Saturday, August 9, 2014

Trying to Help Delta Airlines Do the Right Thing

Update: August 18, 2014.

From Delta:

Dear Ms. Cravens,

RE: Case Number 13176765

Thank you for your additional comments concerning our recent exchange of
email.  We try to be responsive when any problem is brought to our 
attention, and we regret you are disappointed with our reply.

To clarify we are not forcing passengers to keep a ticket or force you 
to fly on a ticket if you have a nonrefundable ticket which requires 
that you would have to pay the administrative service charge to make 
changes to your flight.that requires paying the change fee plus the 
difference in fare.

In order to effectively assist you with multi leg flight, please 
contact our International Reservations department and speak with one of 
our specially trained representatives. At this time, we are unable to 
address these types of requests via email.

Our Reservations department is available 24 hours a day at 800-241-4141 

End of original post

So, I called Delta. And went through automated call hell for 10 minutes. And then got a live person at reservations, who said:

"What's a case number? We don't deal with case numbers. We only deal with reservations numbers."

Breathe, Jayne. Breathe. Don't scream. DON'T SCREAM. 

I'm not going to lie: I was uncompromising, I was firm, I was absolute. I have told this story to Delta representatives FOUR TIMES, via phone, via email. Always the same response: it's our policy, you have to fly on Oct. 3, and again on Oct. 6. Nothing can be done. That's the way it is.

I kept asking for a reason beyond policy. I fully expected to hear: it's because, if your butt isn't in the seat, it will alter the space-time continuum. 

So, in the end... I'm paying $300 to not fly on a flight I've paid for on Oct. 3, and three flights I've paid for on Oct. 6. And then I fly home later in October, just like normal. 

Insane, I know. Delta makes $300 more for NO REASON. But I'm so desperate not to be made to fly more than 24 hours in 48 hours, I'll pay this bribe, this extortion, and then pay even more money to take a train on Oct. 3 from Amsterdam to stay with my inlaws. 

I still say: shame on you, Delta. Shame on you. But at least I'm not going to die from Deep Vein Thrombosis on Oct. 6.

Original post:

I'm having an issue with Delta airlines, detailed here. That previous blog also quotes the two responses I've gotten from Delta so far.

The problem in summary:

Months ago, my husband and I booked Delta flights for a vacation to Germany, flying from Portland, Oregon through Amsterdam, on Oct. 6, and flying home on Oct. 20.

Weeks ago, I was offered a two-month post with a very large international humanitarian agency in Kyiv, Ukraine to support its critical humanitarian relief efforts - and I am here now. My flights here to Ukraine, more than 20 hours, were via Delta and its partner carriers. I am booked to fly back to Portland Oregon, through Amsterdam, on Oct. 3.

The logical thing is for me to stop in Amsterdam on Oct. 3, as booked, but then not fly back to the USA, and just over two days later, get back on a plane and fly back to Europe - but to still get to use my already-booked and paid for flight on Oct. 20.

I'm trying again to explain to Delta what decent customer service looks like. Below is my latest email to them, sent just minutes ago to Kitty Whynn of Delta's Online Customer Support Desk:

Not only is flying more than 24 hours in less than 3 days completely unnecessary, not only is this inconvenient to do to a person, it's cruel and, potentially, deadly: long amounts of time sitting can lead to deep vein thrombosis, which can further lead to a pulmonary embolism, a potentially life-threatening complication caused by the detachment of a clot that travels to the lungs. Long flights can lead to this condition and cause death, as noted here:

Surely Delta cares about its customers, and
  • would never want to endanger their lives
  • realizes that forcing someone to fly more than 24 hours, completely unnecessarily, does not benefit the company and does not benefit the customer
  • understands that policies need to sometimes have exceptions for the health and safety of its customers: if the Captain turns the seatbelt sign on in a flight, but someone on the flight starts having health problems while that sign is on, people are going to violate that policy and help that person by standing up, despite the policy that everyone should remain seated because the seatbelt sign on. No one is going to start yelling, "Stop helping that person, our policy is that you have to stay seated now!"
  • understands that an exception to this policy of forcing people to fly on any ticket booked, in my particular and very exceptional case, is good for the company, good for the customer, and will not cost it any money at all whatsoever for Delta.
I do not want any refunds. All I want is to not be forced to fly more than 24 hours completely unnecessarily in just over two days.

Please respond to this email promptly and let me know ONE of the following; any one of the following answers is what is appropriate in this situation:
  • that Delta has realized there's no logical, sensible reason to force me to fly unnecessarily for more than 24 hours, that sometimes policies do have exceptions, and that Delta will let me stay in Amsterdam on Oct. 3 and make my own arrangements, at my own expense, to get to my destination in Germany on Oct. 3 from Amsterdam, and then will allow me fly on my already booked and paid for ticket on Oct. 20 back to the USA, and that this arrangement will in no way affect the tickets to and from Germany booked by my husband. 
  • that Delta is required by law to have me on the flights from Portland to Amsterdam on Oct. 6 and from Europe to Portland on Oct. 20 (please note the law by name and where I can find reference online), but because you are worried about my health, that you have upgraded me and my husband to first class for the flights on Oct. 6 and Oct. 20, because the health of your passengers is of vital importance to you, and you are mortified that I am being forced to fly more than 24 hours in just three days, completely unnecessarily, and are doing it only because you are legally required to do so. 
  • that forcing me to fly from Amsterdam to Portland on Oct. 3, then to fly from Portland back to Amsterdam on Oct. 6, benefits Delta, and please explicitly detail those benefits to your company in forcing me to fly more than 24 hours unnecessarily. I want a full, detailed explanation of why this will be good for Delta to have me on those flights - not just a "it's our policy" reply. I want to be able to tell the world exactly how forcing me to fly unnecessarily for more than 24 hours in less than 3 days is good for Delta, and I'm sure you will want to help me do that, if that is, indeed the case.

I am so looking forward to hearing from you.

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