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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.
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.
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.