Who pays the hotel bill for scheduling blunder?

Tracy Stewart, January 09, 2009
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. We used Delta Skymiles to book flights from Savannah to Fairbanks and then Vancouver to Savannah for an Alaskan cruise tour.

    While checking Delta's site two days ago, I noticed that they'd changed our Vancouver-Savannah flights, and there was a misconnect in the schedule, meaning that we arrived in Atlanta at 10:36pm but were scheduled to depart Atlanta for Savannah at 10:35pm...which is one minute before we even arrive.

    I immediately phoned Delta, who concurred there was a misconnect, but they were unable to get us from Vancouver to Savannah on the original booked date. They could do it the following day only, necessitating an overnight stay.

    When asked, Delta said that in the even of a schedule change, they aren't required to do anything to assist with accommodations.

    Is that true? Shouldn't they provide a hotel?

    A. If you hadn't caught the error, and you were to end up stranded in Atlanta, it seems to us that they'd be obligated to put you up for the night. At least that's what it sounds like, according to their contract of carriage which states:

    C.  Schedule Changes, Delays, & Flight Cancellations within Delta's Control
     
    When, as a result of factors within Delta's control, you miss a connection due to flight delays,
    your flight is cancelled, or a substitution of equipment results in a change in the class of service
    that you purchased or prevents us from transporting you, Delta will provide you with the
    following:
    .....
     
    .....(b) Hotels
     
    If overnight accommodations are available at Delta contracted facilities, we will provide you
    with a voucher for one night's lodging when the delay is during the period of 10:00 pm to
    6:00 am.   Delta will provide free public ground transportation to the hotel if the hotel does
    not offer such service
    .
     

    That said, since you did catch the error prior to beginning the trip, they'll probably argue that you have full knowledge of the overnight stay, and by using the ticket, you are agreeing to the conditions of the itinerary. Not exactly fair, but that may be their reasoning.
     

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