Author: has written 5300 posts for this blog.

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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79 Responses

  1. anon mouse
    anon mouse March 23, 2010 at 6:56 pm |

    Geez, that sounds utterly terrible :(

    You should send your story to … I think they’d, well, not get a kick out of it, but be very interested!

  2. Ami
    Ami March 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm |


    I recently moved to Austin, and I’m from Indianapolis. It’s a pain in the butt getting between those two places because no direct flights. Friends and family have had hard times with Delta and weather delays in the past. But NOTHING like that.

    You are a strong, strong woman…

    I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Austin, sucks it had to end on such a sour note.

  3. Amanda
    Amanda March 23, 2010 at 7:02 pm |

    Just……wow. That’s all I can say. Make sure you let us know if/when they respond to your letter. That’s just ludicrous!

  4. Michael Hussey
    Michael Hussey March 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm |

    Your flight reads like a horror movie. You hd to be desperate to fly to the shit hole known as the La Guardia Airport.

  5. Katherine
    Katherine March 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm |

    Oh no! All of that is terrible (except the rental car travel buddies and your mom –they are not terrible!). I second the notion that you send your story to If only because I flew Delta to Baltimore a few summers ago, had to give up my seat for an EMPTY CAR SEAT (EMPTY. CAR. SEAT. EMPTY!) and had to give up all of my carry ons, and Delta kindly eviscerated my laptop in return. And it wasn’t really “mine,” it was my roommate’s. (Let the public record show she was really cool about it. I would not have been cool about it. Also, I called Delta, and it was my fault. It was all my fault a passenger had extra carry ons. ) There’s a welcome space for you in the Never Flying Delta Ever Again Club! (And I didn’t deal with anything compared to you. I’m a mostly lucky traveler.)

    Glad you enjoyed your trip!

  6. Ben
    Ben March 23, 2010 at 7:33 pm |

    Sadly, Newark is worse than LGA, at least if you are trying to get there from New York City.

    Air travel from New York is so ridiculous that it makes sense to take a train or bus if going to Boston or DC or points (roughly) in between. I don’t know what to make of it when it almost makes more sense to road trip it to Austin.

  7. Cara
    Cara March 23, 2010 at 7:33 pm |

    Wow, Jill, this story is even worse than I’d gathered from the live-tweeting. Damn. I’m glad you’re home safe now, but it sure must have sucked to have been you. :/

  8. piny
    piny March 23, 2010 at 7:34 pm |

    Well, I hope you can dooce them.

  9. Lauren
    Lauren March 23, 2010 at 7:34 pm |

    I don’t have a story anywhere near that bad, but yesterday we were delayed an hour and a half (on a Delta flight), and it was so turbulent that I thought I was going to throw up and die.

  10. Ginjoint
    Ginjoint March 23, 2010 at 7:38 pm |

    Good night, the levels of fuckuppery there are staggering. This is, by far, the worst airline horror story I have ever read. Just when I thought it would end for you, I kept scrolling, because there was more. There was always more! I don’t know how on Earth you managed to stay awake, Jill – there’s no way I could’ve pulled that off. I am so sorry that happened to you.

  11. margosita
    margosita March 23, 2010 at 7:42 pm |

    I also had a Delta horror story last week, which involved multiple delays and the whole board-now, no-wait, get-off thing and 6 hours in the Detroit airport. But your sounds worse. Yikes.

  12. Rebecca
    Rebecca March 23, 2010 at 7:42 pm |

    Wow, that is even worse than the time we were separated, I in Clifton, New Jersey with a pack of British Trekies, you in Madrid by yourself, both of us crying—COMBINED with 114 degrees on a train AND wandering around Nice trying to find a place to stay and the story that ensued…. UGH… poor Water Man!

  13. Gillian
    Gillian March 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm |

    I am going to have nightmares after reading that. I can’t imagine how you are still sane and managed never to tear your hair out.

