Adam Burstyn thinks he’s doing Delta Air Lines a favor by driving to Atlanta to catch his flight to Miami. But Delta isn’t doing him any favors. Can this trip be saved?
Question:I was flying on Delta Air Lines from Asheville, N.C., to Miami, with a connection in Atlanta, recently. When I arrived at the airport in Asheville, I was informed that my flight was delayed and that I would not be able to make my connection in Atlanta.
I spoke to the agent at the check-in desk and told her that I would drive myself to Atlanta and to rebook me for the first flight out of Atlanta to Miami. She gave me a document stating that I was confirmed on flight 566.
When I got to the check-in desk in the Atlanta airport, I was told that I was removed from the flight. After a while of searching for other flight options, I was booked on a later flight to Miami.
After asking for compensation for my travel complications I was only offered a $100 voucher, and the agent at the check-in counter told me it was the maximum she could do at that time, and if I wanted to receive further compensation, I would have to contact customer service.
I know I was not properly compensated for my inconvenience, considering that the same flight I was on, people were asked to voluntarily give up their seats, which came with a starting compensation of $400.
I do not understand how I was taken off a flight that I was confirmed on, without my knowing and only offered $100.
I called customer service and was placed on hold for an extended period of time. After a while, a recording stated that no one was available and I was hung up on. I have been flying with Delta for years and would like to continue to do so in the future. I believe I should be properly compensated with a comparable amount of $400 like the other passengers who voluntarily rebooked. — Adam Burstyn, Miami
Answer: Delta should have helped you get to Miami on schedule, and it should have been grateful that you offered to drive to Atlanta and catch a flight home to Miami. Instead, it denied you boarding on an overbooked flight and then lowballed you on the compensation.
The Department of Transportation rules on this are clear: If you had a confirmed ticket but were denied boarding, you should have received a new ticket and cash compensation, in accordance with federal regulations. Instead, Delta gave you $100 in funny money.
That’s not enough. Delta owed you cold, hard cash — most likely, 400 percent of your one-way fare, to a maximum of $1,350. But in reviewing your correspondence with the airline, it looks as if you just asked for $400 in vouchers, which is what the airline had offered people who voluntarily gave up their seats. That’s letting it off easy.
Still, Delta decided to ignore your requests, prompting you to turn to our advocacy team for help. That’s really odd. Had you filed a complaint with the DOT, you could have recovered money and received a ticket. The airline should consider itself fortunate that you didn’t get the Feds involved.
You could have appealed this to a customer service executive at Delta. We list the names, numbers and emails on this site. But I don’t mind handling a case like this — a case that should have never become a case in the first place.
Our team contacted Delta and it sent you the additional $300 voucher you’d asked it for. You’re happy with that outcome; I’m not.