Dear Family and Friends:
We have ridden Delta almost exclusively, and since we get Sky Miles and Double the miles with AMEX. we use them almost exclusively, but Delta has GONE, REALLY GONE DOWN HILL. I started flying Delta in 1965 when it was the premium Air Line in the world, to now, the one who is recording the most off time late, the worst at loosing luggage, and the most senseless costumer services agent. (This is what sunk the old Eastern Airlines) I use to live in Atlanta and remember the decline and fall of Eastern, and the excellence and rise of Delta. I am now watching the disintegration of an ONE TIME EXCELLENT AIRLINE.
We have flown 8 legs (maybe more) from Tampa to New York, to Kiev, from Kiev to NY. (five hour wait in JFK sitting on the plane, waiting on to go to Atlanta, then to Tulsa. From Tulsa to Atlanta,to NY Kiev. Then from Tampa to Atlanta, to New York to Kiev. And this fall, from Kiev to NY and to Atlanta (missed the only flight to Tulsa for the night, so I stayed all night and went from Tulsa on to and to Charlotte, to Houston, to Cincinnati to Tampa.
From Tampa to New York, diverted to Philadelphia, and three hours late to New York (the worst flight of a lifetime) 20 hours later, because a lie told in hotel reservations, we walked the streets of NY until tired and went back to the JFK.
We waited in line for 2 10 minutes to talk to a Delta agent, when we got there every international flight of the day was gone. We finally got re booked at 5:40 PM the next (Saturday) afternoon. So we ask Delta for help in getting a room. (They would not help because it was weather related and not their fault. At 12:30 AM we finally got a reservation agent with Best Western Inns that there was one room available for $495.00 a night but with a senior discount it would be less but he did not know how much less. He took our credit card number and we were thrilled. We took a New York taxi to downtown Manhattan at 1:00 AM. When we got to the Presidential Hotel by Best Western, our name was not there, and the hotel had NO ROOMS. IN ALL OF MANHATTAN, QUEENS, BROOKLYN OR JAMAICA THERE ARE NO ROOMS, AT ANY PRICE. So at 2:00 AM we are walking the streets of NY with a rolling carry on, and trombone. Get the picture. We have not eaten all day, so we stop in a little dinner on 48Th street, and do get a GREAT HAMBURGER AND FRIES. They were devoured. Now we are on the streets again flagging a taxi back to the airport.
I can tell you that Delta is not open all night. At 3:00 AM we went back to the airport. Terminal 1 is closed, terminal 2/3 is closed, terminal 3 (International flights) is closed, on 4 has an eating court, and all night is filled with wondering, weary passengers. We try to get to the Crown Room, Business Elite Lounge for frequent travelers. It opens at 5:00 AM but at 4:00 AM we found that we could not get a pass to clear security until 6 hours before the flight. What do we do from 4:00 AM till 11:00 AM to get a security pass to get to the Crown Room. THERE ARE NO CHAIRS. all terminals are being cleaned with floors being waxed, there is no place to sit, not in baggage claim. Finally, in one last desperate try, a young black agent, who could have lost his job, got for me and Dorothy a security pass, so we could get to the Crown Room. Not being a member, I had to pay of course, but they had food, comfortable chairs, a shower(with all the supplies needed). We re booked our flight to Paris and from Paris to Kiev. We sat all day in JFK Crown room with only cat naps, no sleep. At the Delta desk in the Crown room they assured me that my luggage was on this plane to DeGaulle in Paris. When the plan was two hours later taking off, we were late arriving in Charles DeGaulle airport, only to find that I am now with out a phone. (for the second time in a year, I lost my cell phone) When we did get to Kiev, 4 hours late, there WAS NO LUGGAGE AT ALL. It was 48 hours before we got home and a couple of hours to freshen up for bed. (50) hours!!! and EVERY FLIGHT ON DELTA, WITHOUT EXCEPTION WAS LATE, and the person ell, except for two, did not know what they were doing, or obstinate, or UNCONCERNED. Pilots LIE when there are problems. For instance, we will be ready to move in 1 minute just as our new paperwork arrives. O sorry, there is no traffic behind us. O we have a mechanical problem and will have to return to the gate, "It should take no longer than 14 minutes." Two hours later a tech shows up with a screwdriver and they actually announce they cannot find the hole to let the air in to begin the engine. After a hour and half wait, we fly on but are LATE. We were late taking off and landing 99% of the time. Then with the loss of my cell phone (with it and my email, they are my life for the UKRAINIAN HOPE MISSION) The loss of a cell phone is monumental.
I logged a complaint after the Tampa to Charlotte feisaco, and they answered me back with a $50 voucher to redeem. I guess that is $1.00 for each of the years I missed at my 50th class reunion. Believe it or not, we ARE STILL FLYING WITH DELTA because we have so much invested. Over 100,000 miles, AMEX Sky Miles account, The only direct flight to Kiev but out of JFK THE WORST AIRPORT IN THE UNIVERSE. Believe me, if I could make a change right this minute I sure would and NEVER, NEVER even look at Delta again. Customer Service hires people who cannot even speak or understand ENGLISH, for heaven's sake. There is NO compassion or upgrades or ANYTHING, but you can't, or you can't or no sir they will not let us, or OH YES, to only find they DO NOT KNOW what they are talking about. IT IS A UNIVERSAL MESS!!!!
We had some great meetings while we were in the states. Great meetings at EMMAUS Missionary Baptist College. Westwood Missionary Baptist, Landmark Baptist in Bunnell, Cooper Road Baptist in Inverses, Landmark MBC in Madison, and Revival in Frontier Baptist in Angleton, TX, Men's District Fellowship in Angleton, Revival in Alvin MBC, and Sunday Morning at Calvary MBC in Baytown, TX. OH, the Holy Spirit anointing and power present in all of these meetings. I knew the devil would be active, but you can never conceive all that he can do, and God lets it happen to see if we are still depending on HIM or some other force. IT WILL BE OK! I will buy an new phone and start over on my phone list, if you will send me your essential phone numbers. The group of builders from Westwood will be here day after tomorrow, Tuesday, and I did get 6 hours of sleep before I wrote this.
Well, that is a small portion of the small saga of Bill and Dorothy Pennell's life and travels. We did not crash, we have each other and we have you wonderful family and friends. Our luggage will get here sometime and normality may come back into our lives for a day or two. Praise the Lord!
I am sorry that this is a generic letter, but I wanted all to know that we did make it back, a bit worn, but much more experienced.
Living In His Mercy, Seeking His Grace
Dr. Bill Pennell, President
UKRAINIAN HOPE MISSION
Phone: (727) 644-3619
Mission Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal Email: email@example.com