Delta Airlines Complaint - Small request + large fee = Taking my business elsewhere
I'm going to post here what I emailed to their customer service after my fiance's attempt to handle the situation over the phone two different times.
Sent Sunday, December 12, 2010
"...My fiance and I were interested in switching my flight on Dec.19th to an earlier date, ideally on December 17th after 4pm EST. He contacted Delta and inquired about the switch and was informed that since the seat change was not made within 24 hours, there would be a $200 charge. $150 would be charged for the change and there would also be a $50 rebooking fee.
"This is where I am slightly miffed. He paid $244.40 for my window seat [10 days prior to my departure] through Expedia.com. Paying an additional $200.00 would mean my seat for (possibly) December 17th or 18th would cost upward of $450.00. As we are both students in college, it seems a bit much for a seat switch. I realize that with the holidays approaching, people will be traveling and seats will be scarce, but I would be willing to take the chance at losing my beloved window seat for a seat on a Delta airplane two days sooner.
"By forfeiting my flight on the 19th, I would be freeing up an available seat with a well-known airline. Surely losing my place on that plane would not effect airline profits... ...A frequent flier with Delta myself, I was not looking to switch airlines. I merely was looking to switch dates. I am aware of the lost sales Delta may receive by my seat being reserved up until now (ie: A customer and his wife wanted two seats next to each other, and the seat in the middle was open but my seat was reserved, therefore they could not purchase the seats next to eachother and opted to go elsewhere). However, I am also strongly aware of the high demand of flights around the holiday.
"$200 for booking a flight change in addition to the first seating fee seems outrageous. We tried to change it immediately-- as soon as I was aware... but we were met with "policy." As a female with experience in retail for nearly 9 years (working customer service, specifically, for 6 of those years) I am aware that policies are only as firm as the people who impose them, and they are often bent to make the customer happy. This particular way of doing things may not increase the immediate sale, but it will effect future sales. It will satisfy the customer and will build guest loyalty, therefore increasing future sales, both by the customer's repeated business and word of mouth. I do not understand why our request for switching my flight to an earlier date could not be met without a hefty fee. Similar to a "restocking fee" that we have at my current employer, I acknowledge the "rebooking fee." I do not agree with the additional $150.00 in fees that would put my ticket cost over $400.00...
"My fiance and I are asking for this favor one week in advance, not one day, or one hour in advance. ...The "policy" for the "seat change charge" and "rebooking" charge is purely for the airline's profit, and I am well aware of this. I have never had any other ordeals with your airline. ...Thank you for your time and consideration."
Their response (received via email on Monday, December 13th):
From: Contact Delta Add to Contacts
Thank you for your e-mail describing the problem you experienced.
While we fully understand that everyone sometimes faces unique
situations and adversities, Delta offers fares that allow more
flexibility for these unforeseen circumstances. The ticket you purchased
is non-refundable and has restrictions that may not be waived.
Please note that you have the value of your ticket to use as future
credit toward another Delta ticket prior to one year from the original
issue date. Most tickets have an administrative fee, plus any difference
in fare, which will be collected at the time of reissue.
If your plans change, and you need to leave a little earlier or later
for your flight, you may be able to take advantage of our same-day
confirmed travel option. Delta and Delta Connection customers traveling
in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
can be confirmed on a different flight within three hours of the new
flight departure by paying a $50.00 fee. We no longer have the option to
standby for other flights since we now offer the same-day confirmed
[links to same-day program provided here]
Again, thank you for writing. We appreciate your selection of Delta and
will always welcome the opportunity to be of service.
Online Customer Support Desk