Should Delta pay for my extra night in New York?

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When Cecilia Dobrin’s flight is changed by her airline, she has to spend the night in New York. Does the airline owe her anything?

Question: I’m a big fan of yours, and I am hoping you can help me with this problem. Many months ago, I booked a trip from Minneapolis to Milan on Delta using my frequent flier miles. I’m flying through New York and Amsterdam on Sept. 9, and returning Sept. 17. I was scheduled to come back to the John F. Kennedy International Airport around 4 p.m. from Italy, and then catch a 6:30 p.m. flight home to Minneapolis.

I received an email from Delta in March indicating that there was a change in aircraft, to a regional jet. Although I prefer larger planes, I had no choice and made note of the plane change. The time of return was not affected.

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A few days ago, I checked my itinerary, as I always do when I have a trip coming up. Everything looked correct until I saw the details for my return flight to Minneapolis. To my complete astonishment, I noticed that the final flight from New York to Minneapolis was changed. I would not even be back from Italy in enough time to catch that plane.

I spoke with a representative from Delta, and asked why I had been booked on a flight that was impossible for me to use. She told me she didn’t know why the airline had done that and apologized. I also was upset that I had not even been sent a notice from Delta about the change.

I quickly had to rebook a flight going out the next day and reserve a hotel in New York for my husband and myself. This involves the added expense of the hotel, cabs and food that I was not anticipating.

I don’t think that changing my flight so that I had no recourse but to incur these expenses is fair. I’m lucky I happened to find the error so that I had time to make these arrangements, but I do feel Delta owes me some kind of reimbursement for over $500 in expenses I now have to add to my trip because of its mistake.

I tried contacting Delta’s department regarding customer complaints and got nowhere. I have been a loyal member of its Skymiles program for many years. Can you help me get at least some compensation for this? — Cecilia Dobrin, Minneapolis

Answer: You might have booked your flight too early. Airlines typically publish their schedules 330 days in advance, but they update them every quarter. The changes usually are minor, but sometimes they can be significant. If the carrier doesn’t have your email address or a working phone number, you might not find out about a change until it’s too late. It’s yet another reason to confirm your itinerary online before you leave for the airport.

I understand you were redeeming your frequent flier miles, and seat availability can be scarce on some routes, which is why you have to plan ahead. But when you do that, you run the risk of a significant schedule change.
Here’s what should have happened: As you are a loyal frequent flier, Delta should have had all of your contact information and let you know about the schedule change. The airline should have offered you choices for fixing your flight plans instead of waiting until you discovered the new schedule by accident.

But as someone who flies Delta regularly, you should know that schedules are subject to change and that your original booking was really more of a suggested itinerary.

When an airline changes one of its flights, it normally offers either an alternate flight of its choosing or a full refund. If you still want to take this vacation, you’ll have to deal with the new itinerary. Still, Delta’s “Customer Commitment” — a nonbinding promise to its passengers — suggests it should do more.

For example, it says the airline will “provide hotel accommodations at Delta contracted facilities, based on availability, if you are inconvenienced overnight while away from your home or destination due to a delay, misconnect or cancellation within Delta’s control.”

A schedule change is definitely within Delta’s control.

The airline offered to return your frequent flier miles, which didn’t really work for you. I contacted Delta on your behalf, and it agreed to cut you a check for $125, as long as you sent it a receipt for your hotel. That’s a much better offer, but I still think Delta can do better.

When you land in New York, find the service desk and explain that you’re delayed overnight because of a schedule change. A representative may be able to find a flight that will get you home earlier, or offer you a voucher for a nearby hotel.

Did Delta do enough for Cecilia Dobrin?

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227 thoughts on “Should Delta pay for my extra night in New York?

  1. It is difficult for me to accept $500 as being reasonable for expenses in making an overnight connection in New York. Even if the connection were so long as to reasonable require a hotel, it should not require $500 for one room. I also see no reason for paying for taxis: many hotels have complimentary shuttles, and other hotels are accessible from AirTrain or other transportation for at most $5 per person; and if arriving at JFK and departing from LaGuardia the airport bus is only $13 per person. To me, and without more justifying details, this sounds more like trying to take advantage of a night in midtown with Delta Air Lines being asked to pick up the full tab. The response of Delta in offering $125 appears to be a more reasonable amount.

    1. I was also wondering where the “$500 in expenses” comes from. A nice hotel in Manhattan? Sure! But a night in an airport hotel isn’t going to run anywhere near that much. It’ll probably be more than $125, but the OP needs to do some actual research instead of asking for a crazy amount.

      1. She just wanted to cheat Delta and get more than the standard package everyone else would get. That’s why she said she was a fan of Chris. She knew how to work the system.

    2. Delta definitely owes OP a hotel-with-meals night, but why shouldn’t it be at one of their pre-contracted accommodations that are set up for situations like this? Had Delta made her such an offer in good faith, it could have avoided vague claims for large amounts of money. But no.

    3. That was my thought too. AirTrain and a JFK Hotel would run much closer to $125 than $500. I’ve done that myself. I do think Delta should put her up if the schedule change resulted in an overnight stay. But not a taxi to the city and a posh times square hotel, which can still be had for less than $500.

      1. Hmm… maybe there is a more crazy scenario.
        Ignore the schedule change and arrive at JFK. DL and AZ will be forced to re-accommodate you since EC261 applies also (in addition to COC).
        Then calculate the # hours you were delayed reaching MSP after you get home (I guess that would be at least 12 hrs) and then file for EC261 compensation.
        This might work 🙂

        Of course the better way was to have DL re-route you on the AMS/CDG direct flight. But that would be too nice of Delta.

        1. EC261 applies also

          On what basis would it apply?

          Q:I have been told that my flight is now operating at a different time than I when I originally made the booking. The airline says this is because of a “schedule change”. I am due a refund or compensation?

          A: Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in four specified circumstances. Unfortunately the Regulation makes no reference to schedule changes. As a result these are usually governed by the terms and conditions agreed to at booking.

          http://www.aviationreg.Ie/air-passenger-rights/faqs.213.html

          1. I believe the 4 circumstances where compensation is applicable under EU261 are: Cancellation, Delay, Denied Boarding, and Downgrading.

            Maybe you have inside information that the rest of us are not privy to, but I don’t see where the article references any of these 4 circumstances.

          2. It is NOT the compensation per se. EC261 gives carriers an OUT, that is what applies here.

            My idea of CRAZY was for the pax to claim it when she arrives in JFK and gets “stranded”. Of course YMMV since the airline will say they informed you more than 2 weeks earlier.

        2. Doesn’t sound as if she asked them at the time about hotel, but decided to do on her own and THEN go back to them for monies. NOT the way to handle it.

          1. Yes, that’s what it sounds like. She could have asked for a STPC but she never said she did. I think she rebooked and got a hotel in Manhattan. That’s it.

          2. That is exactly what she did. All she needed was a clean and safe room which she could have gotten for $150 or so. And yes, I live in the area and know the hotels in the area and there are refurbished hotels that meet that description for less than $200.

