Seeking refund from Delta Airlines due to terrorist attack in Paris

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#1
I am a 73 year old newly widowed woman (who is terrified of flying)! I recently agreed to accompany a lady friend to Paris on Air France/Delta, to depart Los Angeles on November 27th. Due to the terrorist attacks in Paris, my companion cancelled her trip and because (1) I had no one to travel with and (2) suffered great anxiety as to what might occur in Paris during the next few weeks, plus greater agitation at having to travel alone -- I cancelled my trip as well.
When I contacted Delta, they told me they could only offer me a credit, valid until December 2016. Since the credit would only be used for international flights (I fly free, if I wish, through Southwest Airlines in the USA because my son works for them), it would mean I would have to travel somewhere far away - and alone - next year. This will not happen because I have a fear of flying and certainly do not wish to go anywhere on my own.
According to the website for Delta, they state they will refund "non refundable" tickets in the event of war or terrorist activity. Surely this has already occurred and may continue to do so during the next few weeks; therefore, I would appreciate your assistance in obtaining a refund for me.
 
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technomage1

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#2
Looks like your post got duplicated somehow, but I think I got the jist of it. I can certainly understand you and your friends apprehension, especially since you are recently widowed (my condolences) but I do feel it's misplaced. The terrorists can get us anywhere. You're as safe in Paris as you are in New York - in most things, safer, actually. If Paris isn't to your liking, perhaps a visit to the countryside?

Flights to and from Paris are operating normally and daily life in France has not been affected. Delta has actually been generous with offering you a credit. Tickets are normally non refundable. I do understand not wanting to travel alone at your age. Perhaps you can find someone else to go with in the next year?

If you do decide to appeal Deltas decision, use the company contacts listed at the top of the screen, select airlines, then Delta. I would thank them for the credit, but explain you can't use it and ask for a refund instead. Send a short, polite email to the first contact on the list. Wait a week and escalate to the next level as needed. Good luck if that is what you decide to do, and please post again with updates or further questions.
 
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#3
Thank you for your prompt response. I have followed your suggestion and contacted a representative for Delta Airlines. As far as this comment is concerned --- and daily life in France has not been affected --- I beg to differ. I have friends living there and they say life is not the same. Everyone is living in fear right now...and I do not wish to be a part of that.
 
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technomage1

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#4
Thank you for your prompt response. I have followed your suggestion and contacted a representative for Delta Airlines. Unfortunately the email listed on Company Contacts is incorrect and my email was returned. As far as this comment is concerned --- and daily life in France has not been affected --- I beg to differ. I have friends living there and they say life is not the same. Everyone is living in fear right now...and I do not wish to be a part of that.
Fair enough. Move on to the next contact in the list, and the next as necessary, and good luck.
 

Carol Phillips

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#5
First, please accept my condolences on the loss of your husband. I'm so sorry.

But congratulations on being brave enough to decide to fly to Europe with your friend.

Everything @technomage1 says above is correct. Please do contact Delta using the COMPANY CONTACTS at the top of this page. Please don't mention that your son works for Southwest and you're able to use the Friends & Family benefits there (why rub it in to Delta?). Be sure to mention that your traveling companion cancelled her trip after the events in Paris, and you do not wish to travel to Europe on your own.

I support and understand your decision to not want to fly to France as a solo 73-year old female traveler.

Consider these possibilities with the Delta credit:

- Perhaps you could fly somewhere domestically that Southwest does not service with your Delta credit? Or visit the Caribbean or Bermuda?

- Perhaps your traveling companion would wish to reschedule your trip to Paris ... or join you on a vacation to Bermuda or the Caribbean? I'm just thinking out loud.
 

Neil Maley

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www.promalvacations.com
#6
My condolences on the loss of your husband.

However, if you purchased non refundable tickets and didn't purchase travel insurance that covers a terrorist incident, you will not be able to obtain a refund, all you will get is a credit to use within one year from the date you purchased your tickets.

I have clients right now in Paris that left Monday and say while they are more aware of their surroundings, they have been able to take the tours they have booked.

Your only option is to reach out as others have said to the executives and see if they will make an exception.

If they will not, there are many places you can fly to internationally that are having no problems. How about the Caribbean?
 

