Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Delta Screwed Us

My wife and I decided to take our first vacation without the kids in 13 years. Last month was our 15th anniversary, so we thought it would be nice to spend a week in the US Virgin Islands (a US territory). Delta screwed us.

I have a lot more to say about this, and in a lot more colorful language, but it makes my blood boil just to think about it. I already wrote a letter to Expedia (through whom we bought our tickets), and you can infer the rest of the story from that for now...

We arrived at the DFW airport at about 5:45 on August 9, 2008. We were informed by the Delta agent that we could not fly without our passport. This was contrary to what we had read online about travel to US territories, and we told him so. Our passports were also in the process of being renewed, and we told him that as well.

He was insistent that we needed our passports or our birth certificates to fly, so we left the ticket counter. I called Delta immediately afterwards, and after about 15 minutes they confirmed that we had to have proof of citizenship to fly.

We went home, and that afternoon I called Delta again. This time the people I talked to had no idea that we would need anything beyond the norm for domestic travel. After about 45 minutes on the phone they concluded that we might need our birth certificates, and they changed our itinerary to fly the next day (8/10) at no charge.

On 8/10, we arrived at the airport at about 6am. This time the travel agent read the text to us regarding the necessary documentation - "proof of citizenship PREFERRED". We had lost a day of our vacation because the travel agent of the prior day CHOSE to interpret preferred as required.

We boarded our plane and traveled to ATL. I have two food allergies, to corn and wheat, so there was no real lunch available on the flight that I could eat. Hence we ate lunch in the airport. We made a wrong turn on our way to our gate for flight 327, but made it to the gate by 11:43 am. Our flight's departure was scheduled for 11:51 am.

When we arrived (again, at 11:43 am), the gate was closed and unmanned, and our flight was to all appearances departed. We knocked on the door and looked for an attendant. Finally someone came to the counter, but they insisted that we talk to someone at the service desk; they couldn't help us.

I went to the Delta service desk, and at this point I was livid. I spoke to the attendant (Regina P) and explained our problem. She smirked and said that we had to be at the gate 10 minutes before the plane left, and that this was documented on their web site (which I didn't visit, and I don't believe I'm obligated to read their entire website to fly, anyway) and on an insert which they USED TO put with the tickets.

We asked to speak to her supervisor. A woman at the desk who had been listening (Anita or Alita Roebuck) said she was the supervisor, and said she wouldn't help us either. We would have to PAY for an itinerary change. I raised my voice (I didn't shout, but I did raise my voice) and told her I wouldn't be paying Delta any more money. Marvin M, who was also at the service desk, at this point said he would call the police if I didn't calm down. I asked if he was going to call the police on me because my voice was raised, and he said yes.

I asked if they were going to do anything to help us, and they again told us we would have to pay to change the itinerary, and that it was our fault we missed the plane since we weren't there 10 minutes prior to the time listed on our ticket. I repeated that I would not be paying Delta any more money and left.

In short, we lost one day of our vacation because a Delta agent decided that we must have proof of citizenship, when the law, and apparently their policy, only indicated that proof of citizenship was preferred. We lost another day of our vacation, and were told we would have to pay for the privilege of flying the next day, when we arrived at the gate 7 minutes prior to any information we had available to us would indicate we needed to be there. It should have been obvious that we intended to board the plane - we were merely at a stopover; their records at the gate should have indicated that we were in transit and missing from the roster.

We did not receive what we paid for, and it was entirely at Delta's discretion that our travel plans were thwarted. I should insist on reimbursement for the rental car we used to get from Atlanta, where they stranded us, back home. However, all I do insist on is to be reimbursed for the travel we paid for, and which was denied us.

The amount of that reimbursement is $1,356.98.

I appreciate your prompt reply.

Bobby Martin


Blogger Debrah said...

Couldn't have said it better myself.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad Southwest Airlines doesn't fly there. You wonder why Delta isn't making any money.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Will Crowley said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Will Crowley said...

Wow... I mean wow. I felt myself getting WAY more pissed off than I should as I read that. I can't imagine the anger you must have experienced. I might've had a heart attack, and I'm not at risk at all.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude that sucks shit. I likley would have been arrested.

8:33 PM  

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