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Death of pax before flight on non-refundable tix?

Death of pax before flight on non-refundable tix?

Old Aug 2, 18, 10:08 am
  #1  
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Death of pax before flight on non-refundable tix?

I'm hoping these folks have some recourse...

I live in a small farming town in the rural South (Boaz, AL, for those interested). One of my neighbors -- a lifelong farmer -- passed away last week, just three weeks before their 50th wedding anniversary. If you are even remotely familiar with farming, you know it's grueling 80-hour weeks with no time off for pathetic pay. It's not something you do for the money.

Anywho... this sweetest-of-couples had never been out of the country in their 70+ years on this earth, so they decided to get their passports, splurge for the first time in their lives (I think the kids helped), and buy two Z tickets to Paris a couple of months ago -- total cost for both tix were $7600; a small fortune where these folks come from.

Out of the blue, he has a massive stroke and passes away, just as they're starting to pack and with all the excitement of making the trip building to a crescendo.

We went over this morning to "be there" and were talking with one of their daughters when she brought this up. She showed me the itinerary and, lo and behold, it is on DL. She said she called DL and, after an hour on-hold, she said the agent told her that there was nothing that could be done as they were non-refundable, but she could offer "each of them" vouchers (Whaaaaaa??!!).

I told her we would try to intervene and do our best, without promising anything other than what she's already heard.

So... before I begin indiscriminately rattling cages, is there a particular department or any magic words I can use to get them all or most of their money back? This is a sucky thing to be saddled with after all they're already going through. $7600 is a big deal to these folks.

Apologies if this is OT, but as insane as y'all are, this was the first place I thought to come to for help.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 10:11 am
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https://pro.delta.com/content/agency...ee-policy.html

In the event of death of the ticketed passenger, a refund will be processed for the deceased and any traveling companion(s).
Request must include a copy of the death certificate and be submitted within one year of the original date of issue.
In the event there is a death of an immediate family member , of the ticketed passenger, a refund will be processed if the death occurred within 30 days of the scheduled travel.

In order to receive a refund, the passenger must submit a copy of the death certificate and state the relationship to the deceased.
Refunds must be processed by Delta Air Lines, Inc. Both request types require a ticket number along with a copy of the death certificate to be sent to:

Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Passenger Refunds
P.O. Box 20537
Atlanta GA 30320-2537

This information may also be faxed to 404-715-9256.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 10:12 am
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Delta has a standard policy on this. See here: https://pro.delta.com/content/agency...ee-policy.html

edit: sorry, someone else beat me to it
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Old Aug 2, 18, 10:16 am
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Thanks guys... I knew it had to be something simple. I can't see even a monolith like DL being THAT heartless.

I wish she had recorded the agent she spoke with -- or at least gotten her name. She really caused the daughter a lot of stress. Fortunately, she hadn't mentioned it to her mother yet, since she's beside herself -- going from one extreme to the other.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 10:16 am
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The deceased passenger is entitled to a refund per the international COC Rule 23(B)(1). This is crystal clear, and shame on the agent your friend spoke with for not knowing this and not bothering to find out. I mean that--this particular class of passengers who need something is likely facing the worst moment of their lives, and Delta should make sure that agents know what to do and how to do it if they get one of these calls.

Technically, all is says about the wife's ticket is that "Delta may waive certain fare restrictions in accordance with its written policy." My guess is you could wangle a refund from a sympathetic agent in this context.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 10:18 am
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Originally Posted by TheHorta View Post
I wish she had recorded the agent she spoke with -- or at least gotten her name. She really caused the daughter a lot of stress. Fortunately, she hadn't mentioned it to her mother yet, since she's beside herself -- going from one extreme to the other.
It's worth writing in, because Delta can both look at who "touched" the PNR and who handled a call from the daughter's phone number. If you were feeling generous, an offer to draft a polite but firm email for the daughter to send might be something particularly helpful for someone without much experience dealing with airlines.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by SamOF View Post
It's worth writing in, because Delta can both look at who "touched" the PNR and who handled a call from the daughter's phone number. If you were feeling generous, an offer to draft a polite but firm email for the daughter to send might be something particularly helpful for someone without much experience dealing with airlines.
I like this idea. I've whipped myself into a frenzy over how this was handled. I think I need to relax a bit before penning that letter. ;-)

I just called the daughter and told her that I spoke with some "friends" who pointed us in the right direction, and they should be able to get all of their money back -- whatever little consolation that might be at this time. It's one less thing to worry about.

