An open letter to Delta Airlines

This month, I flew cross country on Delta Airlines. My flight was delayed two hours and didn't leave until 11pm, but that wasn't what bothered me most. What really got me was the sleepy flight attendant.

Dear Delta Airlines,

As a passenger on a Delta flight from New York to Los Angeles this month, I had an experience that's contrary to your whole "Safety First" mantra. On my flight, there was a stewardess who kept complaining how tired she was. Eventually saying "we only get a nine-hour break to rest." This was all before the flight took off. And none of it was directed at me. I heard her five rows away.

Ironically, the last time she said how tired she was was just prior to the video with the CEO that said how Delta puts "Safety First" and how that was paramount to the Delta experience. Maybe it's just me, but I'm not feeling safe if I have to worry about a sleepy flight attendant being responsible for my life in the event of an emergency.
There are really two problems here. One is that Delta is obviously not giving it's flight crew enough down time. I'm sure I would have been tired, too, with such a short break in between flights. And the second is the lack of good judgment on the flight attendant's part. It hardly instills confidence in a nervous flier to hear one of the people in charge of passenger safety is sleep deprived.

If you're going to have passengers watch a video from the CEO at the beginning of every Delta flight, saying that safety comes first, you better walk the walk and talk the talk. I'm not writing this to get anyone in trouble. I'm writing this to remind you that branding, that slogans, that mantras (like Safety First) are nothing but rhetoric if they're not put into practice.

Perhaps it's time to redo that video and give your flight attendants a much needed nap.
Amber Avines  

Have you seen a company not practicing what it preaches? What about using a slogan that didn't deliver? How do you feel about a business when it tells you one thing, but does another?


  1. Southwest Airlines does one of the better jobs of hiring for culture. The ones who try to 'teach' their culture don't seem to be able to do as good of job with it. Subsequently, in my opinion, there are more companies who do NOT practice what they preach top to bottom, than do. 

  2. Top to bottom. Excellent point, Bill.

    It's not just the pilot who's in charge of safety. Or the mechanics. If the plane plunges into the water, it's the flight attendant who's going to be key in my survival.

  3. As a Woman that hates Flying, I really believe that the pilot and the
    Integrity of the plane, are the ones responsible for My Safety!  Now,
    let me tell You why that Theory is Scary!  I have a nephew who is an
    airline Pilot.  And, He tells Me that it is a regular practice in all
    airlines, to over use Pilots.  Some go on consecutive flights, with
    little to NO sleep!  Now THAT'S SCARY!!!  And people say to Me....Why
    don't You like flying?  Hmmmmm...I WONDER!(?) 

  4. Hey Eleanor,

    Oh, sure, pilots and mechanics are ground zero when it comes to safety. You gotta start there, for sure.

    I guess I just believe that the flight crew is also a key part of that safety scenario in the event of an emergency. Whether it's an unruly passenger who starts making problems (or tries to take over the plane) or helping me down that big blow up slide in the event of a water landing. 

    If I'm up in the freakin' sky, I want the people on staff to be awake and alert to help me and the other passengers in the event of a catastrophe. Safety is everyone's job in a business such as an airline.

    So, are you a train traveler instead?

  5.  YES...whenever possible!  LOL  Sarah and dean Gratton, (@grattongirl and @grattonboy), have invited Me to visit them at their new Home in France...but I am so terrified of flying over water, that I cannot!  And, I really want to!  Maybe Boat?  LOL  I fly only when I have to....and never over an Ocean...since I was a young child!  :)

  6. Can you fly with someone who can drug you up for the flight? :-) A trip to France is pretty enticing! 

  7.  Hahahaha....I guess I could, but would I?  That's a different thing altogether.  ;)

  8. Great post, Amber. I was just dealing with a Delta issue for someone I work with and he was not happy. Mainly because there was a 2 hour departure delay . My problem with Delta, and it's common for many American call centers, is the language barrier. Many times half of what they say I can't understand because English is not their first language and it's annoying as hell.

  9.  Yeah, seems like the great majority of call centers are outsourced these days. That, and IT help desks. Indeed, the process nowadays can be very frustrating.

  10. I'm just in the middle of writing a similar sort of piece on another corporate brand (mine was a customer service issue) and thought maybe I should double check their website to see if they even claim to have awesome service. Nope. They actually don't have much of a branding story at all. Their About Us page says, "We've created a more contemporary, upscale shopping environment for customers in the 16 to 25 age bracket." And that's really the ONLY thing they say to identify who they are and what they stand for. No slogans. No history. No nothing. Just shop here, we have some great deals, blah, blah, blah. Perhaps my bad experience stems from the fact that I'm not in the 16 to 25 age bracket? So far, emails and tweets to their corporate office remain unanswered. Look for my post mid-week...

  11. You'd think they'd use a broader term for their demographic instead of specific ages. Nothing like companies that don't answer you, huh????


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...