A Tale of Two Airlines

With everything going on in the world with Omicron and other developments with the Coronavirus and its variants, I decided to book a round trip flight for an event where I would be going cross country to attend and participate. It wasn’t long until I eventually got the unfortunate news that the event that I was so looking forward to attending had been canceled due to the developments with the Coronavirus. Not only that, but we had a member of my family test positive for the Coronavirus, so I needed to cancel all my travel plans. Even though I tested negative, my health was not great. Waking up every morning feeling terrible and trying to find a sense of normality again was already unpleasant without going through this whole cancellation process. I had booked my flights through a third-party service that you may know as Expedia. This service allowed me to book my flight out and return home, but they were both different flights, one was American Airlines, and the other was Delta Airlines.

Instead of going directly through Expedia, I decided to go through the airlines. The first call I made was to American Airlines and, even though they noted that I had booked my travel through Expedia, the representative could not have been more than helpful and patient going through the cancellation process with me. After some fumbling around and giving them the wrong numbers, they gave me a credit for the total amount that I had paid for that would have gone towards my ticket for flying with them.

This lulled me into a false sense of confidence as I prepared to contact Delta Airlines for the remaining portion of my trip that I needed to cancel. My thought process was, “This should be so easy! Delta is considered number one by JD Power in their customer satisfaction, as of May 2021.” I could not have been more wrong.

Delta made it so difficult for me to talk to an actual representative that after going around for the third time through their automation system, I ended up going for their “text a representative option.” It was either this or being stuck waiting on hold to speak with someone after waiting for over 4 hours. Thankfully the “text a representative” option worked so well, and I immediately got in touch with someone. I gave them all my information and even noted that I was successfully canceled with American Airlines and was given a full credit for my ticket and was hoping that I would be able to do that with Delta. The representative stated that it should be no problem and I should be able to get just that, so they then proceeded to pull up my ticket information. It wasn’t long afterward that things really started to go downhill. Because I did not purchase one of their higher-level tickets and instead went for the basic economy when I booked, it would cost $99 to cancel my ticket. For context, that was more than half of the cost of my ticket with them. I copied and pasted the previous message that they sent me about me being able to get a full credit, and the interaction continued to devolve. The pauses in between their responses grew longer and longer, but finally, they answered that because I booked through Expedia, they could not give me the full credit. At this point, I have been texting back and forth with this representative for nearly 90-minutes. As I tried to clarify, what eventually happened was that the representative went ahead and canceled my flight and sent me an email, but they neglected to mention the amount of the credit in our chat, though, nor was it specified in the email. I had to then sign up for Delta SkyMiles to have a profile before being able to view the amount of my ticket credit. And what do you know, this credit was deducted the $99 cancelation fee.

My story is one of many but to potentially help you avoid being put in a situation like I had to go through, here are a couple hard lessons that I had to learn that you should consider doing for yourself:

  1. Book directly with the airline. You may pay a little bit more, but it’ll save you a lot of headache and heartache in the long run.
  2. If there is an option to get travel insurance, get it! If you ever met with the unfortunate situation of canceling travel plans, it would help you get a refund back into your bank account versus just a credit.
  3. Stay safe and be mindful of others. Even though I have a loved one in my household that tested positive for the Coronavirus, and I personally tested negative, I was still aware that I was not feeling well. Even if the event that I was looking forward to going to wasn’t canceled, I still would have gone through this process myself to stay home.

Stay safe, stay healthy.


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