    4. $125 really is too low in the area, there are some hotels that are just not really safe in the area. Upping it another $25 – $50 would get a safe hotel. But certainly not $500, that is ridiculous.

      1. As I noted elsewhere in this discussion, there are at least two respectable hotel brands (Quality Inn and Super 8) located near the Jamaica AirTrain station for which I found room rates for next week under $125. Of course, “safe” is an amorphous term (and which is continuous, not discrete), but with the regular building inspections conducted here in NYC, I would not worry that much about a hotel catching fire or falling down.

        1. I wouldn’t stay at either of those – the walk from the Air Train is not the best area to be walking through with luggage.

          1. This area–Jamaica–is the center is the center of all Queens County. I’ve worked here for years, and live close by. It is a very busy and secure commercial and residential area (according to NYPD crime statistics for
            January through August 2014, Jamaica has an overall crime rate lower
            than most parts of Manhattan below Central Park). It is an excellent place to stay, not only because of the proximity to the Jamaica AirTrain station, but also that it has stores and restaurants that one can easily walk to and patronize while staying there (unlike many of the other airport hotels along Conduit Avenue with little commercial or pedestrian activity). To say that Jamaica is “not the best area” hurts people who’ve invested their lives and careers here.

            Why do you think this area where I’ve been for so many years is not “the best area”?

    5. Airport hotels aren’t cheap–I once stayed at The Hilton from Saturday to Mon and the rate was $189 a night. Yes, I tried other hotels that seemed like they would be cheaper (Garden Inn, Courtyard), but they were actually more expensive ($200+ a night).

      Second, this woman might not have known about the free shuttles, or worse, booked a hotel that didn’t offer one–remember, this change in itinerary came as a surprise to her and her goal was simply to find accommodation for one night.

      Third, there are no restaurants within walking distance of these hotels and we ALL know that hotel food is overpriced. Even if she did make use of a hotel shuttle from / to the airport terminal, she’d have needed the cabs to travel to a restaurant and back and NY cabs aren’t cheap either.

      Would all this have amounted to $500? Probably not, but I’d be surprised if she got away with a total bill of less than $300, which means $125 is lame compensation.

      1. Where I’m especially sympathetic is when a last-minute travel interruption might require an on-the-spot decision about where to stay, and without the benefit of being able to consider the various options in an organized analytical manner. It may well be that only the big brand names come to mind, and as you’ve noted, they’re preying on that ignorance by charging relatively high rates. Here, however, I don’t think this was a last minute decision on where to stay, but a calculated move to enjoy an expensive hotel.

        I noted in a prior post in this discussion that one of the advantages of staying at a hotel near the Jamaica AirTrain station is that there are stores and restaurants within easy walking distance, as compared to the airport hotels located along Conduit Avenue that are indeed rather isolated. I will disagree as to the expense of NYC taxis. In comparison with other cities, NYC taxis are either on par or slightly less expensive than elsewhere. Nonetheless, taxis are more expensive than walking or using public transportation, and large taxi fares can add up quickly.

        I think if she had asked for $200 instead of $500, she might well have received it without Delta Air Lines trying to bargain her down to $125. Even so, she would had to eat regardless of any travel disruption, so the fact that $125 might not have covered all the “expenses” I think it is still reasonable.

        1. You’re assuming that a stranger to the city is gonna know about hotels in Jamaica, as opposed to hotels closer to the airport; I don’t think that’s a fair assumption.

          I just Google’d “hotels at JFK Airport” and all of the hits on the first page are either booking engines (Expedia; booking.com) or websites for the hotels along Conduit Avenue (Radisson, Hilton, Hampton, Marriott Courtyard). I’m sure subsequent pages would show hotels near the Jamaica AirTrain station, but if you’re in a hurry, you’re gonna start with the closer options…

  2. I had a similar event happen to me at JFK in April, but managed to spend significantly less than this couple did. I booked an airport hotel (not the cheapest), took the hotel shuttle to and from the hotel and had a room service meal and spent about $200.00, most of which was reimbursed to me. This couple appears to have gone overboard in their spending for one night. When a passenger experiences a forced overnight due to an unexpected event within the airline’s control the airline should provide accommodations or reimburse reasonable expenses. Over $500 is not reasonable when there are many hotels in the JFK area that have complimentary shuttles and are usually much more reasonably priced. I do not think the airline should pay all her expenses here.

  3. $500 Overnight in JFK??? She’s full of it.
    Btw, what were those supposed impossible connecting flight times. Why no details. Are we to assume her story is 100% true?

    1. Maybe there were only regional jets that night and a mainline the next morning. She doesn’t like regional jets. I have never seen an airline not re-accommodate someone using miles on their own flights due to a schedule change. On another carrier, its much harder to do.

      1. I looked it all up. True on the CRJs (DL regionals) but once in a while DL throws their own larger metal for that route (not a regional). However, DL had been cutting back on the evening sched for the route. They did remove the daily or regular 6PMs early in 2014 and kept a few ones till around the summer and till around August. Come Sept NADA.

        Remember the inbound intl segment is Alitalia (DL codeshared) which has a weird sched for connection. IMO that flight is really intended for NYC terminating paxs since by the time you get out of customs it will be near 6PM, I imagine. The only thing going for that flight is you don’t have to leave Italy too early in the morning 🙂

        Anyway, if you do things by the book, this would not be a story. As you said, even if this was an award ticket, she would have been re-accommodated according to the rules and law. But she (volunatarily) rebooked her itinerary herself and expected the same (or a lot more) benefits one gets for IROPS 🙂 Then she expects to have a luxurious night in Manhattan. Oh dear.

  4. I’m slightly confused. If the entire trip was one itinerary, as it seems to be “a trip from Minneapolis to Milan on Delta”, then this should’ve been a no-brainer, and it would be clearly on Delta to either find a connecting flight with sufficient time to make the connection in JFK, or pay for the hotel room themselves.

    It almost sounds like the inbound trip, and the connecting flight out of JFK were booked as separate itineraries. In which case Delta owes them nothing.

    1. Even more fascinating is this was supposed to have been AWARD tickets. How does one quickly rebook them without knowing of very long layovers ahead of time ?
      This one played the Elliott system.

      1. Having reread the sob story, I’m now certain that the flight segments were separate bookings, they took the option to cancel the connecting flight in exchange for returning the miles, booked a new flight themselves, and now want cash from Delta for the hotel.

        It’s the only explanation that agrees with the contents of Elliott’s postscriptum.

      2. I don’t see that she played anyone. Delta’s new schedule forced them to make a change, for which they re-booked and stayed the night. The only “ahead of time” here was Delta not sending the new schedule.

        1. Sorry but I don’t think you understand how a schedule change works and what your options are with a paid or award ticket.
          If you do not like your schedule change you might have to refund the ticket or work out a different itinerary (reissue ticket).
          But you don’t get to force the airline into an STPC situation after the fact like this one.

