To Funjet Vacations President, Mike Going, in conjunction with Vacations To Go Travel Agency who sold us Air Travel on already-Sold Out/Oversold Delta Airlines: As a Medical Professional and a Consumer, I want to add my own thoughts to previous emails you’ve now received from Jon Evans. I sincerely hope that you take the time to read completely through what I write here, as it may enlighten you with facts heretofore unknown by you about your own companies’ practices. You use phrases such as our “inconvenience”, “disappointment”, “frustration” and “may have dampened our enthusiasm to use Delta in the future”. Wow! Your reply demonstrates how out-of-touch with the actual reality of this Travel Consumer experience Delta Airlines Corporate Management & Vacations To Go must truly be. Let’s clarify some crucial facts: When I paid-in-full back in JANUARY for our March 7th Travel , I immediately noticed that we only had assigned seats on our initial March 7th Departure flight from Phoenix to Atlanta, and did not have assigned seats listed for the Connecting flight from Atlanta to our Vacation destination of Antigua. I immediately contacted our Travel Agent at Vacations to Go (VTG) to discuss this concern. I informed him, Chin Wong, that I have a medical condition, extreme Claustrophobia, and that I needed to be seated in the plane anywhere from the middle to the front, NOT in the back of the plane. (I have to take prescribed medications to fly on a plane). I even asked the Travel Agent if I needed a physician’s note to ensure this seating. The VTG agent contacted Delta Airlines and was told that I only needed to inform the Delta gate agent and appropriate accommodations would be made. I then PERSONALLY contacted Delta and was told by Delta agents that it was “standard practice” to hold back some seats to accommodate “family seating” and 24 hours prior to the flight these seats (our prepaid seats) would be released, and again, I “would have no trouble getting a seat that met my Medical needs”. As our March 7th departure time neared, I again contacted the VTG travel agent about our lack of seat assignments with Delta. VTG again contacted Delta and was told that I [the passenger] needed to personally go Online and ‘check-in 24 hours before our flight departure time’ to get our assigned seats. I again contacted Delta myself, explained my medical situation, and was told by Delta that I needed to “wait 24 hours for those seats to be released”. So… the day before (March 6th) we were schedule to depart and our much-anticipated wonderful Vacation was to begin, and at great personal inconvenience I deliberately stayed up until 1:00 AM (exactly 24 hours before our first scheduled Delta departure flight) to ‘check in’. At that time, the Delta computer informed that we “would receive our assigned seats at the boarding gate”. When I awoke later that morning of March 6th, I again contacted the VTG travel agent and again shared my serious concerns that with my medical condition I could not sit in the back section of the plane for 4-5 hours – never once thinking that we did not or ultimately would NOT have assigned seats, especially for this Prepaid, Scheduled Travel through the Vacations To Go Travel Agency. The VTG agent informed me that there was “nothing that he as the travel agent could do – that Delta had assured him that we (Jon and I) would receive assigned seats for our flight at the boarding gate.” So, again (for the 3rd time) I personally contacted Delta Airlines about this. I was again reassured by the Delta agent that we “would in fact have seats assigned at the boarding gate” and was told to “be sure to be at the gate early.” Our March 7th Delta flight from Phoenix arrived into the Atlanta airport 4 hours early before our scheduled 10:00 AM departure time for the Delta connecting flight. We both waited patiently at the designated boarding gate for any Delta agent to arrive. Once the Delta agent did arrive at the boarding gate, she smiled and simply told us “not to worry and to continue to wait, that once everyone was checked in for this flight she would give us our assigned seat number.” Mind you, not ONCE during all these encounters was I ever informed that there was even a remote POSSIBILITY that we would not have seats on our connecting flight to Antigua! (Had we ONCE ever been told of this by Vacations To Go or by Delta, we would have absolutely NOT purchased our Vacation Travel with either of your companies!!!!) In Atlanta, as other people were checking in and the boarding process was starting, as anyone with any common sense would, I began to feel very nervous about the very cavalier manner in which the Delta agent at the boarding gate responded to our voiced concerns about STILL not having been given our seat numbers. It was only THEN, merely a few minutes before every other last remaining passenger had been boarded by the Delta agents, that Jon and I were informed by the Delta agent we in fact did not have seats on the flight!! Can you imagine my frustration and utter disbelief at this revelation?!? To make matters worse, we were told by the Delta agent and by her Supervisor that this OVERSELLING FLIGHTS is your COMMON PRACTICE by Delta Airlines!! Seriously?!? But wait, this gets even better. Only one Delta gate agent even seemed to care at all about trying to be helpful to us. She did in fact find us another connecting flight, but that next flight was not departing until the NEXT DAY on an American Airlines flight! NOT Delta. However, we would be forced to fly first to Miami, Florida and the only seats available weren’t available until 7PM later that night (March 7th)!! We were told by Delta agents that we could relocate to the several other gates in the Atlanta Airport throughout the