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May 30, 2007


Paul A'Barge

I would add that I've flown on Delta occasionally without problems, but that's beside the point


Why in the world would this be beyond the point? This should be as much a part of the point as Instapundy's bad review of Delta. Why would his tale of his experience, colored by his predispositions and personality count for more than your experiences, colored by your predispositions and personality?

Look. I have no truck for Delta. But I have a couple of things going for me:
1. I have enough frequent flyer miles on American to know that there the number of American employees who suck bilge water exceeds zero and
2. I don't take Instapundy's opinions with any larger grain of salt than I take anyone else's, especially my own.


You know, you're totally right! I actually had an equally bad experience with Delta. Our connecting flight didnt actually connect, forcing us to stay overnight in an airport! We were told to go to baggage claim, it may take 2 hours, but they could get our luggage out of rotation for us so that we may have our things for the night (toothbrush, warmer clothes) Once there, we were told that they couldn't do that and also, now that we had left the terminal we would have to sleep in baggage claim seeing as how security had gone home! HELL NO! So....we found a security guy who was willing to let us into the terminal so long as we had a representative from the airline. We had to argue and beg for one of those lazy reps to walk us up the elevator and vouch for us. It was ridiculous and rude and I would rather fly continental!

Check out Christopher Ruddy


I'm fairly certain the point here is not that American is better than Delta, and that the Instapundit convinced him of that fact. I think the point is probably that the bad experince the Instapundit had carries much more weight in his mind than the ad. And it would most likely be cheaper to improve customer service (at the very least try and make sure the CSRs are sympathetic instead of enjoying the bumping process) than an expensive ad campaign.


Sigh all you want, but you miss the point. One known bad experience and one known not-bad experience yield a "customer satisfaction ratio" of .500; if that's good enough for you, have at it, but the original point remains unchallenged: bad experiences carry more weight than expensive ad campaigns. By your argument, as long as you can find a matching "yes" to every "no", then all is well. For me, if there are (say) 1000 opinions expressed, and 500 of them are negative, I have an unambiguous method of deciding....

Cato Renasci

Interesting. I've had excellent experiences on Delta over the past year, and my worst flight was on American - and over the years, various airlines have provided better or worse service than the others at any given time. For years, I'd fly United for the excellent service we received. And there was nothing like SwissAir First Class. Or TWA service on the Lockheed Constellations.....

When I was in the Army, light years ago, spot reports were the rage for recognizing good or bad performance. The saying went that 1 "Aw Sh*t" would beat 10 "Atta Boys".

I think the same phenomenon is at work. It must be hardwired in the genes that we respond more quickly and effectively to negative reinforcement, trying not to repeat our mistakes (which in a less theraputic and coddling world could be fatal). The positive rewards of positive reinforcement, however pleasurable, do not carry the same 'life or death' quality that attends negative reinforcement in our dim geneti-historical race memory.

John Davies

Paul A'Barge-

I think Les isn't saying that Glenn's experience supersedes his own. He's talking in generalities about the people that have no recent first hand experience with Delta. Exposed to both the Instapundit posting and an ad in the subway, which is more likely to be believed?



It's a lesson that advertisers had better start learning. In these days of rapid communications, a bad customer experience can haunt you - and possibly inflict the kind of damage that an expensive advertising campaign can't fix.

Wow! Blogging alters the course of Customer Service. I guess word of mouth means nothing unless it's word of mouth to blog. We've come a long way from Instaroman and caveat emptor.


What do advertisers have to do with quality of service?


The point is that all too often management is willing to spend huge dollars on PR and advertising, while not taking any care with customer service.

I'm now sitting in an airport waiting for a Delta flight. I was booked on American, but they canceled all their flights out of here this morning due to weather. Now, that is beyond their control.

But, how we were treated is within their control, and they did a piss poor job of it. Only one agent working on rebooking...and their call center was totally overwhelmed, repeatedly disconnecting callers. This definitely wipes out a whole bunch of 'attaboys' in my book.


It's not just US carriers...

Lufthansa runs radio ads here in Portland, OR touting their service to Europe. One problem, the A340's they fly from PDX to Frankfurt are cattle-cars in coach. Even the 5'7" guys here at work complain about it. I'm 6'3" :-( But business class is 5x the cost of coach, bulkhead seats aren't reservable prior to check-in, and since my company just changed upgrade policy to requiring 3 international flights per year before you get upgraded, I'll never see it. No amount of fancy food or hot hand towels can overcome the 10+ hours of physical discomfort.

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