Friday, November 21, 2014

Delta Airlines: hell on the air

Customer Service in the US is getting from bad to worse. With airlines they take advantage of the defenseless passengers to abuse them or us and to get away with crime. If you lose a flight because you get late to the airport of if you want to change your flight they charge you and they charge you for your bags, if your are overweight and in some airlines they charge you to select a seat or for your carry on. Your rights ended in the hands of incompetent airline personnel.

One of the worst airline in terms of “Customer Service” is Delta Airlines. With them I had the most terrible experience traveling in my 25 years of intense traveling for work. I travel every week and customer service from all the airlines is bad but never like the one provided by Delta.

On November 21, 2014, I called Delta Customer service Case# 15150057 and I reported that due to the mechanical failure and incompetence of the airline I suffered terrible experience and I lost US $ 278.38 (because the hotel due to No-Show charged me with the first night of the two rooms). After one hour at the phone, they didn’t provide a suitable or acceptable solution for my claim. They not even care about a problem that they have in their system.

When I asked for a supervisor, delta agent on the phone, by the name “Sherry”, told me that she was the last resource at the airline. I asked several times for a supervisor and she denied my request.

So I filled a claim at the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation and I will continue with the only way that a citizen has to protect our rights, denouncing and using social media against abusive corporations.

Airline: Delta Airlines
Ticket Number: 00675043938993
Flight 981 Boston-Atlanta-Bogota, November 16, 2014
Flight 1750 Atlanta-JFK, November 16, 2014

My flight from Boston to Atlanta (981) (Nov. 16) was delayed due to mechanical reasons for 2 hours and 10 minutes. I had a connection from Atlanta to Bogota in the 981 flight.

When I asked at the gate worried because I couldn’t’ make the connection, Delta’s personnel told me that since it was the same code and flight I was OK. According to them the flight was the same, the same arrival and departure gate. I asked if they were sure and if not I would need and alternate flight, “no problem” according to them. So I took the flight 2 hours late and when I arrived to Atlanta my flight to Colombia/Bogota was gone because they used a different plane and at a different door. When I asked what happen the people at the gate told me that the flight was gone (5 minutes earlier) and that I needed to rebook.

I tried to rebook my flight and I went to Delta rebooking desk at the airport and one of Delta’s agents by the name E.J., she was extremely rude, began to look for alternatives and I waited for 58 minutes for her to “modify” my reservation so I could take the next flight to New York and then overnight to Bogota. She was extremely inefficient, called several times to a Delta phone number for codes and because she couldn’t fix the reservation, and at the end she told me that she solved all and printed a “useless” boarding pass to JFK and a receipt. When I went to the gate A33 to catch 1750 flight, at the gate they told that my boarding pass was useless, and they made me wait on the side because they were busy dealing with the boarding process. Because I began to get worry about my problem they decided to try to solve my problem (passing the case from one person to another).

THE PROBLEM was that according to Delta system I was a THRU PASSANGER, and they cannot overrule that (for the system I was in my way to Bogota in Flight 981). So I spent terrible times at the gate for more than 45 minutes with no solution, after they closed the gate they received a call from “global” telling them that they fixed the problem; just because a person who was traveling with me to Bogota stopped the plane I made the flight at the last minute (after they even closed the gate).

No excuses, nobody cares and the inefficient customer service and Delta system affected me big. I lost my meeting there in Bogota that night, I had to flight overnight and arrived to Bogota 6 am on November 17 (17-18 hours traveling time), I had problems with the connections in Colombia and the Hotel in Bogota charged me US $ 280 for the no show on the night of November 16nd.

I only traveled to Colombia for business for 48 hours so the delay and the terrible behavior from Delta affected my plans there. I was late, exhausted and in pain when I finally arrived to Colombia.

Part II

Flight 980 Bogota – Boston (Bog-Atl-Bos) November 19

And they did it again, Delta has a terrible problem in its system when it classified passengers as THRU PASSANGER (same flight from BOG-ATL-Bos), in my return flight when I tried to board with the portion of my flight from Atlanta to Boston, even when in Bogota they gave me a boarding pass with my seat assigned (according with what I reserved weeks ago)(24 C) FLIGHT 980, November 19, at the gate they told me that I didn’t have a reservation because somebody mess with my reservation in Bogota, so after waiting again without knowing the outcome they just gave me a piece of paper with the numbers 28 B or 43 A wrote with a pen (center and then as a "big" favour they sit me at the back of the plane in a window, not the aisle that I reserved).  So why they let me get into the plane if according to the system I didn’t have a reservation?.

I have a medicated condition with my back that requires for me to stand up from time to time to deal with the extreme pain, so that is why I only travel in aisle seats and I try to avoid overnight flights.

My alternatives (even when I made my reservation on time and check in on time) just take the center or window seat or wait for another plane (deal with the pain or wait forever to return home). Luckily this flight had 2 seats available if not I would have to wait again in Atlanta due to Delta incompetence and a glitch that you have in your reservation/check in system.

