Delta Airlines Complaint - Flight 6558 cancelled over snowstorm in New York - Delta still liable
I had confirmed reservations for an international flight on Delta to Toronto via New York JFK on 10th February 2010. At 9.00 P.M. on February 9th 2010, I received an automated telephone call from Delta that my flight next morning was cancelled. I immediately checked Delta’s website which confirmed that my flight was cancelled. No reason was given for the cancellation either in Delta’s telephone call or on its website. I sought to contact Delta’s 24 hour telephone line but was unable to get an answer except for a recording saying that all agents were busy. At 1.00 A.M. on February 10th 2010 I purchased a new ticket on another airline at a cost of US$737 directly to Toronto which was more than three times the cost of my original Delta flight of $211 which was booked months earlier. Apparently there was a problem in New York but flights not connecting in New York were not affected. At about 2.00 A.M. on February 10th 2010 I e-mailed Delta to say that I had booked on another airline. Delta e-mailed back to say that they could not deal with my email for another 2 to 3 days.
There followed this email correspondence:
(1) February 10th Delta Customer Support emailed to ask for more details
(2) February 15th I emailed Delta to say that when they cancelled their flight I purchased a new ticket on another airline for $737 and requested reimbursement
(3) February 16th Delta Customer Support emailed to say that “during irregular operations” they put passengers on the next available Delta flight or they rebook passengers on another carrier but since they did not handle the rebooking, they could not reimburse the airfare
(4) February 17th I emailed Delta to say that since all I heard from the airline that its flight was cancelled without giving any reason, it was contractually obligated to get me to Toronto even if that meant booking me on another airline
(5) February 21st Delta Customer Support emailed to say that the first leg of my flight, the one into JFK was not cancelled, but the second leg JFK to Toronto was cancelled because of a snowstorm in New York. Delta offered to refund the $211 for the original ticket, but not the $737 for the new ticket.
(6) February 21st I emailed Delta to say a refund of the fare I paid to them would not be adequate because of the increased price of the ticket which I had to pay on the date of travel and I threatened to take it to Court
(7) February 24th Delta Customer Support emailed to say that Delta was sorry for my disappointment and hoped that I will still make Delta the airline of my choice
(8) February 24th I emailed to say that I was not in the least disappointed but that I wanted the compensation that I was legally entitled to.
I proceeded to file a claim in court. Delta filed a Defence referring to its terms and conditions available on its website to the effect that in the event of a cancellation the passenger’s remedy is for a refund of his fare. I replied to state that those terms and conditions were not brought to my attention when I booked the ticket. Delta’s Defence filed in court had appended to it the said terms and conditions which were about 80 pages long. Delta retained a firm of prominent Attorneys to defend the case. There followed some correspondence between me and Delta’s Attorneys. From the start once the case was filed, Delta was willing to reimburse all my expenses, but they wanted to settle without a judgment of the Court and if I agreed they would give me $500 in travel vouchers in addition to reimbursing my expenses. This offer increased to $650 in vouchers during the correspondence. When the case was called in Court I appeared in person and Delta was represented by two Attorneys and Delta conceded and agreed to reimburse the $737 ticket, court costs and the cost of telephone calls I had made to relatives in Toronto on the night of February 9th 2010, and the Court entered judgment against Delta by consent.
Court costs were $80 and this is the most I would have had to pay if I had lost. I did not agree to the $650 in travel vouchers in return for forgoing the entry of a judgment against Delta. A judgment entered on the record of a court is a public document that can serve as a precedent, and another person similarly circumstanced with a case against Delta can use it to persuade another Court. Delta refused to settle before litigation had commenced and so I considered a judgment of the Court was appropriate.
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