A customer in New Mexico, trying to arrange travel with Delta Airlines, was told by company employees that his trip would involve international travel. His trip was from New Mexico to Pennsylvania and back.
Not one, but two different ticket agents, sent Jack Sullivan emails, saying that he would have to contact Delta’s office in Mexico to make his arrangements. Sullivan was merely trying to see if he could change his tickets, which were already purchased, to a cheaper flight.
The Customer Set It Straight — Maybe
The response started making Sullivan a little nervous, but he responded with humor, telling the agents:
‘It’s true, New Mexico is the 47th state, so we were a little late getting in, but we’ve been a state for 104 years.’
That must have perplexed company representatives. Yet a third agent had to get back to the customer, much to his relief. Sullivan said:
‘[The third agent] seemed to understand that we were no longer in Mexico.’
Delta tried to explain the mix-up by citing this week’s massive outage, which caused hundreds of flights to be canceled and thousands of calls and emails to pour in from unhappy customers. That might excuse one employee … but for two to make the same mistake?
The fault is more likely to rest with a continually deteriorating educational system in the U.S. In the face of huge cutbacks in funding for schools, pushed through by Republican legislatures, many programs and classes have simply been dropped as non-essential. In 2010, 80% of both 4th graders and 12th graders tested below proficient. And as of 2013, only 10 states made a geography class a requirement for graduation from high school.
Today’s High School Education Doesn’t Cut It
Then there’s the fact that reservations agents are often only required to have whatever deficient high school education their state has allowed them to get. With huge gaps in what kids learn, it’s a wonder that any airline customers actually make it to their destination!
Jack Sullivan is taking no chances. He wasn’t able to get the sale price for his trip next month, but he’s probably lucky to have been forewarned about Delta Airlines’ shortcomings in the geography department. He says he’ll take his passport as a precaution, adding:
‘I certainly hope that when we come back to Albuquerque, the pilot knows where Albuquerque is, and we don’t end up in Mexico.’
Watch Sullivan tell his story here:
Feature photo, “Fly Delta Air Lines” by Mav, CC BY-SA 3.0