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gate closed more than 15 minutes before scheduled departure

gate closed more than 15 minutes before scheduled departure

Old May 3, 19, 8:22 am
  #1  
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Angry gate closed more than 15 minutes before scheduled departure

Going into the WABAC machine, I cannot recall this ever happening to me before. I arrived at gate A69 in Detroit for DL3677 on Tuesday, April 30, eighteen minutes before my scheduled flight, for which I had a paid F seat boarding pass, to find the door to the jet bridge closed and no one around. I stuck around, hoping the agent would come back up and let me on. About five minutes prior to scheduled departure, the jet bridge pushed back and the plane left. My inbound was delayed a bit, but I still had plenty of time to make the connection and, indeed, did arrive at the gate prior to the fifteen minute 'limit'.

Here's the kicker: I just got off the phone with Delta Customer Care and was told that my seat was given to another passenger twenty-five minutes prior to the flight being closed, which occurred, according to the same Customer Care agent, nineteen minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. If my math is correct, the 3:49pm departure closed at 3:30pm, but my seat was given up at 3:05pm. My inbound was scheduled to arrive at 2:57pm, and got to the gate at 3:15pm.

No one at the airport offered to do anything for me, and the two red coats to whom I spoke (including the gate agent that handled DL3677) both walked away from me when I asked if the flight had been oversold. The Customer Care agent said that the flight left with 16 empty seats, so it does not seem as though this was an attempt to forestall an IDB situation. The net of it was a four hour delay that could have easily been prevented. Customer Care offered me 5,000 miles as a 'goodwill' gesture which, when monetized, comes to about $12.50 per hour. Better than a poke in the eye, I guess. Have others experienced similar? If so, how did you resolve it?

Thank you!
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Old May 3, 19, 8:32 am
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Unfortunately this is one of those grey areas that you probably won't win. There's no evidence that you got to the gate on time, and since the flight wasn't technically oversold, you wouldn't inherently be eligible for IDB compensation.

Any chance you snapped a picture of the empty gate with a timestamp before T-15? You can probably submit a web form with that as evidence and request more comp and they'll probably give it to you to avoid trouble. The 5K "goodwill gesture" is just what a front line agent can give without supervisor review.
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Old May 3, 19, 8:32 am
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I have never experience it. My guess is the GA figured you would miss connect and wanted points for getting the flight out early. Gave away your seat, got everyone on board and blasted out of there when they realized you would not misconnect and only came back after it was too late.

Given there was a four hour wait I would have been making calls to meet personally with the station manager. Next, I would be filing a complaint with DOT for violating the CoC. Then I would be asking for a monetary compensation for your wasted time.
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Old May 3, 19, 9:08 am
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Unless OP was denied boarding due to an oversale, he was not IDB under the 14 CFR rules. Period.

Nonetheless, he should not have been offloaded when he was. DL has already told him that he was offloaded prior to T-15, so it does not really matter when he made it to the gate. All that is left here is a short and sweet complaint to DL quoting back the timings already provided by DL and asking why he was offloaded prior to T-15.
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Old May 3, 19, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by jwlowry View Post
.....
DL 3677 tracks now to IDA-SLC via DL's Flight Status check, which only goes back to 2 May so I can't pull up DL 3677 for 30 April. What route were you flying? Was this a domestic flight or a hop over to Canada?
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Old May 3, 19, 9:28 am
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
Unfortunately this is one of those grey areas that you probably won't win.
What? How is it grey? Delta has admitted to violating the CoC by offloading him well before their published deadlines.

Originally Posted by FlyingUnderTheRadar View Post
Given there was a four hour wait I would have been making calls to meet personally with the station manager. Next, I would be filing a complaint with DOT for violating the CoC. Then I would be asking for a monetary compensation for your wasted time.
Exactly this. I did this last year when a similar situation happened to me. I had to wait 5 hours for the next flight (and it was 1 am - 6 am). Called the DM Desk, who documented the PNR as to what happened. Met with the SM in the morning and received a voucher equivalent (or maybe more) than IDB payout.

Completely unacceptable for this to be happening at Detroit. The names of the ultimately responsible executives for the mega hubs can be found on Delta's web site. Sending them a note with the pertinent details may you get you further than a random Customer Care agent.
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Old May 3, 19, 9:37 am
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Agree with all the above and it being totally unacceptable.
In these situations take a picture/video of the gate with the time stamp on it (all tvs have a clock on it too). I've taken out my phone to take a picture at the gate T-7 (for a shuttle flight) when the gate agent was saying the door had closed and he reopened and let me on.
You should get the monetary IDB compensation.
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Old May 3, 19, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by btonkid12345 View Post
What? How is it grey? Delta has admitted to violating the CoC by offloading him well before their published deadlines.
The Contract of Carriage is there to protect the airline, not the passenger. Are there any specific damages the passenger is entitled to for Delta's failure to honor the CoC? Unfortunately not.

