Monday, July 17, 2017

Ann Coulter v. Delta Air Lines: Seriously, Ann?

Over the weekend, political commentator Ann Coulter took to social media to bash Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines for, of all things, changing her seat.

The conservative commentator was on Delta (NYSE:DAL) flight 2852 from New York’s La Guardia Airport (LGA) to Palm Beach International (PBI) in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Saturday, July 15, when she got caught up in a seat mix-up. Anyone who travels by air, even occasionally, has seen (or had) that happen. However, what started out as complaints eventually turned into a public attack on the airline’s employees and customers.

The facts, as recounted in the airline’s official statement on the matter, were that Coulter “[O]riginally booked seat 15F, which is located by the window in an exit row; however, within 24 hours of the flight’s departure, the customer changed to seat 15D, which is by the aisle.”

At the time of boarding, “Delta inadvertently moved Coulter to 15A, a window seat, when working to accommodate several passengers with seating requests,” the airline’s statement continued.

Coulter is six feet tall; I am six feet tall. Even with a bit of additional legroom in the exit row, I understand the value of being able to stretch one’s legs into the aisle from time to time, so I get why she wanted an aisle seat. And I get that she felt she should have received what she paid for.

Still, that’s no reason to attack or insult Delta employees or other customers, which is precisely what Coulter did.

She included a picture of a Delta flight attendant with a Tweet asking her why she was changing her seat and the F/A replying, "I don't know." She sent another Tweet, calling the woman who occupied seat 15D, the one Coulter had selected, “a dachshund-legged woman,” and including a photo of her.

By the way, both those photos were likely violations of Delta’s policy on in-flight photography, which says in part, “[I]t is Delta’s policy that customers refrain from recording or photographing other customers or Delta employees without prior permission.” I’m betting Coulter didn’t ask for either woman’s permission. Maybe the airline can use that as a reason to bar her from future flights...

But I digress.

Delta acknowledges that Coulter paid $30 to reserve a specific seat, and the airline said it would refund that fee because she didn’t get the exact seat she selected, even though she was still in the exit row with its additional legroom. Good on Delta.

But not good enough for Ann, who said all her research and repeated checks of seat availability cost her $10,000 of her very valuable time.

Are you serious? If your time is really that valuable, why are you making your own reservations and not having some $40,000 per year assistant do it for you? Wouldn’t that be more fiscally prudent?

More to the point, if you make that much, why weren’t you flying Comfort+, which has 34 inches of pitch compared to 30-31 inches on the A319? According to Delta’s website, it’d have cost about $108 more for the round trip. Or better still, First Class, with 36 inches of pitch, seats that are 21 inches wide, and probably all the obsequious fawning you think you deserve, for a mere $500 more.

Coulter, who is obviously very intelligent, has chosen to make her living through her commentary, which often includes acid-tongued rantings. That’s fine when her targets are politicos and others who have stepped willingly onto the public stage. But for her to publicly attack other customers and the airline’s employees is beyond the pale.

She should, but I am absolutely certain will never, be ashamed of herself.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Screen captures by Carl Dombek
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