Thursday, September 23, 2010

Delta's First Offer of Compensation-Take it or Leave it?

Yesterday evening, I received a phone call from a Delta Customer Care Representative.  I can't tell you how nice it felt to have someone from Delta eager to hear what happened, empathize with what I went through, and apologize for it.  Instead of blaming me, she listened and asked questions.  After hearing the whole story, she said there will be a thorough investigation on what happened.  We'll see!

After apologizing, she said she wanted to make it up to me by compensating me for my plane ticket and offer me some sky miles. I was thrown a little off guard, since I figured nothing would be offered until the investigation went through.  At that point, I had the opportunity to take the offer and let the situation go.  Perhaps I should. After all, being heard, apologized to, and refunded was a nice gesture.  Over the last few days, however, I have realized that I might have the opportunity to be a voice for all the other mamas (and dads) to listen to our concerns about flying with children, change/improve the regulations, and request all parents to be better informed on how to keep our children safe inflight.

Here's the bottom line:
It's obvious from all of my experiences (and yours) that the attendants aren't trained uniformly on regulations, parents have extra unnecessary stress and isolation by not being offered extra consideration inflight or during boarding, attendants aren't being held accountable for bullying and forcing someone to do something that isn't mandatory, there's ambiguity about "carriers" and proper restraints for babies, and it shouldn't be okay to have someone bullied, humiliated, and then deboarded off a plane by armed police when they weren't disobeying federal regulations.

We have a golden opportunity to pressure Delta to improve its policies permanently.  How often does that come by us?  This might actually give Delta the chance to be the top choice for parents when considering airlines.  Sounds like a win-win, if you ask me.

Thank you to everyone for sharing your own experiences, providing me with support and encouragement, and for your great ideas to improve traveling with children on airplane.  My next step is to continue to rally up the media to make it a national issue, to write more complaints to higher authorities, and to find out how much Delta is willing to step up without more pressure.

When I have some firm addresses/contact info and perhaps a formal letter template you can use to send your own letter, I'll post again.  In the meantime, please continue to share our story on Facebook/Twitter and encourage people to offer their suggestions on how their experience on flights could be improved.  Include this link for a place to post them:

I look forward to hearing your suggestions and hope you'll continue to help make a difference for all of us on future flights...



Jen Starks, Owner 850.284.5887


Stone Cottage Mama said...

It's their job to sound that nice. They are trained to do that to smoothe over something that could become a bigger problem.

It's really up to you if you feel satisfied with the results and want to let it go. No one can make that decision for you but you and your husband. What does he think? His opinion matters more than ours.

I am a little disappointed that there is nothing in what they say to prevent this from happening again. What steps will they be taking to educate their flight staff about nursing moms? Do they fully comprehend what it takes to breastfeed and that it's not so easily cut and dry? Are they willing to bring in lactation experts to teach their staff and at least offer a sensitivity course on this matter?


Screw compensation of one person. I want to know what is going to happen to ME if I come on their plane and nurse my baby, child, toddler, etc. Does this mean that all mothers everywhere have to be afraid? Where is the reassurance for all of the future nursing mothers that board their plane?

So far, there is none. Even their media staff are clueless and need more training.

Stone Cottage Mama said...

I just wanted to come back and say something else (yes, I am thinking about this while drinking my morning coffee Delta):

Just be prepared that if you opt not to take to compensation or to go forward with something else - you will no longer get the ms. or mr. nice guy attitudes from Delta. Once it becomes legal, it becomes business and their kindness just goes out the window.

You might also consider providing support to the other Delta mom victim as their stance so far as been that "no one else has been treated this way." It would be nice for her case to have another person that has been treated this way. From what I understand, she is moving to have them change their policy, training, etc. and since that is already in place with her lawsuit, it might make better sense to merge with her to achieve that.

If you could achieve policy change for a huge coorporation like Delta - consider your life well-lived.

Jim Cosgrove said...

Hey Jen:

I'm a bit late to the party here. Good on you for your stand and your desire to make this a greater good for all.

I'm a regular blogger on our Kansas City Star Mom2Mom blog, and I'd like to share your story with parents here. Keep spreading the word to a broader audience. Great things will happen.



Anonymous said...

I cannot beleive this would happen I have flown on a very wonderful canadian airline when my daughter was younger and I nursed he in a sling the entire in air time, yes they recommended hold her in my arms during taxing, takeoff and landing but it was not at all a demand just arequest....