One of my family members shared this rather interesting story with me.
Delta Medallion elite status members receive four coupons each year that may each be redeemed for a complimentary adult beverage on a Delta or Delta Connection flight. (At least, trips that actually feature cabin service.) The coupons are loaded digitally into the Fly Delta app. Flight attendants use handheld devices to scan and verify the QR codes embedded on the tickets when presented onboard.
I usually end up sitting in Comfort+ or First Class — where alcoholic beverages are complimentary. So when I partake in an airborne happy hour, my drinks are often free. No coupon is required.
That leaves me with a drink ticket surplus. Many other Medallions encounter the same situation. Some generous Medallions contact me directly and we pool our resources to give away Delta drink tickets here on the blog during an occasional contest.
Because Delta generously extended drink ticket expiration dates from last year, both my wife and I had a bunch of free drinks sitting in our virtual wallets.
We took screenshots of the coupons and gave most of them away. Several were prizes here on the blog. Some went to a couple of my clients who either don’t have Delta status or are Silvers and rarely get upgraded, even to C+. A few drink coupons were given to friends and family when they took Delta trips.
I never heard of any encountering problems screenshots of Delta drink tickets.
At least, until a few weeks ago.
”I’m Just Doing My Job”
This experience occurred to one of my family members. Let’s call her Aunt Abigail (not her real name; I generally protect the identity of the poor souls related to me).
Aunt Abby flew roundtrip from Orange County (SNA) to Salt Lake City (SLC) to visit her daughter and son-in-law, who are expecting their first child very soon. (For the record, I have December 19 in the Guess-the-Baby’s-Birthdate pool.)
My wife and I sometimes send Aunt Abby a drink ticket before her trips. She enjoys a white wine or Tip-Top Margarita during the quick-ish hops between SNA and SLC. (She also holds a Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card to save money on her first checked bag and because it gets her Main Cabin 1 boarding — even on Basic Economy tickets. But Southwest could earn Aunt Abby’s business pretty soon. And with that, so might Chase.)
Abigail ordered a white wine split on her flight home a few weeks ago. She diligently had her drink coupon screenshot ready. Business as usual.
Until the Delta flight attendant said she couldn’t accept a screenshot.
“Really?” Aunt Abby told me she asked the flight attendant. “I mentioned to her that my niece and nephew are whatever level Medallions, usually give me drink tickets, and there’s never been a problem using them before.”
She told me the flight attendant said, “I’m sorry, I’m just doing my job.”
This is very much worth stressing: Aunt Abby said the conversation’s tone never became contentious or snotty. No one got snappy, snippy, or rude. The flight attendant was polite.
Abby said she asked the flight attendant if she wouldn’t mind please just trying to scan the screenshot.
“I told her if the drink ticket didn’t work that I’d pay for the wine. And yes,” she added with a wry grin my way, “with my Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.” (Here’s what and why she knew I’d ask.)
The flight attendant scanned the drink coupon. Whaddya know? It worked!
Delta Policy on Drink Tickets
Was the flight attendant really doing her job? Or was this some onboard SHENA?
Truth be told, it looks like the flight attendant was correct. But there’s some murky wording pertaining to beverage vouchers.
On Delta.com, it says, “Duplicated vouchers will not be accepted.” Screenshots probably are considered duplicates.
Plus, in-flight beverage vouchers “cannot be sold or bartered, transferred…”
Technically, I guess, I transferred the vouchers to Aunt Abby (and others when regifting the coupons to them).
But here’s where things get weird.
The Fly Delta app states, “Voucher must be printed when flying on Delta Connection carriers operated on an aircraft without a First Class cabin.” (Looking at you, CRJ-200s.) But a few sentences below that, there’s wording reading, “Duplicated or altered vouchers will not be accepted.”
But isn’t a printed copy considered a duplicate?
(Interestingly, the app doesn’t say anything about prohibiting the transfer of drink coupons.)
So which is it?
We asked Delta for a comment. We’ll let you know if they provide us with one.
Has This Happened to You?
There have been times I sat in Main Cabin and used drink tickets for myself and/or a travel companion. On a couple of occasions, flight attendants’ hand-held scanners didn’t work. Even when I reached for my wallet — with the drink already on the tray table — the flight attendants just waved their hands and basically said, “Meh, don’t worry about it. Cheers.” So, there doesn’t really seem to be any hard and fast rule enforcement when it comes to drink coupon enforcement.
That said, have you ever experienced any drink ticket issues because you used a screenshot or a printed copy? Delta flight attendants who read the blog: what’s your take on this? Please share in the below Comments section!
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
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