Her Delta Air Lines flight crew didn’t show up for work

Was her Delta Air Lines flight crew missing?

Deborah Glotzer showed up for her recent from Boston to Seattle. Her Delta Air Lines flight crew didn’t.

“Airport staff informed us that the reason for the cancellation was that the Delta Air Lines flight crew did not report for duty,” she says. “They were not reachable through any method of contact.”

This case is definitely one of the stranger reasons we’ve heard for a flight cancellation. Glotzer says after some delay, Delta reached the first officer, but not the pilot. No replacement flight crew could be assigned.

A missing Delta Air Lines flight crew

“After several more delays, the flight was canceled,” she says. “I consider these circumstances a dereliction of duty. Thus Delta’s responsibilities toward booked passengers differ from those in which flights are canceled due to issues related to weather or mechanical difficulty.”

Is she right?

In the explanation of airline passenger rights on its website, the Department of Transportation notes, “Contrary to popular belief, for domestic itineraries airlines are not required to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed or canceled.”

Even when your Delta Air Lines flight crew doesn’t show up.

Delta Air Lines contract of carriage

Delta’s contract of carriage, which you agree to when you buy a ticket from the airline, spells it out:

Delta will exercise reasonable efforts to carry passengers and their baggage according to Delta’s published schedules and the schedule reflected on the passenger’s ticket, but published schedules, flight times, aircraft type, seat assignments, and similar details reflected in the ticket or Delta’s published schedules are not guaranteed and form no part of this contract. Delta may substitute alternate carriers or aircraft, delay or cancel flights, change seat assignments, and alter or omit stopping places shown on the ticket at any time. Schedules are subject to change without notice. Except as stated in this rule, Delta will have no liability for making connections, failing to operate any flight according to schedule, changing the schedule for any flight, changing seat assignments or aircraft types, or revising the routings by which Delta carries the passenger from the ticketed origin to destination.

In the event of flight cancellation, diversion, delays of greater than 90 minutes, or delays that will cause a passenger to miss connections, Delta will (at passenger’s request) cancel the remaining ticket and refund the unused portion of the ticket and unused ancillary fees in the original form of payment in accordance with Rule 260 of these conditions of carriage. If the passenger does not request a refund and cancellation of the ticket, Delta will transport the passenger to the destination on Delta’s next flight on which seats are available in the class of service originally purchased. At Delta’s sole discretion and if acceptable to the passenger, Delta may arrange for the passenger to travel on another carrier or via ground transportation.

But how does this apply to Glotzer’s situation?

Here’s how the legalese above applies to Glotzer. Delta offered to put her on the “Delta’s next flight on which seats are available in the class of service originally purchased.”

But that reservation wouldn’t get her and her husband to Seattle until the next day. And they’d miss a planned meet-up with family members. So they declined.C

“I informed Delta via email of this decline,” she says. “I was unable to notify them via telephone. The estimated call back times posted on the Delta recorded message was too long. We would already be in transit.”

Then they made arrangements to fly other airlines that would get them to Seattle sooner.

Through the help of our travel agent, we were able to rebook on a combination of United and Alaska flights via San Francisco that allowed us to arrive in Seattle approximately eight hours later than the original plans, and though not ideal, allowed us to coordinate with the family member. The costs for this revised itinerary totaled $3,308 (flights $1,294 X 2, baggage fees $110 X 2, travel agent fees $70 X 2).

I can’t help but wonder why travel agent didn’t have a way to reach Delta’s customer service more quickly. That travel agent should have been able to clarify the situation for the couple.

their Delta’s obligation

But that didn’t happen. And now she’d like the airline to reimburse her for her additional costs. Which, as noted above, it has no legal obligation to do.

Delta did reimburse the frequent flyer miles she used to buy the original tickets. Additionally, the airline gave her 20,000 miles more, refunded the baggage fees and give her about $500 in vouchers. But should Delta have done more as a goodwill gesture?

Should Delta have offered Glotzer more compensation?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


10 thoughts on “Her Delta Air Lines flight crew didn’t show up for work

  1. A full refund, more miles, and $500 in funny money isn’t bad for a one day delay. Not quite what the European rule would provide, but not bad.

  2. Why would you think that a travel agent has a magic number to contact any airline, when there are back logs on the whole system? Why would you suggest that sweet talking an airlines works? The airline agent are already over worked under the delayed situations, and if they could do something, wouldn’t they do it for all the customer? I am not understanding the logic here?

  3. Here’s something I learned while stranded in Fort Lauderdale trying to fly back to PHX on SW. Another passenger suggested asking the ticket agent that since our flight was cancelled were there any other SW flights going WEST. Perhaps he could put us on a SW flight going to Dallas, Denver, somewhere West and possibly from that point, he could get us on a SW flight to PHX. The agent got us on a flight to Austin. It landed at 1AM. We spent the night in the airport (nice airport, by the way, quiet and clean) and we caught the 6AM flight to PHX. We landed 8 hours behind our original schedule. We were happy!

  4. A couple of years ago, my wife and I were scheduled on a Delta flight to Tampa from RDU for a special Dance cruise. There were several other couples that were part of our group scheduled on the same flight. It was a direct flight that was supposed to get us there by 10AM so that we could board the ship late that afternoon. However, the LIGHT in the one restroom was out. Because the light was out, the flight was initially delayed. After 2 hours of waiting for someone to check it, the pilot made the decision to cancel the flight, and Delta told us they would fly us the next day. We tried other airlines, but no one could get us there in time for the cruise.
    I sent multiple letters to Delta, eventually searching online for the email addresses for executives. I did end up getting some very nice letters of apology, 25000 miles added to my Frequent flier account (and my wife’s), and a nice gift basket, but it obviously did not make up for losing out on a week long cruise that cost several thousand dollars, nor for the months of dance practice preparing for the cruise.
    As an engineer, I understand the logic, for while it was just a light on the surface, it could have been a sign of a larger electrical issue that without investigation, was a safety issue. My problem was that when the first hint of problems occurred, we talked with the agents at the desk and they kept assuring us that it would only be a short delay. And even when we begged for them to move us, they basically would not help until they officially cancelled the flight, and by then it was too late. The sad part was that couples that took a much later flight all made it there on time, but those of us that opted to take the earliest flight to give ourselves extra time did not.

  5. actually – we DO have special numbers not available to the public- but when ff tix are booked, the airlines are not going to pay to put you on another carrier, so should always pad your time – or settle for the next flight with space available

  6. There are all kinds of ‘levels’ of customer service. “Whole system backlog” only refers to the ‘public system’. Elite flyers and travel agencies have access to far better CS than the masses, including overt problem solving. And ‘sweet-talking’ is a very viable term when it comes to dealing with an airline. So often asking nicely will get you a good long way. Fortunately, most people are so busy screaming and demanding that those of us who are ‘nice’ are able to get some decent CS quite often.

  7. Article didn’t say the entire flight crew. It was clear they couldn’t find a captain…one person. And an “entire flight crew” isn’t 10 people on a domestic flight.

  8. Flying to get to a cruise leaving the same day is always risky. Literally anything can delay a flight. If you are flying to a cruise, go a day early so something like this isn’t a dealbreaker. Make it part of your vacation.

  9. Again, you are reading this incorrectly, and you are significantly off on the composition of a flight crew.

Comments are closed.

Underwritten by

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

%d bloggers like this:
Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.