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Involuntary downgrade; can I wait for next available premium seat?

Involuntary downgrade; can I wait for next available premium seat?

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Old Mar 27, 18, 10:35 pm
  #1  
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Involuntary downgrade; can I wait for next available premium seat?

The following actual fact pattern has given rise to this question:

Fact Pattern: Seabourn booked me and Mrs. Jonsail far in advance in all premium cabins on a very low cruise fare for a route which included the following return: ARN-AMS-SLC. It was with Delta and its partners. Then the AMS-SLC flight was moved to an earlier time making the connection in ARN impossible. I called Delta and offered to overnight in AMS (which we wanted to see anyway) at our own expense and then take the next day AMS-SLC flight. Delta said that would put me into a hugely more expensive fare bucket and instead got us an inconvenient earlier flight out of ARN.

Question: Suppose my ARN-AMS flight is delayed or there is some irrop and Delta offers to fly us economy (with some trivial refund) on next available AMS-SLC flight. Would we be successful in saying, "No thanks, put on the next AMS-SLC with a premium cabin seat available and we will wait in AMS at our own expense."?
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Old Mar 27, 18, 10:52 pm
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You should be able to do this, assuming that the new flight you want is operated by DL or alternatively AF/KLM due to the TATL JV. What won't happen normally is being given a premium cabin seat on a competitor like UA or an obviously illegal routing, such as returning through Asia, even using partner flights. If you ask to wait for the premium cabin seat, DL may try to give you an additional connection or rerouting. Also, you should be prepared to be separated if you're on separate PNRs. It would help to know the flights you want before speaking with an agent.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 2:38 am
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Seabourn is essentially your travel agent here, they should have gotten notified of your schedule change and asked you what you wanted to do. You indicated you called Delta and now have a rebooked option that is less desirable, yet you agreed to it. Is there any option to call Seabourn directly and see if you can re-book the re-book? Even if it's a cruise bulk-fare, they may have some other options that aren't going to charge extra for.

If you legitimately miss a connection due to IROP, KLM's auto-rebook system may pick Y seats on the most direct (quickest) new routing option, but I agree with MSP above, you ought to be able to decline that in favor of later options with your paid class of service.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 10:19 am
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I've had this happen to me where I missed a connection due to weather delays. I was offered standby in coach later in the day and told them I wanted a confirmed FC seat (was on a paid FC fare). They did, but they couldn't get me anything confirmed until the next day. I wasn't in a hurry and have a bunch of hotel points so spent the night in ATL and flew home the next morning in First. YMMV.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 10:35 am
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Seabourn can and should deal with this on your behalf with DL. If there are seats on the the flight you want in the right cabin, even if a higher fare class, Seabourn should be able to get this done for you since it was an involuntary change. However, if you have already made changes directly with Delta, that would limit their ability to work on your behalf. If that hasn't happened, get in touch with Seabourn, tell them what you want, and let them deal with it.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 11:09 am
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I thought DL would not touch a ticket like this without charging a fee to take over the ticket? Or does that not apply when there is a schedule change or IRROPS?
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Old Mar 28, 18, 11:23 am
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If you still want the overnight in AMS option, I might call back and try again. It seems like an extremely reasonable request, and bad on the agent who didn't just rebook you. I can't imagine a supervisor would say no to that.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 11:28 am
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Last year I experienced IROPS when departing AMS. It took ATL forever to finally mark the flight cancelled. I called reservations in the meantime and they wanted to downgrade me from J because it was an "involuntary" change. Needless to say, I didn't accept that.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 11:35 am
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Now that OP has dealt directly with DL and DL has apparently taken over the tickets, it is highly unlikely that Seabourn can or will do anything. But, it is a toll-free call, so worth an effort.

As this is a departure from the EU, if DL downgrades, OP is entitled to a refund of 75% of the base ticket price for the segment involved. While DL has no obligation to do so, it will almost certainly rebook on the next available routing with premium, e.g. D1, service available.

Again, all of this much better handled by Seabourn which can tap into inventory on a multitude of carriers.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
I thought DL would not touch a ticket like this without charging a fee to take over the ticket? Or does that not apply when there is a schedule change or IRROPS?
With a schedule change rebooking is the responsibility of the ticketing party. I can imagine some carriers demanding same inventory class, not just same cabin. That's between Seabourn and Delta for the OP.

In IROPs, carriers will handle it.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 2:48 pm
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Originally Posted by SamOF View Post
If you still want the overnight in AMS option, I might call back and try again. It seems like an extremely reasonable request, and bad on the agent who didn't just rebook you. I can't imagine a supervisor would say no to that.
This. The fare class is irrelevant if there was an involuntary schedule change. OP never should have accepted the other flight the agent found and simply HUCA if need be. An agent or supervisor can always override fare class in any case - especially like this - to rebook into the original class of service.

Originally Posted by jdrtravel View Post
I thought DL would not touch a ticket like this without charging a fee to take over the ticket? Or does that not apply when there is a schedule change or IRROPS?
Yeah but it's only a $50 fee. Easier for them to waive then even a change fee...
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Old Mar 28, 18, 4:00 pm
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.......and it can be worth much more than $50 to avoid trying to negotiate with an OLTA.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 7:10 pm
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Originally Posted by btonkid12345 View Post
This. The fare class is irrelevant if there was an involuntary schedule change. OP never should have accepted the other flight the agent found and simply HUCA if need be. An agent or supervisor can always override fare class in any case - especially like this - to rebook into the original class of service.
I agree fare class alone shouldn’t have been a barrier but it’s possible that taking the second flight the next day would have resulted in a stopover (>24h) in AMS and that may have caused the pricing problem.
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Old Mar 28, 18, 11:24 pm
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Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post

I agree fare class alone shouldn’t have been a barrier but it’s possible that taking the second flight the next day would have resulted in a stopover (>24h) in AMS and that may have caused the pricing problem.
I see. I still think they should have overridden it. Following exact fare rules during an involuntary change is something DL doesn't usually do...but its definitely an agent discretion situation. Definitely valid that it could cause the problem if the agent was putting in the new flights and relying on auto pricing, or didn't enter the correct INVOL change code in there to allow the system to make the change without an ADD/COLLECT.
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Old Mar 29, 18, 12:01 am
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Interesting replies. Some more background: When I checked My Delta flights I saw the impossible connection in AMS with a note to call Delta. I called Delta and they declined my offer to overnight in AMS at my own expense because of a different fare class. If I had been thinking better, I would have said, "What's the problem, I am only asking for a 22 hour connection in AMS," but I didn't think of that then. Delta then wanted to fly us out of ARN on a 6am flight. I said that was unacceptable and they came back with a 9am departure from ARN. Perhaps, I was too quick to agree but I did. Then when I called Delta back to see if we could do something else, Delta said to call my travel agent Seabourn. I called Seabourn who said it was now in Delta's hands because I made the change with Delta. In setting up the original flights Charl Smith of Seabourn spent a lot of time working with me get the RT price down to $2,050 each so I'm still happy with Seabourn. (To get that price we fly into HAM instead of CPN, but we're happy to spend a couple of day in HAM and take the train from HAM to CPN.)

Lesson learned: When the airline forces a change and invites you to call, carefully think out all of your arguments and options before calling.
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