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View Full Version : Delta Schedule Change from Non-Stop to Connecting Flights Causes Inconvenience


nitetrain
11-22-2009, 12:42 AM
We booked a confirmed direct flight from Minneapolis to Tampa for January 5, 2010. Today we received notice that flight is going through Detroit adding 2 1/2 hours to our 3 hour flight. This is not acceptable as we have already booked our hotel and car prior to this notice. We would never, ever book a flight through Detroit from Minneapolis due to past horrific experiences. While the airline was quick to offer a refund for the flight, they would not step up to the plate for the hotel and car changes we're forced into for our vacation. When customers change flights they charge $50 or more, why doesn't that work the same way against the airline when they make changes without reasonable alternatives? My wife and I should be compensated $100 minimum because we did not request our confirmed reservation be changed.

Gromit801
11-22-2009, 01:43 AM
I agree. You story reminds me of all the letters I have been getting recently from my credit card companies informing me they're changing all my fixed rate cards to variable in an attempt to rip me off before the new credit card laws take effect. I signed up with a fixed rate, why should they be able to make such a drastic financial change without my authorization? Unlike an airline ticket, that really was a signed contract.

PHXFlyer
11-22-2009, 02:53 AM
We booked a confirmed direct flight from Minneapolis to Tampa for January 5, 2010. Today we received notice that flight is going through Detroit adding 2 1/2 hours to our 3 hour flight. This is not acceptable as we have already booked our hotel and car prior to this notice. We would never, ever book a flight through Detroit from Minneapolis due to past horrific experiences. While the airline was quick to offer a refund for the flight, they would not step up to the plate for the hotel and car changes we're forced into for our vacation. When customers change flights they charge $50 or more, why doesn't that work the same way against the airline when they make changes without reasonable alternatives? My wife and I should be compensated $100 minimum because we did not request our confirmed reservation be changed.

Although I completely understand your frustration with the schedule and routing change for your trip, I don't understand why you would need to be compensated for any changes to your car rental and/or hotel arrangements. You'll still be arriving the same day just later than originally planned. Won't the car rental company let you pick up a little later? Most hotel's now require a valid CC to guarantee the reservation therefore holding your room for late arrival.

If your major complaint is that they have you routed through MSP call and have Delta route you through Memphis or Atlanta instead. If given a choice between ATL and DTW personally I would prefer DTW. Of course you do have the option already offered to you for a refund at which time you can book on another airline. Sun Country has a non-stop from MSP to TPA and it's less expensive than DL/NW right now.

I agree. You story reminds me of all the letters I have been getting recently from my credit card companies informing me they're changing all my fixed rate cards to variable in an attempt to rip me off before the new credit card laws take effect. I signed up with a fixed rate, why should they be able to make such a drastic financial change without my authorization? Unlike an airline ticket, that really was a signed contract.

But unlike meddling with your interest rates and the way they are calculated, the airline isn't asking them to pay more money and will waive the non-refundable nature of the fare should they want to book on another airline. If they choose to stick with DL/NW they are still beinmg provided transportation from point A, MSP, to point B, TPA, albeit with a stop and adding 2 1/2 hours to their total travel time.

Butch Cassidy Slept Here
11-22-2009, 04:24 AM
First, I would NOT look upon Sun Country Air as a viable alternative to Delta/Northwest. I only mentioned Sun Country because they seem to have non-stop (seasonal) service MSP - TPA.

The other options, like Delta/Northwest, involve a change of planes. However...

MIDWEST AIRLINES offers its change of planes in an airport less congested than Detroit---Milwaukee.

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES offers a change of planes in Houston. While Houston is probably comparable to Detroit in terms of congestion it is less prone to snow/ice than is the case with Detroit. However the potential for Continental to try to re-route you through Newark, NJ remains.

jimworcs
11-22-2009, 05:03 AM
I am sure merging airlines into even bigger, anti-customer monoliths is hard work, but there does seem to be a pattern of complaints that Delta are switching passengers to indirect flights from direct flights, often without notification. This is precisely the kind of action which could and should be addressed via regulation. Indeed, when the merger was approved, the Bush administration could have made stipulations but did not.

PHX... you wrote:

If they choose to stick with DL/NW they are still beinmg provided transportation from point A, MSP, to point B, TPA, albeit with a stop and adding 2 1/2 hours to their total travel time.

That is not good enough. At the time they bought the ticket, they were purchasing a DIRECT flight. Airlines cannot have it both ways. They cannot on the one hand charge a premium for direct flights, and charge a premium for short notice bookings and then cancel their contract with the customer and simply say that nothing is due. It is outrageous. The customer is faced with additional costs when changes of this nature are made. I think some of the savings that Delta will reap as a result of this megamerger ought to have been set aside to compensation the customer and it should not have been allowed to proceed without this stipulation.

I called customer service and was told that the flight i had originally booked was not available however, on-line at delta.com i could book the same flights and they had plenty of seats. However, now the price would be triple the original price. I finally was able to speak to a supervisor who told me that delta did not have to notify me of the change and she was able to switch me back to the non-stop flights.