          1. I was responding to your statements: “How does one quickly rebook them without knowing of very long layovers ahead of time ?” and “This one played the Elliott system”.

            Of course she was aware of the layover because she booked it herself. And the $500 could include additional cost of airfare (award or otherwise). She wants cash – that’s not playing Chris IMO.

          2. She would get NOTHING MORE unless she plays the advocacy game.
            Is that too hard for you to understand?

          3. I understand her request perfectly. It’s your version of events and assignment of motive that I reject …

          4. This is not about agreement/disagreement (at least for me). You make statements as if they were fact, when in fact, that are not or we don’t know. If you qualified them as your opinion, then yes we could disagree.

          5. Again that is only your opinion.
            I looked up her flights like she said.
            Did you bother to do any research before you shoot your mouth or bang on the keyboard?

          6. I don’t need to do research to compare your words to that of the OP.
            Clearly, you don’t read your own words.

      3. Ahead of what time? She booked her ticket almost a year in advance and there was no layover then.

        So you think she should have cancelled her whole itinerary, gotten back her (probably) 120,000 miles for 2 saver award tickets reserved nearly a year in advance, and spent something like $5,000+ out of pocket on brand new last minute tickets?

          1. Do you remember any of the rules you’ve highlighted yourself before?

            She had a broken connection at JFK.

            If she didn’t rebook, and Delta played hardball, she could be stuck at JFK indefinitely until 2 award seats miraculously materialized.

            If she does rebook to avoid that possibility, then you think she deserves nothing.

          2. Believe me I know DL rules since I sell their tickets.
            You don’t think I have to work for my clients when things like this happens?
            Your conclusions are yours alone. I don’t share them.

          3. You don’t think I have to work for my clients when things like this happens?

            I thought you said rules were rules.

            If you can dare to ask Delta to bend its rules for your clients, then Chris doesn’t deserve your outrage when he asks Delta to bend its rules for passengers who come to him for help.

          4. Their rights? What rights do they have with an award ticket? [Note: you claimed they were notified “way in advance”]

          5. Have had the same happy for honeymooners. Flight was now a misconnect, so had Delta them put them overnight in LA, pay for the hotel Delta could book and fly them out in the AM. BUT it had to be done with a rep, and asking for the option BEFORE changing just the ticket.

          6. My sister and BIL were on DL Award/Upgrades but their 3 kids weren’t and DL offered each of them (5 pax) one room each in Nagoya, Japan because the crew became illegal and could not continue flying. The hotels for BC paxs were different from those in coach. She complained because she did not want her kids on a different hotel. Delta put all of them in the same hotel for the BC. 🙂 Delta is actually a very good carrier for IROPS.
            Readers here should not get the wrong impression.

          7. If you DIY, then you are on your own. Look how many need help just with this site. Not hard to see that it isn’t as easy as many think it should be when things go south.
            Also, what I posted to LIndabator is a saying within out industry.

          8. In all fairness, it seems that most people who ask for help on this site use a third party site (like Expedia or Travelocity) or have unreasonable demands.

          9. BUT it had to be done with a rep, and asking for the option BEFORE changing just the ticket

            But how dare we ask a rep to do anything that isn’t guaranteed by the rules? You are gaming the system!

          10. What happened to the rest of the 70+ passengers on the cancelled DL flight? Do they all need Chris or just this one? 🙂

          11. The article doesn’t refer to a cancellation. Chris refers to “the new schedule” which implies a schedule change.

            Regardless, how many of those 70+ passengers could not be re-accommodated without an unwanted layover? All of them deserve help IMHO.

          12. I’m not sure what she meant by: I noticed that the final flight from New York to Minneapolis was changed… did the time just changed or was she given a new flight # for the 4PM flight. Anyway for her the result is the same. It would be a miss connection.

    2. it would be clearly on Delta to either find a connecting flight with
      sufficient time to make the connection in JFK, or pay for the hotel room
      themselves.

      On what basis? This is an award ticket. If there is no last-minute award availability for weeks, they can force you to wait for weeks for your connection, take it or leave it, right? How is this different from the other recent case which illustrates the issue:

      http://elliott.Org/can-this-trip-be-saved-2/thats-one-fine-mess-youve-gotten-oneworld-flight/

      1. They can certainly force you to wait for weeks, but they will have to put you up in a hotel. I haven’t checked Delta’s CofC, but I’d be surprised that if you booked a flight with a connection, and the connecting flight is canceled/delayed, forcing you to layover overnight, whether or not Delta is on the hook for the hotel, or not, depends on whether the original itinerary was booked with award miles.

        Every CofC I read simply states that if the connecting flight is delayed/canceled and no more connecting flights are available that day, they’re paying for the hotel room; without mentioning how the original ticket was paid for.

          1. I see. So the airline changed the itinerary prior to the departure date, to an impossible connection. Yes, in that situation, the only options should be as was indicated: cancel the whole thing and get your money back, or cancel the bad connection only, get some miles returned for that, and make your own booking, without the airline owing you anything.

            One open item, though, would be the claim that the airline failed to notify the passenger of the itinerary change. Wonder what would’ve happened if this wasn’t noticed, and they showed up in JFK only to find out that their flight has already left.

          2. I think you missed the option of rescheduling your flight to a better day — (ADDED: or route) — airlines often allow this when there is a big schedule change.

            As far as NOTIFICATIONS are concerned, you really need to read the DOT rules, especially the one that covers how airlines can notify you when your departing flight is so far away.

          3. option of rescheduling your flight to a better day — airlines often allow this when there is a big schedule change.

            You mean ignore the rules and ask the airline for compassion?

          4. I think she is not being honest about that situation — I know both my frequent fliers AND myself get inundated with EVERY little change – so to say she saw the EXACT same times for a downgraded equipment flight, and nothing more – doesn’t ring true to me.

          5. Funny you say that but I have 5 passengers in my queue for MSP-AMS since KL miscoded their codeshares with DL. This could have been the same route the LW should have taken (since there are 2 directs daily); but she took MSP-JFK-AMS-LIN (MXP return also via JFK).
            I cannot understand why Elliott LWs keep on saying the airline NEVER informed them when our queues go crazy with airline messages every day. Do they bother to check their itinerary online?

          6. We need to stress that flight reservations should be checked weekly and then even daily as you get closer to your date of travel.

          7. You tell us you that “this is something the carriers do right…. they always work things out for [your] clients”” and that “the notification is in the history of the PNR

            …and yet in spite of that glowing track record, you still must check the reservations weekly and even daily…

            Some of us would hold the carriers to a higher standard. If this is something the carriers do right, then let’s not even talk about the things they don’t do quite as right.

          8. Good grief, we are talking about two different things. One is to be proactive with your reservation. Two, when you see or receive notification of a schedule change, the carrier will work with you to get you on flights that work or refund your money/miles. The latter is something that is very good with all the carriers.

          9. The latter is something that is very good with all the carriers.

            And when someone like the OP attests otherwise, then what are you implying?

