Delta wouldn't let us board, then demanded an extra $764

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#1
My wife and I went to the airport, checked our luggage, got boarding passes, then were turned back at the gate and re-booked on a later flight. At the gate for that flight, we were again turned away. I called Delta from the airport and they demanded an extra $764 on top of what I had already paid for our tickets. They say I forfeited the ticket when I didn't board the first flight; but I tried to board and they wouldn't let me.

I've worked my way up, even sent an overnight FedEx to Mexico (tickets sold by Aeromexico, flight operated by Delta). Looks like small claims court is next, but I'm open to suggestions.

It's a long story and there is much more to it, but that's the basics. More detail here, and also in the letter to Aeromexico linked at the bottom of this page. http://jim.rees.org/culture/delta.html
 

Patina

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Dec 22, 2015
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#2
@Jim Rees it would be helpful to the advocates if you outline, in bullet form, the issues that relate to your situation. We don't usually click on links that then takes us to another page but would like to work within the confines of the forum. This allows all viewers to see every detail in the thread in order to give suggestions. If the story is long, pare it down to only the facts that led to your initial boarding denial. Without this information it is difficult to create a game plan for you.
 
#3
@Jim Rees it would be helpful to the advocates if you outline, in bullet form, the issues that relate to your situation. We don't usually click on links that then takes us to another page but would like to work within the confines of the forum. This allows all viewers to see every detail in the thread in order to give suggestions. If the story is long, pare it down to only the facts that led to your initial boarding denial. Without this information it is difficult to create a game plan for you.
I'm new, so thanks for being patient. Like I said it's a long story.

  • Feb 2017 I bought two tickets Chicago to Guadalajara, from Aeromexico, code sharing with flight operated by Delta
  • 24 August my wife called Aeromexico and changed them to Detroit to Puerto Vallarta. I think this contributed to the problem, but we did get a confirmation email from Aeromexico that said we were all set to go.
  • 8 Oct, day before the flight, we tried to check in online. Got a boarding pass for my wife Sarah but the web site said to talk to an agent about my boarding pass.
  • I called Delta, they said our tickets were valid but we should call Aeromexico about my boarding pass.
  • I called Aeromexico, they said my ticket was valid, Delta was responsible for the flight, and there was nothing more they could do for me
  • 9 Oct we arrived at the airport three hours before flight time. Checked our bags. Delta agent took away Sarah's boarding pass and gave us each a boarding pass.
  • We went through security, got to the gate more than two hours before flight time, waited for the flight to board.
  • Sarah tried to board first. The agent wouldn't let her on the plane. She did not give a reason. It seemed her computer was telling her not to let Sarah board, but she didn't know why. I did not attempt to board.
  • The gate agent re-booked us both on another flight leaving an hour later. She told us to go to the gate for that flight to get our boarding passes.
  • We went straight to the other gate. The agent there could not give us boarding passes. She spent a long time playing with her computer, then a long time on the phone. Said she didn't understand what was going on. Eventually that flight left. Gate agent sent us to the Delta "Help Me" center.
  • There was no one at the "Help Me" center. I called Delta on the phone. They told me the only way I could fly was to give them another $764. Which I did.
 

Neil Maley

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#4
This makes no sense that you were not given a reason as to why you couldn’t board. You got confirmations with ticket numbers in both of your names after the change was made?

I don’t even know who to refer you to but if you bought the tickets using Aeromexico then you should contact them.

We have company contacts on top of our page. Write to the customer service email address.

Give them a week to reply. If they don't respond or refuse to help, write to the first executive shown. Tell him/her that Customer Service wasn't able to help or didn't reply. Give the executive a week to reply. If necessary, repeat weekly going up the chain of Executives one at a time. If you get all the Executives with no help, come back here and let us know and we'll
Tell you the next step. Make sure you keep all the emails as you'll need to forward them to the writers if they need to get involved.

Good luck and let us know what happens
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
Were there any fees collected when the ticket was changed from Chicago departure to Detroit departure in August?

I think there had to be some ticketing error when the change was made in August.

Since Aeromexico sold the tickets I agree with Neil that they should be approached first.

The Delta agent gave no reason for the additional charge?
 