Greatly appreciated!.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 10:30 am
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Wow! I just learned that the widow is 66 -- meaning she's been married since she was 16.

Six children, 21 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren.

Lifelong housewife, all on a farmer's pay.

I can't imagine making that work.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 10:49 am
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Originally Posted by TheHorta View Post
I like this idea. I've whipped myself into a frenzy over how this was handled. I think I need to relax a bit before penning that letter. ;-)

I just called the daughter and told her that I spoke with some "friends" who pointed us in the right direction, and they should be able to get all of their money back -- whatever little consolation that might be at this time. It's one less thing to worry about.

Greatly appreciated!.
I agree, its a shame. However the issue likely is Delta not training their agents on this exception. Sadly DL does more and more to get new hires on the phone and using the system quickly after hire. Unfortunately this results in agents not learning everything the ought to be taught. A complaint is warranted, but temper the anger towards the agent she talked with.
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Last edited by flyerCO; Aug 2, 18 at 12:47 pm
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Old Aug 2, 18, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by TheHorta View Post
Apologies if this is OT, but as insane as y'all are, this was the first place I thought to come to for help.
Obviously this was the right place for your query. You got the right info in 3 minutes! Beats the hold time calling Delta. FlyerTalk comes through big time.

And a lot of us learned some new info that we hope we don't ever need to use.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 11:01 am
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Granted it was UNITED (and they are far more customer unfriendly than DELTA), but when my colleague lost his Mother, it took one call to an outsourced call center and a death certificate and they refunded his parents tickets which were non-refundable.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 11:12 am
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There is a great difference between DM CSR and general CSR at DL.

I needed to make some flight changes on compassionate grounds recently, I had all the backup medical note.
The agent bent backwards with the help of a supervisor to reissue my TPAC ticket into the last J seat without taking my GUC. (5 all the way)

I believe if you were to call your DM CSR they will do the right and compassionate refund for your friends.

I would also bring the DM CSR's attention to the previous call dealing with this PNR. (1 all the way)
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Old Aug 2, 18, 2:41 pm
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Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
There is a great difference between DM CSR and general CSR at DL.

I needed to make some flight changes on compassionate grounds recently, I had all the backup medical note.
The agent bent backwards with the help of a supervisor to reissue my TPAC ticket into the last J seat without taking my GUC. (5 all the way)

I believe if you were to call your DM CSR they will do the right and compassionate refund for your friends.

I would also bring the DM CSR's attention to the previous call dealing with this PNR. (1 all the way)
I've almost always had very competent service and the highest I've ever been was Gold. Still, misinformation should not be a reality for any level of service.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
I agree, its a shame. However the issue likely is Delta not training their agents on this exception. Sadly DL does more and more to get new hires on the phone and using the system quickly after hire. Unfortunately this results in agents not learning everything the ought to be taught. A complaint is warranted, but temper the anger towards the agent she talked with.
The agent should have at least had some common sense to think, "hang on, I know it's nonrefundable, but in this instance I should at least check the rules because I can't imagine Delta actually wouldn't refund a passenger when this happens."

That specifically, on top of the fact that you shouldn't answer questions you don't know the answer to, without at least attempting to look it up or find an answer.

This isn't a problem of an agent not knowing all the rules. It's a problem of the agent lacking common sense and an understanding of what you do if you don't know the answer to someone's question.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by jetsfan92588 View Post
The agent should have at least had some common sense to think, "hang on, I know it's nonrefundable, but in this instance I should at least check the rules because I can't imagine Delta actually wouldn't refund a passenger when this happens."

That specifically, on top of the fact that you shouldn't answer questions you don't know the answer to, without at least attempting to look it up or find an answer.

This isn't a problem of an agent not knowing all the rules. It's a problem of the agent lacking common sense and an understanding of what you do if you don't know the answer to someone's question.
How was common sense missing? Agent was never told of an exception. It sounds like they went looking into the fare rules and saw no such exception and thus provided info based on what they had. This was purely a Delta issue for cheaping out on new hire training.
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