Juggling Fire

Delta’s Response

Following is the letter I received from Delta. It arrived in my e-mail inbox at 11:51 p.m. (Bangkok time) June 23.


Thank you so much for reaching out to us about your daughters when they were traveling alone over the weekend. I am a Customer Solutions Specialist in our Corporate Offices and I’ve been asked to respond to you directly.

Your children’s safety – and your peace of mind – is very important to us. So I was concerned to know that their trip did not go as planned when they flew from Bangkok on Sunday. I understand that their tickets were purchased directly through China Southern and I’m really sorry you weren’t provided detailed information about our unaccompanied minor requirements before they arrived for their flight with Delta.

As a parent myself, I realize how upsetting it must have been that they had to be rebooked off the last flight of the night. But I was certainly glad to see that our supervisor at the airport ensured they were given meal vouchers, waived the unaccompanied minor fee and contacted their grandmother directly. Children are our most precious cargo and it’s important that every aspect of their journey is held to our highest standards.

I want to thank you again for taking the time to let us know what occurred. Your family’s business is important to us and we hope to welcome Jaynee and Justine on board again one day.


Michelle Calderon
Customer Solutions Specialist, Corporate Customer Care
Delta Air Lines


Dear Michelle,

Thank you for your kind response. It seems heartfelt and is well written, but it really does not address the issues I had with this entire ordeal, which were Ryan Davis’ handling of my initial phone call and my girls being sent to stay in a hotel by themselves. If this is what Delta considers its highest standard in taking care of its “most precious cargo” then I have to wonder how Delta takes care of its less precious cargo.

I would like to say thank you for keeping my children safe, but I can’t because you didn’t. And I can’t say thank you for the apology from Ryan Davis in Delta’s Salt Lake City office because she didn’t give one.

What I can say is that I hope this experience leads Delta to update its Web site partnerships and guides company employees in how to care properly for children who do fly alone every day, whether Ryan Davis thinks it is a “smart” thing to do or not.

While the meal vouchers to McDonald’s were a nice gesture (to a situation that could have been avoided altogether), they could not have made up for the number of things that could have gone wrong with two young girls traveling to and from and staying alone in a hotel in Los Angeles.

What I hoped to see acknowledged was not the fact that they were fed and not forced to pay $150 out of their own pocket and allowed a phone call, but the fact that when they were turned away they were put into a more dangerous situation than just flying on the last available flight out, and that when I called for information about them, I was handed to an awful woman, Ryan Davis, who showed no empathy for a mother looking for her children across the world.

Apologies to customers for the issues at hand – not just the issues you would like to address – go a long way in ensuring future customers. Word travels quickly in this day and age, and Delta’s responsiveness and how it chooses to take responsibility during all types of crises serve as a witness to not just me but to thousands of others who have followed this entire event.

I am a simple person. I didn’t ask for money. I didn’t ask for free flights. I didn’t threaten to “lawyer up.” That’s not what I’m about. I am about betterment. I am about taking hard situations and creating change for the good of everyone. All I asked for was a show of honesty and integrity about the two issues I presented above – allowing my children to stay alone in Los Angeles and Ryan Davis’ pathetic customer service. I got neither.

In addition, it would have been nice to hear in your response to me that Delta is implementing ways and coordinating efforts to make changes happen with its Web site partnerships in order to prevent future mishaps such as these. If our experience can lead to that, then I can at least say a positive change resulted from it.

Although you may not be welcoming Jaynee and Justine on board again in the future, you will be welcoming me, as I booked my flight last month through China Southern and Delta to join my daughters soon in America. I have no doubt things will go smoothly.


Korina Dove

For a recap of what transpired beforehand, click here.


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