OP would probably have been within his rights to request a refund for the unflown leg, but he agreed to take (and ended up taking) the next flight. So he has lost that right.

You could of course try to sue Delta... but to what end? What damages? Any amount given to OP would pale in comparison to the cost and time/effort to do so (even if it was in small claims court).

I imagine OP will get additional compensation from Delta in this case if he asks as Delta is pretty good at taking care of its customers, but Delta isn't really under any real legal pressure to do so (short of wanting to reduce the number of DoT complaints they get).
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Old May 3, 19, 9:49 am
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The T-15 rule is not addressed anywhere in the CoC. If you can't cite any rule in the CoC that actually applies (as already noted, IDB does not apply in this case since it wasn't oversold), I don't really see the point of referencing it. The T-15 rule for domestic flights is listed on the website here --

https://www.delta.com/us/en/check-in...estic-check-in
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Old May 3, 19, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
The T-15 rule is not addressed anywhere in the CoC. If you can't cite any rule in the CoC that actually applies (as already noted, IDB does not apply in this case since it wasn't oversold), I don't really see the point of referencing it. The T-15 rule for domestic flights is listed on the website here --

https://www.delta.com/us/en/check-in...estic-check-in
The T-15 rule is implied under Airport Check-In Time Limits as it references "applicable boarding deadline" (the website would be a sufficient reference to this claim). But again, it doesn't matter, as the CoC is 99% to provide legal protection to the airline, not the customer (almost all "rights" given to the customer in the CoC are required by law anyways - e.g., the section on denied boarding).

The T-15 rule gives the airline a right to cancel your ticket without refund (assuming it is non-refundable) - not the right for the passenger to get something if the airline pushes early (other than perhaps a refund).

Again - I think Delta will want to make things right to a long time DM customer in order to maintain customer satisfaction, but that is different than a legal obligation to do so. Airline contracts are incredibly one-sided.
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Old May 3, 19, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingUnderTheRadar View Post
I have never experience it. My guess is the GA figured you would miss connect and wanted points for getting the flight out early. Gave away your seat, got everyone on board and blasted out of there when they realized you would not misconnect and only came back after it was too late.

Given there was a four hour wait I would have been making calls to meet personally with the station manager. Next, I would be filing a complaint with DOT for violating the CoC. Then I would be asking for a monetary compensation for your wasted time.
What part of the CoC did Delta violate....specifically?
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Old May 3, 19, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
Unfortunately this is one of those grey areas that you probably won't win. There's no evidence that you got to the gate on time, and since the flight wasn't technically oversold, you wouldn't inherently be eligible for IDB compensation.

Any chance you snapped a picture of the empty gate with a timestamp before T-15? You can probably submit a web form with that as evidence and request more comp and they'll probably give it to you to avoid trouble. The 5K "goodwill gesture" is just what a front line agent can give without supervisor review.
True and always a good idea to snap a photo,. But customer care validated that they gave away the F seat and closed up early...which should be enough. The airlines honestly do not care these days.
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Old May 3, 19, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Unless OP was denied boarding due to an oversale, he was not IDB under the 14 CFR rules. Period.

Nonetheless, he should not have been offloaded when he was. DL has already told him that he was offloaded prior to T-15, so it does not really matter when he made it to the gate. All that is left here is a short and sweet complaint to DL quoting back the timings already provided by DL and asking why he was offloaded prior to T-15.
Agree with this. There is already proof he was offloaded early and is irrelevant to prove he was at the gate.
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Old May 3, 19, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
The T-15 rule is not addressed anywhere in the CoC. If you can't cite any rule in the CoC that actually applies (as already noted, IDB does not apply in this case since it wasn't oversold), I don't really see the point of referencing it. The T-15 rule for domestic flights is listed on the website here --

https://www.delta.com/us/en/check-in...estic-check-in
I can cite one that applies....Rule 2.
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Old May 3, 19, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by OHDL1 View Post
What part of the CoC did Delta violate....specifically?
You misunderstand the difference between the contract and various other rules referred to in the contract.

The contract provides:

"Your reservation may be cancelled if you do not comply with all applicable check-in procedures by the check-in deadline for your flight, or if you not at the gate and ready for boarding by the applicable boarding deadline. The check-in and boarding deadlines in effect on the date of travel will apply and are posted on delta.com."

As the contract directs, the boarding deadline appears on delta.com:

"Additionally, you’re required to be at the gate and ready to board 15 minutes before scheduled departure."

Lots of other provisions just like this in this contract and frankly, in many contracts.

However, it's all a red herring. DL violated the contract and the contract expressly limits damages to the value of the ticket. So, OP is entitled to a full refund to his original form of payment. But, that was never at issue.
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