Bumped from First Class

Old Feb 13, 11, 3:38 pm
  #1  
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Bumped from First Class

Took my wife to Hawaii on a Sky Miles reward -- 210,000 miles for two round trip first class tickets. Itinerary was to be CLE to ATL, ATL to LAX, LAX to KOA (Kona). In the return, KOA to LAX, LAX to DTW, DTW to CLE. The final segment is a CRJ-200 with no first class seats, so we knew that was same as coach, but it's only 20 minutes in the air.

When we got to the Kona airport, we were told that due to an aircraft equipment change, there were six first class passengers reassigned to coach seat. We were put in row 42. I was livid and told the CSR that it was completely unacceptable. She offered to put us on an American flight in the first class cabin, which I declined because we'd have to change terminals in LAX at 5 AM, connect in Memphis and fly the last leg (now a 90 minutes flight, not a 20 minute hop) in coach, and arrive home 2 1/2 hours later.

In the end, we were handed two $100 vouchers good for 12 months and 2 upgrade coupons good for one way travel once. I told the CSR that I did not agree to this compensation as sufficient. I view this as a token, essentially a coupon toward a future purchase which I am not otherwise inclined to make.

I booked these flights six months ago and checked in for the round trip itinerary 14 days before I was bumped. On the day I was bumped, the change was made nearly 12 hours before departure time, and I was not notified by Delta either by phone nor by email. I only found out when I went to the counter to receive boarding passes.

Incidentally, the flight attendants told me that this very incident occured the on the same flight, prior day, and was in fact a fairly routine situation.

I demanded two round trip first class tickets to Hawaii as compensation. I was told that I would have to call "corporate" on Monday to discuss that. I don't feel that I should have to settle for less than two $500 vouchers and two roundtrip upgrade coupons.

I cannot believe that the airlines are able to jack passengers around like this. It is unconscienable, especially since all indications are that these equipment change decisions are related to better revenue than anything having to do with maintenance, safety or necessity.

What is fair in terms of compensation?
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Old Feb 13, 11, 3:46 pm
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.... happens.

Request the difference between the one way F & one way Y mileage.
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Old Feb 13, 11, 3:47 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Kona Flyer View Post
I cannot believe that the airlines are able to jack passengers around like this.
Believe it. The Contract of Carriage entitles you to the difference in fare. Since you (likely) flew in F LAX-DTW, Delta will claim you needed a first class award on the return, and any segment destination back to origin means an F award the whole way.

You're not entitled to statutory Involuntary Denied Boarding compensation because equipment substitutions are exempted.

You refused equivalent transportation in the ticketed class of service on another carrier. Another Delta routing (if you wanted to extend your stay) would have been another option.

You might get something more as a goodwill gesture. And you might not.
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Old Feb 13, 11, 3:47 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by Kona Flyer View Post
Took my wife to Hawaii on a Sky Miles reward -- 210,000 miles for two round trip first class tickets. Itinerary was to be CLE to ATL, ATL to LAX, LAX to KOA (Kona). In the return, KOA to LAX, LAX to DTW, DTW to CLE. The final segment is a CRJ-200 with no first class seats, so we knew that was same as coach, but it's only 20 minutes in the air.

When we got to the Kona airport, we were told that due to an aircraft equipment change, there were six first class passengers reassigned to coach seat. We were put in row 42. I was livid and told the CSR that it was completely unacceptable. She offered to put us on an American flight in the first class cabin, which I declined because we'd have to change terminals in LAX at 5 AM, connect in Memphis and fly the last leg (now a 90 minutes flight, not a 20 minute hop) in coach, and arrive home 2 1/2 hours later.

In the end, we were handed two $100 vouchers good for 12 months and 2 upgrade coupons good for one way travel once. I told the CSR that I did not agree to this compensation as sufficient. I view this as a token, essentially a coupon toward a future purchase which I am not otherwise inclined to make.

I booked these flights six months ago and checked in for the round trip itinerary 14 days before I was bumped. On the day I was bumped, the change was made nearly 12 hours before departure time, and I was not notified by Delta either by phone nor by email. I only found out when I went to the counter to receive boarding passes.

Incidentally, the flight attendants told me that this very incident occured the on the same flight, prior day, and was in fact a fairly routine situation.

