Greetings everyone- First of all, I hope everyone has had an excellent holiday season. As a new year is upon us, let me say that being able to share this blog with you has been one of my highlights of 2010. And thanks to those of you who have been gently nudging me as I’ve been ‘slacking.’ Of course, I use that term loosely- I’ve been writing almost everyday, some days for hours on end, for a larger work to be released in 2011, not to mention working on two different albums (AST and Testament) for release next year and on tour much of the time. For all these reasons, its sometimes been hard to pull myself away and focus on a blog post. Of course, this blog is precious to me, as it is to so many of you so thanks for bearing with me during these ‘dry’ periods. In the meantime, for everyone who’s followed the soggy saga of my wet laptop, here’s a nice ‘end of the year’ story for you…
It’s not everyday one reads a story about a positive experience dealing with an airline. However, I’m pleased to report that one does exist. Although believing in this outcome felt like believing in Santa Clause or The Tooth Fairy, this story has a happy ending in the tradition of a classic holiday tale. Many have heard the famous words ‘Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause,’ right? Well, it gives me great pleasure to announce the following: ‘Yes America, there is customer care at Delta Airlines.”
Arriving home from tour the other week, I found, there in the pile of mail, a check from Delta covering the entire amount of a new Apple MacBook pro computer. I’d had to purchase this Mac immediately upon landing in LA after water had been spilled on mine by a flight attendant who, while pouring for a neighboring passenger, failed to take proper precaution. While this situation caused more internal stress than I can remember having in a long time, the outcome is a healthy reminder that the unexpected does happen and when it does, its best to just stay calm and deal with it in as focused a manner as possible.
I easily could have ‘lost it’ on that flight, but I’m glad I chose not to. The guy who spilled the water felt terrible and it wouldn’t have helped if I blew up at him. I did, very firmly say ‘This is bad. I know it was an accident, I know you didn’t mean for this to happen, but we have a big problem here. How are we going to deal with this?” I’m happy with how I handled it, and how he and the rest of the crew handled it, filing a report and giving me a reference number and phone number to call to determine the next steps to take.
I can’t say that the next phase was easy. There was a lot of work to do and time spent filing the claim, stating my case in a letter, gathering up the appropriate receipts, estimates and other documents. It was difficult to get someone on the phone to assist with the process. And then there was a long waiting period.
So while I think Delta could really use some work fine tuning its procedure for resolving incidents like this, not to mention is automated system and processing time, I’m pleased with the ultimate outcome. And I will say, that whenever I was dealing with a live person I felt I was in good hands. In fairness, this situation has been resolved since November, I’d just been away on tour until December and haven’t been able to write about it until now.
Shortly after opening the envelope with the check (and jumping for joy), I noticed a letter from Delta Customer Care Baggage Claims which had arrived a few days prior. It read:
Dear Mr. Skolnick:
We are sorry to learn that you encountered a problem with your laptop while traveling with us recently.
Every precaution is taken to have a passenger’s items arrive on the same flight and in the same condition as when it was checked into our care. We normally succeed with few exceptions, and it is unfortunate that we were unable to meet your expectations on this occasion.
Accordingly, our check for $2,000.00 representing the value of your property as stated in your claim will be mailed under separate cover.
We are doing everything we can to eliminate such incidents, and thank you for taking the time to write of your experience, for this is one of the best ways we have to know which areas need additional attention. Please give us the opportunity to serve you better the next time you travel.
Customer Care Baggage Claims
She needn’t worry. Although I plan to take extra care myself to make sure my laptop is never in the line of fire (or rather, line of water), I do plan to keep flying Delta and am happy to recommend others do as well.
If I could have this situation happen all over again, would I? No- simply because of the stress. But lo and behold, some good has come of all this: I have a brand new laptop, which in truth, I like much better. The keyboard is better for typing, the size better for traveling and the updated features are a serious improvement over my previous one. I also learned a lot from the experience. Learning is always a good thing.
And of course, I got a great story out of it. I’m happy about that, especially now that it has a happy ending.