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Landings: Opinions: A Letter to Delta

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By: Mr. & Mrs.Saladino
E-mail Address:

Dear Delta Representative:

I am writing this letter to bring your attention to an alarming incident that occurred on Delta flight 1629, on December 4, 2000. We booked our trip through an authorized travel agent who explained that we would be stopping at the Cincinnati Airport first, and then travel direct to Las Vegas, Nevada. Our stop in Phoenix was unexpected, and had we known there would be a second interruption in our flight, we would have changed flights to avoid the extra take off and landing. The Phoenix stop does not appear anywhere on our itinerary, which we reviewed thoroughly with our agent prior to leaving.

Our Phoenix landing proved to be a horrifying experience. We had descended to a very low altitude when the plane turned sharply right. I was watching our landing, and the horizon and sky disappeared and all I could see was the ground--close. I nudged my husband, an Air Force veteran, and asked him what was wrong. He stated that "The pilot must think he is flying an F-16!". The turn was so sharp, I thought we were missing the runway. Immediately following our sharp turn, the plane abruptly inclined again, quickly regaining altitude. After an unnerving ten minutes, the pilot announced that landing was not optimal and the tower diverted us! I required my rescue inhaler to avoid an asthmatic attack; everyone aboard was alarmed.

As if this calamity wasn't enough, once on the ground, the brakes squealed relentlessly and the cabin filled with fumes, which later were identified by the pilot as "fuel that entered through the air conditioning system due to a tail wind". While the fumes effected both my husband and myself, I did not realize the impact on my health until later in the night, or I would not have been persuaded to re-board the same plane (tail # N1616DL). My eyes were bloodshot and irritated, and my asthmatic condition was triggered causing me to increase my medication, which ruined the first couple of days of our vacation. All of the above mentioned were confirmed by two flight attendants and the pilot himself through conversation.

After dealing with anxiety over the entire vacation about the return flight home, another incident occurred on Flight 856, December 14, 2000. Approximately forty minutes after take off, the pilot warned of air turbulence and recommended that passengers remain seated with their safety belts on. Shortly after that, a flight attendant rushed through the aisles seeking someone with medical training. One of the pilots was forced to leave the cockpit during the turbulence to attend to a sick passenger. I am sharply disappointed that none of the crew other than the pilot was prepared for a medical emergency. Once again, Delta representatives failed to advise us of both what was transpiring, and if we would be forced to land sooner than Atlanta.

And finally, Flight 4546 was at the gate for over an hour before we boarded. Once we were all on board, a fuel truck (515 or 1863) sped up to the plane stopping inches from the side of the plane and pumped over 800 gallons of fuel. The flight attendant assured us that this was acceptable since the door was still open, however, with adequate time lapsed between flights, why wasn't the plane fueled earlier, and not five minutes before take off? There was no inspection after this rushed fueling to ensure all was secure.

We have experienced a great deal of stress, caused by Delta, on two separate trips within six months time and have never experienced difficulties with other carriers. My husband and I enjoy to travel and anticipate an increase in business air travel, please resolve this for us. As a "valued" Sky Mile Members, my husband and I expect both a detailed explanation and or reports on both flights 1629 and 856 and request adequate compensation for what we have endured. Also, please review the maintenance records for airplane #N1616DL, for the grinding brakes and fuel fumes in the cabin will eventually lead to a disaster. With airlines facing so much competition, I hope you forward this to the appropriate parties to see that such quality and safety issues are resolved "Immediately". Without a timely and favorable response, we will seek membership with a more professional safer airline.

Regrettably, Mr. & Mrs. Saladino

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