• Report: #94123
Complaint Review:


  • Submitted: Tue, June 08, 2004
  • Updated: Thu, September 07, 2006

  • Reported By:Vancouver Washington
http://www.delta.com Portland, Oregon U.S.A.

Delta Not willing to assist in possible "lost" elderly passenger Portland Oregon

*Consumer Comment: GRRRRRRRRR

*Consumer Comment: Why do you believe this is "Delta" ???

*Consumer Suggestion: Correct it is privacy the agent did not do enough to help you

*Consumer Suggestion: Why They Don't Tell You Who Is On That Plane.

*Consumer Suggestion: Accompany Him

*Author of original report: Thank you for the "warning"/suggestion

*Consumer Comment: Not a SECURITY issue but a PRIVACY issue

*Consumer Suggestion: Former Delta Rep

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My elderly father recently flew a Delta flight from LaGuardia to Portland, OR. Being an older gentleman, he's sometimes confused very easily. I was able to use the Delta website to give me updates on when the plane was to land (sent to my mobile phone). I arrived at the airport 30 minutes before the flight was scheduled to land.

I waited for him at the security checkpoint, and after about 30 minutes from the flight landing, he was no where to be found. I checked baggae claim, and the majority of the passengers on his flight were already gone.

I knew he had to change planes, so I got a little panicked wondering if he even got on the right one. The Delta ticket counter was empty (it was after 10PM), so I called their customer service number.

I explained the situation to "Susan", and asked if she could just check and see if he made it all the way through here to Portland or not, and her response was "I'm sorry, I am not allowed to give out that information.".

I reiterated that he was a 74 year old man, who sometimes can get confused, and the flight had already landed about 45 minutes ago. Whatever security threat would be created (my assumption for why this information couldn't be released) by letting me know he was actually on the flight had long since passed. She again repeated that "Regardless of your situation, I cannot give out that information."

At that point, I completely lost my cool. My bad, but if I wanted to hear the same sentence over and over (without any justification or acknowledgement of the problem) why not just transfer me to a recording?

I asked to be transferred to a supervisor, and she said "They're not going to tell you if he was on the flight either.". At which point I hung up disgusted.

I went over to the airport security office, and explained what was happening. They said they would check past the security area and see if he was even there, and even paged him. Sure enough they found him. (KUDOS to the PDX Airport Security)Nothing was wrong or amiss, he was having a difficult time in the bathroom outside the gate (probably from the airline food).

While I completely understand the need for heightened security post 9/11, I cannot fathom what Delta felt it was actually protecting by not answering a simple yes or no question. Had it been mid-flight, sure... but this was after the plane had landed, luggage was removed, and the crew had departed.

Anyone else have a similar experience?
Can someone from Delta explain what the deal is with this policy?

Portland, Oregon

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/08/2004 03:15 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/delta/portland-oregon/delta-not-willing-to-assist-in-possible-lost-elderly-passenger-portland-oregon-94123. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Jane - (U.S.A.)

One person's rude behavior is not indicative of the entire airline. There are plenty of great people that work for this and all the other airlines. Cut them a break. They work hard and often times dont make nearly as much money as you might think
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#2 Consumer Comment

Why do you believe this is "Delta" ???

AUTHOR: James - (U.S.A.)

"Thank you for your "warning"/suggestion on how Delta treats elderly passengers."

This is nonsense. Not only does it have absolutely nothing to do with being elderly, it also applies to EVERY airline, not just Delta.

Next time, get the facts before dumping dad on any airline.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Correct it is privacy the agent did not do enough to help you

AUTHOR: S - (U.S.A.)

J...first I sorry to hear about your dad's travel experience. In defense of Delta, yes the agent did the right thing, they can not give out that information, and she can only do so much from her seat in SLC is it? Buuuuuuuuut, the agent did not do enough to help you. She could have contacted the PDX airport and had security meet you where you were. She could have even tried to contact the agents in PDX. The short fall here is the reservationist's lack of customer service.

While I do not agree with how it was put in another post, yes there are factors that passengers need to understand and be responsible for. Of course that is not meant harshly. The agents, and flight attendants can not watch hundreds of people at once, so the assistance (SST or special service ticket) is a good thing. Though he may not need it, request a wheelchair, that way someone will meet him at the plane and take him to his next gate in comfort. However if you know that a passenger has certain issues that could mayhaps cause worry, do not let them fly alone. In the very least make sure when the reservation is made have them add a notation that states it is okay to give you information, that way they can talk to you. Though my mother is far from needing it, I always make her's and my father's reservations so that I can find out information when I need to. I make sure they have my name so that in the event they are deverted or misconnect I can find out where they are. I work in an airport famous for passengers of age flying in and out, not explaining that they have special needs, and as an agent someonetimes its scary even for me. We had a lady claim to break a hip, only to find out from a daughter coming to pick her up that her mother had broken that hip several years earlier. Confusion about gates. I try as an agent to help as best I can, but if we know before hand we are expecting VIPs we are more prepared for them. But remember if the SST is not done, or notation made, they can not speak with you nor give out details of the reservation if they are a good reservationist they can assist you still without that. They can look place you on hold and do any or all of the things I stated earlier. Just beware that the airline will take no responsability for a passenger of legal age if the SST or the like is not requested. (BTW the SST is free and accompany is not is $80 each way on my airline).

