A Renaissance of successes saves a Delta fail

After a wonderful week in Pennsylvania with her family, Tricia Kalinowski learned that her Delta Air Lines flight from Philadelphia’s airport back home to Blaine, Minn., seemed hopelessly delayed from mechanical snafus.

She was exhausted and in pain from surgical and chronic difficulties.

As the day faded into evening with an uncertain outcome, Delta eventually sent her to their preferred airport hotel. But that is not the good news.

It was simply how the hotel cared for her with unlimited niceness.

Kalinowski refuses to let her difficulties keep her down, or home. With years of customer service experiences under her belt, she would need to be exceptionally impressed by a particular business to want to tell us about it.

She was, and she did. And the winner is … Marriott’s Renaissance Philadelphia airport hotel. And not just for poise and congeniality.

Marriott is no stranger to the Good News Guy. Their hotels found their way into previous stories about restored missing Rewards points, saving a once-in-a-lifetime family reunion, , and an exemplary experience for this writer at a Fairfield Inn. Perhaps it is because employees tend to treat customers as their management treats them, as Fortune.com suggests? And not to rest on any laurels, USAToday.com reports how the “Renaissance hotel brand is having a renaissance”.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Kalinowski didn’t let her situation deter her from executing an overdue, lifelong childhood promise by her parents to take her brother (and now her nephew) to Hersheypark. “I knew the trip would tax my reserves and provide a struggle here and there,” she began.

But goal set…and goal met. Good for you.

“I arrived at the Philadelphia airport ready to head home and upon boarding the plane noticed the on-time status next to the jetway door changed to delayed,” she went on. “I knew we were in trouble when they offered us drinks and first class.”


“The cause was due to a panel falling off the plane,” she added. Okay, okay, before inserting a dry and drawn out “nice,” the positive Good News Guy way to view this is, if a flight delay is inevitable, better to have it for this reason.


A delay from weather or other factors outside of Delta’s responsibility only requires they get you safely to your contracted destination on the next possible flight with an available seat — and nothing more.

Until Delta could figure things out, the passengers were told they were on their own to make alternate travel arrangements if they wished via their 800 number. Can you say hold?

“The chaos at the gate by both passengers and employees pushed me over the edge,” Kalinowski continued. “I definitely enjoyed my week in Pennsylvania but was totally exhausted and in considerable pain. I broke down in tears after which I finally found a supervisor who approved a hotel voucher and rebooked me for the next day.”

Sounds good, right? Maybe, maybe not. While even Delta’s own criteria acknowledge their obligation, the airline may be the one determining where you stay and how much money to spend — if they do. Sometimes you just have to ask, and sometimes not everyone may know all their own rules.

Kalinowski was well aware of this when she eloquently lamented, “It was a holiday weekend, and I was worried that the only rooms available would be crappy. I expected I was even going to have to add some money to the voucher to get a decent room.”

But not here and not this time. She was in the best of no-reservation hotel hands.

“Upon arrival, the hotel management upgraded me to a room away from airport noise even though I had a Delta voucher,” added Kalinowski. “They even asked if I needed any toiletries knowing I didn’t have my luggage, even offering to run to a store for me.”


“The staff kept asking me about my day, offering to carry my backpack for me and telling me to call if I needed anything else,” she went on. “Later, after lying down a while, I went to their restaurant with my two miniscule $15 meal vouchers and the waiter simply added whatever additional value I needed for dinner (and breakfast next day). As I was leaving the restaurant, the front desk staff asked me again if I needed anything and to have a good night.”

There’s more.

“I burned my finger on my in-room coffee maker next morning and the front desk staff brought first aid supplies to my table at breakfast,” she said. “When I went to check out, the desk clerk asked if I needed anything else before heading back to the airport.”

Hold on. Shouldn’t a quality hotel be doing some of this anyway as a customary and courteous business practice?

Well, yes and no. Unfortunately, “friendly, happy, and helpful” can be lacking in many travel experiences — but not here. There are ways to do something technically correct, and then there are ways to do it right.

The staff clearly cared about their actions and accomplishing them to the best of their ability to make a challenging experience comfortable for someone who needed it, and well, made Kalinowski feel special. And who couldn’t use a little of that?

“Every person I encountered at the hotel went out of their way to be kind to me beyond normal expectations,” Kalinowski elaborated. “Some of what the staff did maybe wasn’t all that special but was refreshing. It really came down to simple niceties, pleasantries, and actually caring.”

They listened to her. So, is her hotel experience really good news if pleasantly surprised when things go well? Or is it rather a bittersweet testimony to some travelers’ lower expectations of a mediocre norm today? The Good News Guy previously wrestled with this exact debate regarding an Air New Zealand experience.

If Kalinowski was impressed enough to take the time to recognize the hotel and tell us about it, then I am too. Positive travel experiences are not just about getting more for less. They are about how humans treat other humans.

“Maybe it’s unfortunate that showing kindness and compassion while doing one’s job stands out as unusual, but I believe it is just as important to tell a company when they do a good job,” she added.

And in fairness, let’s not leave Delta too bruised from their bit of bashing because they did in fact choose the hotel.

There is another lesson that might remain incomplete if Kalinowski had not completed it. We can all do our part to encourage this type of business behavior by thanking those who deserve it. And if you think it may be their job, so what? How do you feel when someone appreciates your efforts?

Never underestimate the power of a thank-you letter to even the biggest of the big guys. It is not only the right thing to do, but paying it forward may well increase the likelihood of a similar outcome for the next person.

“I wrote to the hotel manager after I got home to let him know and that it wasn’t just one person,” Kalinowski said. “He responded immediately by saying he will eagerly share my letter with his staff.”

“The Renaissance Hotel at the Philadelphia airport is run by exceptional people who got it right, and deserve recognition,” she concluded.

We agree. And may you have many more years of travel.

Underwritten by

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

%d bloggers like this:
This free newsletter will save you from scams.