Carol Phillips

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Dec 28, 2014
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#7
Thank you for your prompt response. I have followed your suggestion and contacted a representative for Delta Airlines. Unfortunately the email listed on Company Contacts is incorrect and my email was returned. As far as this comment is concerned --- and daily life in France has not been affected --- I beg to differ. I have friends living there and they say life is not the same. Everyone is living in fear right now...and I do not wish to be a part of that.
@Valerie Fee - would you please advise WHICH email address is incorrect, so that we can get to work on it? Thanks so much.
 
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jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#8
I agree with my colleagues, Valerie, Delta was very generous giving you the credit for a future trip. I would check it carefully, tho, as usually these credits are good for one year from the date the original ticket was purchased ... not from the date of original departure. While I think this is a terrible policy, most airlines follow it today.

I can't imagine how distressing this must be for you after losing your husband. No matter how safe we think Paris probably is right now, and we do pretty much, it's no place for you to try and enjoy yourself. I'm hoping that in a few months you'll be able to act on some of the good advice given here.
 
Sep 1, 2015
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#9
I'm sorry to hear about being recently widowed, along with your deciding not to travel due to the terrorist attacks. Delta's war and terrorism policy you cited is typical of most airlines. But note that the airline declares when those conditions are in effect and the policy is invoked. Check and see if Delta issued a statement.

A different perspective- security and public awareness are higher right now, so it's safer to fly and be on the streets of Paris now than before the attacks. I took advantage of a $79 fare on United from LA to Boston, 3 weeks after 9/11...security was very tight, the plane was 2/3 empty, and cabin service was a notch better than normal.

For future reference, the right trip insurance policy would have made you whole in this situation. Cancel for Any Reason policies will cover trip cancellation if you simply have a bad vibe about traveling. Most policies cover if your traveling companion can't travel.

Definitely confirm the DL credit voucher is valid a year from the issue date! Usually it's a year from the date you purchased the ticket, regardless of the travel date. Also confirm whether the credit will have change fees deducted....for international flights it's $200-$500. http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/ticket-changes-refunds/ticket-changes.html Many others on this forum are not told about the change fee, and are taken aback when the credit is far less than assumed.
 
Sep 23, 2015
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#10
As to visting Paris, or France in general. I live 1/2 the year in France, and I'd say, yes, it will be different in some ways in some places. Though, if you stick to the tourist venues and eat in the restaurants popular with foreigners, I really don't think you will see much difference. If you get off the main boulevards and spend time in neighborhood shops, restaurants and bars, there will be differences. But, this is not necessarily bad, Sometime events like this create an opening where a foreigner can magically slip into the common experience.

I had one such special experience, fortunately not as a result of a tragic event. I was in Paris for Christmas 2001 and New Years 2002. January 1 2002 was the day the Euro went into official circulation. After dragging ourselves out of our apartment we headed to a local bar for coffee. On the way we stopped at an ATM to get the "new" money. While sitting at our table we looked over each coin and bill with wonder and interest and when we looked up, we realized everyone in the bar (we were the only foreigners) was doing the exact same thing. For this one silly hour, we were all alike. In fact, it was easier for us since the Euro was pretty close to a dollar. For the French, the math was horrific.

Anyway, my point is this may be a huge opportunity rather than a depressing setback. Go, have a great time, and be a part of whatever is happening.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
Dear Mrs. Fee: My sympathies on the loss of your husband. I looked at the Delta travel advisories page and they are not that flexible with the Paris situation.http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/advisories/security-situation-in-paris.html As the State of Emergency in France was extended, Delta is allowing free rebookings on flights to France that are to leave up to the 22nd of November, but travel has to start by December 15th 2015. This is not helpful to your situation. I agree with the other posts; do not mention that free domestic flights on another airline. It may be better to state that you are not comfortable traveling alone and that this past flight plan was a special situation, as you had a friend to go with, and you do not see that situation presenting itself in the next year and do not know if you would be able to use the credit. And @technomage1 I was in Paris during the attacks and only recently returned to the US. Life is not the same. As there are searches for other participants there are false alarms, which mean street closings, heavily armed police surrounding buildings and cafes looking for suspects (saw that in the 3rd Arrondissement), guns drawn, sirens, helicopters overhead .. the atmosphere is completely different. @Berkinet2 I am not sure that a recently widowed 73 year old wants to share the common experience of terrorism and heightened security. I find the idea of telling her to be a part of what is happening is a little odd and insensitive. Some people are not comfortable in those situations and may feel even more disadvantaged if they cannot speak or read the language properly -- what if there are police with guns drawn yelling at people in cafes in French? This was a problem for several tourists in my hotel (they spoke Spanish and English). Brussels is also on high alert. The European governments are trying to catch up with these horrible people but I do not see the situation getting better by the time Mrs. Fee's flight was supposed to leave. I am pretty seasoned traveler (Europe and Mid East) and live in New York City (20 years) and my advice to her is the exact opposite. Mrs. Fee, please send the emails and be persistent and polite, and I hope you reach a compassionate person.
 

technomage1

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Jan 5, 2015
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#13
Since everyone seems so offended by my advice...did you fail to notice I suggested going elsewhere using the credit?
As far as living in fear...it seems some of us already are, regardless of location. Don't think for a minute the US is somehow immune to this, that's it's a French or Belgian problem.
 