The flight attendant that stated the story of the woman is very true. The airline is repsonsable if they give out information on passengers and it results in a crime. Too many children fly alone, celebrities fly commercially as well. So there are may reasons not to give information. Its the same with a doctor or lawyer, the airline is just trying to cover their hind parts if something should arise. There are circumstances where we can, "bend" the rules. We can help you find the right place to go in cases like your father's. Also with the unaccompany assistance you can provide and ID and be given a pass to go past security to meet your father at the gate as well. That way you can see him get off the plane. If you are there you obviously know the information you need to give to the agent, and the agent can start tracking him right away, and you dont even have to tell them the information, all they have to do is look in the computer to see that you are the person meeting him, and if by chance he misconnected, or got lost and is in a hotel, they can give you the full information you need.

Also, as a warning, well for people like me, its hard to give out specific information as we are bound NOT to give out specifics of why and why not, 9/11 really did a number on the travel industry and tough times call for tough mesures, but in the end its all to keep our passengers safe. Our customer service should not have to suffer for it. Now that "Susan" woman I would have reported by all means, she is what gives airlines the bad rep they get, so to say they least you can not blame an airline for what thye didnt know, but you cab sure raise a stink about people's lack of compassion and understand. If you get that again don't hang up as the Sup surely would have done the above mentioned, but you did the right thing in going to security, they are always there and their only purpose is to keep everyone safe. ;)

Happy Flying.
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

Why They Don't Tell You Who Is On That Plane.

AUTHOR: RaeMarie - (U.S.A.)

I went through flight attendant training (with a different carrier) almost 20 years ago and the policy of not revealing the passenger name list was in place even at that time. Our training instructor told us that the reason for this policy was this: A woman was fatally shot while waiting for her luggage in the baggage claim area. She had recently filed for divorce from her abusive husband and had flown to see family.

At the time that she was killed, she was returning from her vacation. The soon-to-be ex-husband knew of her trip and called the airline to see what flight she was coming home on. The reservations people told him. On the day of the woman's return flight, the man went to the ticket counter and confirmed that she was indeed on that flight, the flight had departed on time and the agent also told him the arriving plane's gate number. Now, I don't think that happened on the airline that I worked for (I quit flying after 10 years) and I don't know if that story was really the facts or if it was just the explanation our teacher gave us.

The policy of not revealing the names of the passengers might even be an FAR (Federal Aviation Regulation).

Since non-ticketed people cannot go through the security checkpoint and wait for their loved ones right at the gate, it's easy to see how such a thing happened. We have 9/11 to thank for that. Sorry to read about your experience but I have certainly learned something today.
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

Accompany Him

AUTHOR: Cory - (U.S.A.)

I'm glad to hear things worked out for your father. If he is in as bad of condition as you say, you might accompany him on his travels and not rely on the airlines to take care of him. God forbid something should happen to him. The airlines are paid to fly someone from point A to point B. Airports aren't the safest places in the world, outside of the security areas. If he had wondered off during the plane change, gotten into a taxie, there would be no telling where he might be found. Good luck.
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#6 Author of original report

Thank you for the "warning"/suggestion

AUTHOR: J - (U.S.A.)

Thank you for your "warning"/suggestion on how Delta treats elderly passengers. Should we decide to use Delta again in the future, I will be sure to purchase the assistance ($45 is worth it for piece of mind).

My original question as to what the policy is, remains unanswered. I would appreciate any additional responses.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Not a SECURITY issue but a PRIVACY issue

AUTHOR: Tom - (U.S.A.)

J, it is not a SECURITY ISSUE that they wont tell you if he was on a flight, but a issue of HIS PRIVACY. They dont know who you are & why should they just accept your word. Also like MARY suggested, the $45.00 assistance fee would have fixed this. Then you could have had yourself listed as the person to meet him & DELTA personnell would have verified you by your DRIVERS LICENSE or some other ID that would have been listed when he started. Delta didnt do anything wrong, in fact they did the RIGHT THING. You just wanted them to BREAK THE RULES for you cause you thought you were special. YOUR FAULT, SO QUIT WHINING !!!!!
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

Former Delta Rep

AUTHOR: Mary - (U.S.A.)

I am so sorry you had a scare w/ your dad. I know the feeling all to well! I worked for Delta for several years at JFK in NY. Delta does not have the best track record w/ elderly passengers. The best way for you to handle this in the future is to purchase the traveler assistance service. It usually costs $45 each way.

Normally this is used for unaccompanied minors. But it is available to anyone. Most elderly passengers don't appreaciate it as they feel like they are being treated like children. But it is very helpful, especially in the event of a misconnection due to a late arriving aircraft or weather delay in the connection city. If a misconnect results in the passenger having to overnight in the connection city- the assistance passengers get first consideration in hotel and food accomadations.

I hope this helps, and again I am real sorry for your scare.
Best wishes for safe travel in the future!
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