The emphasis is mine. This is the kind of monumental arrogance you get when you create monster airlines with monopoly attitudes.

wkharris2001
11-22-2009, 05:12 AM
it does also appear that DL/NW (although they are planning cutover to only DL flight numbers soon) still has 2 non stop flights from MSP to TPA on the 5th of January, all you have to do is call reservations,(1-800-221-1212) let them know about your schedule change and they'll be happy to put you back on a direct flight.

you were probably on a direct flight that was done away with. so the computer system that handles schedule changes probably put you on a flight departing right around the same time you were leaving MSP to begin with although now with a connection.

as far as notification. if you book directly with Delta online or with reservations. they will call you about a month in advance of your departure (4-6 weeks) since more schedule changes are possible. if you book with a travel agent or online agency, they don't put the contact phone number in the correct place for the automated notification system to notify you of a change.

jimworcs
11-22-2009, 05:25 AM
as far as notification. if you book directly with Delta online or with reservations. they will call you about a month in advance of your departure (4-6 weeks) since more schedule changes are possible

That is OUTRAGEOUS. The reason Delta wait until 4 to 6 weeks is not because further changes might be possible. It is to minimise the chances that the customer could demand a refund and switch to another carrier, as by then all the reasonable fares will be sold out. As Judge Judy would say when pulling off a SCAM don't **** on my leg and tell me it's raining.

PHXFlyer
11-22-2009, 05:26 AM
I called customer service and was told that the flight i had originally booked was not available however, on-line at delta.com i could book the same flights and they had plenty of seats. However, now the price would be triple the original price. I finally was able to speak to a supervisor who told me that delta did not have to notify me of the change and she was able to switch me back to the non-stop flights. She could not provide me any reason for why i was switched.


The emphasis is mine. This is the kind of monumental arrogance you get when you create monster airlines with monopoly attitudes.

The two situations were similar but entirely different. In the first post the flights were still eight months out. The agent was wrong to say that Delta didn't have to notify them, however they would have been notified at the point when the schedule for February 2010 was finalized. With eight more months to go there could have been more changes. That is why if the flight time is critical, for example you're flying in the morning for an evening event, or a non-stop vs. a connecting flight is critical one should go online periodically to check for these schedule changes.

First, I would NOT look upon Sun Country Air as a viable alternative to Delta/Northwest. I only mentioned Sun Country because they seem to have non-stop (seasonal) service MSP - TPA.

Why would Sun Country not be a viable alternative? It's non-stop which is what Marie was looking for and a pricing check on Kayak shows it is one of the cheaper options. About the same fare as the Midwest flight via MKE.

it does also appear that DL/NW (although they are planning cutover to only DL flight numbers soon) still has 2 non stop flights from MSP to TPA on the 5th of January, all you have to do is call reservations,(1-800-221-1212) let them know about your schedule change and they'll be happy to put you back on a direct flight.

It's actually the same flight but listed twice because of the dual DL/NW flight numbers. It appears that coach class is full because on both Kayak and Delta.com it was pricing in First Class.

wkharris2001
11-22-2009, 06:17 AM
It's actually the same flight but listed twice because of the dual DL/NW flight numbers. It appears that coach class is full because on both Kayak and Delta.com it was pricing in First Class.

I was actually looking at two seperate flights, I'm not at work so i can't check the inventory, i just have a delta schedule program on my computer here at home. there is one at 905 am and one at 110pm from MSP to TPA. as far as it pricing in First class, it is possible that the discounted first class or "up" fare as they call it.

wkharris2001
11-22-2009, 06:33 AM
I was actually looking at two seperate flights, I'm not at work so i can't check the inventory, i just have a delta schedule program on my computer here at home. there is one at 905 am and one at 110pm from MSP to TPA. as far as it pricing in First class, it is possible that the discounted first class or "up" fare as they call it.

I actually looked into it a little further phx, the fare basis code for that flight on that day is YA00UPRJ. from your posts on here I know you're very familiar with fare basis codes. the Y indicates this is a coach class ticket, the 00 is 0 day advanced purchase, the up in the middle indicates it IS an "up" fare. so as long as there is A or D inventory on the flight they will be put into First/Business class cabin automatically. the R indicates refundable. the A and J are in there for revenue management from what i'm told they really don't mean anything from my end of things.

after this post i have decided i spend too much time here LOL

justme
11-22-2009, 06:43 AM
That is OUTRAGEOUS. The reason Delta wait until 4 to 6 weeks is not because further changes might be possible. It is to minimise the chances that the customer could demand a refund and switch to another carrier, as by then all the reasonable fares will be sold out. As Judge Judy would say when pulling off a SCAM don't **** on my leg and tell me it's raining.

Do you really believe that? That's crazy. It sounds like a conspiracy theory (http://www.airlinecomplaints.org/showthread.php?t=5394) someone else had about the website "conveniently" crashing so they couldn't pick their seats... riiiiight, Delta doesn't have the time or money to waste on such trivial things. As was pointed out by others, schedules are only confirmed ONE month prior. Until that point, there are bean counters that decide what, where, when, and how to better arrange the schedule to, yes, maximize profits, but also to better serve the most customers. Think about it from this angle... if a 757 is scheduled to fly from MSP to TPA on 05JAN but only has 20 people booked on it, and a CRJ is scheduled to fly from PIT to OKC on the same day and is oversold by 25 and more people are trying to buy tickets, they will sometimes change the a/c types, add a flight, or change the schedule to better serve the customers, and to minimize wasted seats. It's not the most realistic example, but it makes the point. Like wkharris said, call reservations and request to be put back on one of the directs.

PHXFlyer
11-22-2009, 11:08 AM
I was actually looking at two seperate flights, I'm not at work so i can't check the inventory, i just have a delta schedule program on my computer here at home. there is one at 905 am and one at 110pm from MSP to TPA. as far as it pricing in First class, it is possible that the discounted first class or "up" fare as they call it.

