Honest to God, I think Delta is a great airline. They have a great domestic first class product, they offer more in-flight internet than any other airline, and they have some great employees. But their SkyMiles system is just so broken that I can’t deal with it anymore. It’s not just that their website is useless for booking awards and returns error messages every time. But it’s how beyond incompetent their SkyMiles call center agents are. These folks make the agents at US Airways Dividend Miles look like geniuses (and mind you, half of Dividend Miles agents thing Buenos Aires is in Spain and Hong Kong is in Japan — both things you can use to your advantage, by the way).
Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how frustrated Delta’s call center left me with booking a simple award, and tonight was even worse.
I wanted to make a simple change. I had an award ticket on hold for a client and wanted to switch the return by a day. The routing would stay the same but the flight times were a bit different. I didn’t think it would be *that* hard (and mind you, I do this stuff all day every day). I knew exactly what was available, and if Delta had a halfway decent website I could have done this online.
The call went something like:
Me: “As you can see the return portion of this itinerary is from Rome to Paris to Atlanta to Savannah. I’d like to switch the return by a day please, instead returning on the 12th. The routing will remain the same.”
Agent: “Is the new flight you’re looking at a nonstop from Rome to Savannah?”
That question should have been my sign to hang up…
Me: “No, the routing will remain the same. Can I give you the flight numbers?”
The agent typed for about 10 seconds.
Agent: “It’s not available.”
Me: “What’s not available?”
Agent: “Any flights the next day.”
Me: “And you’re looking at Rome to Paris to Atlanta to Savannah? Which flights are you looking at?”
Agent: “All of them.”
Me: “Delta’s website shows there being low level award space on Air France XYZ and Air France ABC. Can you tell me which of those flights doesn’t have award space in your system?”
Agent: “Hold on, let me place you on hold.”
The agent placed me on hold for over five minutes.
Agent: “Okay, it’s available, it’s 162,500 miles per person.”
Me: “Well for that last segment from Atlanta to Savannah I actually wanted to do coach, since there’s no low level space in first class, which should keep the cost at the 100,000 mile level.”
Agent: “You can’t do that.”
Agent: “Hold on.”
The agent places me on hold for a few minutes.
Agent: “That’s weird, it priced at 100,000 miles. Did you want to use your Delta SkyMiles credit card to pay for this?”
Me: “No, I wanted to keep the ticket on hold.”
Agent: “You can’t do that since we made a change.”
Me: “You can’t just keep the ticket on hold for another day so I can transfer points from Membership Rewards?”
Agent: “Okay, it’s done. Did you need a rental car or hotel from one of our partners?”
Me: “No, thanks for your help.”
And sure enough I go online and no changes had been made to the ticket.
Here’s my question: can I legally record my calls with SkyMiles? Can I do it without telling them, would I have to say “I’m recording this call,” or something else? I’m pretty sure I could crank out at least a couple of golden SkyMiles podcasts a week!