Delta Plays Keepaway With Buddy Passes, Messes Up Honeymoon

Melanie and her National Guardsman husband snagged some free Delta passes that they thought they’d use on their honeymoon. Delta had some other plans in mind and things didn’t work out so well.

Melanie explains in her now-open letter to Delta:

Thank you for taking the time to read about my very disappointing experience with Delta Airlines. One of my husband’s colleagues (Frank) in the National Guard worked for ComAir and allowed us to
purchase tickets to Europe through Delta’s “buddy pass” program.

In April of this year, my husband and I found out that his colleague was no longer employed with ComAir in Cincinnati, Ohio. We found this out from someone at ComAir because we needed to change the dates of the tickets and we could not get in touch with Frank. The woman I spoke with at ComAir told me that I had better call Delta Reservations to see about a refund because she didn’t think our Buddy Passes would be valid any longer since Frank was no longer with the company. I called Delta immediately and asked how I should proceed to get refunded for my 2 tickets. The agent that I spoke with told me that the tickets were valid. I asked him if he was sure and he said, “yes, I’m looking at them right now”. I was thrilled because I had looked that day on-line and the tickets were priced at nearly $800 a piece that day. I asked the agent if I could change the dates of the buddy pass tickets (my husband is in Officer Candidate School with the Nat’l Guard and the school dates were changed) and he proceeded to re-schedule my tickets. I thanked him, hung up, and almost immediately received an e-mail confirmation. I’ve attached two e-mail notifications to this message dated April 14th. This date is nearly one month after Frank was no longer working for ComAir.

Based on the information provided by the Delta Agent, we proceeded with our plans (which was our honeymoon) to go to Europe. We spent countless hours designing our trip, booking hotels, reserving a car, making dinner reservations, etc. We contacted our friends, who worked our visit into their schedules. You can imagine the time spent going from Frankfurt to Wurzburg to Augsburg to Munich to Austria to Garmish to Fussen to Lietchenstein to Lindau to Constance and finally to Zurich.

I called Delta on Tuesday, July 21st to check on the status of the flights and I was told that my tickets were not valid. I explained my situation; that I was 2 days out from our trip and that buying tickets at this point would be severely cost prohibitive. I was told that there was nothing anyone could do and that I should issue a complaint on line. I was also told that it would take several days for this to be answered. Obviously, I did not have that kind of time. I hung up, called back, went through the whole thing again. In tears, I called my husband and went to meet him so that we could call together. After going through the whole scenario again, we were put through to a supervisor (Greg) in Salt Lake City. He also explained that there was nothing he could do. He went even further to say that he had spoken with all three of the employees that we had spoken to and of the three, two had differing opinions concerning our situation. Again and again, I was told that there was nothing Delta could do and that regardless of the misinformation, they could not honor the tickets. I told them I didn’t have an objection to the tickets being invalid but at least work with me in order to get reasonably priced tickets to our destination; a voucher, a discount, any overture to do the right thing
would have been appreciated but again I was told they could do nothing.

I submitted an e-mail to Delta’s corporate headquarters using the website that night. Unable to reach Delta’s corporate Office by phone until the next day, I spent the better part of the rest of Tuesday night trying to cancel our hotel and ground transportation reservations. Many of the hotels were prepaid and as a result we lost a considerable amount of money due to the inaccurate information provided by the Delta Representative.

First thing in the morning, we called the corporate office only to be sternly told that we had no further recourse nor could they help in any way. Again, I explained that I was a seasoned traveler, that I would never have waited until a day or two before to purchase my airline tickets. In fact, had I been given accurate information, I would have purchased tickets in April when I called for my refund.

While I understand that these individuals were upholding company policy, no one was even willing to admit responsibility for the situation. Nor were they able to offer any type of solution or compromise.

I respectfully request that Delta compensate me and my husband for our losses due to their contribution to our cancelled plans. Furthermore, I would encourage you to look into your business practices regarding the “Buddy Pass” program. An e-mail saying that our tickets were invalid could have been automated to come to the same e-mail that we
were sent confirmations. Given my situation, I will be reticent to use or recommend your airline ever again. I do not have confidence that your agents will give me or anyone I council accurate information. A copy of this message will be submitted to the Better Business Bureau and other versions of it will be put on consumer watchdog sites.

Melanie said she posted the letter to the Delta site, mailed it to the airline’s physical addres, then e-mailed a copy to CEO Richard Anderson. And yes, she followed through with her promise to send it to the Atlanta BBB. If she doesn’t get her refund it won’t be for a lack of thoroughness.