British Airways Customer Service Isn’t Good, But When Partners Are Involved, It Gets Even Worse (Tales From the Field)

This is not the first time that I’ve ranted about British Airways’ customer service skills (or lack thereof), and it certainly won’t be the last. For an airline that I think does a good job in the air, it’s amazing that it does such a terrible job on the ground. This time, we look at a schedule change gone wrong, and how British Airways did everything in its power to NOT fix the problem.

A woman who we’ll call Sara came to us at Cranky Concierge a couple weeks ago sounding defeated. Sara’s original plan was to fly Paris to Newark on BA’s Open Skies subsidiary and then on to Louisville via Philly on US Airways. This was all on a ticket issued by BA, and she chose the routing specifically because she would be in Prem Plus on Open Skies to Newark. Unfortunately, US Airways had a schedule change so the connection via Philly no longer existed. BA gave her two options.

The Client Tries to Solve It First
First, BA offered her an option on US Airways from Paris via Philly to Louisville but she declined. Prem Plus is a great premium economy product, and the option via Philly would put her back in regular coach. That’s a terrible option. Next, BA said that her only option that would keep the Prem Plus seat was to stay overnight in Newark and fly out the next morning. She initially accepted that because there was no other option. Then she realized there was.

US Airways actually had a connection through Charlotte that had more than 2 hours in Newark and would have been perfectly legal. She called BA and they said she couldn’t do that. Despite multiple attempts, she gave up and decided to seek our help.

We Take the Case and Fail Immediately
Our first reaction? Complete dread. British Airways is tough to work with when we’ve booked the ticket, but the airline is nearly impossible to deal with on tickets we didn’t book. Still, with some trepidation, we decided to take the case. Our Travel Architect John was going to learn how much fun it is to deal with BA.

The first problem is that UK privacy laws are extremely strict. British Airways won’t talk to us about a booking unless we’ve been added as a third party on the booking by the traveler. That’s all fine except that BA is incredibly inept at actually following this procedure. So, to make things easy, we started out with a conference call. The client called BA and conferenced in John so that we could all be on the same page.

This call started with BA saying that if she wanted to change again, then it would cost her. The airline had already reissued once and wouldn’t do it again. Great. But John insisted that the agent look for the space at least, and this ended the same as the previous calls. According to BA, those flights we had suggested (US Airways 423 connecting to 5566) didn’t exist. John assured BA that they did, in fact, exist but the agent refused to believe us. At this point, John figured this was just a bad agent, so he went with what is always a good option – hang up, call again (HUCA). But before he did, Sara had John added as a third party so he wouldn’t have to keep involving her.

At this point, John tried to call BA again. They said he wasn’t a third party on the record so they wouldn’t talk to him. *sigh* So once again, it was time for a conference call, and once again BA said the flights didn’t exist, but even if they did, she’d have to pay for the change. This wasn’t good. At this point, we decided it was time to strategize.

We Try Every Tactic We Know (and Still Fail)
John called back again (on a conference call, because once again they said he hadn’t been added as a third party despite having Sara do it again), and he tried to see if they would “long sell” the flights. Maybe BA didn’t think these flights existed, but we knew they did. There’s an entry that you can use to try to sell that flight into the reservation even without knowing it exists. We even spoon-fed the Amadeus entry (BA’s reservation system). The agent refused to do that. John then asked if we could get on a four-way call with US Airways. The agent said ok. Progress!

Incredibly, the US Airways agent confirmed the flights existed but BA still said they couldn’t see it, so there was nothing they could do. Well then why the heck did we even do this four-way call in the first place? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.)

Clearly there’s a problem with BA’s system here. US Airways is a joint venture partner and was the original airline on the booking. This shouldn’t be a problem in any way. I reached out to a contact at US Airways and had her add these segments into the US Airways reservation directly. Then she sent a message to BA letting them know. This had to fix it, right? No. BA still said that they couldn’t see the flights.

@British_Airways to the Rescue
At this point, we were just about defeated when someone else suggested Twitter. BA is slow to respond on Twitter, but one of our other Travel Architects has had good luck with getting results. It couldn’t hurt to try. I’ll just let you read the conversation here.

BA Twitter Conversation

Even that conversation didn’t go as well as it should have. First they couldn’t help without talking to the passenger, then they could. Then they said that none of their partners had any flights that would work. Then magically, they found them. We weren’t about to argue with the fact that these flights are US Airways flights that have an American codeshare on them. The point was that they found them. We were ecstatic.