course of that day (March 7th) and try to catch one of the subsequent flights, but only as “Standby Passengers”, since there were many other flights later that same day (March 7th) going out to Miami. We were told by Delta once we landed in Miami to contact a Delta agent there who would get us booked into a Motel room for the night. So…for the entire fricking day, on what was supposed to be my wonderful Engagement Vacation, Jon and I were made to hurriedly travel in the airport from gate to gate all over the massive Atlanta airport desperately hoping to get on an earlier flight. Guess what?? EVERY single Delta Airlines flight at those subsequent gates was also ‘OVERSOLD’. At each gate, Delta agents were on the P.A. system asking people if anyone would be willing to give up their seats for MONEY. Incredible!! Needless to say, we did NOT receive any seats on any outgoing flight until the 7:00 pm flight later that night from Atlanta to Miami…..NOT to our vacation destination of Antigua, but merely to Miami. Once we landed in Miami, I immediately went to one of your Delta agents and told her of what the Atlanta Delta agents had instructed us & that we were told Delta would arrange a motel room for us for that night. She (the Miami Delta agent) actually laughed out loud at this and said there were no hotel rooms for us. WHAT?!? At this point, I was so incredibly EXHAUSTED, FRUSTRATED and frankly beyond ANGRY at the thought of spending any more of my precious, extremely-limited Vacation time stuck in a DIRTY airport. Your Delta agent in Miami did finally find us a hotel room but that was about all she did, and only after Jon secretly showed her the diamond Engagement Ring he planned to give me during our Antigua Vacation! She (the Delta agent in Miami) was no help whatsoever in locating our now lost luggage. She didn’t even attempt to help us locate it. She merely told us we would need to walk all the way to the opposite side of the Miami airport to AMERICAN Airlines, where an American Airlines agent would meet us. After a 20 minute exhausting walk to the American side of the Miami airport, the American Airlines agent took our Delta tickets – and verified that they (American) did in fact have our luggage, although they were unable to get our luggage to us for the night we were now to spend in the Miami motel. The American Airlines agent apologized for what we had endured at the hands of Delta Airlines & Vacations To Go and helped us get checked-in for our departure flight scheduled for the next morning (March 8th). With seemingly very little effort she was able to provide us our American boarding passes, WITH assigned seats, so all we needed to do the next day was get back to the Miami airport and get through the security lanes. What a difference in customer service between American Airlines and Delta! You, as CEO of Delta Airlines, should be VERY concerned at this vast chasm of difference in positive attitude, helpfulness, knowledge, and genuine regard for passengers between American Airlines and Delta. We did finally make it to our destination of Antigua, but it was now more than 1 ½ DAYS later than we were supposed to have arrived there. Because of our being so massively delayed, we missed an exclusive Island Tour and Dinner Event we wanted to participate in, and then of course all of our subsequent days’ plans during our Vacation were ruined. With Spring Break in progress, and because Delta Airlines caused us to arrive more than 1 ½ Days late on our All-Inclusive Vacation Package, Jon and I were unable to reschedule some of our planned activities with their respective booking schedules which were of course also time-sensitive. Our story of this Delta Debacle however, doesn’t end here. After being in Antigua for two days, out of concern stemming from what we had just endured at the hands of Delta and Vacations to Go, I checked with Delta again, only to learn we also did NOT have seat assignments on the March 14th scheduled Return Flight BACK!!!!! So, just for starters, I had to pay out-of-pocket in excess of $65.00 in International Calling to contact both the VTG travel agent and Delta Airlines once again, only to be told the same bullshit story – that we “would be given assigned seats at the boarding gate” in Antigua on March 14th. Are you seeing the clear pattern of deception here by Delta Airlines policy of Overselling Flights?? Luckily, in telling all of our fellow Resort guests of our experience with Delta and Vacations To Go, one couple looked at us and said “Oh that was YOU that didn’t get on the plane? We all thought it was awful (the way Delta treated you!)” The other couple told us that they were having to return home to the U.S. earlier than scheduled because of a serious injury her husband suffered while on vacation, and they had seats on the same Return Flight back to the U.S. (March 14th) which Jon and I needed to be on. I told this fact to the agent at Delta, and told the agent I didn’t care who I needed to talk to but that I absolutely must have seats on that March 14th Return Flight from Antigua because my two young children were also flying back to Phoenix from Texas [as unaccompanied minors] and I MUST be back in Phoenix on that specific date to pick them up from the airport! Miraculously, with no help whatsoever from the VTG Travel Agent I was able to secure our already-paid-for seats on the Return Flight from Antigua only after demanding to speak with a Delta Airlines Supervisor. Of course, guess where these Delta seats were located? The seats were 1 row up from the BACK of the fricking plane. Delta had no consideration whatsoever for my medical condition of extreme Claustrophobia, but at least we had actual assigned seats to get back home. Did Delta do ANYTHING to