Delta Gets Creative, Fakes Out Passenger With Reverse Cancellation Trick

Nelson is a Silver Medallion frequent flyer on Delta, so clearly he’s got some experience with the airline’s usual bag of tricks. This time Delta out-smarted him, though, by cancelling an 8:30 flight and then re-confirming it after he’d seen that it was cancelled. As far as Delta is concerned, it’s not their problem–the weather made them do it, and he should have kept checking in all morning yesterday.

Obviously, a huge storm hit the East Coast yesterday, so the airlines had to frantically adapt, but my issue is with Delta Airlines. I had a flight booked from NYC to San Juan, PR set for Wednesday morning at 8:30am, just as the weather was set to turn ugly. My girlfriend and I woke up early in the morning to find out the 8:30am flight was cancelled and that Delta automatically rebooked us on a 7pm flight later that evening. Nothing unusual during inclimate weather.

Since we now had 10 hours before having to head to the airport, we went back to bed and woke up at noon. We checked on our 7pm flight to find out that it too was now cancelled, however, the 8:30am flight we were originally booked on had gotten UN-CANCELLED and was in the air to Puerto Rico as we were sitting in our apartment waiting. I was obviously livid, but called up the airline and put on my calmest voice to inquire how this could happen with no notification. After waiting on hold and getting transferred through three customer service reps over the course an hour and a half, a CSR in Salt Lake basically told me that they can un-cancel a flight if they feel like it and it was not their job to notify me since it was a “weather related” issue and that they wouldn’t be able to get us on a flight until Sunday (four days later).

I argued that the flight getting cancelled was a weather related issue, but failing to notify people when it got un-cancelled is a Delta-related issue and that they should be working to get me on a flight the next day, even if they have to put us on standby or make connections. She stood strong, citing the weather-related issue again, and said the best she could do was a refund and $100 voucher for each of us (she said her computer wouldn’t allow a larger amount), which didn’t cover the $140 return flight we had with another airline which we’re now losing out on (Delta doesn’t fly out of where we’re returning from) or the wedding that we’re now missing as a result of their failures.

As someone who always flies Delta and is currently Silver Medallion, I expected some kind of notification or at least for them to offer to let us try standby the next morning to make this flight considering our original flight was one of the few to actually make it out of this storm. And if not that, to reimburse us for the return flight we’re now missing because of their refusal to be helpful. Is this unreasonable?

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.