Travel Troubleshooter: Bumped, but where is the voucher?

  • October 4, 2013 - 1:32 PM

Q: My sister and I recently had a confirmed flight on Delta from San Francisco to Dayton, Ohio. The itinerary included a scheduled 90-minute stopover in Atlanta.

When I arrived at the kiosk, I was asked if I would be willing to volunteer my seat. I indicated yes and checked my bag through to Dayton.

While waiting at the gate, I was called to the desk. The gate agent notified me that she could put me on a flight to Detroit, and then continue to Dayton. I agreed and asked if my sister could be rebooked with me. The gate agent rebooked us both and handed us new boarding passes.

While I was on the plane, I realized that the gate agent had not issued us a voucher. The flight into Detroit arrived late, resulting in a missed connection to Dayton, an overnight stay and luggage that didn’t arrive until the following day.

I was told I needed to contact Delta’s customer care department about the voucher. A representative told me we were not issued a voucher because our flight was not oversold, but delayed by 15 to 30 minutes. This makes no sense since we had a longer stopover in Atlanta.

I want our vouchers. Can you help us get them?


A: If Delta promised you a flight voucher, then it should have given it to you. But it’s not entirely clear to me what the Delta agent was trying to do when you were rebooked.

At any rate, the time to settle that question would have been before you left, not afterward. Any airline is going to be reluctant to offer you a voucher based on a kiosk interaction. That would have to be verified by a gate agent and settled before your departure.

It’s unclear what happened before your Detroit-bound flight departed. Were they trying to prevent a delay or were they trying to remove two passengers from an oversold flight (if so, they misrepresented the facts when you called).

I’m fairly certain that some airlines fudge the circumstances of a delay to suit their interests. For example, broken air conditioning — a “mechanical” delay — can be turned into a weather delay, because it lets an airline off the hook for covering rooms and meal vouchers for displaced passengers. But I don’t think that’s what happened here. I think this was just a misunderstanding.

I contacted Delta on your behalf and after reviewing its files, it offered you two $400 flight vouchers.

© 2018 Star Tribune