I have a friend’s bachelor party in New Orleans at the beginning of May which happens to correspond with Jazz Fest. You might consider that great planning, but with the outrageous prices of all the flights and hotels…it might be more appropriate to call it poor planning. Anyway, pricing for the last six months has been averaging $400 – $500 each way from LGA/JFK/EWR with little to no price movement. About three weeks ago, Delta dropped one outbound flight down to the $250 range and one return flight (the 7am in the morning) down to $144. Let me also mention that with a $800-$1000 average r/t price across all the airlines, I would have gladly spent 25,000 Delta SkyMiles. Unsurprisingly, Delta had only 60K awards available.
I immediately pulled the trigger (the flights were already back up to the former prices later that afternoon) and booked the flight, but was not very happy with a Sunday morning 7am flight after what’s sure to be a long Saturday night. I hoped Delta would alter the flight time as they tend to do quite often. The official rule states that “if a Delta schedule or routing change has delayed your departure or arrival by more than one hour, you may be eligible to select an alternate flight at no additional charge.” Now, as anyone who strategically books Delta awards knows, depending on your agent, Delta can actually be quite flexible with this rule and it should be considered your best DL award booking friend. I wasn’t extremely hopeful for a change on this domestic Delta metal operated flight less than 1 1/2 months out…but it happened this morning. Delta moved the flight from 7:00am to 6:15am, a full 45 minutes. Not the 60 minute requirement, but close enough to play some phone roulette.
The first agent was very un-Delta like and was quite cold from the get-go. She told me that complimentary changes are only allowed for flight changes of 90 minutes or more (nope that’s refunds). I wasn’t looking to fight, I simply hung up and called back. The second agent was happy to help immediately and within less than two minutes she was already on the phone trying to get the ticket reissued on to a 6:15pm LGA flight. Five minutes later it was all done..and for the same $144!
I love me some Delta schedule changes!