Delta Sends Customer Service Reps to 'Charm School'

by Libby Zay 
Posted Feb 3rd 2011 02:34 PMUpdated Feb 3rd 2011 02:43 PM


After Delta Airlines ranked last among major carriers in customer service for three quarters last year, 11,000 employees are being sent to 'charm school.'

According to the Wall Street Journal, every staff member who comes face-to-face with customers is going through a renewed training program. That means every ticket counter, gate and baggage agent, as well as supervisors, will go through the program.

The classes will have employees role-play scenarios with angry or confused travelers, training employees to be empathetic and listen to customers. The lessons also teach employees to stop apologizing for baggage fees, and instead explain Delta's "a la carte" program.

"That is a better way to have that conversation," Michael Hazelton, a Delta agent who works as a facilitator for the training program tells the newspaper. "You may think you are bonding with the customer by agreeing the fees are horrible, but the customer thinks, 'this person just threw his company under the bus.'"

The classes are part of the carrier's $2 billion improvement plan. The airline is also hiring 1,000 additional employees, and putting the entire team in a position to deliver better service by increasing the inventory of spare parts and airplanes.

Delta had the highest rate of customer complaints filed with the Department of Transportation during the first three quarters of last year, and came in second-to-last in baggage handling through November.

According to a Delta spokesman, this is the first time a training program has been devoted exclusively to customer service in the past decade.

Photo, Joe Shlabotnik, flickr
Filed Under: News

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How about sending passengers to charm school? After they stop learning how to act like entitled brats, they should go to some FAA ground school to learn how airplanes actually work. Once the passengers learn that there is real science & engineering involved in flight as opposed to magic fairy dust (which is why flights get delayed), send them off to learn that an airline, like everything else is a for-profit business providing a service that the economy can obviously support. Remind these people that there are options to flying, and maybe my next trip will be a lot more pleasant at a lot less like a trip to Wal-Mart.

June 01 2011 at 8:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The service gets worse as the fees get higher......

May 24 2011 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The same people that ran NWA are now running DL. What do you expect. Those people completely destroyed the best heavy maintenance group in the world and farmed it out to the cheapest available. Safty to the lowest bidder. Shows what happens when an airline is run by non airline people

May 24 2011 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to valktodd's comment

Yes we have to agree with you there. When they (Northwest) locked out their Aircraft Repair Technicians under the direction of Delta due to their anti-Union stance it became an airline of scabs and went downhill from there.

May 24 2011 at 6:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

ALL airline employees need charm school as far as I'm concerned. Over the last 10 years flying has become a NIGHTMARE.

May 24 2011 at 4:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Delta needs more than "Charm School" for their employees. April 22nd I flew Delta Flt.1148 out of Myrtle Beach,SC to Atlanta, GA. Suppose to be a 45 min lay over in Atlanta to board a flight to Syracuse, NY. 18 of us missed the flight by 5 mins. This was not due to weather or any other forseen matter. Delta was late departing Myrtle Beach due to deboarding a plane from Fort Myers, FL., serving the plane and then boarding us. A 4-1/2 flight, from Myrtle Beach to Syracuse, NY turned into a 19 hour flight. I guess Charm School would help to sooth our feelings. I am 74 yrs old and flown a lot in my day. My first and last flight is on DELTA AIRLINES!

May 24 2011 at 4:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

About damn time!

May 24 2011 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The big mistake Delta made was not enveloping the Delta procedures into the NorthWest procedures... as they (NWA) were superior..... Had Delta simply changed their ways to be very similar to NWA, the complaints and problems would not have been too distasteful... I understand they still have not merged the flight attendants ( NWA and Delta) and keep them grouped on different flights?? This will requre more than a class on customer relations... Hopefully some of the cranky older FA (usually found on Int'l flights from the old NWA group) will retire.

May 24 2011 at 3:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Remember when flying was a luxury?

May 24 2011 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Delta sucks because they bought NWA (Northwest Airlines) aka Northworst Airlines and it filtered through.....PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!

May 24 2011 at 2:31 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I'm so glad they finally realized they were in the "people moving" business. I have never been treated more rudely than by their personnel. I was shocked by being yelled at for being in the "wrong" line and sent to the back like third grade! Just unbelievable, I had been used to traveling with USAir and never treated like that.

May 24 2011 at 2:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply