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Bug with changing one half of round trip in 24-hour change window

Bug with changing one half of round trip in 24-hour change window

Old Dec 7, 19, 10:34 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2019
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Bug with changing one half of round trip in 24-hour change window

Hey all, recently had an interesting experience that the phone agent kind of shrugged off so I'm curious if it happens regularly. I purchased a round trip ticket with three legs on the departure in coach and three on the return in first - fare codes were V for the departure flights and I for the returns. I realized my routing was kind of stupid and went to change the departure flight (within the 24 window). I selected only the departure when it asked me which flights I wanted to change, and found a good price on a two-stop trip in comfort+ that was shorter than my original trip and only $200 more expensive, so I quickly confirmed the change. The email confirmation showed that the middle leg of my return trip had also been changed - from first to main cabin, and the fare codes for those legs were now Z,U,and Z. I spent a fairly significant time on the phone straightening it out because the first agent didn't have authorization to change a single leg of a flight. Ended up switching the departure trip back to main cabin in order to switch the U fare back to first class for just a small price difference - and also the fares are all coded as V (main cabin departure) and D (first return) now, and I couldn't make any further changes online even within the 24 window.

Anyone have any experience with this? It's not a huge deal, but I'm new to booking more complex trips through delta and I want to make sure I know how to get exactly what I want in the future, which means looking out for things like this that might skip by.

Anyone experience
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Old Dec 7, 19, 11:20 pm
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For anything more involved that does not make sense on the web I usually speak with a DL agent and do not try to do it on the web. The DL website has more than its fair share of quirks.
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Old Dec 7, 19, 11:22 pm
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Originally Posted by PHXflier View Post
For anything more involved that does not make sense on the web I usually speak with a DL agent and do not try to do it on the web. The DL website has more than its fair share of quirks.
Yeah, as someone who usually hates talking on the phone I understand more why the dedicated numbers for upper tier medallion members are so worthwhile!
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Old Dec 8, 19, 6:46 am
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It's not a "change window", it's a no-penalty cancellation window. There's no guarantee that the bucket inventory you originally booked will still be there on all the flights or that it will be preserved if you want to go back and change flights.
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Old Dec 8, 19, 6:56 am
  #5  
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Officially the choices are to cancel (and start over to book a new ticket) or not. However, some agents will automatically just change the existing ticket for free within 24 hours when it's easier and faster for them to do so.

The $200 (assuming that this was the exact amount) sounds suspiciously like a change fee and not the fare difference.

Sometimes delta.dumb tends to break the fare even when a through fare would be cheaper; the search algorithm seems to be designed to look for the lowest fare class for each segment IME. When this happens, one can sometimes force a higher fare class so that all segments book into the same fare class, hopefully getting a through fare, and save money for the same flights. Sometimes the problem can be dual inventory fare classes.

In this case, the agent should have been able to put the segments and fare classes you wanted together on a ticket since normally domestic fares are done on a one way basis. A workaround on delta.dumb might have been to purchase two one way tickets, but this means double change fees if the trip is cancelled. I don't think this was a problem with combinability of different fares into a RT ticket, but one would have needed to look at the detailed fare rules and inventory bucket availability in order to know for sure.
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Old Dec 8, 19, 6:57 am
  #6  
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Here is the language of the DL 24-hour cancellation policy. For the reasons noted above, an agent may make a fee-free change rather than cancel for a refund and then sell a new ticket, but if the pricing is different, that does not work.

Even if you buy a non-refundable ticket from Delta, we will give you time to compare our fares with those of other airlines. You may cancel and refund your ticket in full until midnight, one day after the reservation is made. For example, a ticket purchased anytime on Monday can be cancelled and refunded until midnight on Tuesday. If the reservation is made on the date of travel, you may cancel and refund your paid ticket in full until midnight that day.
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Old Dec 8, 19, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
It's not a "change window", it's a no-penalty cancellation window. There's no guarantee that the bucket inventory you originally booked will still be there on all the flights or that it will be preserved if you want to go back and change flights.
The 24-hour window is actually a legally mandated window where you're allowed to change or cancel your flight at no charge - that's why all the airlines offer it, at least in the US (not sure about outside the country). They enacted that at the same time that it became mandatory to include all fees in the displayed price. And when you click through to change or cancel your delta flight within this window on the website, you can select one or both parts of a round trip to change or cancel - since I selected only the departure, that's why I thought it was weird that the return changed.