  14. Allison
    Allison March 23, 2010 at 7:47 pm |

    Holy shit. That’s about all I have to say. Midway through I started laughing because it’s just too ridiculously horrible!

  15. piny
    piny March 23, 2010 at 7:49 pm |

    My favorite part was the one where you had to go and pick up your fucking luggage yourself.

  16. Hugo
    Hugo March 23, 2010 at 7:54 pm |

    I’ve had some bad travel stories (involving British Airways and lost luggage in the Rome Airport) but this takes the cake.

    Send the letter. Ask for Delta Crown Room membership for a year (not ideal, but hey, it’s something).

  17. piny
    piny March 23, 2010 at 7:56 pm |

    Although, now that I think of it, your luggage could very well have ended up buried in sand. In Guam.

  18. Aaron
    Aaron March 23, 2010 at 8:04 pm |

    Okay… I have a Delta horror story about a flight that was delayed due to weather, leading to our following horrendously bad advice from well-meaning Delta employees (who should have known better) that resulted in needless complication, delay, and their loss of one of our suitcases during the simple task of transferring it from the customs area to baggage pickup. And yes, I also know the pleasure of that two-and-a-half hour line at the Delta counter, staffed by one or two people no matter how many people are waiting in line. And yes, we ended up renting a car to finish the last leg of our flight… because it was either an eight hour drive or a two day wait for the next available flight. But still… your story beats mine, hands down.

    During our two-and-a-half hour wait at the Delta counter, as we approached the front of the line we let a guy cut in front of us. He had been given a hotel voucher good at several local hotels, all of which were full. (Another recipient of a voucher noted, sardonically, that the “50% off” price was not only “good” for hotels that were full, but their “off the street” discounts were within dollars of the supposed “half off” rate listed on the voucher.) We did save the poor guy some time, but guess what…. He got the “We can’t help you with that, go wait in that line” treatment, and got to start over at a different counter.

    (If you’ll forgive a short digression…. The car rental company wasn’t much better, first renting us a disaster of a car with front end alignment about 20 degrees off center and getting about 8 mpg due to the drag, and did I mention we were trying to drive around a massive storm front that was dumping huge quantities of snow on the roads? Then – after we called in to arrange a replacement – not having the replacement ready as promised at the pickup location… and making us wait for about an hour despite there being nobody – that’s right, nobody – ahead of us in line while the people behind the counter (to the best of my ability to tell) did nothing. At the end of the hour they gave us the only similarly sized car on their lot and told us, as if we should be grateful, that we were getting a “free upgrade” to a car with a GPS. Which turned out to be broken. But at least the car drove in a straight line)

    Somebody observed about a year ago that merging the airline with the worst customer service rating with the airline with the second-worst rating was not likely to result in an improved customer service experience. I guess Delta and Northwest showed them….

  19. Marksman2000
    Marksman2000 March 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm |

    I don’t have your patience, Jill. When that flight attendant starting yelling at Water Man, I would have lost it. Thing is, I don’t think race had anything to do with it. I believe the flight attendant was stressing just as bad as everyone else (or worse), and she just decided to vent on that poor bastard.

    Of course, I’ve seen police officers do the same thing with fists and batons.

  20. emr
    emr March 23, 2010 at 8:13 pm |

    anything that involves the atlanta airport always involves carnage. when i lived there and would fly ANYWHERE, my flight was always delayed (one time it took an hour and 45 minutes of sitting on the tarmac while they tried to locate sandbags – but that was continental.) my worst experience involved trying to fly from columbus, oh to jfk when our plane caught on fire. harrowing, to say the least. THAT was delta.

  21. Sooki
    Sooki March 23, 2010 at 8:16 pm |

    Och! Delta Airlines in the WORST! I flew solo when I was 10 and the left me in the terminal by myself. No one had bothered to phone ahead that an unescorted minor was flying so they had no idea what to do with me! Took a few solid hours before they would let me go with my family. Terrible.

