Yesterday, I mentioned the delayed Delta flight that was rerouted to Syracuse and the pilots and customer service folks that made sure the passengers were well taken care of and well fed. Well, we were lucky enough to talk to one of the Delta agents that went above and beyond the call of duty.
Your flight has been delayed and then diverted; the weather is bad, and you know you’ll be stuck for hours. Terrible, huh? Well, if you happen to be flying Delta and you’ve been diverted to Syracuse, it’s not so terrible: in fact, its pizza party time! The Delta team in Syracuse has been throwing such parties for stranded passengers, for more than a decade.
The latest was held August 17. As always, the party is preceded by a problem that calls for an imaginative pilot who can think outside the plane. In this instance, the Delta pilot decided his passengers would not be subjected to another summertime-hell-flight-saga, so he made 2-simple decisions:
- He let the folks off the plane.
- He ordered pizza for all.
Then, the Delta folks inside the airport sprang into action (well, they sprang over to the local Sbarros, anyway). According to customer service rep Lynn Casey, Delta team members hauled out a big folding table for the 30-or so pizzas they ordered, and began serving them up to a whole bunch of hungry passengers.
“We’re a small outfit here at the Syracuse airport,” she said, adding that Delta only has 2-gates there, “but because we’re small, it helps us foster a real family feeling. Which is good, because we’ve had to do something like this dozens of times over the past ten years.” Casey is quick to point out that some news reports got it wrong, that she didn’t pay the nearly $400-pizza tab out of her own pocket (Delta did, as always).
Well, why go to all this trouble? “We and our management team believe in this,” said Casey, “and we believe in being all about customer service.”
Eh? Call a doctor (or better yet the corporate head of customer relations at the major airlines) — for a second there I was a bit woozy…
I applaud this fine group at Syracuse, last time I was in SyracuseI was installing software for a new weather radar in 1999 at a TV station (in cooperation with Niagara Mohawk). I am now going to make it a point on my next visit to stop by and shake their hands — they deserve it.