Delta Air Lines: Customer Service is a Process

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My trip back to Columbia, South Carolina on Tuesday was an aeronautical marathon. Using the ACUHO-I travel service, I had booked my flight with Delta. Flying out of Columbia is super convenient. The trip to New Orleans via Columbia to Atlanta went smoothly. However, the return was another story. I fly quite a bit and this was the first time that I had the pleasure of experiencing significant travel delays.

The flight from New Orleans to Atlanta was going well until we actually got near ATL. According to the flight crew, bad weather in the form of a thunderstorm was keeping flights from landing or taking off. We were in a holding pattern over Atlanta for more than an hour. Things would have been remarkably unremarkable had it not been for the extremely negative attitudes of our flight attendants. Their negativity and overall lack of service made what would have been a tolerable situation and made it a less than desirable plane to be on. Running out of fuel, we ended up being re-routed to Savannah to refuel. It took about another hour and a half for our plane to land, refuel, and take off from Savannah. The flight attendants were quite rude when they talked to us. We were all ready to get off of the plane.

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Free (United Airlines) ticket voucher

United Airplane

How do I use a free ticket voucher?

I never really thought I would have to ask that question. Ordering airline tickets online is just like ordering food at my favorite restaraunt. It’s easy. I assumed that using a free ticket voucher would be as easy as any online purchase from Travelocity, Expedia, or Orbitz. I was wrong. Apparently money motivates the airlines to make online purchasing extremely easy. A free flight takes the cooperation of several agencies including the Post Office.


The first step in redeeming a free (United Airlines) ticket voucher is to call 1-800-UNITED1 to make a reservation.

There are two ways to have the ticket issued:

Mail the free ticket voucher to the address provided by the United representative over the phone. Please allow at least 14 business days for processing. Please note that the free ticket voucher must still be valid for United to issue the tickets.


Bring the free ticket voucher to an Airport Ticket Counter to have the ticket issued. While making your reservation, remember to check with the United representative over the phone for your airport ticket counter’s hours of operation.

That’s right. I had to either mail the voucher or drive to the nearest airport with a United terminal. (Portland is almost 2 hours away and Eugene is 45 minutes.) I missed the convenience of an internet flight purchase. There’s something to be said about the simplicity of entering in my credit card and having an email confirmation sent to my e-mail. I decided to mail the voucher using Priority Mail from the Post Office.

The free ticket voucher process at United needs to be upgraded. The customer service representative gave me instructions that were eerily low tech: “Write the departure flight number, name of passenger, and confirmation number on the voucher.” The back of the voucher contained advertisements for United. I wrote down my information in between paragraph breaks…

I kept thinking to myself, what the heck are all those numbers on the voucher for?