Then it made us realize that these flights had been sitting there under the American code in their system the entire time, and none of the many previous agents ever suggested them as an option. What a terrible customer service experience.

It’s also a very strange technical problem that BA has here. The airline can see the US Airways flight numbers the next morning but somehow it can’t see the ones that evening? There’s something very weird going on over there.

As you can imagine, our client was thrilled to have this done, but we wouldn’t be satisifed until the ticket was actually reissued. We followed up a few days later to ask if that had been done. The final insult? Twitter tells us “Hi. The tickets are in a queue to be reissued. Please allow 12 days from the 26th October.” Are you kidding me? It takes 12 days to reissue a ticket? Just imagine if this was in any way time sensitive.

People are used to it being difficult to work with airlines, but British Airways is in a league of its own, and we see issues with the airline regularly. (We’re currently fighting another issue now with an award reservation that BA somehow forget to ticket and the client had to buy a walk-up fare.) I just don’t understand why the airline can’t get this right.

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38 Responses to British Airways Customer Service Isn’t Good, But When Partners Are Involved, It Gets Even Worse (Tales From the Field)

  1. AA Bill says:

    I am EXPLAT on AA. Booking a flight to MAD. I could have booked part of the trip on BA but 2 months ago they changed their policy and said you cannot reserve seats before the day of departure….unless you paid extra. In my case $291 for each segment. When I called BA to conform the rep had an attitude of not caring. Never again will I even consider this airline. Cranky: what good is a Oneworld alliance if there aren’t any real benefits?

    • Noah says:

      totally with you. The customer experience on alliance flights is terrible, and only marginal better if it’s a codeshare. I know each has fancy co-located operations centers and call centers in hubs, but the plain truth remains that airlines are happy to sell you a ticket on a partner from/to any cities in the world, but unwilling to help you with basic things like seat changes, and complex things like IROPS or routings. The IT is waaaaaay behind the business, and it shows.

  2. Gary Leff says:

    BA takes a long time to re-issue, often doesn’t reissue until days before a flight. Usually not a problem, on close-in bookings they’ll prioritize in the queue. BUT THEY DO SCREW THIS UP, I’ve seen changes 48 hours out where ticket didn’t get properly re-issued. And as a consumer, those telephone hold times…

  3. Jeff says:

    I understand a small delay in the days of paper tickets to reissue: print, package, mail. But in the days of e-tickets, why is there any delay to reissue? Is BA basically saying that it will take 12 days to get final manager approval?

  4. David SF eastbay says:

    12 days? What are they doing, issuing a paper ticket in the U.K. and putting it on a boat to send to the traveler?

    • No, they have to give the ticket its own ticket to get to the traveler, and the ticket’s ticket doesn’t have a legal connection because they can’t see any of AA’s or US’s flights.

  5. Southeasterner says:

    I think you need to first understand the British mentality. It only took a couple months in London to understand that the customer is always wrong and the first response to a customer request is always no. You could go to a coffee shop and ask for sugar or cream and they would tell you they don’t have any until you point to the sugar and cream sitting on the counter behind them.

    The point is as a customer you have to tell the retailer what they are selling because they could really care less about your business.

    • Sarah says:

      That is a horrible generalisation about a whole nation which I find insulting.

      I could just respond with “typical ignorant American – too lazy to do their own research”

      • vikramaditya says:

        no Sarah, it is not a generalization. Customer service sucks in the UK (and I am from a third world country)—–the default position is that the customer is wrong. You are one who is insulting with your British arrogance (you can complaint but when others do, you turn around and accuse them of insulting you)—double standards. Routine wait times on British airways exceed 45 min which is absurd and laughable.

  6. JA says:

    I booked a one way domestic Avios ticket on US Airways and was charged $13.60 in TSA fees. (2 segments) I couldn’t book online so, I was connected to the BA Delhi office. What a treat. When I did not receive the confirmation email, I called back and was told it would take up to 48 hours as it has to be put in queue. I have no idea how they arrived at $13.60. The connection is under 4 hours. BA is a nightmare and their twitter team is unresponsive as well.

  7. AW says:

    Agreed…have had the problem of BA repeatedly not recognizing OW status from AA because the BA system does not allow hyphenated names (strange that, as a British company!). Through repeated email I usually get fee-waived seat assignments straightened out but still no status recognition without toting along and producing AA elite cards at every stage on day of travel.

