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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Response from Delta Airlines

The short version of what happened to my cat in my letter to Delta:

"My husband took a flight out of Seattle on Jan. 17th, 2006 and landed in Milan on Jan. 18th, 2006 without our cat and another piece of baggage. The cat was not placed on the outbound flight from Seattle to Atlanta and was placed on the next outbound flight. The cat missed my husbandÂ’s connection and had to wait in Atlanta for the next flight (8 hours later) which was due to leave Atlanta the evening of the 18th and arrive in Milan on the 19th of Jan. A Delta representative in Milan called us the morning of the 19th to inform us that the missing bag had arrived but once again, the cat did not arrive. I was told the cat was still in Atlanta as of the 19th of Jan. but was due to fly to Milan on DL#74 on the evening of the 19th and arrive in Milan on the 20th of Jan. He did not make that flight and was left to spend another night at Atlanta kennel due to a miscommunication."

The condition of my cat when he arrived:

"When he arrived in Turin the afternoon of the 20th of Jan., his kennel which had a cat bed in it, had been layered with shredded paper and newspaper (not by us), all of which were soaked with urine. His front and back legs were stained black from the urine soaked newsprint. We proceeded to immediately to take him to the veterinarian who informed us he was dehydrated, and looked very stressed out. In addition to this, his bowels were filled with compacted stool; he was given a laxative at the vetÂ’s office and I am to give him another syringe-full the next day. His nose and lip were raw, we (the vet and I) assumed from constant rubbing against the kennel."

The compensation I asked for:

1. A reimbursement of the $110.00 extra baggage fee, plus $60.00 (the total I spent on 3 calling cards that I used to call the U.S. from Italy, I spent approx. 3 hours on the phone on the 18th and another 3 hours on the phone on the 19th of January.), plus $ 30 dollars for the vet visit, plus $100 dollars a day that my cat and I were inconvenienced, (the 17th, 18th 19th and 20th ), $400 total for the 4 days. The grand total for all the grief suffered is $600.00. I await your reply.

I looked on various websites to see what I should ask for in compensation but there were no guidelines. So I just winged it.

I received a letter from them yesterday with this response.

"They were sorry to learn" the cat did not arrived with Demetrio in Italy as planned and the difficulties my cat faced were "disturbing."

"They try to ensure that pets arrive with the passenger but irregularities can occur."

"Your comments were helpful in the review of the service we provide."

All in all, "We agree that a refund of the excess baggage fee is in order. However, we respectfully decline your request for reimbursement of your phone calls and decline payment for your inconvenience. As a gesture of goodwill they gave us 2 $150 transportation vouchers, valid for future travel. Not redeemable online and that expire in a year."

They thanked me for writing and apologized. What do you think? Is this fair and resonable? Thoughts?

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8 Comments:

At 5:52 AM, Blogger midnightbunny said...

I am absolutely shocked by Delta Airlines and their lack of customer service toward your case. Your cat was mis-treated and mis-handled by their employees (and their delivery system in general), and they really should compensate you fully for the financial burden their delays caused. I would of course wish that you could be compensated as well for the emotional stress, because as a pet lover, I do understand how upsetting that situation would be. To think that all you received back after your detailed (and documented) letter to them indicating what had occurred, was a simple response and vouchers is utterly awful.

My husband and I (along with several friends of ours), have also received similar treatment and mishaps via Delta Airlines, and we choose not to fly with them anymore. In fact, one of our friend's was injured on a Delta flight when an airline attendant ran a metal drink cart into her leg. She was bleeding throughout the flight and was only offered a napkin to clean her leg with. Later when she arrived at her destination, she had to see a doctor to have the wound treated. Delta never compensated her for the medical bill, even after she filed a letter of complaint.

I'm just so sorry this happened to you/your husband and your cat. Thank goodness your veterinarian was able to bring your cat back to optimal health. Please know that you and your cat are in my thoughts.

*Hugs*

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger Judith in Umbria said...

You are joking, right? While I doubt you'll ever get more than coupons for pain and suffering, they repeatedly failed to do what they proposed to do. It wasn't one careless handling error that kept the cat from arriving with Deme, it was day after day that they failed. I paid $2000 to bring my five cats with me. I expect that all-told, you spent a similar amount to 1/5 of that getting him certified and the right crate and the ticket. And for what? They almost killed him!
I would point out the many failures in their system and push on this.
And after it was over, I'd go to every travel site and post my experience to prevent it happening to the next animal.

 
At 7:41 PM, Blogger Cate said...

I'd say it's not reasonable compensation at all. Not monetarily or otherwise. Vouchers? As if you'd trust them again. Have you checked out Planet Feedback? You might want to try a letter through there as well - I've had pretty good success that way. Good luck. Hope the kitty is doing better. :)

 
At 12:02 AM, Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

Well Gina I don't think it is FAIR, but honeestly I am really surprised that you got ANYTHING back from them. I am just glad that your sweet little kitty is OK and let's hope he NEVER has to make that journey again.

I saw I missed your call yesterday. Will try you later today. Hope all is well!

Cyn

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger verniciousknids said...

I also think that this is an inadequate response.

"Whether your pet is traveling within the U.S. or to international destinations, we want to ensure a smooth travel experience" is what they say on their website so hit them where it hurts by publicising this as much as possible - would your local newspaper do a story on this etc?

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger melusina said...

I say it is inadequate as well. A cat (or any pet) is a living, breathing creature. For some of us, our pets are our children. As important as pets are to many people all over the world, the airlines really need to step up the way they deal with the transport of animals. As far as I'm concerned, to hell with my baggage, I want my cats to arrive with me first. The baggage can come later. Animals *should* get first priority on cargo space over anyone's baggage. For one we are paying extra for them to come, for another, they are alive, and can't be expected to sit at airports for days on end.

The condition your poor cat arrived in was inexcusable. Unfortunately, living overseas makes it all the more difficult to deal with such a situation, and I don't really know what to suggest.

 
At 12:33 PM, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Seeing it's the airlines, you are lucky you got anything. It's totally unfair and I guess you could turn them into the BBB or something???

Obviously complaining to the company won't do much. However, you could elevate it further and address it more to the president of the company (do research first).

IT's so sad you've had such a harsh experience. I'd look more on the web for further info for sure and see how you can elevate your complaint and say you don't accept what they have given you as compensation...

These are only thoughts since I've never dealt with this type of situation.

 
At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Roberta Ingram said...

I am sooo sorry. Actually I am pretty mad after reading this story about your cat. This case should be reported to American Human Society (sorry my spelling)!!! This is a crime!! Find a newspaper and write to it, tell your story. This can't end like this.

 

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