There is no excuse for a Delta agent cursing out a vile passenger.
Note the nuance of my previous sentence–I am calling the passenger vile, for reasons I will explain below. But there is simply no excuse to curse out even the most vile of passengers, especially if you are an airline customer service agent.
Ruhul Amin arrived in Portland on Hawaiian Airlines. His day had begun in Honolulu, but due to a delayed Delta flight he had ultimately been rebooked on Hawaiian.
Upon arriving in Portland, he proceeded to the Delta counter to claim his bag…for his original bag tag had been issued by Delta and he thought his baggage had been transported by Delta.
From what I can surmise, the agent tired to explain to the passenger that the bag had not arrived and he needed to file a claim with Hawaiian Airlines, since that was his final carrier.
Indeed, IATA rules mandate that the final carrier a passenger flies is on the “hook” for luggage if the carriers have an interline baggage agreement. Hawaiian and Delta are interline baggage partners. Amin should have visited the Hawaiian desk, no matter what his baggage tag said, as Hawaiian is technically responsible for retrieving his bag. It seems arcane, but that has always been my experience of how carriers handle lost or delayed bags.
Delta Agent Tried But Could Not File a Missing Baggage Report
Again, the bag had not arrived in Portland and the agent simply told Amin that he would need to file his baggage claim with Hawaiian Airlines. That is correct information. The agent even tried to create a claim but the system blocked him. Why? Amin had traveled on Hawaiian.
Amin apparently did not like that answer, whipped out his cell phone, turned the video recorder on, and began berating the agents. I hate his tone. I hate his smugness. We have no indication how patient agents were or how long they tried to reason with him before he began recording.
Instead, we just have a self-serving, one-sided account of the incident.
But the Cursing Was Not Justifed
The customer is NOT always right, but that does not justify coarse language. There is no excuse for the Delta agent losing his cool and he was rightly suspended.
In a statment, Delta said–
The actions displayed by this employee do not in any way reflect the standard of customer service and professionalism we expect from our employees. This conduct is unacceptable and we have reached out directly to the customer and apologized.
This is an appropriate response. Delta also offered Amin a $200 voucher.
Based on the three videos, it seems clear to me the passenger was unreasonable and provoked the agents. But professional customer-facing agents cannot take the bait. They just must resit. The angry agent should have walked away.
My take on this issue is different than others who were quick to condemn the Delta agent. I defend the agent’s anger…just not the way he handled his anger. I ultimately condemn the Delta agent, but also the passenger.
All humans deserve dignity and berating a fellow human against his will is not appropriate in any circumstance.
Delta did recover the bag and deliver it to his hotel. He still should have taken up the issue with Hawaiian first.