As we close out the week, I want to give props to Delta for doing such a great job of processing refunds. It’s something that we should take for granted, but unfortunately has not been the case for every airline.
Why focus on Delta? Well, I know Delta is not the only airline that has been good about refunds, but I also know that refunds have never been an issue on Delta. Not in my experience, not in my client’s experience, and not in my reader’s experience. That speaks volumes. Some report delays in receiving refunds, but refund departments are backlogged right now. I have yet to hear of a promised refund not eventually hitting.
It’s one thing to do the “right thing” when the spotlight is on you and you’re called out on bad behavior. It’s quite another to do the right thing from the very beginning, even when no one is watching.
What Delta Is Telling Employees About Refunds
While the refund news was overshadowed by the 777 retirement announcement yesterday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian also shared that Delta has continued to process refunds, despite the significant drain on cashflow:
We continue to hear from our customers about the great work you are doing every day. I’ve received many emails and messages in recent weeks thanking us for the amazing work of our Reservations and Customer Care professionals, particularly as they’ve assisted with processing refunds.
Delta has refunded more than $1.2 billion to our customers since the pandemic began, including $160 million so far this month. It reflects an enormous volume of cash refunds that our people have handled with their renowned professionalism and empathy.
As one customer put it in a survey response, “I was anticipating a hassle from previous customer support experiences with other companies, but my concern was addressed in a way that felt very good as a consumer. This was my best support experience ever.”
Thanks to the Reservations and Care team – you are the best in the business.
I love that Delta sees its future in taking care of customers and earning their trust. United, sadly, sees its survival changes buoyed only being stingy and downright unlawful with refunds.
What a difference…
And just like Delta should not be singled out, United is not the only one who has been playing games. Alaska, Air France, British Airways, and Lufthansa have also displayed bad behavior on the refund front.
I do not try to downplay how grim the situation is for airlines. Even as travel cautiously begins to rebound, it is still down more than 90% versus 2019. Airlines are in a fight for survival. But what’s the point of surviving if you’ve alienated all your customers? Trust is painstakingly won and quickly lost. There is a trust deficit with Delta concerning its SkyMiles program, but I must commend Delta for so consistently and so honorably ensuring refunds are processed.