Delta: Just Because Our Website Says You Get Free Movies, That Doesn’t Mean It’s True

For his recent cross-country flight on Delta, Josh took Economy Comfort class: it’s a little comfier than Economy, but not as fancy as Business class. Delta’s website says that people in this class don’t have to pay for movies on the in-flight entertainment system, but Josh’s actual experience and his conversations with Delta about having to pay for a movie indicate otherwise.

This past weekend I flew on Delta from L.A. to Atlanta. Delta offers a mid-tier class of travel that they call “Economy Comfort”. You pay a little extra for these seats and while not as nice as business class you do get a few perks including a bit more legroom. This is the type of ticket I purchased.

Once we were in the air I used the personal entertainment screen in my seat to browse through the available movies on the flight. Delta says on their website that movies on demand are complimentary for travelers in Business Elite, First Class, and Economy Comfort so I was a bit surprised when the unit in my seat prompted me to pay $6 to watch a movie. I went ahead and swiped my credit card as I wanted to watch a movie.

After the flight I sent an e-mail to Delta’s customer service department and even quoted the test directly from their website:

Movies on demand are complimentary in the BusinessElite®, First Class and Economy Comfort cabins, and for customers in the Economy cabin on all international flights. Additionally, movies on demand are complimentary in the Economy cabin on flights to/from the Hawaiian Islands and Alaska. Movies on demand are available in additional language tracks which vary by aircraft and route.

This text is still on their website right now here.

Delta replied with the following, remarkably quoting the same text while at the same time saying that movies in Economy Comfort are not complimentary:

“Please know that movies on demand are complimentary in the Business
Elite, First Class and Economy Comfort cabins, and for customers in the
Economy cabin on all international flights. Additionally, movies on
demand are complimentary in the Economy cabin on flights to/from the
Hawaiian Islands and Alaska. While we would like to offer special
consideration in cases such as yours, we are unable to honor the many
requests that we receive from others in similar situations. We follow a
consistent policy to ensure that Delta is fair to everyone who travels
with us. Since the fee charged for the movie was correct, we
respectfully decline your request for a refund.”

I replied again and pointed out that it clearly states that movies are complimentary for Business Elite, First Class, and Economy Comfort.

Delta then replied with the following:
“I understand you feel I did not adequately address your concerns. I was
happy to review your comments again to see if there was something I
missed. Please know that movies on demand are complimentary in the
Economy Comfort cabins only on international flights, including Hawaiian
Islands and Alaska and not on domestic flights. Respectfully, there is
nothing more I can add. I am sorry to disappoint you, as I understand
this is not the answer you were expecting.”

It clearly states on Delta’s website (and in their first e-mail response) that movies are free in Economy Comfort. The regular “Economy” class is what gets free movies only on international and Hawaii/Alaska flights. It is right their on their website that Business Elite, First Class, AND Economy Comfort all get complimentary movies on demand.

If movies aren’t supposed to be free for Economy Comfort you would think that Delta would just admit that they have a mistake on their website and refund my $6, but instead they keep going back and forth with me (I received a similar response when I tried to contact their Twitter-based customer service as well). I even told them they could just give me some frequent flyer miles if the refund was too hard for them to process, but alas… nothing from them so far.

Is it a mistake, or is the wording ambiguous? If the website says what the Delta e-mail rep claims, then it should simply say, “Movies on Demand are complimentary for all passengers on international flights.” Unless there’s some sub-Economy class of human passengers who ride in giant animal crates in the cargo hold now.