Delta Airlines / Wounded Marine update

Marine Chris Brown in Afghanistan before his wounds.

Marine Chris Brown in Afghanistan before his wounds.

In early December we covered the tale in which Delta Airlines first mistreated a double-amputee Marine vet — and then blew off other vets trying first, to help him, and second, to complain to the company.

Now a woman named Allison Ausband has issued a canned-sincere apology (which is, one must admit, 1,000 times better than an insincere, sorry-you’re-mad, apology). Her apology contains a lot of typical PR-weasel greasy boilerplate, but also this stark admission: “[W]e failed in this situation.”

Ausband’s title is VP of Customer Care, and she might actually live up to the title. On the other hand, she didn’t say boo, and nobody responded at all, until after the story went viral and did a number on Delta’s reputation. An extended apology from Ausband, including the promise to do “what we can to make it right with the customer, which will help prevent situations like this in the future,” was posted on a company blog. She claims she has been unable to reach the Marine in question, but the Post had no difficulty. She later posted a second blog post making further excuses for Delta’s rotten performance.

For a Customer Care executive, Ausband doesn’t care enough about her customers to say much on the blog. Her apologies appear to have been her second and third posts — her first was in July, 2010, assuring customers that she was listening. (Yet, no one heard the complaints of Chris Brown, his mother, or the two retired officers from the plane who had fruitless contact with the Delta “care” bureaucracy. She must not have been listening real hard). Subsequent blog posts by other Delta executives deliver a steaming pile of corporate bullshit (“we’re working to reduce our greenhouse emissions!” — does anybody care? And ever other platitude known to PR weenies) and make a similar non-apology for shredding a traveler’s guitar — again, something Delta’s PR “Customer Care” chumps only reacted to after it went viral.

Sounds like they really have a pretty large staff of Customer Don’t Care.

The Washington Post’s Annie Groer broke the original story, and her followup is here. The Washington Times follows up here.