I demanded two round trip first class tickets to Hawaii as compensation. I was told that I would have to call "corporate" on Monday to discuss that. I don't feel that I should have to settle for less than two $500 vouchers and two roundtrip upgrade coupons.

I cannot believe that the airlines are able to jack passengers around like this. It is unconscienable, especially since all indications are that these equipment change decisions are related to better revenue than anything having to do with maintenance, safety or necessity.

What is fair in terms of compensation?
Not to add insult to injury, but for those 16 that made it up front, this was an upgrade; a business elite-equipped 757. I'm flying to Hawaii soon and hoping for sort of the same thing, but naturally don't want to be among the unlucky downgrades. Does anybody know how the downgrades are determined? I'm guessing as a DM I'd be spared, but I'm traveling with 2 kids on award tix in a separate PNR, who have no status. I'm guessing they'd be reseated...and that would be a problem.

Good luck with compensation, I'll be curious how this works out for you. Best, Jamie
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Old Feb 13, 11, 3:49 pm
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The only comp you will receive on top of what you already have, would probably be a refund of sone of your miles. They offered you FC on another airline, can't believe you would suffer in coach instead of taking the FC on American and then asking to refund some of your miles when you returned. Seems sort of foolish.
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Old Feb 13, 11, 3:50 pm
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Welcome to FlyerTalk!

Sorry to hear about your bump - that really sucks

I would start by asking for a refund of a proportion of the miles you paid, maybe the difference between Y and F? I think you might be lucky to get 2 new returns in F FOC though.

A 50-75% refund of miles, your two vouchers and 4 upgrade certs (I assume 2 pp) is fairly good compo if you ask me.

They offered you F on another carrier which, although it didn't work for you for the reasons mentioned, some/most other carriers wouldn't offer.

Maybe some of the americans can give you a better idea of what they have got for similar incidents?
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Old Feb 13, 11, 3:58 pm
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Do you currently have any status on DL? If so, what?
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Old Feb 13, 11, 4:11 pm
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Sounds to me like DL went by the book here. I agree it probably sucked and was unexpected but the Equipment Change/Substitution was probably unexpected as well. I assume you did not book your seats in the first 4 rows of First or are not DM, PM or GM because those two things typically can save you. Also, I don't understand the checking in 14 days in advance, you only can check-in online 24 hours before departure. Check-in time is often the final tie-breaker so if 16 people checked in 3 hrs before the flight and you checked in and was #17 and #18 2 hours 55 minutes before departure, you would likely be bumped to the back.

The guidelines for a SkyMiles Award Ticket in R/O Class Domestic U.S is to credit SkyMiles for difference between miles used and the applicable coach class award as well as provide involuntary upgrade voucher which is good for one-way one class upgrade (domestic, Alaska, Mexico, Caribbean...however excludes Hawaii).

Also, to answer your question about getting no phone call or email from Delta, you wouldn't because the unvoluntary downgrades are all done at the airport based on the criteria I provided above. The ticket counter or gate agent are the only people that are able to take care of the downgrades and issuing compensation. I can almost guarantee that DL didn't know you would be 2 of the 6 downgraded until you checked-in because sometimes everyone doesn't show up, people make last minute changes to stay longer, etc. Hope this information helps. The best thing to do is make sure to do OLCI 24 hrs before departure when traveling on an Award ticket and also make sure you aren't in seats that will disappear if an Equipment Swap happens. I'd recommend booking rows 2-4 on a 757 for this reason. And as someone else said, this plane substitution was a HUGE upgrade over the normal 757 that flies the route in almost every category coach and more so in First.
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Old Feb 13, 11, 4:17 pm
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Originally Posted by GYEWorldTraveler View Post
Sounds to me like DL went by the book here. I agree it probably sucked and was unexpected but the Equipment Change/Substitution was probably unexpected as well. I assume you did not book your seats in the first 4 rows of First or are not DM, PM or GM because those two things typically can save you. Also, I don't understand the checking in 14 days in advance, you only can check-in online 24 hours before departure. Check-in time is often the final tie-breaker so if 16 people checked in 3 hrs before the flight and you checked in and was #17 and #18 2 hours 55 minutes before departure, you would likely be bumped to the back.