          10. Did she not get reaccommodated for no charge? Why are you arguing on this? Is it due to the full moon?

          11. You mean re-accommodating her only if she adds an unwanted layover and unanticipated out-of-pocket expenses?

          12. If that is what was her only option, yes, and she should have asked at that time for the hotel to be paid for.

          13. and she should have asked at that time for the hotel to be paid for.

            And how do you know she didn’t ask and they said ‘No’?

          14. Who are you disputing? I already said that under the law she probably isn’t entitled to anything except maybe her miles back. And having to pay for a brand new ticket if she still wants to travel.

            Yet your colleague Lindabator claims a Delta rep accommodated her client in a similar circumstance (seems like compassion to me).

            Yet your colleague bodega claims “they always work things out” (seems like compassion to me).

            You claim that they would re-schedule her to a more convenient day (you claimed above that’s not compassion, but I can’t find any law compelling them to do this).

            So why the outrage when Chris asks for compassion?

          15. Why are you asking me that question?
            All I am telling you is if she called and asked Delta and Delta said NO to STPC then she has no right to claim it.
            It’s not in the COC, DOT or EC261 if Delta updated their itinerary at least two weeks prior the scheduled flight.
            Delta gave her $125 out of compassion 🙂 whether you or Elliott agree or not. She did not have a right to it. If I am wrong, please give me the agreement, rule or law which establishes her rights to compensation.

            Added — the outrage is the claim for $500. Understand?

          16. Your exact words: “She just wanted to cheat Delta and get more than the standard package everyone else would get.

            What you and bodega3 and Lindabator assert above that carriers routinely do for your clients who are hit with schedule changes is also not in the CoC, DOT or EC261 either.

            It’s “out of compassion.” You and your clients don’t have a right to it by law either.

            If the OP got nothing for her unwanted layover and your clients got compensated layovers, then does that mean you are cheating Delta to get more than the standard package?

            [Of course not, and that works both ways]

          17. Of course pax wanted $500 – that’s like “extortion” in my mind.
            It is obvious to many here the pax wanted to live it up and make the airline pay for it.
            You are distorting compassion – what airlines give because they don’t have to (not required by law). Call it a gesture of goodwill if you want.

            This discussion is going nowhere. Maybe a different point can be debated.

          18. “Extortion” is a ridiculously loaded word to use here. An unrealistic demand does not constitute a threat or intimidation.

            If a client has unrealistic expectations, do you give them feedback to revise their expectations? Or do you prefer that they get nothing out of spite?

          19. I agree about being proactive, bodega. Better to check and avoid a surprise than to count on a fragile system like email notification.

            Personally, I check weekly once we are within a month of a flight. And may check again a few days before.

          20. Oh please Michael, I am not sure whether you are just pretending ignorance here, but this system as described by Bodega has been going on forever. So many people just do not understand the real concept of Flight Status Change Notification versus Travel Itinerary Change Notification.

            Maybe Elliott can do a piece on it sometime.

          21. What are you implying? Why would you check weekly and daily if the notifications are reliable? What are you entitled to if the carrier fails to notify you?

          22. Nice!
            I think I will talk to you again and not ignore you anymore 🙂
            Sorry.

            ADDED: Now you can please tell others what DOT meant when they said NOTIFICATION especially for changes at least 7 days prior.

          23. Good enough, Tony. As I read through the PPT (and I am not trained or experienced in this requirement) the DOT states that carriers are not required to offer “Notification Subscriptions”, but IF they do, “notification must be provided, by the means available to the carrier and chosen by the passengers”. I take this to mean that if a passenger made a reservation with the carrier (?) and gave them their email address, and have received prior emails (i.e., the confirmation), then the carrier would be expected to use that email to notify the passenger of changes. But they do not have a specific time requirement (i.e., “a timely manner”). Is all that correct?

            I would like to hear from you what the importance of this is beyond what this screen shot shows (if there is any).

            Finally, I hate it when any organization uses vague terms like “in timely manner”. Very subjective and open to a lot of interpretation. I’m surprised that the DOT chose that wording.

          24. In real life all the airline has to do is update your itinerary and make sure you can see the change if you log on to your account (if your flight is still in the future). If you have a travel agent, they will see the change in their GDS queue. If you don’t, you are on your own. It’s really that simple.

        1. they will have to put you up in a hotel

          This is what the CoC says:

          If overnight accommodations are available at Delta contracted facilities, Delta will provide the passenger with a voucher for one night‘s lodging when the delay is during the period of
          10:00 pm to 6:00 am. Delta will provide free public ground transportation to the hotel if the hotel does not offer such service. If accommodations are not available, Delta will provide the passenger with a voucher that may be applied to future travel on Delta equal in value to the contracted hotel rate, up to $100 USD.

          1. Michael, what do you think her rights are if the airline informed her of flight schedule change WAY IN ADVANCE under:
            (a) COC contract rights
            (b) DOT rules
            (c) EC261

            Please differentiate this with flight changes done close to departure or while en-route.

          2. if the airline informed her of flight schedule change WAY IN ADVANCE

            According to the article they did not inform her at all and she discovered the problem herself close to the departure date.

          3. I haven’t found any DOT rule mandating notice of advance schedule changes or offering any customer compensation for a failure to do so (nevermind the question of how a customer can prove that they weren’t notified).

            The remedy if you don’t like a schedule change and the airline declines to provide reasonable alternatives is to get a refund (in this case the miles back) and to buy a brand new ticket (probably for a much higher price than you would have originally paid).

            This is why passengers need advocates like Chris. The rules don’t protect us.

          4. IMHO, this is something the carriers do right. I just had my own fights for spring changed. I didn’t like the new flights, and they worked with me to get what we liked. We are paying for our overnight accommodations so we don’t have to fly a redeye. For clients, never had an issue in working with the carriers. IMHO this is one area the airlines are great in helping you.

          5. They were compassionate (beyond the letter of the rules) for you, so you trust them to be compassionate for everyone…. and you knee-jerk disbelieve anyone who reports otherwise.

          6. $500 is beyond compassion. To me it sounds like the LW is taking advantage of Delta and using an advocate to get her way.

          7. Where did I write that she deserves $500 for a hotel room?

            She got $125 which seems reasonable to me for a hotel room.

            You repeatedly suggest that she gamed the system and should have been held to the letter of the rules. Which as best I can tell means she had no right to receive any schedule change notifications, and she should have gotten $0 for her troubles.

          8. OK Michael I will treat you with respect 🙂
            You have been asking me about this for a while …
            Bear in mind these are for revenue tickets which I sell.
            Delta AWARD department may have their own rules but I can’t imagine they will be so different to this (just my 2 cents ok).