  8. John W says:

    This story does not surprise me. BA has an adequate product in the air though I would argue most other carriers have caught up to them. The problem is they are still arrogant. They are by far the most difficult airline to work with and their ONLY answer is no. We have quit asking them for anything because of the fact that they will simply say no. We book them as little as possible and I wish others would do the same. They should only be used as a last resort.

  9. Jared says:

    I booked a flight with AA to Europe. On the way home, I was AMS-LHR on BA with a 5 hour layover and then LHR-LAX on AA metal. My bag did not show up when I arrived to LA, and I was surprised because I was in London for a long while. Long story short, I went to the AA desk and they were very nice but said that since I checked in the bag with BA, it was in their system and AA never had a record of receiving it. Called BA and they said it was not their problem because I booked the flight through AA. After lots of encouragement, I finally convinced them to look again because AA never received the bag. They found it at LHR and it was sent over on the BA flight 2 days later and they dropped it off at my house. But, they will definitely point the finger to the codeshare partner!

  10. JayB says:

    Cranky, there must be a few airlines you judge as having excellent good customer service. Could you name a few? What makes them good and why do you think they are able to be good?

    IMPORTANT BTW: You may have been told before. For some reason, in the “Leave a Reply” section, the name and email address of the previous commenter is being left visable. This has been going on for the last few days. Not sure this is coming up for others, but you may want to take a look at this.

    • CF says:

      JayB – Yikes. I just updated a plugin on the site and that was the result. I’ve fixed it immediately, and I hope it doesn’t cause any issue.

      • JayB says:

        CF, Thanks. I believe you’ve fixed it.

        • Jared says:

          It is still showing the previous poster’s info for me… FYI

          • CF says:

            Jared – That must have been a cached page on your end, because it’s gone. For those who are interested, what happened was that I updated the plugin that allows you to subscribe to comments yesterday. That update apparently auto-populated the last person’s info to leave a comment. I immediately disabled it and then backed up to the last version again. It’s possible that some email subscriptions were canceled in this process, so you can re-subscribe if you want.

    • JuliaZ says:

      They are not international, but Alaska has amazing customer service. I have even tweeted with their reps DURING A FLIGHT (thanked the pilot for pointing out the Northern Lights visible from the right side of the plane, really enjoyed them, and Alaska rep tweeted back her jealousy). :-)

      For international, nothing beats EVA to Taiwan. Customer service was stellar in every sense even though I was not a frequent flyer with them (at first).

  11. Scot-Tex says:

    One of the reasons I DO NOT fly ba. As you said on the ground customer service is a joke. Can’t even get their social media customer support to come even close to KLM’s. Heck even Air France’s is so far ahead of BA it’s not even funny anymore.

    Classic this last weekend. A colleague of mine returning from Houston was informed that as BA was unable to reconcile the different weekends daylight savings time was between the UK and the U.S. he was informed on the plane that ba had booked him on the next available flight. As he told them on the plane then he would definitely miss his connecting flight as experience had proven time and time again that when they start messing with these types of changes on the ground it was guaranteed to be screwed up. He gets to LHR and as he figured he would have made it. As ba changed the flight instead of getting home to ABZ mid afternoon it was almost 10 before he got home!

  12. Mark R says:

    Cranky – Unless you’ve already done so, you need to do a post with a “Top 10” best customer service airlines. It would give us that may not fly as often more insight on who to fly with (although this may be counter-intuitive to your business…lol). It also would be good to know who the best non-US carriers since we may not be as familiar with those.

    • CF says:

      Mark R – I don’t think I know enough to do a worldwide top 10 list, but the airlines we deal with that are best when problems arise on the ground are Delta, United, and Singapore. We’ve had good luck with Lufthansa as well. The worst I’ve dealt with are probably BA, Copa, and LAN. But that doesn’t say anything about the experience onboard. This is just from a reservations/ticketing perspective.

      • George says:

        I agree with you that Copa has awful ground customer service (as opposed to quite some good onboard service… even on 1 hour hop PTY to MDE they served a sandwich in coach). My experience with their terrible ground service goes back to past May when i was traveling Punta Cana to Medellin via PTY on CM, myself and my 10 y/o daughter.

        I pre-checked in online, but for traffic reasons arrived at the airport about 30 minutes before the flight. Having carry on only, I asked to be sped through security and immigration, which did happen. While being at immigration desk to leave PUJ, I heard last boarding call with my name. Leaving immigration/passport control, I was at the gate no longer than 5 minutes after that. The boarding was closed (planes are at remote stands in PUJ, no jetways).
        It was 20 minutes to departure time. Now the ordeal begun.

