Charlie Heitzig of Maple Grove recently sent an e-mail that surprised, beginning with the subject line: “How to thank Delta.” As the Travel editor, many of the e-mails I receive about airlines are well-founded gripes. What had Delta done to deserve a commendation?
I opened the e-mail, and was stopped in my tracks as I read his heart-wrenching tale. Heitzig and his wife, Katie, lost their 12-year-old daughter Grace unexpectedly in January. (Read Grace’s obituary by colleague Jeremy Olson here.) The family is taking a long-planned spring break trip to Puerto Rico. Their other daughter, Ellie, was no longer looking forward to the trip after the death of her sister, especially as the only child. So the family decided to bring along one of Ellie’s friends. When they called Delta to transfer Grace's ticket, they braced for frustration. Instead, Delta eased the switch.
“We originally paid around $750 for Grace’s fare, but the price now for the same ticket is about $1,500 so there was a tremendous opportunity to make money,” Heitzig wrote, adding that the experience brought “a brief smile and happy kick to our day.”
It’s nice to share a story of an airline’s good customer service and a grieving family’s gratitude. May their vacation bring them respite.