accommodate my medical condition? That would be a resounding NO. As we were checking in at the Antigua airport to return home on March 14th, there were several people there who were also told they didn’t have any seats on the flight. Believe me; I absolutely felt their pain & stress. Additionally, when we finally did get seated on the departure flight from Antigua we were told by Delta there “would be food to PURCHASE on the plane”. Well, guess what….by the time the flight attendant got to our seats in the very back of the plane with her food cart, every possible morsel of food was SOLD out. We were naturally upset. The Delta attendant laughed and said, “Oh, we usually don’t even get to the wings of the plane before we sell out”. How NICE! And to make matters worse, we had to listen to you, Mr. Anderson, President of Delta Airlines, on looped DVD talk about your so-called Delta “core values” and “customer service”. Really?!? EMPTIER words may have never been spoken! I am a licensed Nurse Practitioner. I LIVE by my doctor’s philosophy and core values. I would NEVER, EVER treat one of my patients like I was treated by your Delta airlines. Your customer service is laughable. I don’t know how your gate agents make it through their day having to ROUTINELY tell passengers they don’t have seats on their booked flights. For FIFTEEN years, in my medical career I have NEVER taken an entire Week of Vacation off from work. This was the very FIRST time I did so. And Funjet/Vacations-To-Go in conjunction with Delta Airlines RUINED my vacation. Completely! I literally wept out loud several times during the course of this multi-day stressful ordeal at how we were dismissed and indifferently treated by your companies during this entire vacation. And do any of you company CEO’s genuinely care one bit? Obviously NO, you do not! You think just because you gave us a check for $1,300 each that somehow fixes everything you caused us to endure. That “compensation” doesn’t even come close!! One lady passenger in Atlanta summed it up best when she was asked by the Delta agents if she would give up her seat on the Antigua flight for $1300… “Honey, I wouldn’t give up my seat for a MILLION dollars”! You want to know how you can FIX this debacle? You can at least ATTEMPT to be completely fair and refund my entire vacation. Neither of your companies should profit one penny from us for this ordeal we’ve endured. I am so beyond irritated and disappointed. Believe me, I will send letters until the end of time to ANYONE and EVERYONE who has anything to do with the Aviation industry, Travel Industry and Federal Consumer Protection agencies to share my story. Not to mention the myriad of travel review sites I will go out of my way to find time to share this story with Online. So, if you (Delta and Vacations To Go) are serious about making things right, refund my vacation!! That would be good customer service. Then, I think you should seriously look at what you consider to be your ‘core values’ and your business model. Is it really worth it to you to consistently & deliberately OVERSELL flights to unsuspecting Passengers/Consumers and HOPE that someone actually has the ability to on-the-spot spontaneously change their travel plans – especially regarding a Caribbean Vacation destination? Is it really worth it to you to put good people through this? If it is, that tells me you care more about MONEY and NOT taking care of your passengers. You should then discontinue that nauseating on-plane video that you make passengers watch on your Delta flights that touts your wonderful ‘customer service’. I mean really, Delta, who the hell has FLEXIBLE travel plans to the Caribbean?!? For you (Vacations To Go and Delta Airlines) to maintain a deliberate practice of knowingly overselling flights (DOT-approved or not) and cavalierly RUIN peoples’ dream vacations is beyond-horrible ‘customer service’. It speaks to the obvious TRUE ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Core Values’ of your Airlines and the Travel Agency who abets you, knowingly booking flights with you after taking thousands of dollars in pre-payment from unsuspecting Consumers! At the very least, highly unethical and possibly Criminal. Finally, please realize that we did not request the two $1300 checks for having INVOLUNTARILY given up our seats. We didn’t voluntarily give up anything. An Atlanta Delta Supervisor simply told us – “this is what we are going to do for you in this situation.” You (Vacations To Go in conjunction with Delta Airlines) knowingly sold us airline seats that were apparently never actually available and not once were we EVER informed that we would not or might not actually have seats. That practice is what is known in other Sales scenarios as “Bait & Switch” and it is a Crime! Do you honestly think that I would knowingly take any kind of chance or gamble on not having actual seats in such an important, once-in-a-lifetime travel situation? You clearly want to wash your hands of your respective companies’ actions in this instance. But your underlings stating you are “declining our requests for further reimbursement” in this instance does NOT release you from the complete responsibility of what you put us through. And one way or another, you will fairly and completely reimburse us for our financial losses in this debacle you created. At this point, counting your recent “goodwill gesture” of two $300 Gift Cards, the actual balance owed to us from your organization is $2,300. And if necessary, we can take the steps necessary to begin assigning monetary value to your responsibilities for the stress and mental anguish you caused both of us to endure. Cordially, Tamara Thompson, MSN, NP-C .
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