Welcome to a weekly feature on the Eye of the Flyer blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
Delta has rules. They have partner rules. They have computer’s rules. Of these three, the first can sometimes be bent or broken. The second can sometimes be worked around. The last is, most times, just about a brick wall. Both rookies and frequent flyers need to know what we can get done when we ask and what to expect.
I am often asked about what things we can “get away” with at Delta. Some of them you will have to attend a “DO” to find out more about, but most I can freely share. Most of these are at the discretion of the rep, so your results will vary. Some are also dependent on your status or situation with Delta (face it, PM & DM do get better treatment)! So let’s get started:
1) At this point we should all know that when schedule change happens, you are in control and can ask for just about anything. Think before you speak and if you don’t like what is offered ask again and again if need be.
2) Next is when you take a bump. Ask for 1st class on the next flight. If they say there is none, fine, ask for the flight after that one. If you are delayed for a long time, be sure to ask for meal vouchers. If they are too small ask for more. Ask for Skyclub passes. If overnight, and you don’t like the hotel, ask for another. If you don’t like any of them ask for another ETV credit voucher and find your own hotel. If they say they cannot do these things ask for a Red Coat as all of these things are possible and YOU have just helped them out by giving up your seat for them.
3) You need 30 minutes minimum for a domestic connection. Now you and I all know 30 minutes in Atlanta, depending on where you come in and go out, is not near enough by a long shot. So, if you happen to have say 35 minutes or less, you may well be able to ask for a change under the illegal connection rule. If rep one will not, call back, rep two may.
4) So many complain, including phone reps, about the lack of low levels seats. Let’s say they can find all the seats, on this side of the planet and the other side of the planet, but the DELTA METAL flight over the water only had 1 seat open low level. Ask the rep to have a supervisor “oversell” the one extra seat at low level.
5) Ask for the help desk. If you have something that should work but is not working for some unknown reason, they can often override and get it done. This is not really a tweak of the rules, it is just getting the broken IT to do what it should be doing in the first place. If you KNOW you are right, the help desk can do much.
6) Waive change fees. There are many issues that may come up that are frustrating. Again, depending on your medallion level or what has happened, you can ask a phone rep, a twitter rep, a Skyclub rep, anyone to NOTE the record to waive the change fee and then call for a ticket reissue and tell them to check the notes in the record to not be charged the change fee (keep in mind there may be fare charges or taxes or more points if an award ticket).
7) Airport change. Most times, depending on how bad the schedule change is, you maybe be able to get a rep to change your outbound airport. Don’t get crazy but for me, Kalamazoo is close to South Bend and I can often get that change done. But, there have been changes as extreme as Louisville, Kentucky to South Bend (but those are rare)!
8 ) Unless you are GM+ you must pay a change fee to get on an earlier flight. However, try going to the gate of the earlier flight and just ask the gate agents if there is any space for standbys as you would love to take this earlier flight. But do keep in mind your luggage more than likely will not go on the earlier flight (so carryon would be good) but if getting home sooner is worth it you can try.
9) Here is one for international flights. Delta often has open seats in business class but you cannot get free upgrades even as a medallion. But, let’s say there is something wrong with your seats in coach, say a broken video or much worse, I am sure an upgrade would make you from an unhappy flyer to a happy one (tip if you ask for this in front of everyone else the answer will be NO)!
10) Last chance, nothing works, nothing is changed, you are stuck in the middle seat back row in coach and want to cry, then ask for an on-board drink voucher from the agent (before boarding) to drown your sorrows and still think well of Delta!
So here are some things that reps will maybe, sometimes do, things that are “outside” the rules. Obviously a bunch will play a part as to if any of the above will be allowed. Much of it is up to the individual reps and, to some degree, DYKWIA. Are there other rules you have had success in getting Delta to bend or break for you? – René
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