T

travellerdan

Guest
#14
It's perfectly reasonable to not want to make this particular trip at this particular time. It may be less reasonable to put it on the airline to refund the cost. Airlines can and do make policy decisions to compensate or refund passengers under some circumstances, but it doesn't happen that an individual can just claim compensation for their preferences and decisions. Compensation from an insurance company will also be policy driven but may award compensation for hazards that have been paid for that the airline does not compensate.

It is always an option to start writing up the chain to tell the story. There may not be a refund, but there can be other compensation given back. As mentioned there are alternatives to use the credit. Maybe Delta would waive the change fee, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
 
#15
I'm sorry to hear about being recently widowed, along with your deciding not to travel due to the terrorist attacks. Delta's war and terrorism policy you cited is typical of most airlines. But note that the airline declares when those conditions are in effect and the policy is invoked. Check and see if Delta issued a statement.

A different perspective- security and public awareness are higher right now, so it's safer to fly and be on the streets of Paris now than before the attacks. I took advantage of a $79 fare on United from LA to Boston, 3 weeks after 9/11...security was very tight, the plane was 2/3 empty, and cabin service was a notch better than normal.

For future reference, the right trip insurance policy would have made you whole in this situation. Cancel for Any Reason policies will cover trip cancellation if you simply have a bad vibe about traveling. Most policies cover if your traveling companion can't travel.

Definitely confirm the DL credit voucher is valid a year from the issue date! Usually it's a year from the date you purchased the ticket, regardless of the travel date. Also confirm whether the credit will have change fees deducted....for international flights it's $200-$500. http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/ticket-changes-refunds/ticket-changes.html Many others on this forum are not told about the change fee, and are taken aback when the credit is far less than assumed.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#17
@technomage1, I think the OP does not anticipate using a credit which only lasts a year, and does not seem to want to fly to international destinations on her own and has no need for a domestic flight credit. I am not giving into fear at all, but I would question why someone who likely does not fly often would want to spend the money to go to Europe under that environment. Brussels is on lock down today, with subways closed and the request for restaurants, museums, and such to close. Realistically I can understand why one would not want to spend money to go to Europe to be told to stay in their hotel room. That is being practical and not an issue of giving in to fear. I am still riding the NYC subways and will be going to Europe in early December for business, but for the situation of the OP a trip to Paris alone at the end of November just did not seem to be a good idea. Perhaps I am over sensitive to her situation, as she is a recent widow, and senior citizen who does not like to go abroad alone, but I just did not see it as a practical use of her financial resources. I did not mean to sound snarky but this is my third trip to Paris this year and the atmosphere is different.
 
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#19
@technomage1, I think the OP does not anticipate using a credit which only lasts a year, and does not seem to want to fly to international destinations on her own and has no need for a domestic flight credit. I am not giving into fear at all, but I would question why someone who likely does not fly often would want to spend the money to go to Europe under that environment. Brussels is on lock down today, with subways closed and the request for restaurants, museums, and such to close. Realistically I can understand why one would not want to spend money to go to Europe to be told to stay in their hotel room. That is being practical and not an issue of giving in to fear. I am still riding the NYC subways and will be going to Europe in early December for business, but for the situation of the OP a trip to Paris alone at the end of November just did not seem to be a good idea. Perhaps I am over sensitive to her situation, as she is a recent widow, and senior citizen who does not like to go abroad alone, but I just did not see it as a practical use of her financial resources. I did not mean to sound snarky but this is my third trip to Paris this year and the atmosphere is different.
 
#20
Thank you, Christina. You have a firm grasp of my situation. It would be hard to find someone to go to Paris with under ordinary circumstances - but certainly not now. It would be no fun for me to travel alone and especially in view of the threats that Europe is facing. If I do not get a refund I will just consider myself lucky that I only lost $1200 and not my life. What does "OP" mean?