Dear Mr. Sokol,
Your documented experience with ATA has been discussed among the executive management team and Mr. Mikelsons, our CEO and President, has asked that I respond on their behalf. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention, so that we may address your issues.
We sincerely regret that you feel we made decisions in the best interest of ATA only, and not the customers. Although I am confident that you are aware of the weather conditions in Chicago on the day of your flight, I would like to provide additional information on our decision-making that day.
Saturday evening, January 3, our meteorologists forecasted 6-8 inches of snow in Chicago during the next 24-hours. We were basically faced with two options -- to either cancel flights into Chicago or attempt to operate, knowing there may be delays. ATA’s flights on January 4 were 90% full, so we knew our decision would impact thousands of customers. Additionally, since this was the end of a holiday weekend, we knew that other airlines would also have high load factors. After weighing our limited options, we determined that it would be better to get our customers to their destination, albeit late, rather than cancel flights. During the snowstorm, 14 aircraft diverted to alternate cities and 36 other flights destined for Chicago, Midway were delayed for several hours. While we certainly regret the multiple flight irregularities you personally and our other customers experienced, we stand on our decision to operate flights on that day. Several airlines cancelled hundreds of flights and stranded people all over the country on Sunday and Monday, but we got people home and we think that’s important.
From beginning to end, it looks like your attempt to join your sister in the Caribbean was marked with inconvenience and disappointment. We regret that our efforts to accommodate and assist you during the irregularities were not acceptable to you. We were pleased that our crew on the diverted flight to Indianapolis were able to obtain food from the terminal. Unfortunately, the fact that insufficient quantities were delivered to the aircraft undermined their efforts. We have reviewed our protocols for delivering food to diverted aircraft and, to the extent possible, will learn from this experience. Clearly, the unpredictability of Chicago’s weather on that day overloaded our resources, both in terms of staff and equipment
In regards to your baggage not arriving until 2 days prior to your departure, I can only offer my sincere apologies. No explanation other than it was completely our error will be offered. There were at least two instances in which we could have provided your baggage to you within 24 hours of your arrival in the Caribbean. An internal investigation is being conducted to determine why it took 8 days to provide you with your baggage.
Although you did not specifically request compensation or reimbursement, I want to provide you with a refund of your ATA ticket. In order to facilitate a refund, I will need your permanent U.S. postal address. According to our records, your ticket’s value is $152.60. In addition, in an attempt to redeem ourselves in your estimation, I would also like to reimburse your limo fare to Chicago, O’Hare Airport, cab fare to the ferry, ferry fare to St. Barth’s, and cab fare to the St. Barth’s airport. Once you provide me with your address, I will be happy to provide you with another check in the amount of $190.00.
Understandably, Mr. Sokol, you have expressed in your letter that you are unwilling to travel ATA again. Despite your current opinion of ATA, we sincerely hope that you decide in the future to give us another chance at meeting your travel needs.
Customer Relations Manager
Added Note - 28 Feb 2004
It has been 30 days since the above email arrived. I responded with my address on that day.
I have received no check.
Added Note - 25 March 2004
Still no check.