Delta Airlines apology letter for flight delay

I experienced a flight delay on February 21, 2011 flying on Delta Airlines from Atlanta to Chicago. The delay was the results of two events:

1. An equipment problem. It was announced as a fuel leak.

2. Weather conditions in the Chicago and the Mid West created flight delays and cancellations across the country.

I believe the total delay was around three hours. All things considered I didn’t think it was too bad. No one was upset to change planes when they heard about the equipment problem and the weather delay was both expected and understandable.

Four days later I received this letter via email:

Please Accept Our Apology
Dear Mr. Williams,

On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I would like to extend my personal apology for the inconvenience you experienced as a result of the delay of Flight DL1412 on February 21, 2011.

In light of the current state of the economy, and in today’s competitive airline industry, travelers expect the best value for their travel dollar. Delta strives to provide this value through a mix of safety, on-time performance, courteous and professional service, and a wide range of destination options. We want to make travel on us a convenient and trouble-free experience for our passengers and I am truly sorry we failed to do so on this occasion.

To demonstrate our commitment to service excellence and as a gesture of apology for our service failure, I am adding 1,000 bonus miles to your SkyMiles account xxxxxxxxxx. These bonus miles and those earned on flights and through hundreds of partners can be used toward award travel on Delta, our 25 partner airlines, and at SkyMiles Marketplace, a new program where you can redeem miles for car rentals, hotel stays, merchandise, and more. Please visit us at to verify your mileage balance and to gain access to all of our mileage redemption programs.

It is our goal to provide exceptional service on every occasion, and I hope you will provide us with an opportunity to restore your confidence. Your support is important to Delta, our Connection carriers and our SkyTeam partners. We look forward to your continued patronage and the privilege of serving your air travel needs again soon.


Toby Broberg
Director, Customer Care


Now, I do understand that the airline industry is a consumer favorite for complaints regarding poor customer service. I’ll also admit that I have had a few bad experiences with Delta Airlines over the years.  But I’ll say this. They didn’t have to send this letter of apology and they didn’t have to credit my account with 1,000 miles. I accept their apology and appreciate that a large corporate entity would go to such lengths to send this to individual customers. It’s a nice touch and a good customer focus process. None of use are perfect and it’s nice to see when someone is big enough to send a letter of apology.

One Reply to “Delta Airlines apology letter for flight delay”

  1. There’s a lot to be said for saying “I’m sorry”, whether in your personal life or in business. There was an article on TechCrunch a while back about an apology issued by Groupon re: a foul-up of food delivery to 500 Japanese customers. While the inability of the restaurant to deliver 500 meals in a single night was really to blame for the problem, Andrew Mason/Groupon didn’t point fingers and quickly issued an apology and said they would take necessary steps to make sure it never happened again.

    Sometimes as an organization, you just have to say “We’re sorry, we messed up.” Then you learn from it, and take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again. Like you said, nobody’s perfect. And it’s amazing the power of an apology.

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