  22. AfflictionAteHer
    AfflictionAteHer March 23, 2010 at 8:24 pm |

    Holy cow, that is one amazing story!! I’ve lived in Austin for years (glad you enjoyed your time here), so at least your return trip had a good start. I could never have held myself together through your ordeal. It sounds like you got a fabulous story out of it — and I hope you hang tight to your complaint until you get some kind of satisfaction for this situation.

  23. preying mantis
    preying mantis March 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm |

    Great googly moogly. They really just won’t be happy until the only people trying to fly are rich-ass bastards, will they?

  24. That Girl
    That Girl March 23, 2010 at 8:50 pm |

    Wow. That is by far the worst airline story I’ve ever heard. I don’t think I could have handled not yelling at something. Thank God for Twitter and that immediate release

  25. Rachel
    Rachel March 23, 2010 at 8:50 pm |

    Delta: Doesn’t Ever Leave The Airport.

    The last time I flew Delta (July 09) it was an international night flight from JFK. Since tons of flights from America to Europe leave at night, one would think that the international terminal might, you know, have employees hanging around to check people in. There were about 3. One who was checking in a line 30 people deep, and 2 others who were standing around yelling at everyone on line to use the self-check in terminals. Unfortunately, one of the flights that was leaving around the same time as mine was to Tel Aviv and, somewhat unsurprisingly, passengers going to the Middle East are subject to more thorough screening. Which means that they can’t use the terminals (or at least couldn’t then.) This is, of course, the sort of thing that the idle Delta employees might have known if they had stopped berating everyone for a moment and allowed one of the passengers (many of whom were obviously Orthodox Jews and carrying Israeli passports) to tell them where they were going and that they needed to be checked in manually. Also the sort of thing one might expect airport employees to know. Not so. This all went on for a good 25 minutes. Finally one of the Delta crones nastily grabbed one passenger’s passport and tried to “help” this fool who was obviously too incompetent to use a computer…only to discover what all of us already knew, that it wasn’t going to work for him, or half of the people on line. Not that this inspired anyone to get behind the counter to help check everyone in.

    But seriously, your story takes the cake. That’s got to rank up there with one of the top disastrous travel stories of all time.

    I suggest sending a letter to the airline (wouldn’t hurt to send a link to this post, or to mention your average pageviews…) and to Consumerist. You might be able to get them to reimburse you for some of the expenses.

  26. Ellie
    Ellie March 23, 2010 at 9:20 pm |

    Um, that fing sucks. Sorry you had to deal with that. :\

  27. herong
    herong March 23, 2010 at 9:26 pm |

    Better Business Bureau. They are amazing and respond personally to the complaints.

  28. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable March 23, 2010 at 9:50 pm |

    emr: YES. Delta for sure was a shitshow with this situation, but don’t underestimate the problem that was Atlanta. Atlanta has the longest delays of any airport in the US.

    I flew Delta last week from France to the US and the first leg was fine, but the connection from JFK to STL was ridiculous. It ended up being a four hour ordeal for a two hour flight… but it seems stupid to complain now, haha. Sorry! I hope that you at least find it a fun story to tell.

  29. Sarah
    Sarah March 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm |

    The worst flight I ever took was with Delta. They canceled our flights, shuffled us around, made us miserable, and then lost our baggage. When the baggage was returned to us – three days later – it became clear that our bags had been left out in the rain at some point.

    And my suitcase was growing mold. I was Not Pleased.

  30. dakus
    dakus March 23, 2010 at 10:07 pm |

    OUCH! Sorry to hear about your horrific travel experience back home. Have you considered moving to Austin? You are always welcome down here.

  31. Jenn
    Jenn March 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm |

    I’m glad you enjoyed Austin, but that is a terrible story! The one problem with Austin is that there are so few direct flights to and from. I have a 2 year old and I can only IMAGINE how god awful this experience would have been had it been she and I. Good reason not to fly on Delta anymore.