WKH you'd better download more recent schedule data to your desktop app. According to that program and DL's online timetable the 110 PM is the only non-stop or direct flight. The earlier 905AM must have been the one which was cancelled and the one nitetrain was originally on. Looks like they put him or her on the 10AM to DTW which gets him or her into TPA @438PM. From the connectioin time in DTW it looks as if it could almost be the same plane with a different flight number as both are an A319. If the OP wants to leave closer to the original flight there's a 905AM to ATL which after a 1 hour 14 minute layover arrives TPA @323PM. To arrive TPA closer to the original arrival time they'd have to leave MSP no later than 730AM.

So there are options. Either leave about 90 minutes earlier to arrive the same time or leave at about the same time and arrive about 2 hours later. I would say that a 90 minute to two hour shift of schedule isn't exactly catastrophic, would anyone else here? And the OP has more than a month to rearrange his or her schedule on either end. Even if they stick with the itinerary DL assigned they're only leaving an hour later and arriving just under 2 1/2 hours later. Again, this only represents a total time shift of 3 and 1/2 hours. If both the departure time and arrival time were so critical to the trip that a 3 1/2 hour disruption would ruin it imagine what would have happened had their original non-stop flight been delayed! MSP is prone to snow and ice in the winter.

Butch Cassidy Slept Here
11-22-2009, 04:30 PM
If the OP has the opportunity to get a full refund from Delta, I would recommend the the connecting service, on Midwest or Continental, I referenced in my previous post. The non-stop Delta/Northwest flights, MSP - TPA, do not justify the aggravation the OP will probably endure if anything unexpected (on the part of Delta/Northwest) happens. For example, if there is bad weather in Minneapolis, and the flight can't take-off until the next day, will Delta/Northwest refuse to allow you to have your baggage (re-checking it the next day), thus holding your baggage hostage? Then there's the question of airport agents with an attitude. At a large airline these people can hide, and sometimes, even be protected. And, yes, that last statement COULD apply to Continental, except, again, one has the aforementioned compensating factor of a Houston connection (less chance of snow/ice).

PHX Flyer wrote...

Why would Sun Country not be a viable alternative?

For one thing Sun Country may still be in bankruptcy proceedings. I have yet to hear anyone characterize bankruptcy as a “morale booster” for airline staff. Also, it's my understanding Sun Country could be the originator of bad airline service like sardine class and unreliable schedules.

wkharris2001
11-22-2009, 05:01 PM
If the OP has the opportunity to get a full refund from Delta, I would recommend the the connecting service, on Midwest or Continental, I referenced in my previous post. The non-stop Delta/Northwest flights, MSP - TPA, do not justify the aggravation the OP will probably endure if anything unexpected (on the part of Delta/Northwest) happens. For example, if there is bad weather in Minneapolis, and the flight can't take-off until the next day, will Delta/Northwest refuse to allow you to have your baggage (re-checking it the next day), thus holding your baggage hostage? Then there's the question of airport agents with an attitude. At a large airline these people can hide, and sometimes, even be protected. And, yes, that last statement COULD apply to Continental, except, again, one has the aforementioned compensating factor of a Houston connection (less chance of snow/ice).

the passenger is originating in MSP...... are continentals planes protected from the snow and ice in MSP since they're going to houston??? if that's the case wouldn't the TPA flight be protected from the snow and ice since they're going to TPA??? when there are weather delays and cancellations it isn't just raining and/or snowing on NW/DL planes, it is raining and snowing on all planes in MSP regardless of which airline they belong to.

wkharris2001
11-22-2009, 05:07 PM
WKH you'd better download more recent schedule data to your desktop app. According to that program and DL's online timetable the 110 PM is the only non-stop or direct flight. The earlier 905AM must have been the one which was cancelled and the one nitetrain was originally on.

I had updated it last night before posting, and updated it again just now and it shows the same schedule, not sure what's going on with that. but i don't see the other 9am flight anywhere else so it may just be a software glitch with the program i have.

Butch Cassidy Slept Here
11-22-2009, 05:29 PM
WKH:

My reference to the weather in MSP was within the context of getting one's baggage back as a result of cancelled flights. Some airlines will hold a customer's baggage "hostage" if the re-scheduled flight departs the next day. This could be a way of discouraging the customer from giving up, and not taking the flight. Also, attitudes tend to be better at Continental and Midwest. As I indicated in another post Contintental's former CEO Gordon Bethune once commented that there are no "Sky Nazis" aboard his planes. While this may not be 100% true I have yet to hear Delta's CEO---a former prosecutor in Houston, and a former United Health Care VP---make a similiar statement.

jimworcs
11-22-2009, 06:14 PM
Justme..

Do you really believe that?

You asked me, do I really believe that? What possible reason could Delta have for not notifying people of each change? It is a simple email. I fly a lot with Easyjet, British Airways, Eastern Airways, and BMI Baby.. and every single one bombards me with emails with minor flight changes, notifications about upgrading, online check in, baggage allowances and much more. If they can do it, why can't Delta? Perhaps it is because they don't give a toot and the longer they leave it, the less likely the customer is to change. You are naive if you think the bean counters at Delta do not think about how to maximise revenue and lower the changes of customers switching. Stop reading the propaganda and get real!

