On Oct. 31st, 2014, Frank Romano was flying to Tampa out of LAX, via Delta Airlines. Frank was flying with his family, along with his six year old rescue dog, a bull terrier named Ty. As the Romano family was boarding the plane, Frank was pulled aside by a Delta Airlines employee, who told him that his dog had chewed through his kennel and needed to be identified. Confused, as Ty was in a kennel made of hard plastic and a metal door, the airline employee then changed her story, telling Frank that his dog had gone missing. Then, after a devastated Frank arrived at his destination, he received a phone call from another Delta employee, informing him that Ty had in fact arrived at the Tampa airport. He never did.
So how did Delta Airlines react to this situation?
Anyone familiar with Delta Airlines would know that this is not the first time they have landed smack-dab in the middle of a fiasco. In 2010-2011, Delta lost three other dogs, with only one returned safely to its owner. Also in 2010, Delta had mixed up two children, a boy and a girl, and sent both of them to the wrong locations. One would assume after dealing with such incidents in the past, that the airline would have the knowledge and understanding to handle the situation in an appropriate manner. However, this is not the case.
Delta airlines gave a cold statement claiming that all necessary procedures were followed correctly, and that to remedy the situation, Frank would be offered a $200 credit towards his next Delta Airlines flight.
The statement reads – Delta continues to investigate what happened, but early indications show that procedures were followed, and the dog may have compromised the kennel on its own. Delta immediately worked with LAX airport teams and the customer to locate the dog but was unsuccessful. We remain in contact with this customer, and we are fully supporting the search for their pet. Delta understands that pets are important members of the family and regrets this occurred while this pet was entrusted to our care.
But what point does Delta’s Airline put across? That it wasn’t their fault and they did nothing wrong, but sorry. The proper way to apologize for something you or your company did wrong is to acknowledge and amend, not just give a lazy apology.
How should Delta Airlines have handled the situation and how can they move forward?
The airline should have issued a more sincere apology and taken responsibility for the lost animal. By truly showing remorse for their actions, it would be very easy to believe that this incident was accidental. But instead, by leading the dog owner on a wild goose chase, and claiming to have done nothing wrong, the whole situation seems a little bit unsavoury. Also, only offering a $200 dollar credit is incredibly distasteful. The bond Frank and Ty had was priceless, and Delta airlines should know that. I feel that they should continue the search for Ty and offer sufficient compensation.
Delta must revise their procedures for handling pets and ensure that this incident does not repeat itself for yet another time.
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