        I asked the agent who still staffed the gate to see if there was something that could be done,s he said no. No way to get on that plane. I asked if the plane left its position and was preparing for takeoff, she said no, plane was still in the parked position. I asked if there was a way to get me on that plane, again she said no, she said that after the last batch of passengers leave after the last boarding call, nobody is allowed on the plane. I asked if she could call the captain to authorize it, she said no. I begged her, did not help. She left the counter just saying to call reservations and left without even saying anything more.

        I though myself, OK, let’s go to their office/check in and see if they can get me on a flght to PTY that was leaving in 2 hours. I could still get to MDE around midnight on a later flight from MDE/

        Now the second part starts. To get from departure terminal into arrivals terminal in Punta Cana, the only way is to leave the departure terminal and walk on the tarmac about 200 meters, then into the arrivals terminal, to clear immigration. You cannot do this on your own… you cannot get on a tarmac without having been screened by security and your boarding pass checked. I went back to immigration but they said they could not let me in the country through there, I had to get to arrivals terminal.

        So back to the gate area, I finally found some other person from Copa, she took us to the immigration area in the departure terminal only to be said the same thing by immigration, we have to go through arrivals terminal. This other agent try to walk us through employee’s exit (no immigration) but the security agent said we could no go through there. At that moment she said she had to go, and left through employee’s exit, leaving us in the immigration hall of the departure terminal.

        So back to the gates at the departure terminal… at this time my 10 year old daughter was upset, tired, and almost crying.

        I talked to several other airlines’ employees, everybody saying they could not help us, that we had to find a Copa agent to help us. Then, I found one nice soul, an agent from Trasaero’s ground handler, who took a pity on my visibly distressed daughter and walked us over the tarmac to the arrivals terminal.

        There, at immigration, we had luck to get some nice immigration agents, one took my daughter to bathroom as she needed to go, while I was dealing with forms involving entry/exit of minors so we could leave on the next flight when one with Copa office (we would need to go back through immigration/passport control to exit the country). At least these agents were nice and helpful… after the other immigration agent brought back my daughter, we exited past customs and out of the terminal.

        Part there of the ordeal: dealing with the Copa office. After 10 minutes of contradictory directions, we finally found Copa office. The agents there (same ones that left us stranded in the departure terminal) were not at all helpful, they said they cannot do anything about tickets, they cannot put us standby (seems like standby does not exist on Copa) what they can do is check in valid ticket holders and that’s it. For any changes (even for getting on the next flight out) we would need to call the Copa, the travel agent (booked through a business travel agent) or city office of Copa in Santo Domingo (3 hours drive away). They did not even let me call form their office, they just gave me phone number to call form my cell.

        So I called, still at the Copa airport office, finally speaking to an agent who told me that yes, there are seats available…and we could fly… at a whopping $500+ change fee per person (on a $900 ticket) because only fully flexible booking class was allowed to be booked at that time, for that flight. No way to go standby either. Pay up or forget about it. I was so frustrated I basically just hung up on them.

        90 minutes later, at my house, I called the travel agent, who rebooked us on the next day’s flight at the same time, plus changing return flight one day later, so we could stay in Colombia for the same duration we originally planned, total change cost for both including agent fee about 70 dollars. Not bad.

        Next day, we finally were able to leave …

        Very good Copa product, terrible customer service on the ground.

        I had a chance to experience Avianca product on short domestic hops in Colombia, my next trip will be on Avianca as their onboard product seems even better than Copa’s. And so far, they have not let me down in ground customer service.

        My neighbor had a similar experience, missing Copa flight in Cuba to PTY by just a few minutes, they made him rebook and pay about $200 per person, so that was 400 bucks for him and his GF.

        Not for nothing, Copa is #1 in ontime performance in Latin America and #1 in profitability… at the expense of their customers thanks to awful ground customer service, leaving people behind, then making them take next flights at horrendous expense for change fees.

        • John G says:

          Just a gentle reminder….all that about COPA is fine but who was at fault here?

          You.

          You were the one that was late to an international flight. Not them. They lost two seats of revenue on a flight due to your error, not theirs…and you want to complain about it.

          Traffic reasons? In Punta Cana??? Come on. I’ve been there. Rush hour it’s not. And even if there was a problem it is on you to plan for it and make sure you get to the airport on time. Everyone else on the plane did.

          Your failure to adequately plan your trip and get to the airport in time for an international flight is NOT COPA’s fault.

