Is Delta Always This Awesome?

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Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, we have had to cancel our kid-free weekend trip to San Diego. Thank you to all who gave recommendations for that trip, I have saved all of them for when we eventually get to reschedule.

Even though we don’t live directly on the Texas coast, with the insane rainfall predictions they were talking about it, didn’t feel right to leave grandparents and our two little kids here to battle potential flood waters, drainage issues, electricity issues, and more while we jetted off to enjoy the California coast. It was not fun at all making the call to cancel the trip based on ever-changing forecasts, but even though the storm has jogged a little further south than they were saying when we made the decision, I think it was the right call.

The major US airlines pretty much all had proactive weather waivers issued for days in advance of the hurricane, but technically speaking they didn’t allow for just any sort of change. In United’s case they allowed for free changes to your travel as long as you kept the origin and departure cities the same and traveled by August 30th. Sadly, because of kid coverage, school, and work commitments we couldn’t just delay our trip a few days. If we couldn’t go over the weekend, we simply couldn’t go.

I knew that the airlines wouldn’t just proactively refund our non-refundable tickets as that usually is only an option if they cancel or significantly delay your specific flight, but I really hoped they would just let us cancel and get a credit to use towards a future flight. We had a few different tickets pieced together for this trip, so first I sent United a direct message on Twitter with our situation to see if they could help. Hours later they hadn’t responded, so I called and after a brief hold I was told they could indeed cancel and give us a credit to use towards a future flight.

As soon as I hung up with them I went to use the credit as we needed to fly Josh home the next day from LAX in advance of the weather, and their online system was trying to charge me a $200 change fee in order to use the credit. This is what I was trying to avoid when I called, so I wasn’t thrilled to have accomplished essentially nothing on the first call. The next lady I talked to said that I couldn’t just change cities and use the credit towards whatever I wanted, but after another hold she essentially said that I could. She then helped me use one of the credits to book Josh home the next day from LAX and said that the remaining portion of that credit would be mailed to us within a couple of weeks.

I then logged on to check Josh into his flight that was now within 24 hours, but the system said I couldn’t because the flight was not within 24 hours. Turns out, she had booked it for two days out, not the next day. By this point it was way passed dinnertime, my kids were starving, and I couldn’t afford a third call to United to try and fix this, so I just did what I could online, paid an additional $66 to move the flight to the correct date, and got him checked in.

While I am grateful that United was allowing some changes in light of the hurricane, the process took a bunch of time, multiple phone calls, cost more than it needed to, and still isn’t complete as I have another outstanding credit from my outbound flight that I will need to call about as it is also still trying to charge the $200 change fee to use the credit if I don’t keep the cities the same and travel by August 30th.

Since Josh was working in Los Angeles this week, but we were going to meet in San Diego on Friday, I used the $100 statement credit on a Delta purchase in the first 3 months on my Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express I got earlier this summer to offset some of the cost his one-way flight within California. Obviously, neither Los Angeles or San Diego are impacted by Hurricane Harvey, so I figured this flight may be one part of the trip that we just lose.

As a shot in the dark, I sent @Delta a direct message on Twitter explaining the situation and asking if there was anything we could do as opposed to just letting the flight go to waste. Within about 15 minutes they had written back that it was all taken care of with no problems and we have a credit to use towards a future flight.

Are you serious?!

I didn’t have to call. I didn’t have to call a second or third time. These were cities that weren’t even under a weather waiver, and yet I got no grief, didn’t have to beg for mercy, and it was all taken care of so quickly and easily.

Is Delta always this awesome?

I’ve flown Delta several times this year on non-stops from Houston to Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and LaGuardia, and I’ve had a good experience every single time. Their frequent flyer program isn’t my all-time favorite, though it actually has some real strengths, but if working with them is usually this simple I will continue to book with them as often as it makes sense.

Atlanta Terminal B Delta Sky Club

I vastly prefer to resolve my airline issues online rather than deal with the hold times and uncertainty that comes from phone conversations, and Delta is known as one of the best for addressing customer service issues through Direct Message on Twitter. A huge thank you to the Delta Twitter team for making it so easy to get help when our trip went belly-up. I didn’t have to spend any extra time or energy dealing with that flight segment, but because the process was so easy it left me feeling encouraged that we had a credit to use in the future rather than beat down by the process.

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Good luck to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and I’d love to hear if you have similar Delta stories!

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. I think San Diego is cursed. My wife and I had TWO separate weekend trips there planned a couple years ago cancelled because of snow/ice storms (in Arkansas). Still haven’t made it out there!

    Glad Delta was helpful!

  2. I hate what Delta has done to their loyalty program but I have to say they are by far the best airline in the US. I am based on a Delta hub and fly over 100k miles per year with them. No complaints at all from my side. I feel sorry for you to have to fly United. 🙂

  3. Why would you booked any flight with miserable united in a first place? Can’y you learn from someone else’s experience?

    • Maybe bc MP has/had elite status & experience with them? Could be like in my case, I used UA exclusively many years ago for business travel (live in a UA hub) and it feels like family (albeit, sour cousin at times LOL) whenever I book with them today (though I do not use them too much anymore).

