Friday, June 27, 2008

Screw Air Travel

More than likely, anyone who's done a fair bit of air travel has one of these stories. Well, here's another.

I redeemed Delta SkyMiles for a reward ticket to fly from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Chicago, IL. The ticket was round trip from 6/26 to 6/29. The reservation was made on 6/24 ... so the airline chose to levy a $75.00 convenience fee and $7.50 for some other tax or fee or some shit. I wasn't happy about it.. but there wasn't much else I could do given the situation. I didn't pay for the fees... a friend did.

Now, I originally wanted to fly from 6/27 to 6/29. However, I couldn't find the right airport/date/time combination to get me there for the miles I had. I found this other option would get me there a day earlier, but still get me there within my award miles.

I had been trying to find a solution for this air travel for three days before I stumbled on to this flight. So I was pretty stoked. But in the confusion of flexible schedules, etc. I forgot I had set the ticket for departure a day early.

I show up at the airport and obviously can't get on the plane. When the mistake is revealed, I feel like an idiot and worked with the ticket counter associate to try to find another way to get there. It was either another awards ticket on Monday (whoops... missed my weekend window so that's no good) or almost $1000 for a ticket. Needless to say, didn't go to Chicago.

While still in Ft. Laud, (I live in Port St. Lucie), I spoke with the agent again about a refund. He said all I had to do was call and they would return the miles to my balance and refund the money.

I got back to PSL and called. The lady at Delta not only told me that I wouldn't be getting my $75.00 redemption fee back... but that it would cost an additional $100 to return the miles to my skymiles account!!

This is what I call predatory business practices in a distressed economy. Here people are already strapped as it is... leisure travel is something of a luxury compared to a few years ago... and they are actually planning to CHARGE me.. TWICE... for a FREE trip I didn't even get to take?!

Well, not this girl. As a result, I am boycotting air travel from now throughout the natural end of my days unless it is an ABSOLUTE emergency. I'll drive, take a train, a bus or a ship before I will put myself in a flying tin can again.

Now, I'm repaying my friend for the money... losing my miles... and still not going anywhere. Was it my mistake? Absolutely! I don't blame them for me mis-reading the date of departure. But to look at a long-time air customer and make those requirements... is just insane.

UPDATE: I got the miles back... but I didn't get the money back. Bastards.

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