Unevenly Packed Bags Results In $1500 Delta Disaster

Reader Ariel writes in after Delta refused to let her check her bags curbside because one was 5lbs too heavy, despite the fact that her other one 10lbs under. She says she was told it was Delta’s policy that she couldn’t move 5lbs of her crap to the other bag. This set off a chain of events that cost her $1500.

Ariel writes (to Delta):

On March 22, 2010 I was scheduled to fly from Los Angeles to New York City for a business trip. I had confirmed reservations on Delta Flight [redacted] departing LAX at 7:00 am. I left my home at 5:30 am and arrived at the airport at 5:50 am. I had already checked in online to receive my boarding pass and pay for my 2 checked bags.

When I arrived at the airport, I used the curbside sky cap to check my bags. I did not have to wait for his assistance as there was no one else in line so I had plenty of time when I got there.

He determined I had one bag that was 55 lbs (5 lbs over weight) and one at was 40 lbs (10 lbs under weight). My first response was to ask if I could step aside and repack my bags so that both bags would be under the 50 lb weight limit. In fact I have gone through this maneuver twice before when I’ve flown on Delta in the past.

He said in no uncertain terms that I was NOT allowed to do this. I asked him why and he said that it would be against company policy. He said that he would be fired if he allowed me to do that. He then said that he would have to go talk to his manager, at which point he left me standing at the curbside for over 5 minutes. When he returned he confirmed that I would not be allowed to repack my bags.

At this point I said I would be happy to pay the overweight bag penalty since I was getting very close to the 45 minute cutoff to check bags. He threw his hands up and said, “Well that’s not something I can help you with. You’re going to have to go stand in that line for special circumstances.”

As my frustration grew, I grabbed my bags and sprinted over to the front of the line. By the time I got over to the Special Circumstances line it was 6:18 am (42 minutes before my departure) and they said they were unable to check my bags. Because I was upset and late I did not get the sky cap’s name or id number.

Delta Customer Service attempted to rebook me on a later flight but all flights to JFK were overbooked and the best they could do was to offer me a seat on the red eye that would arrive in New York at 8 am on March 23. This wasn’t going to work for me since I had a 9 am meeting on March 23 that I couldn’t miss.

My only option at this point was to schedule another flight with another airline. I asked if I could keep my returning flight but Delta Customer Service told me that if I changed my round trip ticket to a one-way ticket, the price would be well over $1100. Plus I would incur additional penalties for altering my reservations. I was left with no other choice then to book an entirely new, same day, round trip reservation with another airline for over $1200! Not only that, but I was told that I would be charged $150 for canceling my reservations.

The obstructive behavior by the sky cap resulted in my having a total of $1500 in unnecessary and exorbitant out of pocket expenses. I am a young, small business owner and this is an expense that I cannot afford to incur. I am shocked and disgusted at the lack of customer service or human compassion that the Delta employees exhibited, especially in these hard economic times.

Is this an actual policy? You can’t move 5lbs of crap from one bag to another?

Has this ever happened to you, Internet?

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