            Reissues Due to Schedule Change

            Travel agencies can reissue tickets affected by a schedule change if the ticketed class of service is available on desired flight. No waiver exception code from Sales Support is required, however the PNR must be documented and the endorsement box remarked as noted below:

            Required PNR Documentation for Rebooking

            PNR must be documented with the following OSI entry:

            3OSI DL REISSUE DUE TO DL SKED CHANGE

            Requested Endorsement Box Documentation for Reissued ticket

            Enter a remark in the Endorsement box to denote the affected flight
            number and date of flight. Example: SCHEDULE CHANGE DL1234 25JUL2012

            Otherwise, please contact Delta Reservations or Sales Support
            for assistance. After the correct class of service is booked, tickets
            can then only be reissued by the agency that originally issued the
            ticket.

            Note: You may receive multiple schedule change notices. It is not
            necessary to reissue tickets immediately after accepting the schedule
            change. You may reissue as deemed necessary based on the customer’s travel plans and your business practices.

          9. I believe your TA colleagues (and others) have often asserted that for award tickets, there has to be award seat availability (in this case 2 seats).

          10. It depends Michael. If you are trying to change your flight dates then sure you better be finding available seats on the correct Award Booking Code.
            If the airline is making flight schedule changes on its own, then MOST will reaccommodate you. If there are not enough seats, then most of them will apply their boarding priority rules. I say MOST because not all carriers are the same.

            But IMO this was not a case of limited seat availability.
            It is a case where DL had no more 6PM flights from JFK to MSP.
            They are all gone – kaput.
            I am surprised no one is focusing on this fact.
            Since her Alitalia flight arrives JFK at 4PM and the last flight to MSP is also around 4PM then her itinerary has become infeasible!
            So what Delta did (I think) was give her the next available flight – probably around 8AM the next day. This was not evident in the article but I see no reason why Delta would have not given her the next available flight if it mistakenly gave her the 4PM flight (usually a robot does this).

            Ok so now I will guess what happened next.
            She did not like the layover at JFK. So she either booked another flight on her own or took the flight Delta gave her (for the next day).
            BUT she booked a hotel room in Manhattan and wants $500 reimbursement from Delta.

            Ok so now the question is does she need to put up in a hotel because of the flight change?
            Reasonable people can disagree, the rules do not require Delta to provide it, But Delta can be compassionate enough to provide a clean room so she would not have to wait in Terminal 4 that long.

            I cannot tell you what Delta will do or not do. This is their own business. Only think I can say is that people should not assume they can spend $500 a night and expect the airline to pay for it.

          11. i think this spells it out pretty clearly, even without considering the possibility that she booked 2 separate tickets (which i believe she did). $500 is too much.

          12. Excuse me? They have always work things out for my clients on misconnects and changes that don’t work. Not sure of your comment.

          13. As long as you (and your clients — according to you) are happy, then anyone who claims they are not happy should take a hike…

          14. What were you insinuating when you say this is something carriers do right and are great in helping you? Are you certain they were great in helping the OP before she contacted Chris?

          15. Read the article again. She was reaccommodated for no charge. Her issue was with her hotel and meals. As Lindabator pointed out, the carrier would have paid for the hotel if the passenger asked at the time of reaccommodation, if this was the only flight option available. Now had she just requested the layover, like I am doing, the hotel cost is on the passenger.

          16. [Edited to respond to @bodega3 ‘s completely re-written comment]:

            Read the article again. She was reaccommodated for no charge.

            No, she had to either add a layover (which would cost her out of pocket expenses). Or she could have gotten her miles back and bought a (probably very costly) last minute ticket.


            the carrier would have paid for the hotel if the passenger asked at the time

            According to what rule?

          17. So would most people under the same scenario unless they ask for a re-route. But unlike most people who charge the expense to experience, this LW is different. $500 different 🙂

          18. So if she asked for $125 up front then you would have supported her appeal to Chris?

            Of course, it’s a negotiation. If she asked for $125 initially, maybe Delta would have responded with a $50 voucher.

          19. What would the appeal be for? You mean they reject giving her $125?

            The rules are simple in my book. You exhaust all possible means to work with the carrier before you do whatever you want and launch an online shame campaign and contact an advocate. You also need to be reasonable and smart. If you take a late Alitalia flight into JFK and only scheduled ~2 hours between that an the LAST flight out then you are taking a lot of risk. Too bad people don’t read Elliott’s book enough.

          20. I have no basis to conclude that she didn’t exhaust all the avenues known to her before she contacted Chris.

            If she was booking a Saver award, she may not have had much choice of itineraries.

          21. i love being able to see that info, especially when they claim no notification was given, especially on canceled flights.
            a VERY common convo i have:
            ~ “you were left a message at xxx-xxxx phone number at xxpm”.
            ~”that’s my home phone, how would i get that message?”
            ~”that’s the phone number YOU provided to the airline for communication.”

          22. another HUGE issue is that the online TAs give THEIR phone numbers, their *own* 1-800 numbers, instead of the passengers’. that’s the case, at least, for one of the airlines i have worked for.

          23. just saw this…sorry for the late response!
            but in this case, it is the ONLY phone number given. there is no way to contact the passenger for delays, cancellations, changes, etc! lord knows cheapodreamtickets.com doesn’t pass on any info to their “clients”. so guess who gets yelled at…

  5. The “distressed passenger” or “airline employee” rate at an airport hotel is far less than $500. She didn’t need to go downtown, she was only entitled to an airport hotel. Most hotels will offer up rooms at the same rate they are contracted to for crew overnights if one is distressed by a carrier with whom they already do business.

    1. Except that she did not actually miss a connection.
      She rebooked a connecting flight with a long layover herself and expected the airline to STPC.
      Delta does not owe her anything. The way the story is written confuses the reader to think this was not simply a schedule change that happened in advance of a future departure.

  6. Like the LW I’ve had the airlines schedule impossible connections after schedule changes (like the one where me connecting flight left 20 min before my inbound flight) so I think, in general, the airline Bears some responsibility especially with an international connection. However, that does not give a passenger to spend anything they want during that connection. My wife and I just spent the night at a Newark airport hotel prior to an early morning flight. Including a nice dinner, we spent less than $300.

    $500 is way too much.

  7. I want to make a general comment about the comments. (How’s that for being all “meta”?) I read every comment made on this site. When I’m on the road, like I am this week, I don’t always see the comments in real time.

    I’m a real person. I don’t have assistants who comment my behalf.

    When commenters suggest that I’ve become an accomplice to a consumer trying to “game” the system, I feel awful. That’s not what I’m trying to do here, and I think everyone knows that.

    Mostly, though, I wanted to let my friends here know that comments like that do hurt. I try not to take them personally. I try to do better the next time. I’m definitely not perfect, but I want to do good every day and help as many people as possible.

    1. Your integrity is intact with me sir. It’s a given that you will miss things. When your intent is challenged, that’s another matter entirely …

    2. Well as you can see from the comments (even the ones posted after your post), many still do not get what happened. Why? Because you mixed up so different issues needlessly and it confuses people. I have seen you do that many times.Carver just recently called you out on the same issue. And if you think calling you on that is insulting, then that is the cost journalists bear. Sorry.