          I myself tend to push things in getting to the airport. There have been a number of times I’ve pushed it too far…and one of the worst things you can see as a traveler is your plane pushing back without you. But you know what? That’s MY fault, not theirs.

          Complaints about customer service when the fault was yours and not theirs ring awfully hollow.

          • George says:

            You seem to concentrate on my being late, and you have completely missed the point that they had LEFT me STRANDED in the departure terminal, alone, without any assistance, and without ANY WAY to get OUT of there on MY OWN.

            THAT is the problem, complete lack of interest in getting me back to arrivals/immigration/customs/wherever, had it not been for the nice folk from Tranasero, I might have still been in the departure terminal today, 6 months later.
            THAT is why I will try to avoid flying Copa anytime I can and I will badmouth them everywhere and anytime I can.

            (The Terminal, 2004, Tom Hanks)… does it ring a bell?

        • Bob says:

          George, there is much more involved in the departure of an aircraft than most people realize. If you would have been allowed to board after the established cut-off time the flight would probably have taken a delay. This would have been a disservice to all of the passengers who arrived at the gate on-time (traffic and all). To interrupt the captain with your request during departure procedures essential for the safety of the flight is certainly out of the question.

          Yes, last minute ticket changes can be costly. Here it is likely that COPA was simply following the rules of the fare which you agreed to when you purchased the tickets. If the travel agency who ended up changing the tickets did so without following COPA’s guidelines they risk receiving a bill (debit memo) from COPA for the difference.

          While it appears that the COPA agents could have been more friendly and helpful, in principle I see nothing wrong with you being denied boarding nor with you paying the charges to change your tickets according to the rules of the fare that you purchased.

          Incidentally I do not work for COPA, but rather for another airline known for it’s operational AND customer service excellence.

          • George says:

            Yes, I get the point of being late and that being my fault, the next day change was inexpensive because my tariff allowed changes for next day at such low fee.. it was the same day departure that was a problem, and I do not understand why they do not allow standby travel if they have space available.

            Anyway, the bad customer service complaint is mainly related to them leaving me stranded in the departures terminal, their disappearing from there and leaving me there on my own, without any way to get out.

            Again, not for not letting me in, but for abandoning me in the departures area, with no way getting out of there on my own … there were only 3 ways out: employee exit manned by security (been turned away), outbound immigration/passport control (been turned away), and via tarmac walking to arrivals terminal (impossible on my own, must be accompanied).

            At that moment, going back and forth around the departures terminal, with my little daughter tagging along, desperate, thirsty, sweating, with no help or assistance, I was considering calling in a favor from the Regional Director of Dominican Civil Aviation stationed at the airport, who was my client and whom I had in my phone contacts lists, calling him to send somebody to get me out of the departures terminal… I guess had that happened Copa would have had some troubles because of it and maybe a government inquiry. Maybe I should have done that in the first place.

            • JuliaZ says:

              George,

              You were late. It happens to all of us. Those Copa agents who were rude and unhelpful were probably following policy. Too bad policy doesn’t say “always help the customer”. It doesn’t cost ANYTHING to say, “I’m so sorry.” It doesn’t cost ANYTHING to smile and say, “Let me see if I can help you.” The best customer service usually doesn’t cost a thing except a good attitude from the people who are providing it.

              And of course, you were willing to pay a reasonable change fee if you had to, and it sounds like you might have even agreed to a $75-100/pp “standby fee”. It’s not like you were being belligerent that it shouldn’t cost you a nickel.

              I try hard to approach airline employees as fellow human beings, I am polite and appreciative, and I make sure to say good things to supervisors when they are helpful. That it doesn’t always play out that way reflects poorly on the company.

              I’m glad the immigration officers were kind to you and your daughter. Didn’t cost them a thing, didn’t break any rules, did make your day better. It should always be that way!

            • John G says:

              You say this: “I do not understand why they do not allow standby travel if they have space available.”

              Let me ask you a question. Would you go into a restaurant and expect them to provide you food for free? If someone doesn’t eat it, they will to throw it out, right, so give it to me for free.

              Of course not. Yet you want an airline to do the same thing.

              Airline seats are a commodity, and that commodity is perishable. They have a value, and that value is greater at departure. If they allow standby, the value provided by the ticket is reduced.

              It’s not free to them. So it shouldn’t be free to you.

              And again, the ultimate fault here was yours. You were late, and demanded that they grant you concessions.

