Loss Leader "Fares" by Delta?

May 9th, 2009, 02:14 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
Loss Leader "Fares" by Delta?

Just a rant.... spent several hours today trying to find a Delta fare that was available this morning and then disappeared, a very good price from JFK to Zurich. I checked it about 20 times today and it finally came back up and I immediately tried to purchase it. After all the information was put in, including my FF and credit card numbers, seats chosen, etc., the computer goes into purchase mode and then tells me it's very sorry, that fare has been sold out while I was purchasing it.

But wait--- a half hour later, there it is again---and again unpurchasable. I called Delta and complained to the clerk with whom I spoke on the phone, and she told me that she was sorry "from the bottom of my heart for you."

I told her I would much rather have the fare than her sympathy. She said, predictably, there was nothing she could or can do but that she would pass my "concerns" along.

I always thought Delta was a very poorly-run airline, and everyone I have ever known who works for them (in our area, LOTS of people from pilots to mechanics) has disliked the company for a variety of reasons. But, I never thought they were downright dishonest, until now. Just FYI...
kswl is offline  
May 9th, 2009, 03:37 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
Unreal.... the fare popped up yet AGAIN and would not let me purchase it, as after I entered all my information again it was mysteriously "sold out." But I had taken a screen shot of the fare to PROVE that it was available and called Delta again. The two people I spoke with were blithely unconcerned with the fact that the fare comes up as though available and then cannot be purchased. Neither wanted to see the screen shot, although I offered to email it to anyone in the department. I am in awe that a company can continue to operate with the combination of dishonest business practices and brain dead help. And now Delta is the biggest company of flying idiots in the skies.... heaven help us!
kswl is offline  
May 10th, 2009, 11:15 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 300
You sure are onto them. They're poorly run, a bunch of idiots, and dishonest to boot. But to save a few bucks you're going to obsessively monitor their website in the hopes that you might fly them.
EricH is offline  
May 10th, 2009, 01:33 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
Thanks, EricH. I was actually thinking there might be a glitch in their program that I could demonstrate to someone at Delta, but they are apparently as unable to understand the problem as you are. I guess in view of your reply I shouldn't be so surprised about all this.
kswl is offline  
May 10th, 2009, 02:01 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
On the Delta website is a "Contact Us" link. Click on it and you'll see a phone number for Delta.com support. I'd call them and ask why this is happening. Avoid using terms like "brain dead" and "dishonest" when you talk to them. I'd want to know why I can't purchase these fares. It can't be that the number of seats allocated to that low fare have been sold when it shows up again 30 minutes later.

I don't know that it's worth spending, by your own admission, "several hours" trying to find a fare on one website though.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
May 10th, 2009, 02:39 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
I did talk to two different people, Jeff.

The fare was definitely worth several hours of my time---it was an inaugural fare from JFK to Zurich for the exact dates I needed, for $441.65 including all taxes. It continued to pop up in the list as though available but both times when I tried to purchase it it had just "sold out" and then was available an hour later.
kswl is offline  
May 11th, 2009, 08:50 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 709
I don't know why that happened to you the first time (re: the fare being "sold out"), but in the following attempts, it might have been that your computer was storing cookies from the Delta website.

From the below website: "Clearing your Internet browser's cookies can help by deleting the information that websites have gathered about you and stored on your computer as small text files. Most of these files are completely harmless, but others store where you went, what you did, and any personal information you gave."

This website explains how to delete them: http://www.wikihow.com/Clear-Your-Browser%27s-Cookies.
Kyliebaby3 is offline  
May 11th, 2009, 06:17 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,735
kswl- I know the feeling. This has happened to me twice in the last couple of months when purchasing concert tickets on line.

The first was when I was trying to buy tickets for a concert through Ticketmaster. I had 9th row seats, typed in all my information and when I hit "Submit" or "save" or whatever... it just sat there and then told me that the site was busy and to try again later! The next time I logged in, tickets in the mezzanine, row 14. When I tried to purchase those, I got the same message. The third time, I got balcony, row 4. And of course, that one went through. I was SO p.o.'d!

Then just last week, trying to get tickets for a local venue through their website and six times it told me my credit card was declined. LEt me go through the entire purchase process six times for two different sets of seats (and two different credit cards- which, by the way, are and were valid and good) and still refused my credit card on the last step.

Then I checked my email and had two "confirmation" emails for the SAME set of seats, but with different tracking numbers and both said they charged my Credit card. Talk about fuming!

The box office was closed and I had to wait until the next morning to call. They assured me that my CC was not charged and their computer had no record of those transactions! When I asked for the best seats I'd been able to find the night before- they were still available. So she sold them to me right then. That was probably dumb luck, as when my daughter checked 10 mts later online, there was nothing even close to our seats.

Still, people who sell things via online websites should monitor them! I will not buy tickets online from Ticketmaster any more. I will call instead. I'm done with getting jacked around by their computer system!
sarge56 is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 05:33 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
kyliebaby, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!