#6
The gate agents didn't know why they weren't letting us board other than their computers told them not to. They were as confused as we were. One of them spent quite some time on her computer, then made several phone calls, attempting to figure it out.

I called Aeromexico (AM) on the phone, then sent a letter to Customer Service, and finally sent a letter via overnight FedEx to the VP of Customer Service. No response to any of that. I am reluctant to send more FedEx letters because they cost $48 from the States to Mexico City.

There were no fees collected in August. I think you are right about there being a ticketing error when the flights were changed, but no one at either airline has confirmed this. At one point Delta told me on the phone "these were not changeable tickets" but I don't know if she was talking about the August change or about the change on the day of the flight.

The Delta agent did tell me the $764 was for a new ticket. I suppose I should have refused to pay it, but at the time it seemed like a mistake and I thought they would refund it later after reviewing what happened. Also I really wanted to fly that day. They had me in an awkward position, with the last flight of the day coming up, and I just couldn't think of any alternatives at that point.

EDIT: Forgot to answer one question. Yes, after the August change I got a confirmation with both our names, flight times and numbers, and ticket numbers. I don't know if this is important, but the tickets were not direct, they had a change in Atlanta. It was the first segment DTW->ATL that we had all this trouble with.
 
Last edited:
Feb 9, 2016
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#7
$764/2 = $382 - that's close to the basic $200 change fee plus possibly another $182 in a change-of-fare fee.

When you 'switched the tickets' did they tell you there would be payment due?

If you didn't pay the fee and tried to board, this is probably what caused the issue.

when you do start writing the company contacts, I would indicate that you are genuinely confused about the situation and be sure to ask them 'what happened?'. You can even word it in a manner that lets them know you are looking for the reason so this doesn't occur again.

Also, what, exactly, are you looking for as a resolution? A refund? A voucher for future travel? miles? State that clearly in your letter.
 
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Neil Maley

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#8
I think SAS hit the nail in the head. You can’t chanfe a flight like you did for free- I am willing to be that you were not properly charged a change fee and any additional cost of the changes tickets.

Don’t use postal mail or the phone. Us eemail. We have contacts for both on top of our page. Use those to contact Aeromexico.

But I’m willing to bet SAS gave you your answer because flight changes like you made are not free. It seems you owed it so it’s a good thing you paid or you wouldn’t have flown period.

What you can ask for from Aeromexico is a credit for a couple of hundred dollars towards a future flight for their error in not properly charging you and causing to miss your initial departure.
 
#9
I don't think it was a change fee, I think it was a new ticket. Here is a response I got from Delta about it:

The below ticket was issued by Aeromexico Airlines for the travel below. I have confirmed you were checked in with a boarding pass and a confirmed seat assignment of 48B. Please know passengers are required to be present at the boarding gate a minimum of 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure or are at risk of having their seat released. In my review, Flight 2304 was not oversold and cleared 10 standby passengers. Additionally, your seat of 48B departed empty. If you were present at the gate within our requirements, it is unclear why you did not board with the other passengers. In your complaint you requested compensation for being involuntarily denied boarding. As the flight was not oversold, compensation would not be due.
 
#10
Here is what I've done so far:

  • Called Aeromexico. They said our tickets were valid, and if there was a problem with the flight, to talk to Delta. They said "there is nothing more we can do for you."
  • Called Delta. Talked for an hour. No resolution.
  • Sent a letter to Aeromexico, with a copy to Delta, giving the full time line as above, and including copies of the August confirmation email and boarding passes.
  • Filed a complaint with FAA.
  • Stopped payment on the $764 with my credit card company.
  • Sent copies of the above letters, and a request for a $764 refund, via FedEx to Edouard Piquet, Aeromexico Senior Vice President, Customer Experience.
  • Got the small claims court forms, sent a letter to Delta asking for $764 refund (required for the court process)
  • Made a web page, posted it to Facebook
  • Opened this thread
So far the only written response I've gotten was to the FAA complaint. It's linked from the web page, and I can paste it in here if you want.
 
#11
At the time I changed the tickets there was no mention of a fee. The first I heard about any extra fee was three hours after the flight left without me. If I had know about the fee in August, I would not have changed the tickets.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
Ok I just clicked through the links and there is information there that is missing here.