PHXFlyer
11-22-2009, 06:23 PM
If the OP has the opportunity to get a full refund from Delta, I would recommend the the connecting service, on Midwest or Continental,

Continental's flights are all pricing out pretty high right now for Jan. 5. If they do decide on a refund they had better do it quickly before Midwest goes up as well. Sun Country was pricing about the same as Midwest and that non-stop flight is on a 737-700. I'm not sure where you've heard "sardine class" describing Sun Country. According to their website the 73G has 32" of seat pitch while most DL and all CO domestic aircraft have only 31".

Also just because a company is in bankruptcy doesn't mean they should be avoided. Just don't pay cash for your tickets. As long as you use a credit or debit card if something happpens you'll get your money back.

The_Judge
11-23-2009, 01:01 AM
WKH:

My reference to the weather in MSP was within the context of getting one's baggage back as a result of cancelled flights. Some airlines will hold a customer's baggage "hostage" if the re-scheduled flight departs the next day. This could be a way of discouraging the customer from giving up, and not taking the flight. Also, attitudes tend to be better at Continental and Midwest. As I indicated in another post Contintental's former CEO Gordon Bethune once commented that there are no "Sky Nazis" aboard his planes. While this may not be 100% true I have yet to hear Delta's CEO---a former prosecutor in Houston, and a former United Health Care VP---make a similiar statement.

What a load of horse excretion, especially the first couple sentences. I worked in MSP for a couple years at NWA and probably half of that was in the dungeon called luggage service. I have personally gone in the luggage holding area, which is massive btw, and retrieved uncountable pieces of luggage for passengers who had flight problems. It's a decent system so finding it, if it's actually there instead of on the plane, is fairly easy. It's the carrying it back to where I need to bring it that sucks. Many times, more than one trip as there are usually more than 2 pieces.

I can remember one Halloween, 2 days of me being down there from 4p-4a when it snowed over 31 inches during that time. I ruined 2 pairs of shoes walking back and forth through several inches of standing water, searching through dozens of luggage carts looking for bags for passengers.

So the middle part of your post, Butch, about attitudes is probably spot on. 12 hours a day, dealing with people needing their luggage so they can check it in the next day without even opening it, or getting out medication (yes, that happened during the Halloween I spoke about) that should have been in their carryon bags wears on me. Also, trying to deal with literally hundreds of people when we have a staff of about 5 is not ideal. Until you've done the job, I'd ask you to please refrain from generalizing.

Butch Cassidy Slept Here
11-23-2009, 04:23 AM
Judge wrote, in post #19...

What a load of horse excretion

Reported as abusive language.

Butch Cassidy Slept Here
11-23-2009, 04:31 AM
With regard to my comments about airlines holding customer's baggage hostage: There has been more than one occasion on which Delta/Northwest has denied a customer's request for the return of their baggage when said baggage was NOT on a plane. This question is not meant to apply to just those airports you've worked at.

The_Judge
11-23-2009, 04:42 AM
Judge wrote, in post #19...

What a load of horse excretion

Reported as abusive language.

And this comment of yours isn't.........

TRANSLATION...

F**K OFF!

http://www.airlinecomplaints.org/showpost.php?p=13358&postcount=7

The_Judge
11-23-2009, 05:25 AM
And to ALL, I apologize for the use of the term "horse excretion" if it has offended you.

justme
11-23-2009, 06:57 AM
You are naive if you think the bean counters at Delta do not think about how to maximise revenue and lower the changes of customers switching.

Actually what I said was this... "...to better arrange the schedule to, yes, maximize profits, but also to better serve the most customers."

So, I do freely admit that flight schedules are changed to maximize profit. Try reading what I ACTUALLY write instead of what you would like to think I'm saying to fit into your warped view of how evil everyone is that works for an airline. Not all of us are "horse excretions." (to steal a bit from another post)

The_Judge
11-23-2009, 07:04 AM
Watch out jm.....you will now be reported by another poster and if not, I am then being harrassed.

jimworcs
11-23-2009, 08:41 AM
Justme,

I think you are not reading what I wrote properly.

You stated that Delta do not advise customers of a schedule change in their flight, even if they know that the flight details have changed, until 1 month before departure because before then it would be subject to further change.

I argued that other airlines routinely email customers of changes. It is low cost and can be done automatically. I named airlines who do this. I argued that Delta do not do this for revenue protection reasons. If they wait until a month before departure, the chances of the customer asking for a refund and making alternative arrangements are significantly reduced. I said you were naive to think otherwise.

Now, I have answered your question comprehensively. I would like you to answer mine. Where Delta has the email addresses of their customers, why don't they programme their system to email customers automatically every time a schedule change is made which affects their booking?

PHXFlyer
11-23-2009, 01:31 PM
Tell ya what folks. In order to extend a voucher I had on Delta I booked a ticket on 10/20/09 for travel on 9/15/10. Now mind you I have no intention of actually taking the trip I booked, I just had to find a penalty-free fare as close to the original voucher amount as possible and booked out as far in the future as possible. Let's use this as a test case to see what Delta really does with schedule changes. Do they notify after each change or only when the schedule is close to finalization.

Now this may not be such a great test because it involves flying from PHX to ATL, a hub, then ATL to CVG, another hub. There is very little chance that either of those flights will change from non-stop to direct or connecting flights so the only changes will be probably be flight times and possibly flight numbers.

jimworcs
11-23-2009, 05:56 PM
Yes, this will be a interesting example if any changes made. However, we have been told already by Justme, who is afterall on the inside, that Delta do not notify customers of schedule changes until 4-6 weeks before departure.

justme
11-23-2009, 08:54 PM
Now, I have answered your question comprehensively. I would like you to answer mine.