I read your post late last night and, after reading that fares are usually updated again after midnight, cleared out my browser cache and tried again....

the formerly "sold out" fares were AVAILABLE and to prevent timing out I declined to answer any questions or put in any emergency information, select seats, etc except our FF numbers and we got tickets from JHK to Zurich for $441.65 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you!

Sarge, it can be very frustrating purchasing airline tickets online. I had my eye on a fare from Atlanta to Prague with Orbitz which was "available," but once I tried to select the trip the site took me to another set of choices $200 higher per ticket. Normally I would go back and change one or both dates until I got the combination just right for the low fare, but I was actually being OFFERED the tickets (hurry, three seats left!) by Orbitz and then wasn't allowed to purchase them.

As one NYTimes travel column remarked, while it is VERY naughty of airlines to post fares that they don't actually have, they ALL do it. I hate that....it destroys any brand loyalty one might ever have for a carrier. They all seem in awe of Southwest's success, but none of the other airlines will duplicate their formula---clearly defined fares based on advance purchase and availability.

I am a happy traveler today! This means a lovely train trip through the Alps when we leave Zurich for London
kswl is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 06:00 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Just because there is a fare it does not mean it's available for purchase. The airlines use one of the Global Distribution Systems to sell their tickets The airlines load up all the fare codes into the system but then tell the systems that at this time only some of the fare codes can be sold. The other fare codes will pop up on occasion, and in fact it would be the price you see, if the airline offered that fare code for sale at the moment. For example, economy fare code A is $100 each way, B is $200 each way and C is $300 each way. So suppose fare code A has a restriction that it can only be sold for travel between Oct and March and even though it's in the system it cannot be sold during the other months.

Nothing to do with Delta. All the major airlines do it the same way. Let it go. You won't get anywhere with this.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 06:30 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
I guess you didn't read all the responses, AA.

I DID get it, and in fact I'll be getting to Zurich with it.
kswl is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 08:37 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 709
Oh yay! I'm so glad that worked for you

I don't know what is up with Zurich right now, but it's like they're practically paying people to fly there. Have a fun trip...it's going to be beautiful!
Kyliebaby3 is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 02:00 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 317
kswl -- we got 5 tickets to Zurich from JFK on Delta during the promotional period that supposedly ended May 5. But we still may need to purchase one more round-trip ticket, and we too have been watching that $441 fare appear and disappear. We were wondering about that. When it's time to buy the 6th ticket, we'll keep on it until we know we're getting the lowest fare. We would have bought all 6 together, but we're not sure person #6 can get time off. We'll know in about 4 weeks. We are fully prepared to pay more for that ticket, however.

Have fun in Switzerland. Maybe we're all on the same flight.
freberta is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 03:55 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,735
kswl- SO GLAD you got the tickets!!! Awesome!
sarge56 is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 06:57 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
freberta, I actually HAD it twice before, which is what was so frustrating. I highly recommend clearing your browser cache of cookies, as kyliebaby suggested. There are only three or at the most, four, different flight search engines and all sites use those or a proprietary variation (according to a travel writer at the NYT). I guess they do KNOW what sites you've searched and what fares you've been offered. Our actual destination is London, but we have the luxury of taking as much time as we want and so I added five days onto the beginning of our trip. From Zurich I want to go to a village where the bus tours can't go (one with no cars allowed) and then to take the train through to Paris, and the Eurostar to London. We will be gone a little longer than a month.

Sarge, I am absolutely ecstatic!! Until this fare popped up we were prepared to fly anywhere from Stockholm to Tenerife to get a good fare This one leaves from New York late at night, which gives DS time to have one last session with his voice teacher before we leave. It has worked out beautifully, yeaaa!
kswl is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 07:06 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,571
kylie - Tickets from my area (CVG) to Zurich are almost always cheaper than to other Euorpean cities. I also find ff tickets more available for Zurich.
kybourbon is online now  
May 13th, 2009, 04:26 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,864
I'm happy it worked out for you, kswl. That is agreat fare.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
May 13th, 2009, 09:34 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,823
I was delighted to read that you had success, kswl! Have a great trip to Zurich. Kyliebaby, that was a great tip!
Marianna is offline  
May 13th, 2009, 10:07 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,848
Thanks so much, I am still doing the happydance

FYI, I really just made the original post to rant and vent my frustrations.... I would never, ever speak disparagingly to an airlines reservation clerk regardless of how annoyed I happened to be at the "system."

I'm very grateful that this ranting post yielded such a useful suggestion from kyliebaby, and I appreciated the commiserations, too. Sometimes... you just need to vent!
kswl is offline  
May 13th, 2009, 11:15 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 21,940
On a related note, can someone more tech savvy than I tell me how to clear the Safari cookies on my Mac?
ekscrunchy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:06 PM.