The guidelines for a SkyMiles Award Ticket in R/O Class Domestic U.S is to credit SkyMiles for difference between miles used and the applicable coach class award as well as provide involuntary upgrade voucher which is good for one-way one class upgrade (domestic, Alaska, Mexico, Caribbean...however excludes Hawaii).

Also, to answer your question about getting no phone call or email from Delta, you wouldn't because the unvoluntary downgrades are all done at the airport based on the criteria I provided above. The ticket counter or gate agent are the only people that are able to take care of the downgrades and issuing compensation. I can almost guarantee that DL didn't know you would be 2 of the 6 downgraded until you checked-in because sometimes everyone doesn't show up, people make last minute changes to stay longer, etc. Hope this information helps. The best thing to do is make sure to do OLCI 24 hrs before departure when traveling on an Award ticket and also make sure you aren't in seats that will disappear if an Equipment Swap happens. I'd recommend booking rows 2-4 on a 757 for this reason. And as someone else said, this plane substitution was a HUGE upgrade over the normal 757 that flies the route in almost every category coach and more so in First.
My wife flew LAXLIH last week and got 16-seat cabin...though seatmap had been showing as much for over 2 months. Unfortunately, pillows and blankets were still of the domestic F, flimsy variety. Oh well. But the seat can't be beat.
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Old Feb 13, 11, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by jamienbaker View Post
My wife flew LAXLIH last week and got 16-seat cabin...though seatmap had been showing as much for over 2 months. Unfortunately, pillows and blankets were still of the domestic F, flimsy variety. Oh well. But the seat can't be beat.
They don't upgrade the service, just the seats....but even the seats and IFE options are awesome!
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Old Feb 13, 11, 5:07 pm
  #11  
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Get the Miles difference.. that's like a free round trip on Coach plus whatever the compensation you've received.. IMO 2 1/2 hours difference and changing terminals at LAX, I would have taken.. would have been more relaxing.. plus get some Mileage credit for the last trek.
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Old Feb 13, 11, 5:17 pm
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more on that

No, I don't have any particular status with Delta other than having earned 210,000 miles and qualifying for the award trip. The seats taken from me were 5A/B. When I did OLCI on Jan 29th, there was an option to check in automatically for the return trip, which I selected. That is why I wrote that I checked in 14 days ahead. I did not get a reminder email from Delta 24 hours before departure because I was automatically checked in -- therefore order of check in could not have been the determining factor.

Delta's contract terms essentially say "reagardless of what you do, if we can make the deal sweeter for us, we may, and if we do, you get what we give you." I think that is unconscienable and I will take them to task on that.

What governmental agency is involved here as far as oversight? Is it the FAA, FTC, ... ?
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Old Feb 13, 11, 5:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro View Post
Get the Miles difference.. that's like a free round trip on Coach plus whatever the compensation you've received.. IMO 2 1/2 hours difference and changing terminals at LAX, I would have taken.. would have been more relaxing.. plus get some Mileage credit for the last trek.
Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner! The mileage credit should be worth the move to AA all by itself for the 2+ hour delay (unless you were missing work or something), and the other compensation is just cream...
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Old Feb 13, 11, 5:28 pm
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It appears that at 105,000 roundtrip miles in F, you booked a blended Low/Medium award (37,500+67,500).

Was your return in Medium or Low? If Medium, I'd say you are due the difference between the 67,500 and the LOW coach one-way, which is 20,000. That is 47,500 per pax times two equals 95,000.

To me, that is pretty valuable compensation for the downgrade, in addition to the vouchers and upgrade coupons.

I would say that the $100 coupons seem a bit cheap.

If you instead get the difference between the LOW F award and the low Y award, it is only 17,500 each, which is a lot less appealing.
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Old Feb 13, 11, 5:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Cheapskate Travels View Post
Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner! The mileage credit should be worth the move to AA all by itself for the 2+ hour delay (unless you were missing work or something), and the other compensation is just cream...
.. Sounds like we are on the Price is Right.. Door #1, Door #2, or Door #3.. At any rate.. wouldn't want to be put into OPs position right before red eye. I personally don't value F any more than Y, in fact I would rather fly coach twice, than fly First once.. That's two trips.^
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