Primary File

Delta Airlines: Not Exactly “Flying High”

Cheryl B. Ward, Diane R. Edmondson, Lucy M. Matthews
January 1, 2017
North America
Strategy & General Management, Marketing & Sales
3 pages
crisis management, service quality, service recovery, social media marketing, marketing
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.69)
Average rating: 

This critical incident describes a situation in which Sarah, a frustrated Delta customer, spent over 16 hours stranded in the airport due to flight cancellations because of a Delta technology failure. During this time, Sarah and thousands of others took to social media to express their feelings toward Delta and Delta’s limited service recovery efforts.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. How did Delta demonstrate, both positively and negatively, each of the five dimensions of service quality (reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness) in this crisis?
  2. Based on the reactions of customers and the public, how well did Delta respond to this crisis? What could Delta have done to provide better service?
  3. What role did social media play during this crisis from both Delta’s and the customers’ perspective?