  4. Yes, they are. Certainly Delta is not perfect but their agents and Twitter team are top notch. Add some Medallion status and they shine even more.
    As for SkyMiles, despite no published award chart, I’ve found their low level availability TATL to be as good as United(especially way out) and light years better than American(think BA and their gourmand surcharges). SkyMiles often gets a bad rap.

  5. Delta’s Twitter team has been amazing for me. My husband and I were booked on two separate award tickets last winter to Stockholm. We were delayed for two hours on the first leg from Orlando, just sitting on the tarmac. My husband and I kept getting messages via the app and email that we would miss our connection and that we had been rebooked – on separate flights! We had zero luck changing flights in the app and I couldn’t get through via phone, so I sent a desperate DM via Twitter and hoped for the best. By the time we landed in Detroit, we both had confirmed seats (together) for the next outgoing flight to Copenhagen, while many of our fellow passengers were standby. We eventually made it to Stockholm on a later flight after about 20 hours total travel time. Our baggage made it three days later. Even though it was an overseas carrier on the last leg, Delta gave us each flight credits and also reimbursed us for our clothing purchases. Amazing customer service.

  6. This has nothing to do with flight changes, but two weeks ago our family took the red eye in coach from Honolulu to Minneapolis on Delta. Aside from the in seat entertainment, the first snack service included complimentary beer and wine, we were all given an in flight meal, and a full bottle of water before lights out.
    An hour before landing, they came though again with a small breakfast service.
    It was a very pleasant, unexpected surprise. I felt like we were treated as guests rather than a herd of cattle. It definitely made me want to book with them again in the future and recommend so to others as well.

  7. I’m giving Delta some love this week too. Last Saturday, we were supposed to fly to Athens via JFK. My SO was sick and half-collapsed in line while trying to board and ended up in the ER (inner ear infection). The gate agents were awesome and very kind.

    We had to cancel the trip, so the next day, I called Delta to see what we could do. They wanted the hospital and doctor’s name, but that was all. It was first put through as a refund request, but I got the email today telling me they had approved it. Delta fully refunded to the original credit card both of our non-refundable tickets, even though we had already flown the first leg to JFK! And every agent I interacted with was very sympathetic and said they hoped he was okay, right down to the email from an actual human being. I haven’t had customer service that good in a long time.

  8. To answer your question, yes, Delta is always that awesome. As a Delta Diamond Medallion they bend over backwards to help me. This week I landed in LAX on a Virgin Australia ticket with a seven hour connection to BOS. I asked in the lounge if I could go to NYC instead as there was a flight leaving in a half hour: sure no problem. I had an award booked with Skymiles on Westjet in February for BOS-YVR that had a schedule change giving me a 5 hour layover in YYZ. About a week after I got the email, Delta called me to proactively change my tickets to something with a better connection… Opening up inventory for 4 seats on whatever Delta metal flights I wanted that day!

    Yes, Skymiles has some MAJOR shortcomings. (I have all but given
    up using them for anything other than North America Y seats for any value. Forget J, anywhere.) But, Delta’s service is fantastic especially to Diamonds.

    • I’m a delta diamond and their customer service is hands-down the best in the industry. They have bailed me out of numerous problems and will stand on their head to help make things right. They blow the other airlines away.

  9. This situation is not unusual. Delta’s customer service is superb. They take care of their customers. Granted, their Skymiles program leaves something to be desired. However, if you look early enough and hard enough and are willing to take a positioning flight occasionally, you can usually get to where you want to go.

  10. I recently had a similar positive experience. Flight delayed for 6+ hours due to mechanical issues so we decided to drive so we wouldn’t miss our event. Called Delta from the road and there was a supposedly 2+ hour wait for help, so I left my number. They called back in 2 with a no-questions-asked refund (even though the plane hadn’t taken off yet) and compensation for our troubles. Great experience.

  11. I think DL is learning from KLM that twitter is so much easier and quicker to handle customer requests. I wonder if other sky team members do the same on twitter?

  12. We had a positive experience with Delta yesterday. 4 of us (2 adults and 2 kids) were flying back from Madrid to Atlanta yesterday but the pilot had to make a precautionary landing in Boston due to a mechanical issue with one of the engines. An inspection in Boston revealed a bigger problem and we had to deplane in Boston.
    Delta handled this disruption flawlessly in my opinion
    – A quick call to Delta got us on to another direct flight to our final destination
    – The ground staff rebooked and rechecked bags and gave us $15 meal vouchers each (total 60)
    – Got an apology email from customer service today morning along with $75 in travel vouchers (total $300)
    I don’t have any status with delta and wasn’t even crediting my miles from this trip to their FF program. Kudos to delta for setting the bar higher amongst the US carriers.

  13. United’s horrible customer service convinced me to switch all of my personal travel to Delta, even though I live in a United hub. That was one of the best travel decisions I’ve ever made. Delta goes out of its way to make its customers happy. Whether on Twitter, over the phone, or at a Sky Club, all of the customer service I’ve received from Delta has been phenomenal, including changes related to Harvey. When difficulties arise, they take care of things, keep you happy, and often go beyond what you would expect them to do. With United, I expected that I would be out of luck if unexpected situations arose (because that’s what happened many times). With Delta, I travel with the confidence that they will take care of me and help me through unexpected difficulties that I encounter. Even with Delta’s poor points program, they definitely get my business.

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