Delta bait and switch: airline puts passenger on a connecting flight after he buys a nonstop

George Hobica, October 25, 2007
Fares from Washington DC:

    When Lew Davis, an educator based in New York City, saw a $138 RT fare from New York JFK to Denver on a nonstop flight for peak Christmas travel (leaving a few days before Christmas and coming back just after New Year's Day), he naturally jumped on it.

    Even better, the flight left JFK at a reasonable hour in the morning, giving him plenty of time to get to the airport.

    But he was in for a surprise: a couple of weeks ago, Delta called him and told him he was now on a flight leaving JFK around 6 AM, and he'd have to make a connection both coming and going. Worse, Davis is now flying on regional jets, instead of a big jet.

    Naturally, he's not pleased. There are still seats left on the Delta nonstop, but they're selling for over $600 RT for Davis' itinerary. It's pretty clear what happened here: Delta kicked Davis off of the nonstop, and will now sell seats at a much higher fare than he paid to last minute purchasers.

    Why we need airline regulation

    Can you imagine any other industry getting away with this garbage? Imagine if you bought a TV from Best Buy and then, 2 months later, someone calls you to explain that they're substituting a TV of much lesser value. "We'll be over in a hour to swap it out."

    Or you sit down to a restaurant, waiting for your rib eye, and the waiter explains that the restaurant just ran out of steak, and another diner has offered to pay more for your meal. So you're going to get a hamburger instead. For the same price as rib eye (I'm equating connecting flights with hamburger, as you can see). This is BS. There really ought to be a law. And I mean a law, passed by Congress.

    I can understand, maybe, if Delta had scrubbed nonstop flights from their JFK DEN schedule. But this is not the case.

    Too many airlines are getting away with too much of this sort of thing. Another example is when they do in fact scrub a flight from their schedule, forcing travelers to buy much more expensive fares at the last minute. In these cases, airlines should honor the original fare, even if they have to find seats on another airline.

    Has this sort of thing happened to you? Feel free to leave a comment.

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