about it. Too little too late? Perhaps. But we have to remember that everyone makes mistakes. It's if and how you apologize for them that makes the difference.


  1. I'm still trying to figure out why there's the limits based on where you sit, or even at all? Am I missing something?

  2. What also irks me about this whole mess was if Delta truly felt they were in the right, and that they absolutely could not absorb the cost of the extra bags (which we all know is total BS)why not send the bill to the military?? Especially if even one of them could produce the orders stating they could bring 4 bags....Why make soldiers returning home from WAR cough up all that dough on the spot for a mistake that either Delta or the chain of command made?!?!?

    Really bad business on Delta's part, especially after the news that the airline industry had brought in TENS OF BILLIONS of dollars last year from all these extra fees they have been charging us....

    Glad to hear SOMETHING was done and hopefully these soldiers get to see their $200 while its still worth $200!!!!

  3. I'm with Hutch! It shouldn't matter if they're riding on the damn wings!

  4. Agree with all of the above...thanks for following up Allyson and keeping us all updated...and thanks for always giving us the honest glimpse into your not-so-private lives.

  5. Let's call a spade a spade here....the ONLY REASON Delta changed it's policy is because of the huge backlash that occurred yesterday! A viral video, tons of blog postings and facebook and twitter...there was no way they could have ignored it. It's a big black eye for them and I hope it hurts them in the only place they care about - their bottom line!

    The original video has been removed and I hope the soldiers don't get into trouble for posting it!!!

  6. How'd you manage to get the Italians to pay attention to your bags? I felt like I could have walked through customs with a flame thrower and they would have dismissively waved me through.

  7. I agree with Jeannie 100%. And also with your statement that computers can be over-written. I don't understand at all, but I'm glad Delta is at least trying to make amends. Personally, I choose Continental every time, and not only because they were one of the only carriers flying into Guam.


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