I know I’m not the only one who’s changing travel plans due to the coronavirus. With airlines cutting routes almost as fast as people wanting to cancel flights, there’s no way the call center personnel could be expected to keep up.
As part of a trip that was canceled because of the coronavirus, I booked flights for us on Delta from New York to New Orleans for 7,500 Delta SkyMiles each (so much for that great use of SkyMiles that I found.) I booked these flights two days before Delta announced they would waive the change fees for newly booked tickets.
I looked on Delta’s website and instead of flying to New Orleans, flights from New York to Orlando were going for 6,500 SkyMiles. I’d be thrilled if Delta would let us take that flight instead. I tried to change flights on Delta’s website. After going through the steps, Delta let me make the changes for $150 per ticket.
So I tried calling Delta instead.
At 5:04 PM, I made the call. I worked through the IVR menu (Delta’s isn’t that bad to navigate) and was put in the call queue. I was told that due to high call volume, wait times were longer than usual. If I wanted, I could provide my phone number and Delta would call me back when it was my turn, which was estimated to be “over four hours.”
I left my name and number for them to call me back.
Next, I went to the same trick I use when contacting an airline if my flight is delayed due to weather. I contacted them via Twitter.
I sent a DM to @Delta, asking if I could change my flight because our plans changed due to coronavirus. It took over an hour but a rep replied asking for my flight information.
With some back and forth messages to confirm my identity, Victor made it happen for us.
At this point, I sent the information on the new flight we wanted to take. I needed to provide more personal info but it all worked out.
Not only did we get to change flights for no fee, but the difference in SkyMiles was returned to my account. The whole exchange took about an hour but this was back and forth messages while I was working on other things (and I’m sure so was Victor.)
It was 10:35 PM when my phone rang. It was Delta calling me back 🙂 They lied; the wait wasn’t four hours. It was 5 & 1/2 hours.
I held on to talk to a rep and informed her that I was able to resolve my problem with the Twitter team but I didn’t know how to tell them not to call me back. I thanked her and hoped she had a good rest of the evening.
I learned two things from this series of interactions:
- Even if you booked a flight before Delta announced that you may be able to change your flight for free. It pays to contact the airline and plead your case.
- Delta Twitter Team > Delta Phone Agents
Now I’ve read people have called Delta asking for refunds and were turned down cold. I’d suggest that if you don’t have a need for a flight right now, ask if you can get a credit to be used for a future flight. Delta will be happy because they’ll still have your money and you’ll have a credit towards a flight once everyone has a better handle on what’s going on.
For me, I’m glad I got to rebook my New Orleans flight to one I’ll hopefully be able to use. Who knows if we’ll be able to fly to New York for the part of our trip that remains? All we can do is sit here and watch the news (and wash our hands.)
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary