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Opinions Sun, 7 Feb 2010

Let's Say Enough Is Enough To Delta Airlines And Their Arrogant Staff!!

Fellow Ghanaians and Africans across the globe, especially North American residents who patronized the services of Delta Airlines from John F. Kennedy Airport, New York in particular. The Bible says that ‘If your right hand [is bothering you], cut it off. It's better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands’ Matthew 5:30. In other words, anything that will cause unbearable agony, disrespectfulness and plunge human beings into political, religious and economic servitude should be abolished! It is in the same vein that, the flag of democracy is being hoisted almost to the sky across the globe. Likewise, there is freedom of association or choice of a particular service base on comfort and merit, all in fulfillment of ‘cutting off a particular part of the body’ which is deemed obnoxious. This article is not intended to preach the gospels according to the saints, and neither am I advertizing for a particular airline; but rather to exhort and unify the Good People of Ghana and beyond against the marginalization, inhumane treatment , and poor services being meted to us by Delta Airlines as a body and their ‘too-known’ staff across the globe. Wrong me, if I should say the ‘entire staff’ of Delta is bad. However, the acts of those recalcitrant and shoddy ones have overshadowed the rest, hence the need to ‘cut them off’.




It’s time we let them know that, Delta/ staff and their passengers are co-dependent on each other. They rub our back the same way we rub theirs. However, the Airline has taken our preference of direct-flight from New York to Ghana for granted and dictating to us. We have made them rich by payment of exorbitant ticket fees and astronomical excess baggage charges, and yet those people have the temerity to pay us back by looking down upon us. They see us as inferior and treat us like ordinary inanimate piece of object. What Delta has forgotten or most probably don’t know is that, before their existence, there was an airline called North American Airline that used to fly the schedule they are running today! That airline came obediently and operating well until they grew wings against Ghanaians. Now, the most advance ‘Ghost Hunters’ on earth can’t even trace the ghost of North America in Ghana. Let us repeat the same ‘therapeutic dose of disaffection’ prescribed by the Ghanaian populace for the erstwhile North America Airlines for Delta Airlines too. After all, the difference between direct and transit flights is just 2 hours of flight time and a couple of waiting time (sometimes) via Europe. But out of that, you are treated with dignity and respect. Above all, the transit flights allow more kilograms of weight with flexibility.





One might ask ‘what crime at all has Delta committed against this writer to warrant this hatred?’ Well, as a concerned Ghanaian, I think the time is ripped for us to demonstrate to those who disrespect us that ‘ALL HUMAN ARE BORN EQUAL’, and that we also have the Power to control affairs. As a principal witness to some of the discriminatory acts at JFK, tears run down my cheek when I see the very people we pay thousands of dollars to, waging their tongues against my cherished people. Their actions has forced me to filed a formal complain simultaneously with this piece. The Complain Letter below (sent to Delta) contains my ordeal and reasons why we need a change from the services of Delta:





Dear Sir/ Madam,





COMPLAIN OVER POOR SERVICES FROM DELTA AIRLINES AND STAFF REF: RESERVATION # EAY**A





I write with a heavy heart and with boiling emotions to formally report the misconduct, rudeness, unprofessional and inexperience services of some of your staff that my cousin and I had encountered on 20th January, 2010 at JFK Airport in New York; and also to bring to your knowledge our overall dissatisfaction of services Delta Airline is rendering to Ghanaians in particular and other African travelers in general. Until my turn on that fateful day, I had personally witnessed this disrespectful and poor customer service on at least three occasions at the said airport. Many stories of the same magnitude I have heard; and majorities are those who had left their ordeals to ‘God ‘for judgment. This notice is intended to collectively echo our agonies and humiliations (by the simple crime of being a passenger) to the management of Delta Airlines for a swift redress. I had travelled with Delta Airlines on many occasions, but was not the traveler in person on that day, but rather a relative of a traveler who patronized Delta services from JFK, NY to Accra, Ghana on 20th January, 2010. Like, I had said earlier, my ambition to write this letter pre-existed long ago, but the catalyst had been a personal encounter with two of your workers at JFK, of which I had vowed to personally take the issue to your door-step for investigation and demand appropriate correctional measures. Ghanaians (and other African Nationals) flying Delta via JFK-ACCRA, had endured and swallowed enough of the inhumane and marginalized treatment from your staff, and the time to ‘dot’ this menace is at hand.





