Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My thoughts on the Delta luggage controversy.

I've been seeing status updates on Facebook about Delta Air Lines being under attack for charging active duty service members for shipping their gear back from their deployments in Central Asia. The story tells us that a group of returning soldiers spent $2800 collectively on baggage fees because they went over the allotted amount. 

The story doesn't say that they had the same amount of gear with them on the way to their deployment, so I'm guessing they were bringing home personal entertainment and souvenirs. Just an assumption. Also, any official gear would be checked in before leaving and shipped back with the military.

I just wanted to let anyone who reads this know that, as a military wife, I've had nothing but great experiences with Delta. Their staff is always friendly when I'm checking in, understanding about my hoarding tendencies when packing luggage (sometimes I go overweight), and their flight attendants have always been incredibly hospitable. For these reasons, Joe and I are SkyMiles members and travel almost exclusively through Delta when we are in the states.

We love the benefits Delta provides military members, like being able to check two fifty pound bags when traveling on personal business, and FOUR fifty pound bags when traveling on orders. Who in their right mind would want to lug 200 lbs of luggage around an airport is a detail I won't even address, but having that option and being able to take advantage of it for free is a major perk that Delta offers. Once in a while, we even receive passes to the Delta Sky Lounge! These little oases in a jam-packed airport full of screaming kids, sick travelers, and uncomfortable seating bring me incredible joy when traveling. The ones we've seen have had open bars, breakfast stands, newspapers from around the world, leather recliners in front of 60" TVs, and even showers. These can make a huge difference in my attitude during a 12-hour layover.

A rule that was constantly drilled into me when I worked in the service sector was that you need to treat everyone with a smile. Every time something bad happens to a customer, they will tell five of their friends. Yet, when they are treated well or with special privilege, they may only tell one other person. Basically: bad news travels fast! I would hate to see Delta suffer financially from attacks on their commitment to military members and their families because I sincerely appreciate what they do. They go above and beyond the necessary public relations stunts and actually show us that they care. Please support them by continuing to book flights and not passing along the story about returning soldiers being charged for luggage.

For more info about Delta's commitment, check out their blog post.

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