November 18, 2018

Ann Coulter is a snowflake

Commentator Ann Coulter addresses the Conservative Political Action conference (CPAC) in Washington on Feb. 12, 2011. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Ann Coulter is a snowflake.

She bought an upgraded seat on Delta, the upgrade wasn’t honored, and she unleashed a Twitter tirade against the airline that accused it of everything short of genocide.

This is the behavior of a delicate, entitled, easily wounded, and overly sensitive toddler-woman – what some on the Right would call a “snowflake.”

How am I so sure she misbehaved?

Because the exact same thing happened to me, three weeks ago, and Delta handled it flawlessly.

Last month, I had bought an upgrade on a Delta flight, just like Coulter. Mine cost $49, for a bulkhead seat. This was a ten hour non-stop flight to Japan, and when you’re 6’2” every little bit of legroom matters.

When I boarded the plane, my seat was just another coach knee-cruncher, nowhere near the bulkhead. I asked the attendant why that was, and she explained that there had been an equipment change. That is, we were flying on a different aircraft than the one depicted online.

At that point, I suppose I could have thrown a hissy fit like Coulter. But the plane was packed, and I thought it was unlikely Delta would switch everyone to the original plane because I spent an extra $49.

So I smiled when the flight attendant said, “Have a nice flight,” and I took my seat and read, “The Black Widow” and watched a couple movies and tossed and turned and landed safely in Tokyo.

A week or so later, I emailed Delta’s complaint department. It took me a few seconds to find the address on the company’s web site.  I explained what had happened, listed my ticket number, and waited – for two whole days.

Then I received this email:

RE: Case Number 24573609

I’m happy to help with your request regarding a refund.

We processed a refund on July 14, 2017 as follows:

Ticket Number/Amount/Form of Payment

0071502001622 / $49.00 / AX

For credit card purchases, we generally transmit our credit instructions to the credit card processing company within one business day of the date the refund is processed. However, it can take up to 2 billing cycles for the credit card issuer to show this credit on your statement.

Please allow the full handling time for the refund to be processed. After that time period, you may check the status of your refund as follows:

– 800-847-0578 within the U.S. or Canada.

– 404-715-5417 within Atlanta, Georgia or outside the U.S. and Canada

We appreciate your business and hope you’ll continue to choose Delta, our Connection Carriers and our SkyTeam partners for your future air travel needs.

Regards,
Martha Deal
Refund Solutions Specialist
FORTUNE 2017 “World’s Most Admired Companies®”

The entire complaint took me about ten minutes to handle, from start to finish. Coulter tweeted that her issue “cost” her $40,000 of her time. Unless she has the computer skills of a chimpanzee, I don’t understand what the big deal is.

I guess I could have vented  all over Twitter, like Coulter. I could have posted a picture of whoever sat in “my” bulkhead seat, and Tweeted an insult about them, as Coulter did, and thrown in some gratuitous insults about immigrants and Delta employees, as Coulter did.

But this wasn’t a matter of venal corporate greed or discrimination.   Stuff happens, and no person or business is perfect. Part of being a grown up is understanding that things don’t always go your way. You can suck it up and move along. Or you can carry on like a four year-old being dragged out of a toy store.

In my case, Delta handled the problem quickly and easily. Thank you Delta.

And Ann, grow up.

Haredim’s refusal to sit next to opposite sex delays Delta flight

A Delta Airlines flight to Israel was delayed after haredi Orthodox men and women deplaned rather than sit next to members of the opposite sex.

The flight Monday night from New York’s Kennedy Airport arrived more than an hour late on Tuesday afternoon due to the incident, Haaretz reported.

After the haredi passengers decided to leave the plane, their baggage had to be removed, causing the delay.

It is not known if the passengers’ fares were refunded.

In September, an El Al flight that landed in Israel on the morning of Rosh Hashanah eve was delayed in New York after haredi Orthodox men assigned to sit next to women attempted to switch their seats.

The haredi passengers who could not switch their seats stood up immediately upon takeoff and remained in place throughout the flight, crowding the aisles and inconveniencing fellow passengers and flight attendants, Ynet reported at the time.

How to get the cheapest flight to Israel

Book on a Monday. Fly on Saturday. And stop over in Kiev or Moscow on the way.

If you want to get to Israel cheaply, these are some of the key pieces advice from Boston-based Hopper, a start-up that analyzes flight data.

Based on a recent analysis of 4,938,256 round-trip airfares from flight searches made between March 30 and April 27 for trips between April 27 and Sept. 30, 2014 that include a Saturday night stay, Hopper determined that the cheapest round-trip flights to Israel from New York-JFK are selling for about $924.

The most popular airlines with stops are Ukraine International Airlines, Transaero Airlines (Russia), Turkish Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines and Aeroflot Russian Airlines. Over the next six months, the cheapest fares on those carriers were in the $517-$795 range. Bear in mind that Ukraine and Russia are practically at war these days, so caveat emptor.

El Al, Delta and United fly to Israel directly. (The analysis did not include flights to Israel from Newark.) The cheapest direct flights over the next six months are in the $962-$1,012 range.

Booking on a Monday can save you up to $12, and flying on Saturdays can save you up to $138. 

If you find flying into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport too expensive, you can always expand your search to nearby airports, like Queen Alia International in Amman. It’s less than two hours from Jerusalem by car. Of course, that doesn’t include the extra cost, time or hassle of the overland border crossing at the Allenby Bridge between Jordan and the West Bank.

Bon voyage!

Delta says it won’t ask customers to disclose religion

Delta Airlines announced that it will not ask its customers to disclose their religious affiliation, despite partnering with Saudi Arabian Airlines.

The announcement followed a controversy two months ago when a Delta spokesperson suggested that, because Saudi Arabian Airlines was joining the SkyTeam Alliance, Delta might have to refuse boarding to passengers with Israel stamps on their passports. The Saudi government requires that travelers disclose their religion, and American Jews and others with Israeli stamps in their passports have been refused visas to the country.

At the time, the Delta spokesperson said that the airline “must comply with all applicable laws in every country it serves” because it would face fines if a passenger arrives at a destination without proper documents.

In a letter sent last week to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Delta Senior Vice President Andrea Fischer Newman wrote: “Delta employees do not currently and will not in the future, request that customers declare their religious affiliation. We would also not seek such information on behalf of any SkyTeam partner or any airline.”

Delta officials met with the Wiesenthal Center’s Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper at the center’s headquarters in Los Angeles to clarify the airline’s policy.

“Delta has now done the right thing, sending a signal to the Saudis that it will not cooperate with Riyadh’s policy of religious apartheid,” Cooper said in a statement. “We hope that all other U.S.-based airlines around the world will declare and follow a similar policy. We also urge the Obama administration to lead the way in demanding that the Saudis drop their overt policy of religious discrimination.”