It seems as though most of my life that the airlines have been complaining about how they don't make any money. They get government bailouts and all sorts of financial assistance yet at the exact same point in time low-cost airlines pop up all over the world and seem to do quite well. It can't be a case of "traditional airlines" not being able to make ends meet AND that far cheaper budget airlines can make big profits when they charge 1/3 of the price.
That being said, it seems as though all airline, both budget and full-service (I guess) are actively pursuing irritating you to the point where you have no choice but to not involve a human being in the process. This is something that I have experienced in even greater levels in the past few months.
First off I want to say that I do not envy what these people do for a living. I can't imagine how soul-crushing it must be to sit in a cramped cubicle and be on the phone from the moment you walk in to the moment you walk out with probably just a little bit of time for lunch and this is what your day entails every day until you eventually quit.
Lately however, it seems as even the expensive airlines will have absurdly long wait times in order to talk to a person as the horrible "on hold" music repeats itself over and over while continually encouraging you to visit the website where I presume the entire process would be automated.
I get it, I live in modern times and I should probably just go ahead and do that but there are certain situations, such as the one that I am in right now, where I absolutely must speak to a human being before booking my flight. I'm in a situation where I am going to visit a friend in Southern Mexico and he has asked me to bring along a friend's dog as cargo. You can't just turn up at the airport with a dog and expect it to get on the flight with you - that isn't how it works. For some reason, they have a very limited number of cargo spaces for live animals and you must confirm well beforehand that you are doing this in order to secure one of the very limited spaces for said animal when you travel.
I was on hold with Delta for 6 friggin hours today before a person finally picked up and then I was on the phone with said person for nearly an hour before I was finally able to get myself and the animal confirmed for the flight.
This reminds me of tech support for basically anything back in the 90's when the internet was in its infancy. It was just stock standard to be on hold for ages and calling this a "service" does a horrible disservice for the word.
The bad feeling that you get from this sort of experience is something that sticks with you as well. I was so frustrated by this experience that I will actively avoid using Delta at any point in the future and I am sure I am not alone is saying this. There is literally zero excuse for wait times of this magnitude, especially when the same company is constantly whining about how they don't have enough customers.
I can't imagine who is in charge of their customer service strategy but that person needs to be fired and if they can't get more people to work there locally - which again I have to presume is an absolutely horrible job - then they should outsource it to other countries where people might be lining up to get these sorts of jobs at less pay than the average American would be willing to work for.
If their strategy is in fact to make the process of calling the customer service department so annoyingly difficult that people won't ever do it, then I can say that this is probably working... However, I am not only not going to use their website but rather, just not use THEM at all in the future. Keep on whining Delta, until you seriously overhaul your company across the board, I can't really imagine anyone sticking with you.