My cousin was originally billed to travel BOSTON-JFK, JFK-ACCRA on 20th Jan. She visited NY on 14th Jan and incidentally fell indisposed, resulting in a visit to the Doctors office on 15th. The doctor requested a follow up visit on 18th and prescribed bed rest till 20th when she will fly from JFK directly, in lieu of going back to BOSTON, MA and then fly back to JFK, NY. I picked her belongings from Worcester, MA on early 19th and later made it to JFK, NY where I narrated the incident to two of Delta staffs (SIMONE EVANS and ZORAIDA ASENCIO).They called Reservations and explained our situation and I was informed to obtain a Medical Report to substantiate the claim after a prolong deliberations over the phone by the two staff. I was assured that detail documentation has been effected in the system regarding the waiver of $199.26 which would have been charged to make a change on the ticket. That, ‘any Delta Agent will assist us once we provide the medical report at the desk.





On 20th, we arrived at the airport and the first Agent we saw directed us to another counter to go and pay. We queued for about an hour and alas, it was our turn. There stood 'MR. IVAN C'. He checked the computer and yelled 'you have to pay $199.26, how do you pay cash or credit?’ I quickly referred him and produced the medical report. To my disbelieve, MR. IVAN C. stressed that the Medical Report doesn’t mean 'anything to him' (without even a glance), and that 'I am the only one who knows how to deal with this ticket, whoever you talked to is incapable of making a change; and the only way is to pay the fee or I cancel the ticket, then you have to buy a one-way ticket to Accra, which will cost you about $800'. We were perplexed and stunned at his utterances and to have heard that all that I had been through at the Delta desk the previous day was in vain. On persistent insistence, he walked off the desk straight to Ms. ZORAIDA ASENCIO and questioned her about giving us 'false information', as he put it. The said lady then came back to the counter and punched a few keys for about 2-3 minutes, and then asked MR. IVAN C. 'who did this, I didn't touch that button?'. (This question revealed a sinister motive by MR. IVAN C. to have altered certain information in the system). Ms Zoraida later opened the page that the changes and request of medical report was documented in black and white right under his shameful eyes! Mr. Ivan then said, 'well, once you have done it, I will go by it'. Zoraida replied, ‘but it was already in the system!’ This shows how incompetent Mr. Ivan (Mr. Know-it-all) was on that day even though he claimed to have been a gem. The lady's exhibition of competency and high professional conduct paralyzed ‘Ivan C’ instantly. He was mute and could only stutter on every attempt to talk throughout the latter part of the process. Gone was the time to the extent that he has to call the flight and inform of a 'late processing due to ticket problem'. Then came part II of our ordeal....the weighing period!





Based on the fact that, my cousin was the only one the flight was waiting for to depart, (as evidenced by her name being announced via PA system twice), Mr. Ivan prepared tags for her bags and ordered weighing. Both bags weighed '64 and 65 lbs' according to a colleague of Mr. Ivan C who was working at another desk. Our Agent decided to tag the bags and give to a staff waiting to take both bags straight to the plane. All of a sudden, this woman in her earnest quest to show her mathematical prowess behind her counter; and also, to show solidarity for the painful 'defeat' meted out to her so-called 'Mr. Know-All' compatriot, shouted '...They have to pay for the excess luggage. 150 plus 150 $, total $ 300. How would you pay? Cash or credit? With a scorn eye and boiling temperature, I decided to unpack some items to make way for the desire weights. The lady yelled at us 'you are not allowed to unpack at this time'. We ignored her warming and removed some items, weighed first bag which came to 52 lbs. The second bag weighed 59 lbs, and they asked us to take some items off. We did and it came to 54 lbs, and these two ‘Delta Queens’ (another lady joined) still insisted we take some items off! The traveler’s name blazed through the PA system again to 'proceed to her gate for immediate departure'. We re-weighed the third time for the second bag till it was 51 lbs. My cousin who could not stand the prolong standing due to her infirmity have no choice than to sit on her hand luggage sorrowfully on the floor whilst staring at these two ‘righteous’ women drilling us.