  32. Brenda
    Brenda March 23, 2010 at 10:11 pm |

    I’m sorry to hear about this. Here’s my story regarding a board member of Delta who framed me out of my career of 18 years. This will give you some insight into why the airlines are so screwed up.


  33. chipchop
    chipchop March 23, 2010 at 10:48 pm |

    Wow. I definitely hope you get more than the voucher out of this whole deal.

    But on a more positive note… did you see any great bands/films at SXSW?

  34. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte March 23, 2010 at 10:57 pm |

    Holy mother of god.

    A lot of airlines have relationships to hotels that have points programs, too. Perhaps you can demand that instead.

  35. Chally
    Chally March 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm |

    Jill, as shitty a day as I’ve had, your story has cheered me up by comparison. Which is to say, I am sorry.

  36. prairielily
    prairielily March 23, 2010 at 11:44 pm |

    As awful as this sounds, I have to know… how do you know that Water Man got on the 8:40 flight?

    I used to live in Atlanta. I will never comprehend why there are so few of those boards in such a gigantic airport. What the hell, Atlanta? WHY? Also, for some reason, when I lived there if you needed to use the payphone to make a local call it would cost $1.75 in quarters. What the hell, Atlanta?

  37. Feminist Review
    Feminist Review March 24, 2010 at 12:52 am |

    I’ve got a waaay worse story than this that ended with my getting $1700USD from an international air carrier after writing a three-page complaint letter. I hope you have the same good fortune.

  38. Renee
    Renee March 24, 2010 at 1:32 am |

    Hey Jill, I followed some of this on twitter. I am glad to hear that you finally made it up but I gotta say that your story has to go down as the worse travel story that I have ever heard.

  39. Alexandra Lynch
    Alexandra Lynch March 24, 2010 at 3:29 am |

    This is why I do not fly.

    I have got enough medical issues that traveling even by private car is sometimes an interesting and challenging hurdle to be managed. And that’s with as much control as I can have regarding timing, conditions, and the ability to access water, sleep, and medications as needed.

    So no, not flying.

  40. Natalia
    Natalia March 24, 2010 at 3:31 am |


    Jill, do you ever read Patrick Smith’s column on One of the points he always makes is that air travel in the U.S. is just not as good as it should be. For a wealthy country, there are way too many problems. Granted, fuckery happens everywhere else – it happens in Europe, it happens in the Middle East – but the sheer amount of fuckery in the U.S. still has the power to surprise me. I mean, let’s put it this way – something like Royal Jordanian is a bastion of customer service in comparison to Delta.

    And it’s also true that airports such as ATL are a huge chunk of the problem. And then there are mismanaged and inefficient security checks. Combine all that, and you’ve got chaos.

    Anyway, I hope you write your letter, and I hope you get something out of them. Delta should erect a monument in your honour for the amount of composure you showed alone.

  41. Ginjoint
    Ginjoint March 24, 2010 at 7:12 am |

    After I left my comment above and had plopped my lazy ass on the couch to watch some T.V., my thoughts kept returning to that man who was needlessly and cruelly expelled from his flight. I felt so bad for him. Did any other passengers stand up for him? Maybe the social pressure from other passengers *cough*other white people *cough* would’ve gotten through that attendant’s thick skull enough to cause her to rethink her actions. Or not.

  42. Tree
    Tree March 24, 2010 at 8:06 am |

    I actually like flying out of Newark, at least compared to JFK or Laguardia. There is a bus to the Port Authority and a train to Penn Station from Newark, if you can deal with taking luggage on the subway.

  43. Fine
    Fine March 24, 2010 at 8:28 am |

    USA airlines have a dreadful reputation all over the world and are the reason why many people chose not to travel there. That, and the horrendous thugs in customs and immigration.

  44. Bonn
    Bonn March 24, 2010 at 8:30 am |

    Are you sure you weren’t starring in a remake of Planes Trains and Automobiles without your knowledge? What a terrible story.

