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Victory! (Delta Airlines Customer Service)

May 9, 2014

I had some last-minute travel in April, and I ended up being able to take advantage of Delta’s medical airfare program to get a modest discount on a flight leaving 3 days after I booked the ticket.  Unfortunately, the trip didn’t turn out quite as planned.

Exhibit A:  My plane

Exhibit B:  My bed that night

Trying to get on that plane to go home was a comedy of errors.  The weather influenced the situation, but the final reason we didn’t get to leave that night as planned was due to a mechanical issue.  We were boarded, on the runway, and the machines were de-icing the plane when they announced us we’d be going back to the gate.  Once back at the gate, we were initially promised a hotel room and an early flight out.  All the hotels were full due to earlier cancellations, and our new plane wasn’t scheduled until 3 p.m..  The customer service agent also made an announcement that we were all getting $50.  And a mat to sleep on (it was about 2 a.m. by this point).

By the time I got home the next day, I’d missed nearly 24 hours of the time I was supposed to be spending with my family.   I sent in a complaint through the online system, and was awarded a small number of “we’re sorry” frequent flier miles.

A few days later, it dawned on me that I had never got a voucher or heard anything more about the $50 I was promised, and I was charged a $25 fee for booking  my ticket over the phone.  There is no alternate way to book a medical ticket and Delta’s customer service page says medical tickets are exempt from the phone booking fee.  I sent off a quick note through the online system ask about these issues, figuring it would be an easy fix.

The online customer service informed me that they saw I was issued a $25 voucher that expired in a year, and “respectfully, it cannot be extended.” They also said they couldn’t refund my phone booking fee, and encouraged me to book online to avoid it.   What?!?!  I don’t think they read my question at all. There was no way to book online.  I wasn’t asking for anything unreasonable, I was just asking for them to follow their own policies!

I tried again.  This time they said they were mistaken, and I was issued a $50 voucher that expired in a year and again “respectfully, it cannot be extended.”  I wasn’t asking for them to extend anything!!!!!  How do I get the voucher?

I tried one last time, figuring I would  call them if this failed again.  Finally, an e-mail showed up containing a $50 voucher to use towards a flight.  My request for a refund for $25 was bumped to another department for evaluation.  A week later, I received another e-mail notifying me that they were going to refund the $25.

I ultimately got what I wanted (thank you Delta!), but whoever was handling my case was not very helpful at all.  Other than that final interaction, I was fairly happy with how well Delta did, despite the circumstances.  They also are committed to minimizing cancelations and keeping customer complaints down.

Lessons learned:  Be persistent when you are due compensation.  Know the airlines policies and make sure they follow them.  Don’t leave the airport counter without a voucher if they said you were supposed to get one.  And maybe use the phone complaint system first?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2014 6:16 pm

    How frustrating. I can relate though…I’m pretty persistent when I am due $$..

  2. Anonymous permalink
    May 10, 2014 6:10 am

    Most of the situations where you submit an email online (like this one, probably) are handled by an autoresponse system, where the computer generates an email based on certain words in your email….so there probably was no one handling your case.

    • May 12, 2014 7:46 am

      Maybe not, but I would have expected an autoresponse system to be more accurate rather than telling me incorrect information (like that I was issued a $25 voucher when it was really a $50).

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