Is it Delta or is it us?

Dec 24th, 2008, 12:17 AM
  #1  
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Is it Delta or is it us?

At another poster's suggestion, I have moved this over from the lounge in the hope that some of you airline experts will tell me how I should go about complaining or if, in fact, Delta is in the right:

My daughter had tickets this past Sunday on Delta flight 625, leaving JFK at 8:55 PM, then connecting in Las Vegas to a Hawaiian Air flight home to Honolulu.

Around 3 pm Sunday, she received an email stating the departure was moved to t 9:48PM. I also saw it on Delta's flight status site and kept checking for about the next four hours -3 pm EST to 7 pm. I knew the HAL flight would have to be rescheduled if they delayed the flight much more, so wanted to know right away of any further changes.

Apparently, while DD was on route to the JFK, the flight time was moved from 9:48 back to the original 8:55. At 8:13 she tried to check in and was told she was too late (42 minutes prior) to get on the flight. She told them she was there so late because of the info on the website and e-mail. DD called me right then to ask what to do, and I heard the entire exchange from that time on.

The gate agent at Delta outright refused to believe that the web site showed it would be delayed an hour and told my daughter that 42 minutes before the flight was too close to check in.

She kept telling DD to produce “proof” that the web site had a different time, making rude comments and saying the scheduled departure had never been anything but 8:55. At one point another agent mentioned that DD couldn't make it as they couldn't get her luggage on. DD said she had no luggage to check, so the original agent said something like , "Well that's not the point anyway". This agent was REALLY rude, but of course it was her actual refusal to do anything that caused me to boil.

I easily confirmed with another agent on their 800 line-- after holding on another phone for about the whole 42 minutes --that the web site HAD shown a 9:38 departure until about 8pm, and DD did receive an email notification of the delay. She seemed mystified that they hadn't let DD at least run for the gate, but was unable to do anything as she announced that the flight had just left.

So the agent basically filibustered for the 40 minutes until the flight finally left without my DD. Then she started saying since DD missed her flight, the only thing they could do "as a courtesy was to book her three days later on a Christmas Eve red-eye.

They told her there were no other seats open, although minutes later I found at least six available flights on the 22 and 23 with both Delta and Haw'n and verified these seats even later on the phone.

Meanwhile my DD felt forced to accept what she thought were the only tickets that would get her home. On the phone, the telephone reservation agent told me "well, at least we waived the change fees", when actually their web site said anyone changing their tix between 12/22 and 12/26 could do so penalty free because of the weather.

Another agent admitted to me that they could have put her on an earlier flight, but said he wasn't going to change the tickets for a second time as it cost Delta too much to do so. A supervisor later claimed my DD hadn't checked in till about 8:30. When I pointed out that T-Mobile showed my cell phone call from DD ran from 8:13 to 8:59, she told me that other customers had much bigger problems and then hung up on me when I insisted on talking to someone else.

My DD is now couch surfing with a "friend of a friend" ( her dorm is closed) until Wed night and will miss our Christmas Eve.

So, my question...is it too much to expect that after the "flexible" info on their web site for at least four hours that Delta should have let her try to make it to the gate?

Is 42 minutes a time period in which they can lock you off a flight? I can't find anything on their website that addresses this, and I thought it was 30 minutes where they absolutely have the right to give away seats.

Am I wrong and should I just accept the outcome, but express outrage at the agent's rude behavior, or do we have a legitimate complaint and should we ask for some sort of apology or compensation?


lcuy is offline  
Dec 24th, 2008, 01:46 AM
  #2  
 
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I'd say it is risky to check in later because the website or an email gives a new (later) departure time. Airlines (at least those outside the US) who post delays to scheduled departure times also usually require passengers to check in for the original departure flight time, in case the flight can leave earlier.


Odin is offline  
Dec 24th, 2008, 02:52 AM
  #3  
J62
 
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This is why people recommend to check in online. She could have checked in any time starting at 9pm on Saturday from the comfort of her home and this would have been a non-issue.

Given the weather in NY Friday then again on Sunday I expect Delta agents were frazzled. It doesn't excuse their attitude, but their policy is to check in 45 (42?) min before the scheduled departure time. DD is the one who didn't comply. I think a big part of the fault lies with her.

Given all the other people who were displaced this past weekend I don't expect complaining will get you too far.
J62 is online now  
Dec 24th, 2008, 05:41 AM
  #4  
 
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I thought that once an airline moved a flight time back they HAD to keep that delayed time unless all ticketed passengers had boarded? At least, that's what I was told a couple of years ago at the airport when weather caused all kinds of delays.

In any case, I probably would have arrived a little earlier for a flight to Hawaii than your DD did, even with the extra delay, given that it's one of the busiest travel times of the year (complicated by bad weather). I'm one of those people who likes to get to the airport really early for such a long flight. And I would have checked in online especially having no luggage - would have saved a lot of time at the airport, late flight or not.

That doesn't excuse the rude and unhelpful Delta agent. And if your daughter still had the email Delta sent, that's all the proof she would have needed - not that she had it handy at the airport, but I'm not sure why that was even relevant at that point for getting her on that plane. But since she missed the flight, the remedy should be resolved with Delta on the basis that it was partly their fault for posting/emailing an erroneous late departure time.

Delta's approach is typical of today's major airline approach to customer no-service. They won't cut you a break anywhere or admit any sort of responsibility when they make any kind of mistake.
Andrew is online now  
Dec 24th, 2008, 07:57 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,032
Delta (and most others IIC) specify check-in times in advance of the scheduled departure not of any delays. This is specifically stated on delta.com on both the check-in information page and in the Conditions of Carriage. In addition, that check-in time for JFK is set at 45 minutes, not the usual 30.

Airline travel is a horror this week, especially at the usually horrific JFK so I am not surprised they denied boarding. That does not excuse the agents' behaviors.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Dec 24th, 2008, 08:09 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Like others have said, always do OLCI. No reason not to do it anyways.

Second, airlines can definitely move flights back to original departing time after delaying it. That's why they always tell passengers to stick around at the gate.

Now, if it's an outstation and the only incoming plane is delayed, then apparently you're save as there's no way they can move the departure time back to the original. But at a hub or focus airport like DL's JFK, they can always substitute another plane to operate the flight on schedule. So, while DL did post a delay for that flight, that delay can easily be reversed, as it happened.
rkkwan is offline  

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