    My worst flight ever was Delta … until I flew Northwest. And now they’re the same, or something. Unsurprising. Nothing at all near that level of crappitude, though. Just stuff like flight attendants stepping on my foot and dropping water (at least it was water) on me. And awful food (international flights). And no monitor to watch for the whole 14 hour flight because I happen to be short and can’t see that ONE screen at the front of the section. But if that’s the worst of my troubles … well … yeah, that’s not so bad.

  45. Amy
    Amy March 24, 2010 at 8:44 am |

    You are much stonger than I am. I would have probably ended up in jail for freaking out on the Delta staff.

  46. Kate
    Kate March 24, 2010 at 8:48 am |

    Yes — this is why I now refuse to fly Delta despite its reasonable southern-traveling fares, because this is what happens. 3 near-death events [a near miss mid-air collision with another Delta plane that didn’t realize it WASN’T the one that was cleared for landing; one flaming blown engine with consequent emergency landing in Kansas City and a 23 hour ordeal following similar to yours; the third, a thousand foot free fall after a lightning strike, which was my last straw] and I just can’t do it; I’ll pay the extra hundred bucks to fly another airline that won’t try to kill me. And this is also why I fly Southwest as often as I can. While their checkered feminist past is painful, at least they get me where I’m going safe, sound, and on-time — and if not, someone’s there to deal with it with a smile in airports big and small.

  47. Amy
    Amy March 24, 2010 at 9:02 am |

    P.S. I found your blog link from the Austin American Statesman- At least you had an enjoyable SXSW!

  48. Thom
    Thom March 24, 2010 at 9:34 am |

    “Are you sure you weren’t starring in a remake of Planes Trains and Automobiles without your knowledge? What a terrible story. ”

    No kidding… I kept expecting Jill to mention “And up walked a guy name Dell Griffiths”… Sorr you had such a crappy travel experience doing something as simple as just trying to get home.

  49. ACG
    ACG March 24, 2010 at 9:57 am |

    When your first strongly worded letter gets blown off, as it inevitably will, take a few minutes to write an even more strongly worded letter in response. I’ve had good luck with that in two cases. Volkswagen retracted their initial offer of good financing on a brand-new Passat and instead paid for the parts to fix my Cabrio. Air Canada retracted their initial “fuck you” and instead reimbursed me for the flight I had to buy on another airline when A.C. swore there wasn’t another flight going out until the next day.

    And never underestimate the power of “I’m leaving, I’m taking my business with me, and so are all of my friends and readers.”

  50. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom March 24, 2010 at 9:57 am |

    I love the way Delta refuses to assume responsibility for either its passengers’ safety or their arrival at their ticketed destination. It appears that, if one didn’t complain and keep complaining, one could stay in the airport to which Delta decided to reroute one until one died, several decades later, still wondering where one’s luggage was.

  51. val
    val March 24, 2010 at 10:16 am |

    Worst airline story ever. However, i too am curious about Water Man, but for another reason. If you were boarded, and sat “for hours”, then unboarded, reboarded and “sat for hours” before the Water Man incident, how could he possibly have been on an on-time flight that left 1 hour after your scheduled and repeatedly delayed flight?

  52. Flowers
    Flowers March 24, 2010 at 10:32 am |

    Delta – Don’t Expect Luggage To Arrive

    Sorry about the horror story. I won’t fly them ever again for pretty much the same reason.

  53. The Flash
    The Flash March 24, 2010 at 10:52 am |

    In case anyone was paying attention, this is a very popular blog, which means you should go out and short Delta stock.

