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Delta wants me to pay $140 to do the right thing

I should be in bed right now, I’m exhausted.  But I’m so flabbergasted by the phone conversation I had with Delta that I have to post about it.

A few weeks ago I booked a round trip flight from NYC to Kansas City and back.  My plans recently changed, and I’m now traveling from Kansas City to Oregon before heading home to Brooklyn.  The flights from Missouri to Oregon and Oregon to NYC were booked on another airline.  All that was left was for me to cancel my original return fight on Delta.  With me so far?  I’m still using the first half of my Delta round trip flight, but not the second half.

I called Delta tonight to cancel the flight home.  I want to say from the outset that the customer service rep (I’ll call him “S”) I spoke to was fantastic, I have zero complaints with how he handled the situation.  He’s got rules to follow, and one of them is probably “Don’t tell the customer how to save money through a loophole.”

I told S that I needed to cancel the second half of my flight, and he said that the only way to do that was to cancel the entire round trip reservation and rebook the first leg of the trip as a one-way ticket.  He then asked for my credit card # because I would owe $140.

Did I mention I’m exhausted?  I gave him my credit card number, but then a few brain cells woke up and I asked him why I just couldn’t use the credit from what I’d already paid for the round trip ticket ($360.40 with all fees and taxes) to pay for the one way ticket.  I figured that with change fees I’d be about even.  He said that the $140 was in addition to the $360 I had already paid.

That’s right: I was originally going to fly round trip for $360, but it would now cost me $500 to fly one way.  The one-way price for the same flight was now $320 + tax, plus the $150 change fee that Delta imposes on any changes whatsoever.  And that’s not even counting the $50 change fee that I believe I would also owe to Travelocity (where I booked the original flights), but we never got that far, because I asked the obvious question: What happens if I simply don’t show up for the return flight?  S put me on hold for a few minutes, and came back with the answer I was hoping for: nothing.  The rest of the reservation would simply be canceled and I would lose the return flight.  But I would owe nothing else.

So, yeah, I told him not to cancel and rebook.

I tend to be a rule follower, and if I’m not going to take a flight it seems wrong to me to have that seat reserved and not show up for it.  But Delta is forcing me to plan on skipping my flight in order to save $140 (or possibly $190).  Does this seem completely backwards to anyone else?

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and the NYC Moms Blog.

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