The cost difference wasn't actually $200, sorry for the confusion - it was a bit less than that, and was clearly labeled as the fare difference between my original departure and the modified departure (and was not indicated as part of a chance to the return).

Regardless, not a big deal, but I figured that if anyone else is working on a partial change to a trip they should keep an eye on the other flights involved to make sure nothing strange happens.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 8, 19, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Alex Huerta View Post
The 24-hour window is actually a legally mandated window where you're allowed to change or cancel your flight at no charge - that's why all the airlines offer it, at least in the US (not sure about outside the country). They enacted that at the same time that it became mandatory to include all fees in the displayed price. And when you click through to change or cancel your delta flight within this window on the website, you can select one or both parts of a round trip to change or cancel - since I selected only the departure, that's why I thought it was weird that the return changed.
This is not correct. The DOT rule only mandates that a refund be provided and further qualifies that the flight must be purchased at least 7 days ahead of departure in order to be eligible. It does not provide a requirement that you be allowed to change your routing without penalty.

In most cases as noted above it's likely easier for an agent to just waive the change fee and process it rather than making a customer go through the hoops of actually cancelling and re-booking to accomplish the same thing. My guess is the DL.com logic doesn't have that nuance built in and is coded to go strictly by the legal definition of the rule (below) which doesn't provide a change provision.

From the DOT website (bolding mine):

Cancelling a Ticket Reservation or Purchase within 24 hours of Booking

  • For airline tickets that are purchased at least seven days before a flight’s scheduled departure date and time, airlines are required to either:
    • allow passengers to cancel their reservation and receive a full refund without a penalty for 24 hours, or
    • allow passengers to reserve a ticket (place it on hold) at the quoted price without paying for the ticket for 24 hours
  • Although airlines must hold a reservation for 24 hours or provide a refund to passengers at their request within 24 hours of making a reservation, airlines are not required to make changes to a ticket free of charge (for example - change your ticket to a different date or correct a misspelled name on the reservation).
    • In some cases, instead of paying for a change fee and a potential difference between the original ticket price and the current ticket price, it may be cheaper to request a refund for the ticket and rebook. However, please keep in mind that ticket prices can change quickly.
Link: https://www.transportation.gov/indiv...ection/refunds
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Old Dec 8, 19, 3:05 pm
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like others said, it is not a bug.
any change will re-price the entire itinerary
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Old Dec 8, 19, 4:03 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Alex Huerta View Post
The 24-hour window is actually a legally mandated window where you're allowed to change or cancel your flight at no charge - that's why all the airlines offer it, at least in the US (not sure about outside the country). They enacted that at the same time that it became mandatory to include all fees in the displayed price. And when you click through to change or cancel your delta flight within this window on the website, you can select one or both parts of a round trip to change or cancel - since I selected only the departure, that's why I thought it was weird that the return changed.

The cost difference wasn't actually $200, sorry for the confusion - it was a bit less than that, and was clearly labeled as the fare difference between my original departure and the modified departure (and was not indicated as part of a chance to the return).

Regardless, not a big deal, but I figured that if anyone else is working on a partial change to a trip they should keep an eye on the other flights involved to make sure nothing strange happens.

Thanks!
This is incorrect. Does not matter in this instance, but so that others do not rely on this:

1. DOT mandates a 24-hour cancellation (or hold) so long as the ticket is booked at least 7 days out. DL's policy exceeds that because it permits the cancellation until midnight of the day after the reservation is made and because it does not impose the 7-day limit.

2. DOT does not require changes of any kind.

Note that other US carriers have different requirements. All meet the DOT requirements, but that is a minimum.
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