1. OP made a complaint to DOT against Delta and requested compensation for involuntary denied boardind.

2. Delta said no -- the OP was not denied boarding because plane was oversold.
Delta said OP was checked in and seat flew empty.

3. OP replies that they were not allowed to board but were put on a second flight.

4. Delta wrote that the second rebooking was not issued correctly (the one ahem Delta did) and that the changes should have been made by AeroMexico since they sold the ticket.

5. Since the chewed tickets were not valid the OP had to buy entirely new tickets.

In my opinion it was a serious error to complain to the DOT about involuntary denied boarding. Delta is immediately on the defensive and they were correct -- this was a ticketing not overbooking problem.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#14
You said you've filed a credit card chargeback - how did that turn out?

Fundamentally, it seems to me there are two questions here:

1. Why were you not allowed to board? Delta at least owes you an explanation, and it doesn't sound like you've gotten one.
2. Did you owe Delta $764? If there was a change fee or ticket price change associated with changing the tickets from ORD-Guadalajara to DTW-Puerto Vallarta (and I'd be surprised if there wasn't), and you hadn't paid it for some reason, then I could see that being the problem. Even if it was the problem, Delta owes you an explanation of that, and particularly why they didn't catch this when you checked in and got your boarding pass.
 

Neil Maley

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#15
This is a really interesting case. However, if you’ve filed a complaint with the FAA and also done a chargeback- the airline may no longer communicate with you. (It actually should have been a DOT complaint)

Your seat might be a problem because you could have flown and we’re listed as a no show- but it completely understandable in my eyes at least- I wouldn’t have abandoned my wife either.

I think right now you have to sit back and see the results of your charge back and FAA complaint because we usually can’t help once a complaint has been filed - the airlines won’t talk to us.

If anything-you are due an answer as to what the extra charge was for. But I am betting it was change fees. It’s never free to make changes unless you had refundable tickets which you most likely didn’t.
 
Likes: Patina
#17
Thank you so much. I am really not familiar with all the terminology and agree I could have done some things differently. I thought there was just "denied boarding" and didn't know there was a difference between "oversold" and whatever happened here. I wish I had found this web site earlier and followed your program.

I do not know why I was not allowed to board. In fact the airline seems to be saying that if I had tried to board alone I would have been allowed. I was unwilling to leave my wife behind. I did repeatedly say "I have boarding passes, I want to board with my wife" and was told "no."

The FAA (DOT?) complaint seems to be closed, or at least Delta considers it closed. The credit card dispute is still open. I have not paid $764 to the credit card company.

I'd be willing to accept that there is a change fee. But I should have been told that in August, or at the very latest just before the first flight left, not three hours after the flight left.

If it's a fee, it's excessive. The fee puts the total cost over $1000. Right now I can buy two tickets leaving in three weeks for $904 on Delta's web site.
 
#18
I think the fee was a new ticket. Here is how it appears on my credit card statement:
DELTA AIR 006... MINN/ST PAUL MN
1 K DTW MEX
2 K MEX PVR

What happened to the original Aeromexico ticket? I don't know. I paid for it and never got a refund if that's what you mean.
 

Neil Maley

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#19
I think the fee was a new ticket. Here is how it appears on my credit card statement:
DELTA AIR 006... MINN/ST PAUL MN
1 K DTW MEX
2 K MEX PVR

What happened to the original Aeromexico ticket? I don't know. I paid for it and never got a refund if that's what you mean.
They most likely used part of what you paid towards the changed tickets.

Involuntary boarding is not what jsoiened nor is being oversold a claim. You could have boarded without your wife so you are considered a no show because you didn’t get on the plane when you could have. You should have told the airport agent to cancel your ticket but had I been in your position I would have done exactly what you did and assumed the airline would take cTe of canceling my seat.

At this point I don’t see us being able to help because you the chargeback and complaint. The airline usually will not speak to us once this is done.

I would suggest you let us know the outcome of your credit card dispute and the FAA complaint
 
#20
Thanks, and I do realize you can't intervene on my behalf at this point. Just looking for advice. I am still hoping to avoid going to court. I suppose it's possible the credit card dispute will work but I am not hopeful. Is there anything else I should do?