Watch out for Delta with the fine print

Aug 16th, 2008, 12:17 PM
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Watch out for Delta with the fine print

My husband missed his Delta flight from Orlando to LA last Sun. Delta would not let him fly stand by and wanted him to pay over $1000 to go on the next flight. So I simply booked him on American Airlines for $413. I was mad but figured he missed his flight so there wasn’t much to be done about it. Here’s where it gets bad. Today he gets to airline to return and they tell his since he missed the outbound his inbound flight reservation was cancelled and he would have to pay $450 to get on his flight. Now you could blame him for missing his outbound flight but why in the world wouldn’t the ticket be valid to fly back. I talked on the phone to customer service and they basically just said tough so he is right now flying back on another flight with Air Tran that we had to pay $409 for. How in the world could we have known this? He wasn’t informed by anyone at the airport when he tried to get on another Delta flight on the outgoing. It seems a racket of the “fine print” that they just make the rules up as they go along so they can charge you more. HAS THIS EVER HAPPENNED TO ANYONE ELSE?
thorspecken is offline  
Aug 16th, 2008, 01:08 PM
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This comes up as a question from time to time here on fodors. Someone wants to know if they can intentionally miss a leg (i.e. fly US to London to Paris, but stay in London), then fly the Paris - US return. The answer is always the same. If you don't fly a leg outbound your return is canceled.

It's not new, and not a rule made up by Delta on the fly. Not every traveler knows about it, and some unfortunately find out the hard way.

What your husband should have done was call the airline before the Orlando to LA flight - they could have moved him to a later flight without much ado, either standby or a changed ticket with a fee.

On a recent trip I encountered a problem on my return. I was told the same thing - that my return ticket wasn't valid. Turns out that when the 2nd leg of my outbound flight was canceled & I was rebooked on a later flight they totally messed up the ticket. This was an open jaw ticket, and they were suspicious I didn't fly the 2nd leg. Turns out they were able to find me under a different ticket # - all resolved without problem. What bugged me was that I could definitely see my itin. on the airline website - you'd think that if there was a problem then it wouldn't show up there.
J62 is online now  
Aug 16th, 2008, 01:27 PM
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Thanks for your answer but I need clarification. IS THIS JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS YOU LEARN THE HARD WAY? He missed his Orlando to LA flight the day of the flight. The only way they would let him on the next flight was to pay $1000. No standby, no cheaper flight. So naturally we chose the cheaper flight on American. WE DID SPEAK TO THE AIRLINE THE DAY HE FLEW. I am still annoyed because I spoke with Delta on the phone and he spoke to them at the airpot and no one told us he couldn't us his return. At that point maybe I could have scheduled a cheaper return a week ahead of time on Delta or another airline. I think this is a case of the airline being in a crisis. In the past I think if there was a seat open they would have let him fly standby. Orlando is a big Delta hub and maybe he couldn't have flown direct on the outbound but there many connecting cities. They just want to squeeze more dollars out of you. We had used credit card miles to book this flight and I was reading from posts in June that airlines look at the low paying or free tickets and if you mess up they look to get extra money. I am sure that they wouldn't have done this to someone who paid full fare. Or would they?
thorspecken is offline  
Aug 16th, 2008, 01:39 PM
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yes, they would have done the same to someone who paid full fare. All the airlines do this, and I thought it was a security measure.
pat is offline  
Aug 16th, 2008, 03:32 PM
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No, someone who paid full fare would have a refundable ticket. You didn't choose this. You chose a nonrefundable and DL delivered exactly what you bought. This has nothing to do with any airline's current situation.
EricH is offline  
Aug 16th, 2008, 04:44 PM
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Did he miss his flight due to an error on his part? IF so, then Delta doesn't really owe him much on a non-refundable ticket. Did he buy the ticket from Delta or did he use an intermediary [expedia, travelocity etc] ?

And yes, missing your first flight will void your return flight.

Delta is very good about changing flights; usually it does require a fee to change the flight and then you have to pay the difference between what you paid for original outbound flight and what it cost for the new flight.

I think most airlines follow similar thing except Southwest which does not charge a flight change fee.

Is your husband new to air travel? I guess this was a costly way to learn.

DebitNM is offline  
Aug 16th, 2008, 05:09 PM
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Yes it was an error on my husband's part. I think it was stinky that Delta was charging $1000 for him to fly that day when every other airline was charging $400. We are not new to flying but have never before missed a flight. So we had no way of knowing that he couldn't use the return. I still think this is a rotten thing. I remember when airlines were overbooked or cancelled a flight hey used to book you on another airline to get home. So it seems unlikely that there is a security concern to fly inbound if you haven't flown outbound. I would really like to know why this is. I think it's just a way to get more money. It's a funny (tragic) story how he missed his flight. My husband is an artist. Need I say more. He thought he was flying American and couldn't check in. So he waited in line and by the time he got there and showed him his reservation and found out he was flying Delta it was too late to get on the Delta flight. He was too late to check luggage but still could have made his flight. He could have still gotten on if he ditched his suitcase--he actually thought of doing this and stuffing his stuff into his carry on. He figured if he ditched his suitcase there might have been bigger repercussions! This is pretty silly and costly but I figure if this is the worst thing that happens to us this year, so be it. Live, travel and learn!!!
thorspecken is offline  
Aug 16th, 2008, 06:56 PM
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Sorry you had to learn the hard way but this is nothing new - it is standard airline practice. They all do it, have for a long time. You did not buy two tickets - you bought one round trip ticket. Part of the restrictions on buying a discounted round rip fare is that it IS round trip and the legs must be used in the order in which they were originally purchased.
And though I hope he'll never have to be in this situation again, your husband had another option - he could have taken his suitcase with him to the gate and they would have gate checked it.
Seamus is offline  
Aug 16th, 2008, 07:29 PM
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Seamus, I was wondering about taking the suitcase to the gate. Are you sure that they just don't send you back to the counter and say tough? But I'll take your word for it. In the heat of the moment we were both like deer caught in the headlights and didn't know what to do! Bottom line, don't miss a flight. But thanks to all for your answers. I was furious but this has helped me to cool down.
thorspecken is offline  
Aug 16th, 2008, 09:33 PM
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Another situation where flying Southwest Airlines would have been been better, because they have no change fees and if you cancel a flight, there's no fee to rebook. Granted, if you miss a flight and do not cancel it I believe you will lose the value of the ticket, but if you know you are going to miss the flight, you can just cancel it on the phone. And they do charge you the current fare when changing, so if you change the same day, you would be paying that day's last-minute fare (a few hundred bucks) but at least no change fees.

And you can book a round trip on Southwest as two one-ways for the same price. So in this situation, the return would not have been canceled if it had been booked as a one-way.

Andrew is offline  

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