It Pay$ to be loyal – Delta lost my upgrade?! Part III

It Pays to be Loyal – Delta last my upgrade?! Part I

It Pays to be Loyal – Delta lost my upgrade?! Part II


After a system glitch with the Fly Delta smartphone application unchecked me in minutes before my flights I lost my upgrade and found myself sitting in the back of the plane instead of 1st class last week. A number of communications went back and forth between Delta and I.  On my last email to Delta, I told them their gesture of only 5000 miles was undercompensating, especially given the cost of upgrades and first class travel! Furthermore, I redirected the conversation, explaining to them that I was more upset by the lack of concern they showed for the trouble I went through and the fact I was unchecked in for my flight. (A side note, if you know anything about Delta’s system, the ONLY way to be unchecked in for a flight is manually by an agent. You cannot go online and uncheck yourself in. One MUST call or uncheck in via an agent at the airport.)

About 24 hours after telling Delta thanks, but no thanks for the 5k bonus miles, I received the following email:

Thank you for your additional comments regarding our recent exchange of
correspondence.  On behalf of everyone at Delta Air Lines, I apologize
for your disappointment with the gesture offered to you and I also
appreciate the opportunity to respond to your request for additional

After reading your comments, I certainly understand why you wanted to
bring this matter to our attention.  I can only imagine how frustrating
it must have been, as your upgraded seat was given to other passenger.
Also, I am truly sorry you were dissatisfied with the bonus miles
provided.  Please know that the gesture extended was not meant to place
a value on your experience; rather it was an attempt to make amends for
your disappointment with our service.  Respectfully, additional
consideration would not be due.  I apologize, as I understand this is
not the answer you were hoping to receive.

I thank you again for writing.  As a SkyMiles Gold Elite member, your
business is important to us and we will do our best to merit your
confidence and support.


Ashley P. Smith
Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care
Delta Air Lines

A total shut down from Ashley! However, I was still not done. I was feeling more then disregarded and all I could think about was how United has been treating their elite flyers since the merger with CO. I was started to worry Delta was going down the same road. So I thought I would respond one more time. However this time I cc the entire email chain to some key people.

I added on

  • General Manager of Customer Care: Heidi Gould
  • Director of Customer Care: Susan Judson
  • Vice President of Reservations Sales and Customer Care: Allison Ausband
  • And finally CEO: Richard Anderson.

Was this a bit much? Yes. However it worked! About 36 hours after sending my email I received a phone call from a very nice women at Delta Customer Care. She called to find out what was wrong and what went wrong. I told her the story of being “unchecked in” how I knew this could only be done by a person at Delta, how I lost my upgrade, and how the gate agent completely disregarded the issue at hand. After about 10 minutes of talking back and forth, laughing a little, and having a conversation that actually made me feel like a value customer of Delta, the customer service agent Michelle offered me either more miles or a voucher. However, before I could even make a decision, she stopped herself and said, “well you clearly have enough miles in your account, how about we send you out an ECV for $250!”

Michelle assured me that Delta valued me as a customer, and she even mentioned how she’s surprise to see such a young man who’s been so loyal for so long, despite my youthful age! We both had another laugh and I thanked her for her time and I hung up the phone.

So end result. I lost my upgrade from San to MSP, but I gained a $250 ECV and 5,000 bonus miles! I think the missed upgrade was worth it (now) and I thank Michelle for taking time to call me instead of just responding to another email. It definitely shows that some people at Delta really do care! However, I wish Ashley would of been more forth coming, because sending emails to the people at the top do make me look like a category 1 whiner!

The bonus miles posted!



After the phone conversation I received a follow up email recapping our conversation. It was interesting receiving an email from Heidi Gould's office, It was adressed differently than the standard Delta customer care letter and came from a unique email address as well.


 Thank you Delta. I truely do feel as though you have redeemed yourself! It took some work and a few emails and a phone call, but it worked!





Good stuff. A well articulated, factual and non-emotional correspondence should nearly always be successful. I have found writing snail mail letters to Delta (once even about a ticketing matter for a future flight) get the most favorable attention.

laurent August 5, 2012 at 11:42 am

Excellent series of posts indeed. Lots of value for fellow travelers to learn how to best deal with customer service at the different US airlines.

Any luck with United on getting compensated for similar problems (5+ hours delay at YUL, overnight delay at ORD, having to sleep in the airport hall, and then them losing my luggage for almost a week upon arrival at my final destination SFO, and only hearing back after three weeks and me being proactive and emailing the right Senior person in the chain)?

Any major difference in compensation based on status, and if so what can be reasonably expected from experience with United, AA, Delta and US Airways?

Though obviously every travel issue experience is different.

Rocky August 5, 2012 at 05:17 pm

Laurent - Every airline is different. I have wrote a letter to United right after the Continental merger, when they were still operating as 2 airlines. After a travel disaster (lost luggage, delayed flight, missed connection etc). They 100% wrote me off. So can't say you'll have much luck.

I have a very good friend who is exec Plat w/ AA and they are ALWAYS giving him bonus miles for everything from flight delays, to missed upgrades. I would say AA is probably most liberal in giving miles out when there are issues.

I cannot speak to US airways though.

patrick August 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

What is "Presidential Plat"? Is that like Ex Plat but better?

ptahcha August 7, 2012 at 05:34 pm

Presidential Plat = Global Services.

GERALDINE WALSH August 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Delta Baggage destroyed my bag and now says my lost items weren't covered. I need to contact the corporate people above that you mention. How do I get their email addresses? Much gratitude, Geraldine

Rocky August 11, 2016 at 01:27 pm

@ Geraldine - your best would be to reach out to delta customer care 1 (404) 773-0305 or [email protected]

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