  54. ginasf
    ginasf March 24, 2010 at 11:32 am |

    Look, I know this is a bit of a derail, but I really don’t find a video of a clearly traumatized animal who is almost certain to be euthanized all that hilarious. :-(

  55. Marie
    Marie March 24, 2010 at 11:34 am |

    Well written. Sounds like quite the adventure. I have never flown DELTA and will avoid doing so after reading this. Glad you enjoyed Austin though :)

  56. Teri
    Teri March 24, 2010 at 11:44 am |

    I was trying to get BACK to Austin the same time you were trying to leave…My nightmare was in Denver..and with United airlines..
    However, after reading YOUR story…mine…does not hold a candle..and I am happy to say that I hope I NEVER have that awful of travel experience.

  57. Anony Mouse
    Anony Mouse March 24, 2010 at 11:55 am |

    Delta is the worst. All the airlines are pretty terrible, but whenever I hear someone tell a truly horrific travel story, it’s always Delta.

  58. val
    val March 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm |

    Ah, thanks for the explanation. That makes more sense than him being on an 8:40 flight that actually left at 8:40. :D I thought i had a doozy of a time last month going through Newark, but you’ve definitely topped it!

  59. EKSwitaj
    EKSwitaj March 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm |

    Delta is horrible. The last time I flew them, they completely shredded my bag–not only was the canvas torn but one of the hard plastic wheels was sliced in half–and refused to compensate.

  60. word problem
    word problem March 24, 2010 at 2:56 pm |

    ginasf– I completely agree with you. My first thought was, “Oh no, poor kitty!” But then I looked closer, s/he has a collar with tags which leads me to believe this video is from a vet not a shelter. I imagine my cat from hell looks much like this at the vet after I leave. I don’t know if that helps, but it made me feel better!

  61. mary
    mary March 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm |

    I hate to tell you this, but it’s not Delta, it’s every single airline out there. I think it’s circumstantial. I have had, and have had friends who have had, very similar experiences, minus being hit by lightening, your own personal treat. It’s what happens if you fly a lot. All the airline regulations equal extreme frustration. No employee is allowed to do anything outside “the rules” which to normal people sounds insane. Sorry for your experience but it is far from unique to Delta.

  62. Smartpatrol
    Smartpatrol March 24, 2010 at 8:00 pm |

    Your flight reads like a horror movie.

    No shit. “Memento” crossed with “Cube” mixed with “Twilight Zone the Movie (gremlin segment)”, screenplay: Franz Kafka , directed by Neil LaBute.

    & people wonder why I take the train.

  63. Ginjoint
    Ginjoint March 24, 2010 at 8:08 pm |

    Ginasf, I’ve always hated that video too. However, I don’t know if this will make you feel any better, but it’s possible the cat’s freaking out simply because it’s coming out of anesthesia. (Perhaps from being spayed/neutered?) Anesthesia can really mess with a cat’s depth perception, and this of course frightens them. I had a cat who would howl like that after the two surgeries she had. I was supposed to be able to take her home the same day, but she screamed (really screamed) any time I tried to get her out of the cage. (The vet assistants couldn’t get near her.) I ended up having to leave her at the vet’s overnight, so the stuff could wear off a bit more. The next morning, she was sweet as ever. So, the kitty in the video may be only temporarily upset – not feral, not about to be euthanized. Doesn’t mean some jackass had to film it, though.

  64. aguitar8me
    aguitar8me March 24, 2010 at 10:51 pm |

    I had a VERY similar experience on Delta trying to get from NYC to Chicago for Christmas in ’08. I was at least lucky in that every time they canceled one of my flights (five or something in three days), I could go back home to my apartment!

    But believe me, it was exhausting enough dragging a heavy suitcase in and out of subways and buses, since I made futile trips to both JFK and LaGuardia.

    The final re-booking would have stopped in Atlanta on its way to Chicago, but by that time I was fed up and booked on Southwest instead (I know Southwest has handled things badly in a few cases recently… Kevin Smith and the woman with the “too-short” skirt… but they are affordable, fly out of LaGuardia now, and have *in general* much better customer service than other airlines.) Had I taken the flight that stopped in Atlanta, I would have been stranded there (flight into ATL late, flight out on time)!!