I will do my best, but since I am not one of the bean counters, and never have been. I am only making educated guesses as to why things are or are not done.

Where Delta has the email addresses of their customers, why don't they programme their system to email customers automatically every time a schedule change is made which affects their booking?

I imagine the reason they don't send out an email every time a change is made, is because people would get so many emails that they would spam block Delta and then when a notice is sent out of something important, it would be missed. Knowing what I know about how these decisions are made, it was more than likely a bunch of people sitting at a round table coming to the consensus that it would be better for our customers to not get 20 emails a month about minor changes that are subject to further changes, which depending on how far out you book are still subject to even further changes, until one month prior at which point it becomes mostly set in stone. Of course, there are still changes made inside the 30 day window in extreme circumstances, but those are rare. Thinking from a customers POV, those would be the changes I would want to know about, not all the little ones 3 months prior.

...we have been told already by Justme, who is afterall on the inside, that Delta do not notify customers of schedule changes until 4-6 weeks before departure.

Never stated that as fact. As I said, I am not "on the inside" of this process.

PHXFlyer
11-23-2009, 09:02 PM
I imagine the reason they don't send out an email every time a change is made, is because people would get so many emails that they would spam block Delta and then when a notice is sent out of something important, it would be missed. Knowing what I know about how these decisions are made, it was more than likely a bunch of people sitting at a round table coming to the consensus that it would be better for our customers to not get 20 emails a month about minor changes that are subject to further changes, which depending on how far out you book are still subject to even further changes, until one month prior at which point it becomes mostly set in stone. Of course, there are still changes made inside the 30 day window in extreme circumstances, but those are rare. Thinking from a customers POV, those would be the changes I would want to know about, not all the little ones 3 months prior.

I would also venture a guess that it's to minimize the number of calls into Delta's call centers. If every schedule change generated calls from people inquiring about their travel six months from now (the schedule for which will likely change again) the telephone agents would be unavailable to handle customers with more urgent concerns.

nitetrain
11-23-2009, 09:57 PM
Hi All and thank you for your replies. A few points of clarification if I may. The poster that intimated flights are not confirmed until one month out is incorrect. Please refer to the following confirmation change received: A schedule change for your itinerary departing on January 5 has occurred. Your new flight schedule follows:

Flight: NW 2436
From: Minneapolis - St Paul, Minnesota
To: Tampa, Florida
Departure Time: January 5, 10:20 am
Arrival Time: January 5, 2:27 pm


Confirmation number: 778N4E

That is a 3 hour direct flight that I wanted. Nothing else. Point #2. While it may be easy in the world of some to reschedule, the remaining direct flight was booked or arrived around midnight. There is quite a difference between 2:30 p.m. and midnight. Point #3. Please refer to my post that states MSP to DFW to TPA is a 5 1/2 flight. Frankly, I have better things to do with my time than waste 2 1/2 hours or more if there is a weather delay in January in DFW. This is more than a 2 hour difference someone referred to from the airline's own confirmation:

A schedule change for your itinerary departing on January 5 has occurred. Your new flight schedule follows:

Flight: NW 2348
From: Minneapolis - St Paul, Minnesota
To: Detroit, Michigan
Departure Time: January 5, 10:00 am
Arrival Time: January 5, 12:49 pm

Flight: NW 2406
From: Detroit, Michigan
To: Tampa, Florida
Departure Time: January 5, 1:55 pm
Arrival Time: January 5, 4:38 pm

Point #4. Sun Country is not an option not only because they are in bankruptcy, but because they do not have an accommodating schedule, especially for the return trip.

Point #5. I am not about to, nor should I have to change planes when I book a confirmed direct flight. This customer did not institute the changes, Northwest/Delta airlines did.

Point #6. This customer would have accepted an upgrade for this inconvenience, but when it was requested the NW service rep said "NO." As in not an option. As in they don't really care about their "Customer First" claim. Quite the contrary. My experience proves that to be a gross exaggeration.

Point #7. Regarding my hotel and car. Since no reasonable alternative was available to me January 5, 2010 my only recourse was to fly either late January 4th or January 6th via NW. Since my wife and I both work Monday and did not want to start our vacation later we opted to get to the Florida warmth earlier. That means we have to change our hotel and car reservations at added costs obviously. Not to mention the time to cancel our car reservation (required) and reschedule an extra day. That costs more money where I live and where I vacation. Same for the hotel.

nitetrain
11-23-2009, 10:01 PM
My apologies if this post previously appears....

