Delta Changes Rules, Charges Up $70 For Same Day Flight Change

Reader Will has had it with Delta Airlines. Here’s why:

I travel a lot on business. I’m on travel right now, in Orlando. Luckily for me, my business this morning was completed ahead of schedule, and as I left my vendor’s office, I phoned Delta Air Lines to move up my return flight time a few hours.

This kind of thing happens all the time; up until Delta joined the ranks of the bankrupt airlines, making a change on the day of a flight was free, assuming seats were available on the alternate flight. A while back Delta tacked on a $25 fee, which was annoying but not a show-stopper. It’s worth $25 for me to not waste half a day waiting on a flight.

Unfortunately, I’ve just discovered that Delta has changed the rules again. Now it’s a $50 fee to make a change, plus another $20 if you make the change over the phone. It’s “only” $50 if you put in for a change on Delta’s web site–but you can’t make a change on the web site if your original booking wasn’t directly through Delta. Like most corporate travelers, I’m not allowed to book directly with an airline, I have to use my company’s contracted travel agency.

I can defend a $25 fee. I’d have a hard time defending a $70 fee, and even if I could, I don’t want to. I’m not going to give Delta any more money for this flight. The original ticket, booked on Monday, was more than pricey enough.

Will is switching to AirTran. He says

“To hell with ’em. AirTran is cheaper, much more accommodating, and unlike Delta, their gate reps and stewardii don’t act like they did you a favor by showing up for work.

So long, Delta. You suck.”

In the interest of helping Will make an informed choice, we looked up some other airline’s same day flight change policies. Charging a fee for a confirmed seat is standard practice, but if you show up to the airport early enough to catch an earlier flight and there are seats available most will not charge you. US Airways seems to be the exception to the rule. Delta’s $70 fee does seem a little high:

United Airlines
American Airlines
US Airways

A Farewell To Delta [Vodkapundit]