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Family of 6 with 3 kids scattered around the plane

Family of 6 with 3 kids scattered around the plane

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Old Dec 8, 18, 4:38 pm
  #1  
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Angry Family of 6 with 3 kids scattered around the plane

I read an article about this, I believe in the WSJ, and now it's happened to myself and my family.

We are a family of 6, 3 adults and 3 children: 6, 3 and 10 months). Booked a RT flight on Delta from LAX-NAS in early September, for travel at the end of Dec, returning early Jan. Booked Comfort+ for each leg (4 legs, LAX-ATL, ATL-NAS, NAS-ATL, ATL-LAX). Used a very large number of points as this is peak flying seasons.

Toward the end of November, I received an email showing a change in some of the plane types. Buried at the bottom of the email was information about the seat changes and that on the NAS-ATL portion, my family was scattered all around the plane and no longer in Comfort +. Just to reiterate, each family member, including my 6, 3 and 10 month old were now sitting by themselves and not next to any other family member. As you can imagine, there was almost no available seats on this flight. Called Delta immediately and the rep told me not to worry, that this was a "temporary" change in airplane type, and that a new airplane would be assigned and that we would be kept together as a family and in Comfort+. Fast forward to this week, I reviewed my itinerary only to find that we were still scattered around the plane and not in Comfort+.

Called customer service, was told that it's unlikely that the plane will be changed and that the computer makes these assignments and nothing can be done. Escalated to a supervisor and was told that a computer reassigns the seats and there is nothing that can be done. I expressed disbelief in this statement ("THERE IS NO NO ONE THAT CAN MAKE SEAT CHANGES? THE ALGORITHMS ARE RULING THE ROOST?") and was informed that there is no person within Delta that the supervisor is aware of that can undo the computer's assignment of seats and that the computer assigns seats based on status, cost of ticket etc. I asked why a customer representative could at least not make an attempt to accommodate my family by offering a refund/credit to other passengers and was told that this is simply not possible.

The supervisor then told me that she would try to work on at least seating some of us together and that she would call me back. I received one call telling me that she was still working on this "accommodation" and then did not hear from her again. Called again today and after spending a great deal of time speaking to a supervisor was told that the 2nd to last row in the plane was miraculously (my addition) open, and she was able to place my family together. The availability of this row, btw, was not visible online.

To add great insult to great injury, (this is somewhat tongue in cheek as obviously the separation of family members is the great offense) she was unable at this juncture to credit the difference in points between Comfort+ and Main Cabin and that I would only be able to apply for a credit after the flight and that I would have to request the credit, otherwise no credit would be issued. Also, no other accommodation was given nor was any gesture offered.

I am familiar with the contract of carriage and that essentially airlines can do what they want. But that does not help assuage my sense of outrage. It would be one thing for me to be displaced, but to displace an entire family?
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Old Dec 8, 18, 4:50 pm
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Yes this is [email protected], but it happens. You can take it to the media, write a letter to the CEO of DL, or hope the gate agent/ flight attendants can help sort it out. Though sounds like they did release some blocked seats to accommodate you together.

It is true, not just on DL, that you won’t get any downgrade compensation until after you fly in the downgraded class. So deal with that after you get back.

Alternatively, you can probably demand a refund of the entire trip if you don’t want to accept the downgrade. As a mileage award ticket, they should redeposit the miles and waive any fees.

Oh, you can also write your congressperson. IIRC there was a push at some point for regulation requiring families to be seated together (or adults with children at least). And regardless, I’d file a complaint with the Dept. Of Transportation.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 10:04 am
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Welcome to FT. Seating changes happen and they suck especially when flying with children. Most of us have learned to check on seating assignments regularly as sometime changes are made without any notification. Even for flights that are months out.

Your best course of action is to keep checking on seats. For the return flight get to the airport a bit early to make sure each child has an adult in the seat next to them (if that is still not the case). There are requirements about that. That said I do find it odd that even with a change of equipment you lost your C+ seats. Unless the change resulted in a reduction of C+ seats. Which does happen.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 10:14 am
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I recommend getting to the gate a bit early and working with the gate agent on this -- the line I usually use is "you'll make everyone on the plane including your crew a bit happier if..."

