Ginny (ginny305) wrote in bad_service,
Ginny
ginny305
bad_service

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Delta Airlines website

I've never flown Delta before. After the joke that trying to book tickets with them has become I never will too.

Christmas is coming up and I've been looking at booking flights home for the sister that lives nearby and I. Turned out Delta.com had a $99 (plus taxes and fares) one-way fare listed from NYC to DTW on December 24. Perfect, just what I needed. I verified the price and time was good with her and went to book the flight tonight.

At 9pm the $99 fare was available. At 9:10 it was sold out.

Frustrating. But it happens, right? So I booked at the new fare of $129 and called to tell her the new total. I jokingly said that I always feel like the airline just lured me in with an imaginary price when that happens and then ran the search again right around 9:30.

And found the $99 fare.

Needless to say, I wasn't happy. So I hung up with her and called their support line. Talked with Kevin who confirmed that, that price was indeed valid and I could go ahead and cancel my first itinerary and rebook. But did I need a rental car?

Except as soon hit purchase that fare became sold out. By then I think my right eye was twitching.

So I rebooked and had to call when the purchase didn't to through (this happened the first time too). I mentioned my frustration by what I perceived as an imaginary fare and was read the script by that person. Can't think of his name at the moment. V-something. He read it twice saying that the fare fluctuates and it has nothing to do with them. My complaint being, of course, this $99 fare appearing, disappearing and then reappearing again all within 45 minutes. He read the script again (seriously, he repeated himself word for word) and then asked if I wanted to book a rental car.

I hung up and emailed a complaint to customer service. Their reply was word-for-word what the last guy had told me on the phone.

Morbid curiosity had me running the search again after the first email (this was a little after 10pm). And finding the $99 fare. So I emailed them back and then called when I tried to repurchase those tickets (I can cancel through midnight Friday with no penalty) only to be told again that fares fluctuate, etc - the same script. And did I need a rental car?

I admittedly turned into a bad customer as soon as I recognized the spiel, snapped at him and hung up on him. I miss the old phones when I could slam it down. Probably best I couldn't give in to that particular temper tantrum.

Apparently I can't learn my lesson because I searched again around 11:30. This time I only complained in a reply to the form letter email I got from a third person.

When the $99 fare appeared a little before 2am I once more called. I got to talk to Kevin again who verified once more that the fare was available. And I asked three times. When he asked what else he could do for me I said he could stay on the line while I attempted to make my purchase (which he couldn't do for me because it would be $20 more or something).

He then demanded to know what browser I was in, insisted that I couldn't use firefox, made me tell him what was on the webpage, tried to hang up with me, asked me who I was making reservations for after I had said twice that I was simply trying to re-book the flight for the same people, made me spell my name several times, asked repeatedly what I was doing and just generally treated me like I was too dumb to put my information in.

I asked if the $99 fare was still available, he said yes, I hit purchase. And guess what. It wasn't.

He told me that fares fluctuate and it must have sold out. Perhaps someone else was working with a reservation specialist, or whatever term he used but it had nothing to do with them and he couldn't do anything for me. That fare was sold out (for the fifth or sixth time in the last five hours) and I just needed to keep the higher price.

I was once more a sucky customer and told him I was furious with how Delta was treating me and that I would never fly with them again after this and then hung up on him. It took everything in me not to completely curse him out. He's not the one that programmed the website. He just does a really good job reading the script. Oh yeah, and he asked if I was going to need a rental car.

I just ran the same search again. NYC to DTW on 12/24.

Guess what the base fare is.

Yep, $99.

Seriously, this is six times in the last six hours I've seen that fare but can't book it.

By now I'm convinced that the tl;dr I'm about to post is right

tl;dr Delta.com lists fares they don't really have to pull you in. When you hit purchase they become sold out only to reappear 15-60 minutes later.

So it seems, at least. Perhaps it's just a bug in their system?


Edit because ... well, because


I just got two more replies from their customer-care department.

This one at 10:12
Dear Ms. Casey,

Thank you for your most recent e-mail. We regret your continued
displeasure with our previous responses.

Many factors can impact the airfare amount; to obtain the lowest
possible fare, you may want to explore booking alternate dates and times
for your trip. Also, all fare types are subject to availability and
some fares must be purchased a specific number of days in advance.

For tips on getting the lowest possible fare visit our website at the
following link:

http://www.delta.com/planning_reservations/plan_flight/online_reservations/fares_ticketing_rules/faretips/index.jsp

Thank you for the opportunity to give this matter our final review. Any
additional correspondence will be kept on file.


And this one at 10:30
Dear Ms. Casey,

Thank you for your most recent e-mail. We regret your continued
displeasure with our previous responses.

Many factors can impact the airfare amount; to obtain the lowest
possible fare, you may want to explore booking alternate dates and times
for your trip. Also, all fare types are subject to availability and
some fares must be purchased a specific number of days in advance.

Thank you for the opportunity to give this matter our final review. Any
additional correspondence will be kept on file.

Sincerely,

Edward Jordan


For some reason I'm still frustrated and irritated by this.
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