Readers of this blog may have seen the entry and subsequent comments detailing the travails of my friend Lew who found a $138 RT New York-Denver nonstop fare on Delta for peak holiday travel.
Lew had a confirmed e-ticket, roundtrip nonstops in both directions, but about two months before departure, Delta called him to inform him that they were now putting him on connecting flights, meaning that his total travel time was longer. The new outbound flight would leave JFK two hours earlier, at an inconvenient 6 AM.
Some of the comments on that previous entry insisted that he must not have had a confirmed ticket. But he did. It wasn't a reservation that he had on hold. He bought it directly from Delta.com. Another comment suggested that if he called Delta, they would rescind their decision and put him back on the nonstop. That didn't happen. He called Delta again last night, and this is what he told me they told him:
"The Delta reservationist I spoke to said that, 'Well, you were on the lowest of low fares. But coach seats on the nonstop are now sold out. However, you could buy a business class fare, seats are still available.' Needless to say, I'm not going to do that."
When I checked last week, coach seats on his flight were still available, but for over $600.
Imagine, if you will, that you renovate your kitchen, and you specify and buy granite countertops, and a few weeks before the installation the contractor tells you, "I'm substituting Formica. But you're still going to be charged the same price we agreed on." That's essentially what Delta did.
Follow up (Nov. 1)
After writing a reasonable email to Delta, and calling them again, our friend Lew was re-instated on Delta's nonstop. Lew, in his letter, avoided saying, "I'll never fly Delta again!" which would give them no incentive for helping him. So this story had a happy ending, but it took a lot of work and had Lew given up on his first attempt he'd still be crossing his fingers that he made his tight connections.