The other thing to do as a plan B is to ask people on the plane to trade seats, often they will and remember a few seats will open up when people get upgraded for free.

Bob H
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Old Dec 9, 18, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by BobH View Post
I recommend getting to the gate a bit early and working with the gate agent on this -- the line I usually use is "you'll make everyone on the plane including your crew a bit happier if..."

The other thing to do as a plan B is to ask people on the plane to trade seats, often they will and remember a few seats will open up when people get upgraded for free.

Bob H
But the OP has now managed to get six seats together in the back of the plane. Sitting together is, of course, their first priority. It seems unlikely that they can persuade six passengers all seated in a block of better seats to move back.

OP, you should point out to the GA that if enough people are upgraded from C+ to F, your group should have priority for the C+ seats over any medallion upgrades to C+.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 11:30 am
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OP - You are entitled to a refund of the fare difference, e.g. SM difference. Just submit the request for a refund. This isn't handled over the phone.

However, I would advise against it. If seats open in C+, you are already ticketed in C+ and only need to select (or call in to select) those seats. While six across won't likely open, if you could seat people in pairs, that might well happen in increments as time progresses.

When you return, you may then submit the refund request for the people who did not make it back to C+. Or just leave everybody together. Either way, I would not touch the tickets until you are back.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 12:24 pm
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I have sympathy for OP here. Often somebody complains about not getting seats together when they failed to make every effort to do so (book early, pay for reserved seats, C+). Here OP did all the right things, only to get screwed over by crappy reseating logic.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 12:30 pm
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This kind of treatment really grinds my gears. I am assuming by what the OP wrote that he/she does not have any status.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 1:49 pm
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I canít wait for the national news headline: ďDELTA FORCES 10-MONTH-OLD TO SIT ALONE ON PLANE!Ē

Yeah. Iím licking my chops for the fallout over that one.

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Old Dec 9, 18, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by TheHorta View Post
I canít wait for the national news headline: ďDELTA FORCES 10-MONTH-OLD TO SIT ALONE ON PLANE!Ē

Yeah. Iím licking my chops for the fallout over that one.

Or the whining rant on FT, "I have status on DL and was booted into the seat next to the lav so some kid could sit with his mother."

Lick your chops all you want, but it all depends on where you sit.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Wishiwereflyingprivate View Post
The supervisor then told me that she would try to work on at least seating some of us together and that she would call me back. I received one call telling me that she was still working on this "accommodation" and then did not hear from her again. Called again today and after spending a great deal of time speaking to a supervisor was told that the 2nd to last row in the plane was miraculously (my addition) open, and she was able to place my family together. The availability of this row, btw, was not visible online.
The last couple rows of the plane are often blocked on the seat-map for exactly this reason - to give agents and gate agents even up to the day of the flight the ability to accommodate families that have been split up or book late but need to be accommodated together due to a small child, someone who needs assistance, etc.

That said, it's not to say your situation doesn't suck. Question, as it's not clear from your OP: were all 6 tickets on the same reservation or were there multiple reservations?
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Old Dec 9, 18, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by TheHorta View Post
I canít wait for the national news headline: ďDELTA FORCES 10-MONTH-OLD TO SIT ALONE ON PLANE!Ē

Yeah. Iím licking my chops for the fallout over that one.

Thought same thing. I was just going to say ask the FAs to look after kids not near you and see what happens
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Old Dec 9, 18, 2:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Or the whining rant on FT, "I have status on DL and was booted into the seat next to the lav so some kid could sit with his mother."

Lick your chops all you want, but it all depends on where you sit.
One is national news, the other is a wounded mouse tossed into a house full of cats.

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Old Dec 9, 18, 2:59 pm
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Another strategy is to get the best seats possible. If you can get a bunch of aisle or window seats, even near the back (but not the last row), that's great bargaining power to trade with passengers sitting in middle seats.
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Old Dec 9, 18, 3:01 pm
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The ratio of adults to kids is 1:1 so not bad. It's not like there are 3 kids and 1 adult.
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