Kevin’s adventures with Delta continue

Posted by guest blogger Kevin Slimp, a columnist, speaker and director of the Institute of Newspaper Technology.

As a writer, sometimes stories come too easy. Such has been the case with my Delta
dilemma over the past two months.

You may have read my guest column for the News Sentinel July 18 concerning my recent problems flying – or more aptly, not flying – Delta airlines. Seems I  have the luck of booking a lot of flights that never make it to their destinations.

Since first writing about my plight on Facebook and gaining a small bit of international attention, Delta has contacted me on multiple occasions concerning my plight. There’s an old saying in the newspaper business: “Don’t pick a fight with someone who buys their ink by the barrel.”

I’m sure Delta didn’t want any more bad press. They came forward with refunds, reimbursements, vouchers and frequent flyer miles to make up for my bad experiences.

I couldn’t help but chuckle when I received a phone call from someone with some authority at Delta this afternoon. After introducing herself, her first words were, “Mr. Slimp. Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Do for me? What did you have in mind?”

She explained she had heard about my plight and wanted to make sure that I received the kind of service deserved of a Delta elite flier.

Earns+Delta(2).jpgI chuckled because she didn’t know I was stranded in the Memphis airport, waiting for a flight that would be delayed almost six hours to Minneapolis, meaning I might very well miss my connection to Bismarck. And if I missed my connection to Bismarck, I’d be forced to get a rental car in Minneapolis at midnight and make the eight hour drive to Bismarck to be there in time to speak at a conference at 8:30 a.m.

A few minutes earlier, a customer service representative offered to put me on a flight leaving Minneapolis around 7:00, three hours later than my original flight. I asked if there was a later flight because I felt sure my flight would be delayed further and I’d never make the 7:00 flight. She giggled when I said, “I’ve been around this block a few times.”

Sure enough, my flight to Minneapolis didn’t leave Memphis till 7:00. That would have to be one fast plane to get me to Minneapolis at 7:00. So I guessed right.

As I write this, I’m sitting on the flight from Memphis to Minneapolis. I don’t know if I’ll make the connection to Bismarck or not. To make it, this flight will have to arrive at the Minneapolis airport at the estimated arrival time, get straight to the gate without delay and my departure gate will have to be in relative close proximity to my arrival gate. If all that happens, I’ll be at my hotel in Bismarck sometime around midnight.

And if that happens, I’ll bet money that my luggage won’t be there with me. I wonder what I’ll wear to speak in Bismarck at 8:30 a.m.?

More from Kevin tomorrow.

Photos: Kevin Slimp, News Sentinel; Delta Airlines, Associated Press