Q. Why can't Delta Airlines compensate customers better when something goes wrong? Here was our situation: Family of 5. Child 5 years old, and twin infants. Getting to our destination was uneventful, however our trip home was a nightmare! After waiting to board the plane for about an hour, we were told the plane we were to fly out on arrived with a flat tire, and would not be fixed until the next day. Delta offered to put us up in a hotel. The shuttle bus took an hour to arrive. We got to the hotel, and it was a dumpy motel. The room was filthy. We asked for two cribs, they only had one, and that one was broken and very dangerous to place an infant in, and we were still charged for the crib. The next morning our flight was to leave at 6 a.m., and shuttle service began at 5 a.m. We got to the airport, and we waited in a long TSA line and by the time we got to the counter to check in, we were told we were too late to board the flight, and the next flight was 11 hours later! Finally, after a month of continuous complaining, we got $100 off our next trip with Delta.

A. First of all, Delta is not obligated to put you up in a hotel (there's no law that says they must do so). You might think it's the least they can do, but Delta could argue that a flat tire was an unforeseen "act of God" (the plane might have run over a piece of metal on the taxiway or who knows what) rather than "poor maintenance" which would be a different matter. It seems that your beef is more with the hotel than with Delta. Did you ask for a cleaner room? And I guess you don't travel very often, because you should never get to the airport less than an hour before flight time (leaving for the airport an hour before flight time isn't the same thing). Next time, take a cab if the free hotel shuttle won't get you there in plenty of time. I do wish that nothing bad ever happened when people fly, but in this case another airline might have done less than Delta did and you brought some of this woe upon yourself by bad planning.

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