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Delta Airlines needs to rethink their check-in line strategy

For our trip to Yellowstone National Park, we flew with Delta Airlines from San Francisco to Jackson, WY via Salt Lake City, UT. This was the most convenient and a somewhat cheap flight, so we took it, even though we usually fly with United Airlines. We have flown with our now 18-month old baby on lap many times over the last year and a half, and we thought we had gotten the routine down: check in at the counter, ask for an extra ticket for the baby on lap, done... Easy enough.
However, our experience with Delta Airlines this time was nothing short of easy or efficient. They should re-think their check-in strategy if they want to keep happy customers.

The flight was early in the morning, and we were a little late arriving at the airport. My husband dropped Daniel and me in the check-in area, and went to park the car. In the meantime, I was going to get our tickets. Seeing that the line for the check-in counter was quite long, I thought I should be able to get our flight tickets (at least for us adults) through the automated machines first. At least, I would have tickets, so I would be sure we wouldn't get bumped if timing got too tight... Then I could always go back to the check-in counter to get the ticket for Daniel.

As I proceeded to the line for the automated ticketing machine, a Delta Airlines worker saw me with Daniel. Realizing that I was flying with a child on lap, she urged me to go directly to the ticket counter, arguing that I would need to get his extra ticket first. Sorry, no automated ticket for you, miss.
Fortunately, the line there went faster than expected, and I could check-in before Guido had come back from the parking lot. Unfortunately, this meant that the agent didn't want to issue his flight ticket, although I had his ID with me. I also found out that I didn't need any extra ticket for Daniel, as children on lap with Delta are just included in the parent's ticket (which the automated machine can do too).
Since I ended up getting just one out of the 2 tickets that I needed, I went back to the automated machine line, where I could obviously get Guido's ticket alongside mine, no questions asked...

Morale of the story: I had to stand in 3 different lines to get tickets I could have gotten directly from the first line I was in. Each time, a Delta agent urged me to change my plan as it was "their policy", and it turned out to be a disaster. Is it their policy to have their customers spend more time waiting and interacting with their agents than needed? How efficient is that?
Morale of the story #2: If you fly Delta with a child on lap, don't bother talking to an agent... It would be no help. I think I made a comment to myself about this inefficient process, which a Delta employee heard and asked me to explain. When I tried to, she didn't seem to get it. Sigh!
Morale of the story #3: Avoid Delta Airlines all together?


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