Hi All and thank you for your replies. A few points of clarification if I may. The poster that intimated flights are not confirmed until one month out is incorrect. Please refer to the following confirmation change received: A schedule change for your itinerary departing on January 5 has occurred. Your new flight schedule follows:

Flight: NW 2436
From: Minneapolis - St Paul, Minnesota
To: Tampa, Florida
Departure Time: January 5, 10:20 am
Arrival Time: January 5, 2:27 pm


Confirmation number: 778N4E

That is a 3 hour direct flight that I wanted. Nothing else. Point #2. While it may be easy in the world of some to reschedule, the remaining direct flight was booked or arrived around midnight. There is quite a difference between 2:30 p.m. and midnight. Point #3. Please refer to my post that states MSP to DFW to TPA is a 5 1/2 flight. Frankly, I have better things to do with my time than waste 2 1/2 hours or more if there is a weather delay in January in DFW. This is more than a 2 hour difference someone referred to from the airline's own confirmation:

A schedule change for your itinerary departing on January 5 has occurred. Your new flight schedule follows:

Flight: NW 2348
From: Minneapolis - St Paul, Minnesota
To: Detroit, Michigan
Departure Time: January 5, 10:00 am
Arrival Time: January 5, 12:49 pm

Flight: NW 2406
From: Detroit, Michigan
To: Tampa, Florida
Departure Time: January 5, 1:55 pm
Arrival Time: January 5, 4:38 pm

Point #4. Sun Country is not an option not only because they are in bankruptcy, but because they do not have an accommodating schedule, especially for the return trip.

Point #5. I am not about to, nor should I have to change planes when I book a confirmed direct flight. This customer did not institute the changes, Northwest/Delta airlines did.

Point #6. This customer would have accepted an upgrade for this inconvenience, but when it was requested the NW service rep said "NO." As in not an option. As in they don't really care about their "Customer First" claim. Quite the contrary. My experience proves that to be a gross exaggeration.

Point #7. Regarding my hotel and car. Since no reasonable alternative was available to me January 5, 2010 my only recourse was to fly either late January 4th or January 6th via NW. Since my wife and I both work Monday and did not want to start our vacation later we opted to get to the Florida warmth earlier. That means we have to change our hotel and car reservations at added costs obviously. Not to mention the time to cancel our car reservation (required) and reschedule an extra day. That costs more money where I live and where I vacation. Same for the hotel.

jimworcs
11-23-2009, 10:54 PM
Justme..

It is arrogant to say that you think customers would not want to be notified of the changes which you characterise as "the little ones 3 months prior". For a start, here we are talking about a very significant change and this website has loads of complaints, many aimed at Delta, that there are a considerable number of people being bumped off direct flights, onto indirect ones, even when the direct flights are still available. They find out by chance if they check. If not, by the time Delta get round to telling them they are screwed. You are very naive about the motives of your senior management and the methods they adopt.

Phx, you seem to be flip flopping on this issue. In many other posts you have repeatedly given the advice that people should continually check their reservations for changes and this is what you do. Why would you or other people do this if it didn't matter until 4 - 6 weeks before departure? The reason is that it does sometimes matter and it would cost Delta nothing to advise customers. The fact that they choose not too is highly illuminating.

The spam speculation is almost funny. Delta's schedule is such a work of fiction that the volume of emails notifying people of changes would amount to spam? That is an indictment of Delta!! I gather those who are stupid enough to tick the box saying that as a special customer, they would like to hear of offers from Delta, don't have this problem. Those emails miraculously make it through no problem. Are you seriously saying that this problem cannot be overcome. How do British Airways, Easyjet, etc manage it?

When British Airways email you.. the header is "important schedule change to your flights". I don't think too many people would delete that email without reading it. But even if they did, they would at least have had the chance. Under your system, no one is notified. Apparently it is better that no one knows than risk some people missing it because a spam filter intervened. That is topsy turvy logic... or DeltaLogic.

I suggest a new rule. If an airline sells you a direct flight and then cannot offer it, they must book you on another airline at their expense. If no direct flight is available, they must pay for any reasonable routing that will get you there at a time agreed with the customer on any carrier of the customers choosing. That would focus minds on publishing schedules which are not the work of fiction you portray them to be.

Butch Cassidy Slept Here
11-23-2009, 10:56 PM
Nitetrain wrote…

Since my wife and I both work Monday and did not want to start our vacation later we opted to get to the Florida warmth earlier. That means we have to change our hotel and car reservations at added costs obviously.

To expand your line of thought a bit further: What are your plans for the possibility of bad weather? Snow/ice, in Minneapolis, might prevent your departure. Or, it could prevent your return from Tampa. Have you set-aside funds for an unexpected night at an airport hotel? Remember, the airline provides NO compensation (free rooms, etc.) for bad weather. Scheduling a return flight for Saturday would give you a one-day “buffer” in the event bad weather at Minneapolis causes a cancellation to your return flight. Thus you stand a better chance of walking into work on Monday on-time, and with a decent night’s rest.

One final thing: You spoke of “Florida warmth.” I went to school in the TampaBay area. While 50 to 60 degrees (January daytime temps, without wind chill) may be warmer than Minneapolis, for me, that’s NOT particularly warm. More than once I remember going to class wearing a winter coat.

jimworcs
11-23-2009, 10:57 PM
Phx
would also venture a guess that it's to minimize the number of calls into Delta's call centers. If every schedule change generated calls from people inquiring about their travel six months from now (the schedule for which will likely change again) the telephone agents would be unavailable to handle customers with more urgent concerns.

If these changes don't matter, why would it generate calls? Perhaps it is because it would be customers calling to get a refund and booking on alternative carriers. But that wouldn't be the reason bean counters don't want them to know would it?

PHXFlyer
11-23-2009, 11:00 PM
It seems that a part of the impasse over this whole situation was some inflexibility on your part. You say...



