Yesterday afternoon, I received an email that made my heart sink. In it, a woman named Mailee Lor informed me of an extremely unfortunate experience that befell her grandmother, Va Yang, last month.
According to Lor, when Ms. Yang arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on November 26, 2012 to check-in for flight 621 to Tokyo-Narita, she was informed that she couldn’t check in. “We’re sorry,” the gate agent told the family members accompanying Yang, who does not personally speak English, “but Va Yang has already checked in.”
In spite of the fact that Ms. Yang produced multiple forms of valid ID for Delta’s check-in agents, they refused her check-in and refused to even investigate the matter further. The flight took off on schedule, without Ms. Yang.
Sickening racist undertones notwithstanding, the incident highlights a failure by Delta Air Lines to remain compliant with the fierce security standards that have been imposed by federal authorities.
“Thank goodness,” Lor exclaimed, “that the [lady who was mistakenly checked in as Va Yang] did not have any malicious intentions as she boarded an international, double-decker plane without identification that matched her ticket.” Lor went on to express further concern, noting that TSA agents responsible for comparing IDs with tickets had also failed.
The most unfortunate part of the whole experience is that Delta refused to resolve the situation the same day, and even attempted (unsuccessfully) to force Ms. Yang into paying the $200 ticket-change fee.
This was first and foremost tragic from a practical standpoint. Ms. Yang does not have a strong grasp of English, so flying separately from her bilingual companions left her vulnerable and, in no uncertain terms, in silence.
But the heartbreaking ramifications of Delta’s gross error didn’t end there. “My grandmother arrived a full 24 hours late,” Lor explained, “so she missed a homecoming party her family had planned for her on her first day of arrival.”
To make matters even worse, Delta has not issued a formal apology or even a response to the complaints Lor has made on behalf of her grandmother. “Delta did not humble themselves to admit that it was their error, or that [my grandmother is] not some old woman who may be lying or be fraudulent.”
If you want to see justice for Mailee Lor and her grandmother Va Yang, share this story on Twitter, Facebook, stumbleupon and any way you can. And if you, like this family, have had a negative experience flying Delta, file a complaint against Delta.