      1. These stories are very carefully vetted and fact-checked with the original source. I try to clear up an “confusion” well in advance of a story’s publication, particularly the Friday column, which is syndicated. If I fell short, I apologize.

        1. I agree that the criticism should be nicer at times. I’m not sure why some conversations on here get contentious so quickly, but that seems to happen a fair amount. And it’s frequently the same posters involved.

          That being said, a bit of constructive criticism. I love this site, Chris, but I wouldn’t be able to enjoy your site if comments disappeared. I FREQUENTLY (and by that I mean probably 75% of the time especially airline cases) have to read the comments to figure out what exactly happened. I know you don’t want your articles running too long and these can be complex cases but I can’t think of a lot of other sites I frequent that are this dependent on the readers to clarify stories.

          1. I try to hold off on my vote until I read the comments. Not everyone is a TA, airline employee, or super gold platinum elite grand poobah that knows all the rules inside and out. I agree that the comments can get a bit hard to read. That disappoints me. I love a good debate, and sometimes the arguments can be kind of fun to read (that may make me a bad person). But occasionally, it just gets kind of nasty.

        2. Unfortunately people hide behind the anonymity of the internet as a excuse to be nasty here sometimes. The questions was did Delta do enough?

          Before you got involved Delta wasn’t doing much for her. They owed her for a nights stay at a hotel near the airport, certainly not $500. IMO. $125 is a little too low for the area, but better than nothing and she got her miles back, which was more than they needed to do.

          If people on this board can’t answer questions or make their opinions known without belittling and more importantly, questioning your integrity they should be banned. There are far more people who know how to express their opinions without calling each other names or putting others down. We don’t need people who belittle others.

    3. I think most people challenge these posts because there are sometimes not enough facts for people to make judgment, so they speculate and assume the worst. Sometimes from reading the posts, it can appear that you have not done your own due diligence and just pass the complaint along. If you can, it would be helpful to include more details about the specifics of the complaint and really drill down on what could be below the surface.
      In this case there are two details that seem suspect. One is that it is unclear whether this itinerary was on a single ticket or two separate tickets. The other is the breakdown of the $500 in expenses. Those seem to be the crux of the issue and you should try to think of things like that when writing these posts and provide more detail up front.
      If you said that she was on two separate tickets and that the $500 in expenses included $300 for the hotel, taxi and meals and $200 for changing the other flight, that would point to it being her fault for not accommodating the possibility of normal schedule changes. If it was a single ticket and airport hotels were $350 for that particular night, that would have pointed in another direction.

      1. While I hunger for as many details as possible, others can get bogged down with too much detail and are looking just at the big picture. I think Chris tries to strike a balance between too many, and too few, details. I think he’s pretty close to getting the balance right most times.

    4. I really don’t believe you actively try to game the system. But, I do believe in some cases the OP misdirects you and, in a involuntary way, you might help them to game the system.

      You always try to help people, which is a good thing (let’s remember what you do don’t affect me at all, it isn’t my reality, I live in another country and I’m not American, with no ties to your culture and everyday life, and even so I enjoy read and participate here), but (at my eyes) unfortunately some people use you to let them game the system, which is a completely different story than you actively try to game the system.

    5. If my comments ever hurt you, please let me know as that is not my intention. You can e-mail me as well. I think what many people miss are all of the thousands of cases where you help people, and it would simply make a boring story. You do a lot of good! Thank you!

    6. I am a daily reader, infrequent commenter. Often when I am reading the stories, I feel details are missing. I am undecided whether or not Chris does this to insure a lively comment section or if the details just are viewed as unimportant to him but the lack of service is paramount. Either way, I am still interested enough to read first thing every day.
      Through this reading, my take away about Chris is that he is exceedingly stubborn on certain issues, extremely passionate about customer service, very touchy about insults to his cats, doing the right thing is key, wants the little guy to have a chance and above all else appears to believe in the good in people.
      Some of what i observe just demonstrate that he is human and others, at least to my mind, demonstrate a wonderful belief in the rest of mankind that I find refreshing as I believe I have cynically lost it. The fact that he can demonstrate this after doing his job for the amount of time he has is amazing. So, if he gets”gamed” some of the time by people whose stories I find questionable, I also know that he is going to help deserving people in need who might not have made it through my filter.
      This is a very long winded way of saying keep up the good work.

    7. I don’t think you’re a knowing accomplice. Being gamed by someone is being a victim, and should not affect one’s integrity. To the contrary, I saw only an attack on the original poster’s integrity.

  8. What I’m confused about, is why they immediately assumed they needed to stay a night in NYC. Did she ask Delta about another seat on a later flight? What about another airline? Codeshare them a seat on another flight to get back that night. That doesn’t seem unreasonable at all… and with the leg departing NYC @ 6:30pm, that leaves A TON of flights still waiting to fly west. Just doesn’t make sense.

    1. Bubbles one of the biggest issues facing a travel agent is to connect out of JFK later in the evening from a European flight. Most Europe to JFK flights depart in the morning and arrive early in the afternoon. Therefore connections are usually already done before 5PM rush. Choosing a European flight arriving JFK at 4PM is usually troublesome. People need to make smart choices. This Alitalia flight AZ604 (usually late) is not an easy one to add a connection to.

    2. One of the thoughts I had when first commenting was the same question. My reasoning, however, was that New York City is a 24-hour city, and if with several hours to pass, one could easily take AirTrain and the subway into Manhattan. Enjoy the time in midtown (or wherever) and come back to the airport when needed for that first flight. In fact, with the $500 in claimed “expenses,” it sounded to me like that might have been the plan, but with a hotel room as well. But I chose not to include that thought only because I recognized that not everyone would be thrilled with a night on the town.

      1. That is totally what I would have done. Probably wouldn’t even have bothered with the hotel. Hang out in NYC all night, show up for the flight the next morning, sleep on the plane.

  9. There are 3 star hotels right outside of JFK for $150 and under a night with free shuttles. No reason to have to be out $500. Delta should cover a reasonable night hotel stay. But $125 is certainly not enough for a hotel. They should up it a little to fully cover an airport hotel (and not a 2 star dive) plus dinner.

    1. Have you ever been put up in a hotel near JFK? Or maybe one of your clients since I think you are a travel agent? Unless you are flying upper class or an elite, you will be shoved into a Queens Hotel ehh motel. You will survive but don’t expect to see 5th ave.

      1. TonyA, I live 20 minutes from JFK and attend meetings in many of the hotels in the area so I am probably more versed in the hotels in the area than you are and know the dives and the ones that have been refurbished. There are motels that are clean with a room to sleep in for a night and a restaurant on property. She doesn’t need 5 stars for a bed to sleep in, she needs a clean and safe room with a free shuttle to get her back and forth to the airport. She doesn’t need a place to go restaurant hunting and shopping under the circumstances.

        1. Good because my travel office of 20+ years is in between LGA and JFK in Queens. I guess we know the same area in (So) Ozone Park and Jamaica 🙂

          1. Then you would know which of the hotels in the area you would and wouldn’t put people in and that there are hotels available for about $150 nt.