That is a 3 hour direct flight that I wanted. Nothing else. Point #2. While it may be easy in the world of some to reschedule, the remaining direct flight was booked or arrived around midnight. There is quite a difference between 2:30 p.m. and midnight. Point #3. Please refer to my post that states MSP to DFW to TPA is a 5 1/2 flight. Frankly, I have better things to do with my time than waste 2 1/2 hours or more if there is a weather delay in January in DFW. This is more than a 2 hour difference someone referred to from the airline's own confirmation:

The simple fact is that the 3 hour direct flight you originally booked is no longer. Gone. Canceled. There is no way on Delta or Northwest that you can leave MSP and arrive TPA at the exact same times as before and spend the same three hours from beginning to end. You're refusal to accept this one basic fact is obstructing you from accepting any other reasonable accommodation.

Point #5. I am not about to, nor should I have to change planes when I book a confirmed direct flight. This customer did not institute the changes, Northwest/Delta airlines did.

So what are you going to do? Book a flight as close to your original departure time as possible and then hijack it to Tampa?

Point #6. This customer would have accepted an upgrade for this inconvenience, but when it was requested the NW service rep said "NO." As in not an option. As in they don't really care about their "Customer First" claim. Quite the contrary. My experience proves that to be a gross exaggeration.

You purchased an economy class ticket. Any re-accommodation you receive to get from MSP to TPA on Delta/Northwest is going to be in economy. Again you have an unreasonable expectation. What about all of the others who were on that non-stop flight? Should they all receive upgrades to first class? There just aren't that many first class seats to make that happen. Why is your situation any different from theirs? Why should you be accommodated any differently than them?

Point #7. Regarding my hotel and car. Since no reasonable alternative was available to me January 5, 2010 my only recourse was to fly either late January 4th or January 6th via NW. Since my wife and I both work Monday and did not want to start our vacation later we opted to get to the Florida warmth earlier. That means we have to change our hotel and car reservations at added costs obviously. Not to mention the time to cancel our car reservation (required) and reschedule an extra day. That costs more money where I live and where I vacation. Same for the hotel.

Again your definition of reasonable is somewhat prejudiced here. It was pointed out before that there were options on the same day to leave slightly earlier or arrive slightly later. It was your choice to change your day of travel so it falls upon you to accept any penalties that resulted with your hotel and car arrangements.

PHXFlyer
11-23-2009, 11:07 PM
Phx, you seem to be flip flopping on this issue. In many other posts you have repeatedly given the advice that people should continually check their reservations for changes and this is what you do. Why would you or other people do this if it didn't matter until 4 - 6 weeks before departure? The reason is that it does sometimes matter and it would cost Delta nothing to advise customers. The fact that they choose not too is highly illuminating.

I do so because even if the schedule change is minor there are sometimes equipment changes which cause a reassignment of seats. I always pre-select exit row if available but always an aisle seat. If that changes I want to be on top of it so that I have a decent seat assignment.

Phx


If these changes don't matter, why would it generate calls? Perhaps it is because it would be customers calling to get a refund and booking on alternative carriers. But that wouldn't be the reason bean counters don't want them to know would it?

I would think the mere fact that someone receives an e-mail would generate a call even if the change is only a few minutes either way. People might read the e-mail as far as the words "schedule change" and dial the phone without reading any further and realizing the the actual change was only 5 minutes or so.

nitetrain
11-23-2009, 11:13 PM
You talk about me being unreasonable when you have difficutly understanding. What don't you understand about an added 2 1/2 hours to a flight? What don't you understand that the average temperature in Minneapolis in January is 13 compared to 68 in Tampa. With the negative airline issues affecting me, your replies tend to blame me or demand unreasonable conciliation. So, perhaps you are an NW/Delta employee out of touch with passengers with at fault airlines as I've explained.

justme
11-23-2009, 11:17 PM
I give up. We will never get it right obviously.

jimworcs
11-23-2009, 11:18 PM
You make my point very well Phx.. some of the reasons people want to know may relate to comfort.. choosing your seat or cabin class or wanting to sit next to someone or might be more important, relating to connecting to other carriers or cruise ships, etc. My argument is that it would cost Delta nothing to provide the advice and they are out of step with many others in the industry by not doing this. I strongly suspect that the reasons are more commercial and have little to do with fears of "spamming".

I doubt it will generate calls for a 5 minute change. But even if it did, then it is Delta's own fault for producing such crap schedules that they generate this many changes. Maybe it would concentrate their minds and make them produce schedules which are real, how about that revolutionary idea?

Let's be clear.. I am simply saying that Delta run their airline the way others do.. not better, just the same. Let me suggest carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Qantas, BA, Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa as models.

PHXFlyer
11-24-2009, 12:08 AM
You talk about me being unreasonable when you have difficutly understanding. What don't you understand about an added 2 1/2 hours to a flight? What don't you understand that the average temperature in Minneapolis in January is 13 compared to 68 in Tampa. With the negative airline issues affecting me, your replies tend to blame me or demand unreasonable conciliation. So, perhaps you are an NW/Delta employee out of touch with passengers with at fault airlines as I've explained.

I'm not an employee, just someone who travels quite a lot. In years past it was primarily business travel as the company I worked for had a presence is several states which required me to travel often. I also do a great deal of leisure travel Believe me I understand, and have already stated so, that getting changed from a non-stop to a connecting flight is inconvenient but I think you are making way more out of this than it really is. So you leave a little earlier or get there a little later. Or both. As I pointed out before with the options you had on DL/NW alone it would have meant a total shift of your travel times by only a few hours. If you absolutely had to have a non-stop flight that option was available as well just on another airline.

