It's the summer travel season, and many of us have encountered challenges and frustrations during our travels - but few of us have the ability to tweet those frustrations out to 1.9 million Twitter followers. When Ann Coulter's specially-selected, pre-booked seat was changed on her Delta flight from New York City to Florida Saturday, she let loose on the airline and its employees, and even tweeted a picture of the woman to whom her seat was given.
Predictably, Coulter's fans lined up behind her and her critics defended and even praised Delta. After nearly a day, Delta replied and took her to task on Twitter.
Here's the controversy in a nutshell. Coulter claims that she pre-booked a specific seat and paid a premium ($30) for extra legroom. Once she had boarded and was in the seat, a flight attendant approached and "ordered" her to take a different seat, "without explanation, compensation, or apology." Coulter immediately started creatively tweeting her complaints.
Suck-ass @Delta spends all this $$$ on beautiful aircraft & then hire Nurse Ratchets as flight attendants & gate agents.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) July 16, 2017
.@Delta employee questionnaire: What is your ideal job: Prison guard? Animal handler? Stasi policeman? All of the above: HIRED!— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) July 16, 2017
By Sunday it was reported that Coulter's new seat was in the same row, but across the aisle, and offered the same extra leg room benefit she had paid for. At least one outlet reported that Coulter was asked to move so a female passenger could sit in the same row with her family.
UPDATE: The Washington Post reported Monday morning that in an email to them a Delta spokesman said, “It appears her new seat was in the same row, just not the exact seat she had selected. It was an exit row seat (has extra leg room). She was moved from an aisle to a window. Same space, a few seats over.”
However, a source close to Coulter tells me that it did not have extra leg room and was not an aisle seat. The source could not confirm if it was a window or a middle seat. The source added that Coulter was never given an explanation by Delta at the time or since as to why they would need to move her.
Coulter still wasn't having it.
Airline crew training at @Delta: Replicate Stanley Milgram's prison experiment at Yale, inducing normal ppl to brutally torture fellow man.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) July 16, 2017
Delta's social media team hit back Sunday afternoon with a pair of tweets.
@AnnCoulter We're sorry you did not receive the preferred seat you paid for and will refund your $30. (cont.)— Delta (@Delta) July 16, 2017
@AnnCoulter Additionally, your insults about our other customers and employees are unacceptable and unnecessary.— Delta (@Delta) July 16, 2017
Coulter is continuing to respond on Twitter and demanding an explanation from corporate. Tens of thousands of people are replying to both sides' tweets, each excoriating and demeaning the other side.
Unless there is more to the story than is currently reported, both sides could have definitely handled it better. If Delta had approached Coulter and said, "This young woman would like to sit with her family, and three seats weren't available together - do you mind moving?" perhaps Coulter would have willingly done so. And perhaps Coulter could have realized that moving over three seats for a short-haul flight isn't that big of a deal, and if she wanted more pampering she could have flown first class.
But neither did. And the ravenous hyenas on social media have taken that red meat and torn into it.
UPDATE: The additional information looks worse for Delta. The airline shouldn't be talking about details of her individual case to the media but not to Coulter. No matter your feelings on Coulter's politics, if you were in her shoes you would not want a company doing that to you. Some criticize Coulter's continued flame tweets at the company, but - they're effective. Behemoth companies believe they can treat customers any way they want to these days because essentially there's no recourse. And, I'm reminded of the words of Evan Sayet's column - She Fights.