    2. Why not a 2 star dive? What do you need? A bed, a shower, a television. It’s not vacation its a place to lay down, grab some sleep, and clean up. Get you back and forth from there and the airport add dinner and breakfast (and the motel continental breakfast should be fine). If she wants to see central park or 5th avenue that’s on her dime.

      1. I got a dive from Cathay Pacific in JFK (Queens) once and opted out in favor of meal coupons. Since I knew the area quite well, I knew what I was getting into.
        My advice, pick an airline alliance and take advantage of its lounge (even if you have to pay something extra). Stay there as long as you can. Some airports are better than others. JFK ranks same as 3rd world status.

      2. PsyGuy there are hotels in the area that just are not safe. I live here and wouldn’t put anyone in some of the dives that are in the area. But there are hotels that have been refurbished and are safe with shuttles back and forth for $150-$175 night that are fine.

  10. You can get a room with a free shuttle from the hotel and back for about 80.00 I know as I used that when I flew to Milan and had a 24 hour layover. Add 7.00 and you can take the subway to the City for the day. So 125.00 should cover most of the expenses.

      1. I’ve had overnight layovers at JFK and usually got the Hilton for $90 a night and it included a free breakfast. It’s pretty dated, but they had hot eggs.

      2. There’s a Quality Inn right next to the AirTrain station in Jamaica,
        $110 per night, and a Super 8 for $100 per night just down the block.
        Both are respectable brands and slightly better than Motel 6. I would be hard pressed to find $80 per night absent some type of promotion.

  11. As I read through the OP’s statement, it seems as though she booked the “next day” flight in advance of the initial flight. If that is so, then the $500 in additional expenses could have included a fare increase.

    For clarification, here’s the sequence:
    “A few days ago, I checked my itinerary …”
    then “I spoke with a representative from Delta …”
    then “I quickly had to rebook a flight going out the next day …”

    1. I don’t understand why this wasn’t all resolved when she spoke with the rep from Delta who apologized (which makes me think it WAS Delta’s fault). All of us Christopher fans know to get things in writing before you incur more expenses.

        1. Because she cannot get a paid (by Delta) layover, that’s why.
          She re-booked on her free will, remember?
          So that’s why she comes here, to play the game …

          1. Er? Delta changes the last leg of her itinerary with an impossible connection and they can’t give her a paid layover? I believe they not only can but should.

          2. They could give her an overnight layover WITHOUT putting her up in hotel.
            That happens many, many times since the long layover is simply part of the itinerary.

          3. Haven’t you seen those kinds of itineraries before? Many (cheap) international itineraries are like this. Go to Kayak and see what they look like.
            Force one that flies AZ604 + inland city USA, and learn something new.

          4. Look, there’s plenty of blame to go around for this one.

            Tony, you saw this story weeks ago. Why wait until now to say something?

            And yes, I could have done more research on her itinerary.

            My view is, if there are circumstances that the OP isn’t telling me, I rely on the company to fill in the details. If it doesn’t, then the company feels the details are unimportant. Now, you may disagree with that, but given the number of cases I have to handle, I don’t have the luxury of verifying every claim. I wish I did.

          5. Chris, I don’t and cannot read everything you send me, sorry. I still have to work to feed 3 kids and a spouse, too.

            This one case is just asking too much and you are being used in my opinion. Because you do not and cannot verify everything (since you are a one man team), then you are exposing the weakness of your advocacy system.

            Many people know how to play the miles game so why won’t they know how to play you? If I were you, I’d be very careful advocating for AWARD redemptions, tickets, flights, etc. Since you have a very negative attitude for Frequent Flyer Programs anyway, then why do you extend an arm towards those who use them?

            Anyway, forgive my reaction when I think your Letter Writers are trying to extort money from airlines, cruise lines, hotels or other sellers of travel and when I think you do nothing to stop it.

          6. My question is: How could she have rebooked this flight by herself without actually calling Delta? I assume her FF miles were tied up by this flight. It sounds to me like she rebooked by calling Delta and asking to be rebooked and the flight she was rebooked on didn’t leave until the next day.

          7. As others are saying, maybe she booked another (separate ticket) flight
            If you assume she called Delta and rebooked (technically a reroute) her JFK-MSP flight, she would have to agree with the change. If she did not agree then she could ask for another flight or a refund. Either way she would have acknowledged the itinerary changes. That certainly does not give her the benefit of taking a cab back and forth Manhattan and getting any hotel and restaurant she pleases. And there lies the crux of the issue – you cannot simply decide for Delta which lodging and meals it wants to give you if it even wants to give you anything.

          8. This story has WAY too many holes in it. Would really LOVE to get the whole story, blow-by-blow so to speak.

          9. Only thing is, when she got that original schedule change she CLAIMS were the same times (been doing this over 20 years, and downgraded equipment NEVER flies same times) – she may have accepted the change even though it WAS a tight connection, THEN realized much later couldn’t do it. BUT – if you accept it, changes are your problem. MIGHT have occurred here!

          10. Why does downgraded equipment never fly the same times? Is it just because RJs travel at a different are speed? Every time my equipment gets downgraded, the departure and arrival time always change by 2-5 minutes, if it was the speed of the plane, I woudl think only the arrival time would be affected. Just curious.

          11. Due to the runways in JFK – different requirements at each terminal/gate, depending on the equipment. Those smaller flights usually use the smaller runways, flight times are quicker – have never seen the flight times reflect the same as big boys here due to ATC. (And so sad I know that) 🙂

          12. I remember sitting in a 757 JFK-SFO that had a listed trip time of 7 hours, almost two hours were spent waiting to take off. I think we were 37 or so when the Captain first announced our position. This was during the runway construction. Fortunately for me I was upgraded on that flight. But it was before the lie flats with video on demand. Fortunately I had a book.

  12. read the sign. You were VERY lucky to get frequent flyer tickets !!!!!

    Oops, you can’t see the sign, BUT it says STOP COMPLAINING.

  13. This is a traveler scamming elliot. She saw a schedule change and thought “oh goody I can get a free night layover at a grand hotel”. Yes, she would have missed this schedule change, but airlines have to give you some kind of routing from point to point in your routing. They can’t give you an itinerary that simply strands you somewhere. What she did of her own choosing is plan a very high priced layover for herself. $125 is perfectly reasonable for an airport hotel and shuttle, at most she should get a free breakfast thrown in and maybe a dinner meal voucher, so couple bucks more, say $25 should do it. Anything more than $150 total is unreasonable.