So far this RT flight has been the most terrible travel experience, and I have been traveling almost every week for the last 25 years.

When I was connecting in Atlanta, I knowing the problem in the system, I tried to call to delta to prevent this problem in Atlanta but the person from Customer service told me that he cannot do anything until the trip ends.

When I called “Customer Service” the airline just showed their lack of interest for their clients. So, they have a problem in their reservation/check-in system and they just don't care?

I sent an also a web-complaint to the Airline (Case Number 14294589) but no answer so far.

They believe that they can get away with everything because nobody complains, but it is time to stop that.

Instead of paying for the lost that they caused me, Delta opted for abusing its power.

So they prefer to losing a customer than to provide a decent Customer Service, it is Delta choice, mine will be to take my business to another airline and give away to my family the 100k+ accumulated miles this year.

And of course continue with my claim with my Congressperson and Senator as well as with the SENATE SUBCOMITTEE ON AVIATION OPERATIONS SAFETY AND SECURITY and the HOUSE AVIATION SUBCOMMITTEE.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

In denying Haiti cholera deaths, UN risks violating its core purpose

In denying Haiti cholera deaths, UN risks violating its core purpose

Evidence shows that troops from Nepal were infected with cholera when they arrived in Haiti in 2010.
2014nov07 haiti unENLARGE
Attorneys Beatrice Lindstrom (2nd L) Marioa Joseph (2nd R) and other attorneys exit the federal courthouse in New York on Oct. 23, 2014 in New York. Cholera has killed more than 8,500 people and infected more than 700,000 in Haiti since 2010, when the plaintiffs allege it was introduced by UN peacekeepers, dispatched in the wake of a devastating earthquake. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
CAMBRIDGE, England — Late last month, attorneys argued before the US Federal District Court in Manhattan that the United Nations is not immune from liability for the spread of cholera throughout Haiti. The medical science is clear on this point, and none but the UN itself disputes this conclusion.
Yet in denying its role in the Haitian cholera epidemic that has killed more than 8,500 and sickened hundreds of thousands more, the UN jeopardizes its own future.
This much is true: the UN introduced cholera into Haiti in 2010 when it sent peacekeepers from Nepal to the country without constructing adequate sanitation facilities. When they arrived in Haiti, these peacekeepers, assigned to the United Nations Stabilization Mission, were infected with cholera. Until then, Haiti had not experienced a cholera outbreak in more than 200 years.
The Nepalese troops were neither tested nor treated for cholera prior to their deployment. This is despite UN knowledge that Nepal was experiencing a surge in infection at the time, and that the earthquake that ravaged Haiti left the country highly vulnerable to cholera.
UN peacekeepers were stationed on a base in rural Mirebalais where extremely unsanitary conditions existed — a corrupt US contractor knowingly allowed human waste to flow through leaking sewage pipes to be dumped in an open-air unfenced pit, contaminating a tributary that runs just meters from the base into the Artibonite River, Haiti’s primary water source.
Independent scientific studies were conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; by Dr. Renaud Piarroux, a leading cholera epidemiologist; by Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health; and by a panel of independent experts appointed by the UN. The results all point to the UN’s mission in Haiti as the source of the cholera epidemic.
DNA testing further showed that the cholera strain is a perfect match to a strain active in South Asia where the Nepalese soldiers had been stationed.
Neighbors in the area also reported foul odors stemming from the camp. Later, international journalists, official investigators and the UN’s own investigation revealed that the sewage piping at the base was “haphazard” and “inadequate,” and that all wastes from the base were dumped into an open-air pit.
Accountability is the sine qua non of human rights; there can be no human rights without accountability. The International Court of Justice has a universal and undeniable interest in the fundamental human right to life, and consequent remedies for taking life.
This is why the UN signed the 2004 Status of Forces Agreement in Haiti, and expressly agreed to intentionally be bound to a claims commission that would determine accountability and compensation for causing killings and injuries. Yet the UN is on a path to destroy its core principle by violating this binding agreement, ignoring international law and denying the fundamental human rights of Haitians to appropriate remedy for this loss of life.
There are voices within the UN, and from scholars and scientists globally, agreeing that the United Nations is obligated to be held accountable, and demanding that the UN meet its mission to advance global human rights. Among them is its own high commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.
“The UN’s ongoing unwillingness to hold itself accountable to victims violates its obligations under international law,” according to a 2013 report by the Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health. “Moreover, in failing to lead by example the UN undercuts its very mission of promoting the rule of law, protecting human rights, and assisting in the further development of Haiti.”
Reckless cholera dumping allowed by the UN has killed more than 8,500 Haitians and injured more than 700,000. The UN must be shaken from its institutional complacency and decide whether it would rather risk extinction than be held accountable.
Tim Howard is a professor of international law at Cambridge Graduate University and lead attorney for more than 2,600 Haitian families in a lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the United Nations.