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With more than 100 flights a year I get my fair share of “airport stories” and this one has a twist!

Chelsea and I were finishing up my book tour and headed on vacation with my parents. I am flying to Miami, she is flying to Panama City Beach so I wait by her gate because my plane is scheduled to leave an hour later than hers.

After 30-minutes of sitting, we get the announcement, “Ladies and gentleman, I have just been informed that Flight XYZ will be delayed due to a part that needs to be replaced on your airplane.”

Now usually this is where most airlines end their announcement with a “sorry for the inconvenience, please come up to the counter, wait in line and we will book anyone on another flight looking to still make their connections!”

Delta decided to handle it differently and this is how they made 200+ potential upset flyers… happy, satisfied and went above and beyond what they needed to do.

1st – They Effectively Communicated
From emails, to phone calls to messages and updates every 10 minutes, the Delta crew communicated what was happening and let their flyers know what they knew. As soon as we knew the flight was delayed I received an email saying how they could fix it. I received a phone call letting me know ways they could make it better and the crew said they were there to help with whoever needed assistance.

Delta Making a Mistake with an Avery2nd – They Passed Out Food, Snacks and Drinks
Instead of saying sorry they showed they were sorry. They brought out first-class snacks for all passengers, drinks and even went one step further and ordered 15 pizzas for all passengers so they didn’t have to order food while they waited!

3rd – They Provided Options
They gave people options to communicate. You can download the Delta app, you can call one of 500 customer service representatives to reschedule your flight or you can talk to a gate agent at the counter. They gave options to communicate and respond in the way that was easiest for their customers.

It was great to see a global company taking initiative to communicate effectively with their customers, if all companies did this when a “mistake” occurred, their customers would be happier and their retention would be greater. Plus, not to mention, we live in a digital world and as I was looking around I noticed people posting their snacks on Instagram and Twitter.

So they made the conversation online go from frustrated to thankful and let their customers communicate how well they handle mistakes that arise. They might have spent $200 on this, but think of the customers they kept, the PR they received and the example they set! If all airlines, and companies, handled situations like this (communicated effectively and provide options) we as customers would be a lot happier! Thanks Delta for setting an example. As always…

Dream BIG,

Question: What is your favorite airline story? 

Ryan Avery

Author Ryan Avery

Hi, my name is Ryan Avery! Every Sunday I share the "notes" I use to build my keynotes. They are personal stories and tangible strategies we can use to improve the way we communicate at work, at home and with ourselves.

More posts by Ryan Avery

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Nita says:

    Too bad Delta isn’t one of the airlines that fly from where I am to where I want to go. Just sent my grands home on Frontier and was upset that there was no one at the counter to wait on us since I had to get them unaccompanied minor tickets. Another lady told me she almost always flys Delta because of the service she gets. Sounds like Delta always takes care of it’s customers.

  • Ryan says:

    That’s so funny – last summer my wife and I had a terrible experience with Delta. After sitting on the plane for an hour, they told us they couldn’t get the door shut and we had to get off. They just dumped us into the airport without any directions. No one knew what was going on. They had us sit around for another hour, then said that we could jump on a bus or wait until another flight (which was like 5 hours later). They gave us a $25 coupon for the airport, which we had to frantically use in the next ten minutes before the bus came… when the time came, they just moved us from one area to another in the airport and it was probably another hour before the bus was ready. They barely communicated with customers and everyone was complaining. Probably just the airport we were at (NYC) – hear a lot of people have issues there, regardless of the airline.

  • I’m guessing that “Nancy” influenced them!

  • Helen says:

    Well, that’s a VAST improvement over how Delta handled the same type prob about 2 years ago leaving Nashville. Very little communication. Sit & wait.

  • Ryan Avery says:

    Hey Larry,

    Good call! I bet you are right 🙂

  • Ryan Avery says:

    Hey Helen,
    Glad to hear Delta is stepping it up. Thanks for your comment!

  • Ryan Avery says:

    Hey Ryan,

    I know what you mean about the $25 coupon. My wife had this happen to her recently but it wasn’t even for the food it was for her next trip 🙂 They are improving but there are always ways they can improve even more! Thanks for your comment and hope you are having a great week.

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