    Even worse, at that time, they didn’t automatically refund checked baggage fees on canceled flights. I had to fax them receipts and various other documents to get that money back!!

    I had the same “we don’t take phone complaints” BS so I faxed them a strongly worded letter. The reply was incredible. “We’re sorry you were inconvenienced! But not that sorry! We’re not going to compensate you in any way… but please fly Delta again!”

    Yeah, right. I’m never giving them another dollar of my money. It doesn’t make a big difference to them but it at least makes me feel better.

  65. Peggy Kelsey
    Peggy Kelsey March 25, 2010 at 5:13 am |

    All you need is a gifted songwriter to make this into a song which you can post on utube and wait a bit for it to go viral ala the United Breaks Guitars song. What comes to mind after reading this is something reminiscent of Alice’s Restaurant in flavor…. Go for it!

  66. Gabriele
    Gabriele March 25, 2010 at 7:54 pm |

    This is very similar to my Worst Travel Story! Last week I flew Delta from Jackson, Mississippi, to Atlanta to NY-LaGuardia. Except the NY-LaGuardia flight never materialized. We were forced to spend $200 like you to stay overnight in a hotel and book a different flight. But your story is still much worse, and if you’re like me, you know that true justice will come only on the day that Delta declares bankruptcy and closure of its company. That will beat any voucher any day.

  67. Leslie Patino
    Leslie Patino March 25, 2010 at 8:24 pm |

    Wow, Jill, your story wins the “Worst Delta Experience” hands down! On Sunday, March 14, my husband and I flew from Denver to Savannah via Atlanta. There were many setbacks, but we finally arrived about 7 and a half hours late. Along the way, there were many setbacks, including an hour and 20 mins. in line in Denver to get new boarding passes, even though we had downloaded them at home. During the trip, we listened to multiple complaints from other travelers, especially while we waited in Atlanta.
    We were luckier than our daughter in Boston who was going to meet us in Atlanta. She received an automated call in the early hours of Sunday morning saying her flight was canceled, come 2 hours later. She did, only to find that she was scheduled for Monday instead of Sunday. She took a taxi back home, $60 net expense. Originally, she was going via Atlanta, then Cincinnati, then Atlanta. She finally arrived in Savannah a few minutes before midnight on Monday/Tuesday.
    In the future, we will avoid Delta like the plague!

  68. Karen Fung
    Karen Fung March 26, 2010 at 10:52 am |

    Followed this from a Twitter link. What an ordeal! I must admit, I kept waiting for the part where you would write that you got really fed up, because I know I could feel my blood boiling just reading it! I’m coming from Canada and don’t travel to the States much at all, and I booked a flight through Priceline to attend a conference in New Orleans next month. And I just checked my itinerary and confirmed that I am flying Delta. And now I’m super nervous, because I don’t have the money to do all the things which you had to, and I’m also connecting to another flight in Atlanta. No wonder the flight was so cheap! I probably shouldn’t even take their word that I’ll be in New Orleans by 8am. And what will probably really grate me is that I really don’t take it well when employees blame customers or users for their problems or present them with shitty options when they are supposed to be in positions of power for having more information than us…better meditate in advance, lol.

    Thank you for sharing. That said, I don’t think it took a lot, Delta pretty much made sure of that!

  69. Tim
    Tim March 26, 2010 at 10:56 am |

    Well I must say before I read your 5 chapter rant, you must do your research first. Your number one mistake you made was purchasing a flight with a connection in Atlanta. Atlanta is chronic for delays and if you went the extra ‘mile’ and purchased a straight flight, you would of not experienced this. Or if you’re a Delta SkyMiles member, you could of still connected elsewhere to save some money such as Memphis or even Detroit. I hate to say but this is going to be a lonely battle for you. You can’t blame Delta, they have strict FAA guidelines to follow. Every frequent or even non-frequent flyer experiences these things, it’s just inevitable.