Finally, my cousin made it through security check and I bid her good bye. I walked back to the counter and requested to know the names of the agents who attended to us (part of customer’s rights). The male agent grabbed his coat and showed me his Name Tag, 'this is my name, IVAN C. This is how Delta wants me to be known. Delta provided this name tag, not me'. 'Sir, is that how your name is spelt on your ID card provided by Delta?’ I queried, but no answer. I then approached the first “Queen’s” desk and asked politely: 'Ms, may I know your name? 'What for!? I did not attend to you, why do you need my name? I only help him to check your weight and read him the figures!’ she spewed. I thanked her for acknowledging that, she had rendered a 'help' to her colleague during the processing, and that I am demanding (as per my right as a customer) to know the name(s) of anyone who contributed her scintilla of succor in whatsoever form when we were at their mercy. She remained adamant, pompous and feeling 'big' in her navy-blue Delta uniform. After all, she is a worker of Delta Airlines---an Airline whose staff (majority) practice dictatorship over their clients (especially Ghanaians and Africans who yearn for a direct flight home, but had their fingers monopolistically stuck in between the sharp zigzag teeth of Delta Airline and her quack and amateur staff, whose sole proficiency is how to synchronized their tongues and lips against the very people who work hard to put bread and burger on the dinner tables of their families!).





I later referred her refusal to give her name to MS ZORAIDA who was the Supervisor on duty. She refused to give her name again when approached by the supervisor, but gladly confirmed she 'only helped Ivan'. I later learned her name is NADESH ROMULOUS; though from a reliable source I have no way of authenticating her real name.





I want the management of Delta Airlines and its staff to be of a known that, not all of us can work at the desk of Delta or better still, the Airline Industry. You work to transport passengers to their destinations; and some of us work to save lives, promote freedom and security of the nation and the people, even for you (Delta workers) to go about your duties safely; even to the peril of our lives! Should I treat my client in such a disdainful manner as exhibited by MR IVAN C. and NADESH ROMULOUS, I will be in the news and be fired from work the following day.





To add injury to an insult, one of the two bags intended to arrive with her at Kotoka International Airport, Ghana; was not to be found. On a complaint, she was informed that the bag diverted its course to Senegal. The bag, with ticket number ‘ACCRADL0166 900*DL94**35’ later arrived in Accra the third day, but of course, with a minus! Two Mobile phones (including Nokia 5800) which was to be delivered to someone was missing from the bag. On an enquiry, she received the shock of her life as one of your staff in Accra (as if to say the rudeness and loose-talk of your staff is ubiquitous) told her that ‘Madam, you are not supposed to put Mobile phones and Laptops in your main luggage. It is boldly written at the Airport in New York!’ So Delta now has to decide and dictate for customers which items to put in their bags. To the best of my little knowledge, only contraband items or those of security concerns are not to be carried neither in hand luggage nor main bags. The other bag, which also contains a mobile phone and a camera were intact probably because it arrived with her. As I write this piece, she is on the verge of paying for the lost items. The trust between her and the sender has sublimed. What makes the bag to appear in Senegal in the first place? And why did Delta ditched security of the bag into the bog? Is it justifiable for her to incur a debt she has no idea about? No doubt that, the genesis of the missing bag was due to the actions of those shoddy ‘couple’ mentioned earlier. Their ‘marriage’ of inefficiency, unprofessional and no-respect for the Ghanaian traveler at the counter gave birth to the delay in tendering in the bags which later saw the two bags going apart.





I humbly demand that this complaint of mine be assiduously investigated and those two elements be punished. Delta should pay for the missing items. I shall be looking forward to hearing from the outcome of your investigations. But let me draw the curtains, by sounding a caution: Should this complain be swept under the carpet, I shall take the bull by its horn by resorting to whatever legal tool available to fight for the rights of my people. This might include seeking the indulgence of the media and all interested parties.





Thank you for reading!





Electronically signed.





FRANK GOKA.





New York, USA





Email: frango2001@yahoo.com





Cc: www.ghanaweb.com www.myjoyonline.com
Columnist: Goka, Frank