Now you advise us that since you felt that time shift was beyond what you feel you should have been expected to put up with you've decided to travel the evening before. Great. Glad you found something that worked for you. But don't also feel entitled to be compensated for the change in arrangements to your hotel and car. The date change was your decision. You had viable options and no one forced you to change to the day before. Accept the fact that those extra expenses are a result of your decision and move on.

I give up. We will never get it right obviously.

At least not in this situation. He want's it his way and nothing else. Anything short of reinstating that non-stop flight at the exact time it was originally scheduled is not going to be good enough and any alternative is just downright poor customer service. I guess Delta should have chartered him a jet!

Silent Bob
11-24-2009, 02:30 AM
nitetrain, you were alerted of the change about 3 months in advance, that's actually pretty good given that most people don't find out until the night before (I think Jim has already pointed that out). But my question is... how does the 2 hours difference put you out? How is it an inconvenience? Why do you need to change hotel/care rental? Sure you wanted to be there a bit earlier, but 4:30 pm is actually still pretty good to get the car, get to th ehotel, and enjoy Tampa's night life which is pretty comfortable. If getting there before 4pm is that much of a big deal, I'd say take the refund, and ask for further recourse (such as frequent flyer miles, travel certificates, etc).

But if you do decide to keep the trip, having that connection will be the least of your worries, if winter is as cold midwest as it is in the east. You'd have to worry about snow and ice, and possibly crazy east coast weather, which could affect air traffic for your trip.

But ultimately you were given advance notice, something most people hope/hoped they would get. But ultimately enjoy your vacation.

Butch Cassidy Slept Here
11-24-2009, 02:43 AM
Nitetrain: Much to the amazement of some of the "airline" people on this board there was a time in my life when I was even LESS open to "conciliation" (compromise) than I am now. I found it necessary to mellow a bit for a very practical reason---I was using too much antacid.

Unless one owns their own plane, and has a vacation condo in Florida, a significant amount of conciliation has to be on the table. The alternative is to experience every single vacation trip, which involves air travel and/or hotels, as a mini-horror story. Is it right for someone to promise to get you somewhere at 1 pm; take your money, then tell you, two months later, you won’t arrive until 10 pm? Certainly not. But that is how airlines do business. When changes like this do take place there is, almost never, a choice that can restore things to their previous state. In reality what usually exists is a choice among several bad options. Obviously, the key to “survival” is to choose the option likely to produce the least “pain.”

Good luck, and hope you have a good time in the Tampa Bay area.

justme
11-24-2009, 06:07 AM
...and then don't provide any customer service. On top of that I get emails almost every day with their offers.

Saw this in another thread and couldn't resist... this is a customer who is less than happy about all the emails they were getting from the airline. Sounds like a case of spamming to me!

jimworcs
11-24-2009, 05:43 PM
Justme

You can't tell the difference between marketing emails and information about a schedule change? You are in far too deep to see anything from a customer point of view. You've been Delta'd good an proper...

justme
11-24-2009, 09:19 PM
I guarantee when that customer provided their email address it was so that they could be notified of schedule/seat changes. The airline used it for other purposes and the customer was not too happy about being bombarded with emails regardless of their information. This is exactly the scenario Delta is trying to avoid by not sending you an email every time a little change is made.

jimworcs
11-24-2009, 09:44 PM
If a customer in Europe provides an airline with their email address for the purposes of being notified of any schedule changes or other key information, and it is used for marketing purposes, the airline would face prosecution and fines for breaching the Data Protection Act. As Delta operate in Europe, they must have systems in place to distinguish between "marketing" messages and messages for the purpose of the business relationship. I do much of my business online, including all my travel arrangements and banking. I never receive marketing emails from them because by law they must ask me if I want to receive marketing materials or not.

I think you are now suggesting something which is not true. I do not believe that Delta, who operate in many European countries, are breaking the data protection laws in Europe.

I don't know what the law is in the US in relation to this, but regardless, Delta must have the capability to distinguish, otherwise they could not allow Europeans to buy tickets from Delta.com. You cannot send marketing emails to customers without having their consent. This consent cannot be "implied" by agreeing to have communications from the company related to the transaction, eg banking, buying a ticket, etc. In other words, Delta would have to ask the customer to tick a box if they are agreeable to receiving marketing materials. They must also ask for specific separate consent to pass these details on to any partner organisations.

PHXFlyer
11-24-2009, 10:46 PM
I believe in the USA they can offer an "opt-out" option rather than required to have an "opt-in" for marketing, etc. It's been a while since I've bought a ticket on an airline with which I don't already have a frequent flier account and have already "opted-in" for promotional and marketing e-mail. Next time I buy a ticket on Delta I'll do so without first logging into my account and let you know what "opt-out" or "opt-in" options are presented to me.

Jetliner
11-25-2009, 06:03 AM
[COLOR=black]The poster that intimated flights are not confirmed until one month out is incorrect.

Actually, you are the one who's not correct with that statement. Please re-read that post - the other poster said that SCHEDULES are not finalized until one month out. They didn't say anything about being confirmed. And it is a fact that an airline's flight schedule is not final until 4-6 weeks out. That means that until that time, it's subject to change.

Also, I believe Jim was the one who made the statement about the airlines doing this to screw the passengers out of the lower fares.... your argument holds about as much water as a sieve. The fares don't start going up typically until 20 days out. And most flights have very few seats booked ore than a month out - generally about 20% of the seats or so. That still leaves plenty of discount fares available.