The above photo from FlyerTalker landeej “outside the NYC Midtown Tunnel” clearly, without any fine print whatsoever, says:
“Flat-bed seating available on all nonstop flights from JFK to LAX” – BOLD MINE
As mentioned, I see no little star or asterisks or fine print that says that if irregular operations happen or an equipment swap, that is, another type of aircraft is flown, that you may NOT get a full flat bed seat in business class.
But the question is, despite the fact that you maybe paying MUCH MORE for this promised perk, compared to say connecting via MSP or SLC to save money (perhaps hundreds or even thousands of dollars), you may still not get what you expected! Is that OK?
Well if you take the time to read the almost 50 page Delta contract of carriage that you are agreeing to when you buy a ticket from Delta, it says on page 40 & 41 the following (in part):
RULE240: FLIGHT DELAYS/CANCELLATIONS
A. Flight Schedules are Not Guaranteed
Delta will exercise reasonable efforts to carry passengers and their baggage according to Delta’s published schedules and the schedule reflected on the passenger’s ticket, but published schedules, flight times, aircraft type, seat assignments, and similar details reflected in the ticket or Delta’s published schedules are not guaranteed and form no part of this contract. Delta may substitute alternate carriers or aircraft, delay or cancel flights, change seat assignments, and alter or omit stopping places shown on the ticket at any time. Schedules are subject to change without notice. Except as stated in this rule, Delta will have no liability for making connections, failing to operate any flight according to schedule, changing the schedule for any flight, changing seat assignments or aircraft types, or revising the routings by which Delta carries the passenger from the ticketed origin to destination. – BOLD MINE.
So it really is quite clear. Even though the advertising can say anything they want, you are giving the airline an “out” when you buy the ticket. You cannot say you did not know as they (unlike the award charts) DO publish this clearly on the website. You may not like it, but there it is.
If this happens to you do you have any “rights” or what can you expect? Well, your rights we have already covered – you signed them away when you got the ticket! But what can you expect or do if this happens to you.
First thing is you need to learn seat maps from Delta. If you want a flat bed it will be either:
1-2-1 (on most big jets other than 747 upstairs that is 1-1)
2-2 (on 757 with new flat seats and will be angled in map)
That is it. If you are talking a 330 or a 767 or a 777, all of them will be 1-2-1 seats. If you happen to see 2-2-2 you have been switched to the WORST possible 1st class seats Delta has, that is, the 767-300 domestic bird. What to do next if you see this.
I would, first thing, go to the Skyclub (you do have access for this direct route as a business class passage). Have the rep pull up the seat map and confirm there has been an equipment change. If confirmed, then simply ask to be moved to the next flight that DOES have the seats you paid for. I would doubt they would give you ANY push back on this and if the seat is important to you this is one of your only options.
What if you did not take the time to check the seat map and board the jet. At this point you can ask to deplane and hope to work it out with the gate agent, but I doubt many will be willing to raise this kind of stink. What I would do is get SkyMiles or vouchers as compensation. You can ask the flight attendant to use her “hand unit” and get 5-15,000 SkyMiles right away on-board (or a $50-150 voucher). And / Or, you can use GoGo free on Delta.com to start a complaint and ask for either SkyMiles or a voucher for the price difference between what it would have cost to connect vs the direct flight. Do NOT expect real money back – remember you agreed to the terms of the ticket. – René