  14. Many questions today!

    “I have been a loyal member of its Skymiles program for many years”? What level are you in the Skymiles program. 1 or 2 flights a year gets you the privledge of boarding before I do and not much more. 10-20 flights a year puts you up into the “don’t mess we me” catagory.
    Question 2. You have mentioned that you used frquent flier miles. Was it all of the ticket or just the international on miles. People get very confused over rules. It makes absolutely no difference whether you paid or used miles on the purchase of a ticket. Delta is responsible to contact you and cover their errors. I have NEVER had a single customer pay for a hotel when it was the airline’s error. Weather, mechanical (great excuse), Air triffic, and 1000 other excuses do not fall under that rule. But schedule changes do.
    Question 3. Why did you not have Delta re-route you once the error was discovered.I quickly had to rebook a flight going out the next day and reserve a hotel in New York for my husband and myself. Why? Once a schedule change occurs, there are no rules nessessary from the term class of service to make a change.
    If Cecelia is that big of a frequent flyer, she should have known to persue this more.

    1. Once a schedule change occurs, there are no rules nessessary from the term class of service to make a change.
      +1000 also

    1. Wow!. How heated one can get when it comes to proving who is right. I am exhausted from just reading all this. Opinions matter but golly I think this discussion went beyond its limits. Okay guys-I wait for you to disagree with me

          1. I think a healthy discussion is important. This one has gone on longer than I thought it would.

            For me, this was really a customer service issue, not a problem with rules and routing. It’s a loyal Delta passenger who felt as if she was being jerked around by the airline.

            Some have suggested she was “playing” the system or me. That may be.

            I take her at her word that the airline surprised her with a schedule change, and she just wanted to get to her destination without having to incur extra expenses.

          2. she just wanted to get to her destination without having to incur extra expenses.

            Don’t we all?
            But how realistic is this? Really?
            Should you really be telling travelers to prepare for extra expenses.
            Or chose your flights well so you don’t take on more risks.
            Isn’t that the smart thing to do?

  15. $500. Ridiculous. Another unreasonable request by a whining passenger……and nobody ?? Delta or otherwise thought about transferring her to LaGuardia – a big 12 miles away ? A $35 cab fare would have solved this problem. If she came in from Europe (unless that flight was 5-6 hours later than scheduled), then there still would have been late afternoon and evening flights from LGA to MSP on Delta.

      1. That wouldn’t work. Last call < 6PM LGA-MSP 🙁
        You'd be luck to get out of JFK early enough to do this transfer since AZ604 arrives 410P and is usually late.

  16. This story just doesn’t ring true for me for several reasons — 1) when a change of gauge occurs (aircraft downgrade), the times do NOT stay the same 2) when the airline needs to re-accommodate you overnight, THEY book the hotel, as they have a limited per diem allowed 3) if she was a frequent flier, she would be getting regular emails with schedule changes, and she claims only one (I know there were more changes over that long a period of time). I just don’t think we are getting the full story from her.

      1. It is so good to have both of you participating here, as you bring front line experience to these articles. I thank you!

    1. Linda, I looked at some of DL re-schedules for those 6PM flights. Some of them were are early as 05JAN2014! If the LW posts her flight #s we can figure it out better. Of course they don’t because they are hiding something.

    2. Last year, my return flight from Europe was Hamburg-Philadelphia-San Antonio on UA. I try to check my itinerary occasionally, mostly to see that they hadn’t changed my seat assignment (which I was blindsided by once and was switched from a primo seat I’d chosen months earlier to a crap seat in the middle of a row of five). I found that they’d changed my Phila-SAT leg to an earlier flight, when my Hamburg flight wouldn’t have arrived yet. No email, nothing. Now, when I called UA, they switched me to a non-overlapping flight with no problem, but if I hadn’t been proactive about checking my itinerary who knows if anyone would have noticed. After that, I switched to the every week check and every day the week before the flight.

      ETA: bodega3’s comment about being “good to have both of you participating here” refers to Lindabator and flutiefan… just to be clear. 🙂

    3. Linda the schedules don’t show a change of gauge to a smaller aircraft. I dug more data and they reveal something else …

      Prior to August 2014, Delta had 4x daily JFK-MSP.

      The last flight was usually a M88/738 departing JFK around 630PM.

      Around August 2014 DL426 a 738 (160 pax) was replaced by DL 2882 a CR9 (76 pax) departing around 615PM.

      In September, Delta removed the 6PM flights altogether and replaced the whole route’s fleet to 3 – 319s, the latest departing at around 415PM.

      Had the LW been on DL426 departing 630, she may have seen 2 changes (depending on when she booked and when the changes happened):
      (1) A possible NOOP for DL426 and change to DL2882 departing 615PM. It is a smaller aircraft but that itself does not constitute just a change of gauge. This was a flight change.
      (2) A possible NOOP for DL2882 and a change to DL2456 (A319) departing 415PM.

      The second change will cause a miss-connection. So I would not be surprised if Delta made another change for the first available flight the next day.

      I assume she was traveling coach. As we all know since this wasn’t an IROP, the chances of getting Delta to pay an STPC in JFK are not that good.
      But I think it depends on who she talks to and how she asks — she might have gotten a reroute if the flights for 17SEP were not that full.

      I don’t believe Delta violated any law if they simply updated her itinerary at least 2 weeks before the flight change since she had access to her booking using Delta’s website.
      That’s probably what frustrated her because she realized Delta could do what it did without giving her a room in Manhattan.

  17. “But as someone who flies Delta regularly, you should know that schedules are subject to change and that your original booking was really more of a suggested itinerary.”

    Suggested itinerary? I’ve never thought of my reservations being that. Once I the word “confirmed,” I don’t think it’s a suggestion anymore.

    1. The problem is with SkyMiles Awards, you need to book very very early since very few seats are available. You can see by the routing she used how undesirable the flights were.
      The outbound had stops in JFK and AMS. The return had no fallback flight and almost guarantees an overnight layover if Alitalia is late. You know what A.L.I.T.A.L.I.A. stands for, right?

  18. DL419 arrives to JFK at around 1 pm. I am sure there are flights between two hubs JFK and MSP that will allow enough connecting time.

    1. She was on the later Alitalia flight (DL codeshare). If she moved to that flight you say, I think she would not need a hotel.

  19. maybe they could just have him check on couchsurfing and give him a bottle of water at which point the 125 looks great!

    personally i am well aware to book a trip very early if you want to use miles and you want to pick the correct days because of the significanly limited inventory for reward tickets. I’m starting to think they are not worth it at all.

  20. Hummm, my travel agent told me several days ago that Korean Air had cancelled the Bali to Seoul portion of my return trip to RDU. Today, he confirmed that he was able to rebook me for that segment on a Korean Air flight leaving the following day, which results in an additional hotel and per diem cost. He also told me that Korean Air most likely would not cover the additional hotel night but I could contact them to see. Should I?

  21. I book our trips early, so I’ve had this kind of challenge before. I know that I have to keep an eye on my itinerary for changes. I won’t accept little planes or short connection times, for example. If a change appears and you don’t like it, you just call the airline and they will book you on an itinerary that makes sense without a change fee. If that itinerary requires an overnight, the airline might pay for a hotel, and maybe even a reasonably-priced dinner. By claiming expenses of $500, she makes it obvious that she’s trying to scam Delta.

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