Mr. Jason Hausner? October 6, 2013
Director, Customer Care
Delta Air Lines?
P.O. Box 20980?
Atlanta, GA 30320-2980
RE: Delta Flight 1162, Friday, August 16
Dear Mr. Hausner,
On Friday, August 16, 2013, my wife (Karen Salvatore) and I were booked on Flight 1162 from LAX to JFK.
As we waited in the Terminal before boarding, there was a couple with two young toddlers and a single woman with another. They seemed to be traveling together. The three infants were crying and screaming for over 20 minutes before the flight boarded and this continued once on board.
While on board, Karen politely asked one of the flight attendants if she could have some earplugs. The people with the toddlers were seated two and three rows in front of us. The parents were holding the babies up so they were screaming directly at us. The crying and screaming was unbearable for Karen. It was evident to me she was beginning to have an anxiety attack. After the third request for earplugs, the flight attendant said she did not have any. I told her to please go get some from First or Business Class. She hesitated and said there are no earplugs available in Business or First Class. That was a lie, she never checked. Business and First Class always have them available. Clearly, the Flight Attendant was having trouble herself dealing with the commotion. She was completely on-edge. Karen had, by this time, wrapped her head in a blanket to help silence what we were encountering. The flight asked her to remove it. I said firmly, then find her some earplugs.
To exacerbate the already tenuous situation, a woman boarded the plane late with a dog. She was seated directly behind me. The woman placed her dog under my seat and about 10 minutes later Karen and I began sneezing and our eyes began watering. I told the same Flight Attendant that we were both allergic to dogs, and we needed to be moved. She said the flight was full, but we could get off the plane. (Lie number two) She raised her voice towards me, stormed away and sent another Flight Attendant.
I explained our concerns to the second Flight Attendant. She was cordial and seemed to handle the situation quite well. We were assigned new seats at the rear of the plane. Karen, by this point was showing no signs of anxiety. The new Flight Attendant checked with us on three occasions to see if we were comfortable and could handle the flight with our re-assignment. We exclaimed we were perfectly fine and thanked I her for her help.
I told her that the other Flight Attendant did not seem to be handling the unusual activity very well.
To compound the troubles, the Captain came over the intercom and announced we needed to return to the Terminal. By this time everyone on board seemed upset.
Once we arrived back at the terminal, 5 Police Officers boarded and walked to the back of the plane. Much to our surprise, we were confronted, asked our names, and harshly escorted from the plane. Two officers were in front of me. One officer was between Karen and me, and two behind her. Karen and I were each held by the officers directly behind each of us as we were removed from the plane with out explanation or the retrieval of my two carry on bags.
Once we were back in the Terminal we were questioned by two of the officers as one stood back. The Sargent and one officer left the area. Further, we were then detained until a Mental Health caseworker evaluated our mental state. We were humiliated, embarrassed and shocked at the way we were treated. We were treated like criminals.
We were asked if, “you ever thought of harming any of the Flight Crew?” “Were either of you in possession of anything which could be used to harm anyone?” Did you ever think of “storming the Cabin?” “Did you ever consider suicide?” As we were subjected to this line of questioning, the three remaining officers were actually laughing and Officer Padilla, Badge # 692 said, “I cannot believe we were called for this”.
When Karen and I were finally found “not to be a threat”; I was able to ask questions about what had just occurred. I was told the Captain requested our removal and that was it. I asked Officer Segura, Badge # 536, for a report number for a complaint I was going to file with Delta. He stated there would be no report filed since there was no criminal activity that occurred.
I then asked both the officers and the Delta Gate Attendant why I was not allowed to get my carry on bags. I was told we were under the detention by Delta until the matter could be cleared up and that no one was allowed to re-board the plane due to FAA regulations. The Delta gate attendant said the flight crew would be notified my bags were still on board and they would be held at the Delta Baggage Office at JFK.
Is that Delta’s answer to passengers who have issues; which, obviously, one Flight Attendant could not address, handle or deal with. I thought the attendants worked as a Team. But, that was not the case. It took quite a bit of haggling to finally be moved to new seats. We were quite happy when our seats were re-assigned. We confirmed three times that we were comfortable. But we were still removed from our flight.
Further, when we tried to rebook our flight; the gate attendant said we should consider checking with other carriers and that we had non-refundable tickets. After quite a heated debate, which lasted at least 20 minutes, I was given over to a supervisor. We discussed what had happened and we were finally rebooked on Delta Flight 1762, which departed at 6:45 am on Saturday, August 17, 2013.
We were subjected to spending the night in LAX. Got no sleep. We felt totally drained
of all energy when we finally reached New York around 4:00 pm, Saturday.
We missed Karen’s Aunt and Uncle’s 60th Anniversary. It was scheduled at 2:00 pm in
Highland Park, New Jersey. Our original flight was to arrive at 5:45 am.
After having to retrieve our checked luggage and trying to locate my carry on bags at the Delta Baggage Office; I was told I needed to check with lost and found for my carry on items. I was expressly told by Delta that my carry on bags would be held at the Delta Baggage Office at JFK. I said I wanted to file a claim, but was told again I was to Contact Delta’s Lost and Found. I was given a pamphlet with a telephone number to call circled on the back. I was then told to leave the line so she could help other travelers. Your Delta representative at the JFK baggage office was down right rude.
I have called customer care twice asking for an explanation. I asked for a Supervisor, but was told no Supervisor was available. I left my phone number and was told I would be contacted soon. I still have no information from Delta regarding this unconscionable treatment. Although, I was told I would be contacted as soon as any information became available. That was three weeks ago.
I need an explanation as to Delta’s policy for removing passengers from flights who are deemed fit to travel and are not a threat. I firmly believe, the first Delta Flight Attendant over reacted to all that was transpiring with all the passenger complaints and requests. She did not know which way was up. She was probably the one who should have been removed. She clearly could not do her job.
Officer Segura said Delta would have to file a report with the FAA since the plane left the gate, was on the tarmac and subsequently returned to the gate.
I am hereby requesting a copy of any/all reports Delta has regarding Flight 1162 on August 16, 2013.
We are completely dismayed with the way we were treated by all those associated with this Delta experience. Maybe you can help us understand what exactly; and more importantly why this happened.
No one should ever have to experience the humiliation and anxiety we both endured as we were removed from the aircraft. Secondly, being subjected to interrogation by Police and a mental health caseworker. Third, having to encounter a Delta Gate employee telling us we “need to find another carrier since you have non-refundable tickets” when we tried to re-book. Forth, having to spend over seven hours in a cold airport with nowhere to rest awaiting another flight. Finally, a rude Delta Baggage Office employee who told me to get out of her line and just call the phone number on the pamphlet. She never once seemed concerned with the details of why my carry on bags were to be held at the Delta Baggage Office JFK.
Thank you Delta, our trip was a disaster. No Anniversary party, no slacks, no sport coat, no dress shirts, no neckties, no computer, no iPad, no glasses, no itinerary. And, no formal dress for Karen.
In closing, this matter is not being taken lightly. It has been over six weeks and Karen and I still get upset anytime we here the name Delta. This was far and away the most traumatic experience we have ever encountered. Karen came to tears and it continues to this day when recalling our trip. It was to be a joyful occasion with family members she had not seen in many years and that was ruined.
Thank you for Delta’s anticipated prompt review of this incident. I also await copies of any Delta and FAA reports you have on file regarding our flight to see if further action need be taken.
Bryan T. Capehart
Mr. Jason Hausner? October 6, 2013
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