              Did they screw up leaving you in the terminal? Sounds like it. But again, just be on time for the flight and it won’t be an issue. Traffic is almost never a good reason to be late for a plane, especially an international flight.

      • Jason H says:

        I’ve had good results with Delta as well, although United has been very hit-or-miss for me. There are certainly some good agents, but about half the time recently they have been either unwilling or too incompetent to help. HUACA does work, so problems get fixed eventually.
        Alaska has also had very good service in my experience. Southwest people are very good, however, their technology and IT systems are so bad that it sometimes is difficult to make changes that shouldn’t be.

  13. CF, if you’re a guessing man do you see the new AA kicking BA a bit on some of these things to get them in shape?

    Perhaps reworking the JV so all US customer service is handled by AA employees or something like that?

    • CF says:

      Nick – I don’t really know. You would think that American would care about this, but they can’t really take over BA’s stuff. I wish they would.

  14. Erik B says:

    Wow, you didn’t even mention the hold times which I can only imagine averaged about 30-45 minutes for each call. Either that or you were using Skype and calling the Australian number (my favorite BA workaround).

    @JayB, I would suggest that Southwest, Alaska and Virgin America all have great customer service from my experience. It’s not impossible.

    • CF says:

      Erik B – Oh yeah, 30+ minute hold times pretty much anytime you call BA… that is if you don’t get a busy signal.

  15. matt weber says:

    My experiences with BA on award tickets have often been bad, but I suspect this time the real culprit is UA Airways. I’ve been in situations where many flights I know exist are not visible to other airlines. In fact I had a very long discussion with OAG years ago over differences between the listings in their own products!

    I know it costs money to list flights in the OAG, so I suspect it may cost money to list flights elswhere as well. If US Airways thinks it is unlikely they can sell tickets this way for a flight, they may elect not to list the flights/connections externally. If is common for the operating carrier to show many more connecting opportunities than are visible externally. I used to see this all the time in comparing a timetable (now an extinct species) from the carrier with the OAG listings. I am pretty sure it is a cost issue.

  16. Billy says:

    I was travel agent many moons ago (in the days of hand written tickets).
    BA was arrogant then and it sees not to have changed.
    Of course, great news for my favourite airline (in the air): Virgin Atlantic, but their systems seem to be even more antiquated.
    But what is the point of e-tickets when, under the old system, an exchange ticket could have been written/printed in moments? 12 days is bonkers – yet I have heard the same with Virgin!
    It does make you realise that all these technological changes have been totally to aid the convenience of airlines with the passenger an afterthought.

  17. AnonChi says:

    Sorry to disagree with the vast number of negative BA experiences but as an AA PLAT I recently gave BA a shot after avoiding it for 10 years while being a WN domestic/free-for-all international or *A flyer.

    I have found BA’s twitter team to be highly responsive and ground staff at both LHR and outstations to be extremely pleasant. Perhaps there is some hope for them yet.

    On the other hand, I have found US Airways to be absolutely awful.

  18. Bobby Paluga says:

    Hmmmm Delta is good where they hub, but have a problem at a facility where they have just a handful of flights and look out. Example: I am about to hit 200,000 miles with Delta, so instead of just flying from Phoenix on a half a hundred non-stop O’Hare flights, I connect in SLC. The PHX-SLC portion was excellent in a brand spanking new 737-800 that entered service that day. Onto the tired, wore out 320s that make up the mainline SLC hubbers, (Thanks NW and unhappy mechanics). When I picked up my spiffy new fabric/leather Hartman matched Big Ass Suitbag, arena sized Duffel, the formerly brown exteriors were just covered in a black oil-like substance, that upon close inspection was dry like rubber. The Delta luggage counter is one man and he called the O’Hare assistant manager who asked me why I didn’t “clean up yo stuff fore you check um”. When I pulled the sales receipt out of a pocket showing him him that I just bought them hours before my first flight he began to think that maybe Delta had some culpability, yet I had to return in the morning. At 7am, an older guy gave me the same routine, “It couldn’t have happened with us, we don’t have anything in cargo that would black your bags”. Finally at 10a they said they would clean they up. I was staying at the Marriott O’Hare for three weeks to do training otherwise, I couldn’t have stayed with this. After the first try 50% of one bag is cleaner the other untouched and no they didn’t deliver them to the hotel. Three more tries and I gave up. Make sure you restrict your Delta problems to ATL, SLC, or JFK, or get nothing but harassment. And no, I am not the fussy, perfectionist type.

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