The Delta Way | Travel Research Online


The Delta Way

Today, I want to share another true-life experience. It occurred when I was traveling to Europe on business. I was taking a river cruise which I really can’t refer to as “work,” but that is exactly what it was.

It wasn’t until I was packing to return home that I realized that I was missing my Kindle reader. I had over 75 business books loaded on this device so this was more than a slight inconvenience. The truth was, I was extremely disappointed in myself for letting this valuable device slip away from me.

After calling myself every name that I could think of, I realized that most of my readings were backed up on the “cloud.” This softened the blow, but I was still very disappointed in myself.

Arriving in Amsterdam ready to board a Delta flight for my return trip to Atlanta Georgia, I took my seat and positioned myself comfortably for the nine-hour plus airplane ride ahead.

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That is when she appeared. With my wife sitting comfortably beside me, a Delta associate dressed in red, approached my seat at 20A and said to me, “I believe this belongs to you.”

To my amazement, I was looking at my lost Kindle. Apparently, I left it on the seat when I got off a Delta flight one week earlier. A Delta employee spotted it and took the time to trace my name on the boarding sheet, realizing that I had scheduled the return flight one week later. Delta held it for me awaiting my return and prepared to pounce once I had fastened my seat belt and checked the menu of what twelve movies awaited me.

There’s no question about it, this is the way things should work. There’s also no question about it – this is the way that things never seem to work.

The lesson clearly depicted in this disciplined adherence to policy spoke volumes of both Delta’s employees and their executive commitment to doing things right.

Let’s face it: more often than not, it is easy to bad-mouth airlines today from all gates and air fields. But, there are times when even airlines fool us by doing things right.

I challenge my travel agency associates to follow Delta Airlines’ example in this case, and do not resort to what is easy in lieu of doing what is right. I guarantee that your prospects and clients will notice, and you will become the next positive example of “what goes around comes around.”

If I had to sum up this article in just four words, they would be: Do what is right.

Mike Marchev

Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at

Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.

  3 thoughts on “The Delta Way

  1. Russ Dunlap says:

    I had a flight attendant on Delta accidentally spill a tiny little bit of coffee on my pants. She apologized and in about 20 minutes she stopped by and gave me a handwritten card apologizing again and letting me know that if I needed to have my pants dry cleaned they would foot the bill. Amazing.

    I also had my bags lost on Aegean Airlines on my way to a 7 night cruise on Silversea. I ended up with my luggage on about day 4. On the 2nd day, I walked into the bar onboard, which I had not yet visited, and the bartender looked at me and said, “Hello, Mr. Smith, have they found your luggage?” That was about 5 years ago, and I’ve never forgotten that!

  2. Russ Dunlap says:

    In the above post I put Mr Smith, only because I wanted to stay anonymous in my post! The bartender DID say the correct name!

  3. Similar story about a flight crew: My daughter left her iPad on a flight but didn’t realize it until she was on her way to a connecting flight. She quickly went back to the gate and the person there said that they would look for it and text her if they found it. Because her other flight was boarding, she had no choice but to get to the next flight. She boarded the plane, and received a text from the gate attendant that they had found her iPad if she wanted to retrieve it. She asked the flight attendant if she could get off the plane to collect her iPad and they told her that wasn’t allowed. However, the pilot went and fetched her iPad for her. Now that is customer service!

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