  70. FrequentFlyer
    FrequentFlyer March 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm |

    Good story… Yes, Delta was horrible, however you let this happen to you in so many ways…
    – Flying to Austin through ATL? That’s a mistake to begin with… don’t connect in ATL unless you absolutely have to (lesson learned)
    – Flying to Austin? Fly direct… it’s a small market w/few good connections other than on AA
    – Flying w/a connection in the US? carry it on…
    – These weren’t all Delta issues – many of these were FAA issues, and as such, Delta can’t do anything

    Advice from someone who flies 200k+ miles/year

  71. Joe
    Joe March 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm |

    “what-the-fuck-ever and also fuck you”


  72. hal
    hal March 27, 2010 at 1:53 am |

    Wow! Great story, and comments.

  73. crockinthekeys
    crockinthekeys March 30, 2010 at 11:45 am |


    You have the patience of Job!

    By the way, let me know when you are flying again so I won’t.



  74. Evi
    Evi March 30, 2010 at 3:24 pm |

    And this is why I’m getting a pilot’s license…

  75. Gizelle
    Gizelle March 31, 2010 at 8:57 pm |

    Wow, this sounds so much like an experience I had with Delta trying to get out of New York a few weekends ago during high winds. It took me about 60 hours and an all-day detour to Atlanta to make it home (instead of the original 1 hour 30 minute direct flight). When it finally looked like I was on my way out of New York, the flight was delayed 3 hours because the crew was still sleeping. On my second attempt to get out of Atlanta, I was ripped of the plane like a terrorist at the very last second so a crew member could deadhead on my flight. All the while, I was treated as if I had done something wrong. As I told Delta in my complaint email (which they responded to in about 3 days), I understand delays, but I don’t understand their rude employees and lack of organization and communication. Our whole flight was called liars by a supervisor at the ticketing counter at JFK. I also lost a day of work, incurred additional expenses, and was given the infamous $200 voucher. My complaint letter also netted me 10,000 bonus miles. Like you, giving me more means to take another Delta flight is really not compensation at all. Sorry you had such a hellish time but glad you enjoyed Austin!

  76. Maribelle
    Maribelle April 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm |

    @ Leslie Patino – At least she GOT a message!!

    ** My Horror Story **

    Pretty mild compared to others on this page, but mine involved a over two hour drive from the place I was staying to my original departing airport.

    I woke up at dawn, seriously, and was on my way to CLT from Lexington, SC for a 12pm flight by about 7 in the morning. Maybe earlier, all i know is that I got to CLT about 9am.

    When I arrived in CLT, i noticed that I had received two missed calls from Delta in the past half an hour – as I was NAPPING on the way to CLT I didn’t answer (and was half awake anyway). As I was already at the ticket counter, I didn’t check my voicemail, but once I realized my flight had been cancelled, I went ahead and called to see if they’d said something.

    No messages.

    Two calls and not even a “we have an important message about your flight” from those assholes. Okay, I didn’t pick up, but considering that they called in rapid succession, it was NOT an automated call. it was a REAL LIVE PERSON.

    They also rebooked me – seems nice, right?

    Yeah…. the flight wasn’t schedules to leave for Atlanta until 5pm. And again, no messages to even indicate that. You know what really pissed me off about the no messages thing though? The fact that they called about the time someone would be leaving for the airport if they were nearby.

    I mean, they could not have JUST decided the flight was cancelled, that’s just not POSSIBLE.

    So I rebooked MYSELF for a flight that left about three hours later at CAE. Flight got off relatively on time, and it turned out I was going to have a little layover in ATL when i got there.

    Then, THEN my flight leaves two hours late from ATL. That’s relatively normal though, and they at least boarded us on time. No false “get off, no, get back on” crap here.


    I know it isn’t as bad as everyone else, but it was just like ‘really? what the fuck? not even a VAGUE message?’

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