Delta employee on computer mouth open caption 'Has Delta's customer service dropped?' (l) Delta employee at computer speaking caption 'Has Delta's customer service dropped?' (c) Delta employee standing speaking hand up caption 'Has Delta's customer service dropped?' (r)

@traveltmz/TikTok

‘Customer is NOT ALWAYS Right!!’: Passenger claims Delta employee ignored him when he asked for help—but viewers disagree

‘He was helping someone, not playing a video game.’

 

Jack Alban

IRL

A viral TikTok shows a customer’s interaction with a Delta employee, claiming that the worker ignored him when he asked for help. He isn’t the only airline customer with gripes.

Ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic where airlines laid off or furloughed tons of employees, it appears that the consumer flight industry has had a difficult time keeping promised flight itineraries, leaving many customers frustrated and left scrambling to re-book travel plans and process their refunds in a satisfactory time frame.

2022 has seen a massive number of cancellations in spite of COVID-19 protocols being either severely decreased or almost entirely lifted. These cancellations have led to increased levels of stress on airline employees who must dedicate resources to assisting customers who’ve had their flights moved, which then leads to longer wait times for other passengers, and spikes in consumer dissatisfaction with airlines as a whole.

While many are facing issues with airlines, the TikToker @travelTMZ sparked a debate about whether or not his interaction is an example of a valid customer gripe or someone attempting to gratuitously put an employee on blast.

The video received over 476,000 views as of Sunday.

@traveltmz Has Delta’s quality of service dropped? #traveltmz #deltaairlines #airportlife ♬ Sneaky Snitch – Kevin MacLeod

In the clip, a Delta Airlines employee working at a computer is being recorded, presumably not by the owner of the TikTok account, as it appears to be a page that aggregates travel content from various sources. The caption for the video reads, “Has Delta’s quality of service dropped?”

The customer says, “You can keep ignoring me, I already missed my flight.”

The airline employee then looks up from his computer, seemingly surprised to see the customer. “Sir not at one point did you ask me for help,” he claims.

“I did…and you were like oh there’s a screen up and you just ignored me,” the customer responds. “You know I’m complaining here you just ignored me…I’m a priority member right.”

The Delta employee then grabs what appears to be a bagging ticket and stands up to hand over documentation to another passenger and affixes the ticket to their luggage. “Give me one sec,” the employee says to the other customer.

“Funny how videos make you work,” the person behind the camera says. The employee looks at him and then says, “Oh I’m taking a break now boss,” and then walks away.

TikTokers in the comments section of the video had a variety of different responses to the situation, but almost everyone seemed to side with the Delta Airlines worker. Some thought that the employee was in the right and the way that the customer was addressing them was out of line.

“He was helping someone not playing a video game, making something out of nothing,” one viewer wrote.

“good for the employee! who cares if u are a priority member!” another said.

“I m taking a break boss employee of the month please,” a third suggested.

“+1 to the Employee. He’s already helping someone,” a fourth noted.

Others, while acknowledging that traveling is stressful, said that taking it out on employees is definitely not an option.

“Travel is stressful. Don’t take it out on the employees,” a TikToker commented.

“The passenger thought they did something,” another wrote.

Throughout the years there have been several pieces published about the “awfulness” of American consumers with entitled attitudes. In 1994, Tom Sorell published a piece in the Journal of Business Ethics titled “The Customer is Not Always Right” which “presents cases where deference to the consumer is variously unwarranted [and] cases that may prompt second thoughts about some kinds of consumerism.”

Other industries have also rallied against this “deferential” attitude towards abusive customers. Food & Wine published a piece with an identical title that states “restaurant workers are at a breaking point” when it comes to dealing with “customer entitlement.” The article quotes chef Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn, who says rude patrons expect to receive perfect service, despite failing to show respect to workers. “We are expected to provide them with above-and-beyond service, even if they are abusive,” Mar said. “It makes us feel like we are not allowed to have the expectation of being treated like a person.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to @traveltmz on TikTok and Delta’s Media team via email for further comment.


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