Rookie Wednesday: Reader Chris asks about linking Delta reservations?

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Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

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Last week in the comments section of the blog reader Chris asked me:

Hi Rene, can you talk about linking reservations? What does it mean when they are linked? How do they get linked? What are the advantages? How to get baggage, boarding and other benefits for linked travelers? What happens when things go wrong with linked reservations? That is, what to do if the linked reservations don’t show together on Delta.com (monitoring the reservations), pre-travel seat changes, different boarding groups on boarding passes, paying for bags if normally free, etc.?

Chris thanks so much for the great topic and many good questions. This should really get looked at in a rookie way, but let’s take a look and first start with a point you did not cover.

The first is if Delta ever splits a reservation there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to put them back into one reservation. The only thing you could do is cancel and reissue and that is not always possible and Delta then will want to charge you fees or higher cost or on and on. Even if it is their fault, once a split happens you are pretty much stuck with it. That is one of the reasons for linking.

There are many times that you can have more than one person on a reservation and will want to split the reservation into two reservations. Why do this? Maybe so you have a better chance for an upgrade if one is a higher medallion than the other. Or maybe you are on an award ticket with a non-medallion and want a chance to upgrade. Anyway, you get the idea.

So now what is linking. It would be nice if you could just look this up on Delta.com but you can’t. Linking is simply taking two or more reservations and, in theory, if anything changes on one of them, all of them will follow right along – again in theory! How do you do this? You can simply call up Delta and request this. Even faster and safer IMO is just sending this direct message tweet (not a public one) to @DeltaAssist:

Hi. My Skymiles number is 123456789 & I want to link res# 123xyz with res#321zyz. Please confirm. Txs

Now you have them linked. What does this mean and what are the advantages of this? What it should mean is, in addition to say a late flight will get all of you changed to same next flight (not split up on separate flights) all the other perks you would have should also count. What perks?

If you are a Delta AMEX holder you get a free bag and up to 8 more with you. This officially only counts to the same reservation. Reps should be able to see other reservations are linked and extend this perk. Some will fight you so be prepared.

If you are a medallion, all the other perks that would be extended to you at your level should also be extended like free exit row or economy comfort seats for gold meadllion+ domestic and on and on..

Now you will not be able, after linking, to get these perks online when you log in to your reservation. Nor, if you log on to the other reservation, will they automatically be able to get all the perks they should get. You will have to either call Delta or, once again, tweet to @DeltaAssist for them to help you. I strongly suggest the latter.

Now keep in mind this is how it is supposed to work. I am sure many readers are right now screaming at the screen that I had two reservations linked and there was an IROP (irregular operations) and my friend and I ended up on separate flights. Or, (insert another issue here 😉 ) and so this linking does not work or is hit and miss at best. I would tell you I hear you and I agree and that is why I have peppered this post with “in theory”!

My suggestion is tweet. Then, do a screen shot of the tweet and the confirmation tweet back from Delta and print it! That way, if things come up, you have proof of the confirmation you can show to the rep. Worst case, you can use this in complaining to Delta later on when things go kerflooey and can at least get a HUGE pile of Skymiles for Delta dropping the ball when you had done what you needed to do to prevent this from happening in the first place.

With all these warnings, I am sure you can see, when it is this hard with our dear Delta, you can imagine the issues that can arise with Skyteam and other Delta partners. Don’t count on being able to explain these rules to them and expect them to honor what Delta has told you they will!

So there you are. I hope this helps and gives you a better understanding about linking two or more reservations with Delta! – René

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22 comments

  1. Excellent post-thanks! Now I can link my boyfriend to my reservation if we ever need to book separately, and he can get my amex perks!

  2. So, if I split the reservation because I want a better chance of an upgrade, my travel companion will still be on the upgrade list but he won’t have free checked baggage?

    I also learned this week that if you have a travel companion on a separate reservation, you can call the medallion line and request an upgrade for them.

  3. I’m sure that you’ll be shocked by I requesting linking by telephone yesterday and was told that it’s impossible. This was on the Silver line to boot! I’ll try tweeting next.

  4. I thought about calling back but I tried tweeting and the result was the same. I followed your suggested phrasing and here’s the Twitter response verbatim, “I see that the tickets are noted that they’re part of one trip, but they can’t be combined into one ticket. *WG”

  5. @Corbett – @Assist is correct. They can not be combined but can be LINKED to if once changes the other should as well and also if there is an issue they both should be changed!

  6. Linking is a mess. Last year, DL would involuntarily de-link my spouse (SM) and me (PM) on the day of departure – every trip. When traveling together, our goal was to sit together — even if had to be in coach. With the involuntary delinking, I would be upgraded and he would remain in coach. Not what we wanted. So I would try to undo the upgrade. Do you know how difficult it is to try to reject a surprise upgrade when it is given as you are entering the plane. It takes lots of time. You lose your original seat. It’s a mess. I have found that it’s easier to go to my original coach seat, sit there and wait for the new person they have assigned it to. Then I give them my upgraded boarding pass, saying, “You are in 2B. Have a nice day.” It makes their day and cuts out bureaucratic nightmare of trying to get your own seat back. Since it hasn’t happened to us this year, they must have stopped that automatic delinking when forming the upgrade list. Now we are tethered at the lower (SM) priority level. And believe it our not, as a couple we got upgraded twice this year an SM and PM.

  7. Thanks for the info. Can I link a paid ticket with an award ticket? I often see award availability from Atlanta to Europe, but no availability from my city to Atlanta. I am willing to buy a ticket to Atlanta, but am concerned about being re-booked for free on another flight if delayed. I have been more than 4 hours delayed in the past due to thunderstorms, so it is difficult to judge how early to go to be safe. Linking would be so much better.

  8. @Dan – yes and you can even link tickets that do not start at the same city. For example, I booked a pal to join us skiing in SLC. He started in SDF we in SBN and then went DTW-SLC and had them linked so that if the DTW-SLC changed we could be put on the same flights. Do keep in mind, this SHOULD work but does nto always!

  9. Booked travel ( JFK to STT ) with brother. I’m platinum – he’s not medallion. There’s 12 seats remaining of 24 on the 757. If I de-link our reservations. I know I would have Platinum upgrade status ( ie: notice 3-5 days in advance ) but would he still be on the upgrade list for day-of travel ( albeit at a low priority ).?
    If I leave us linked, won’t our joint status be among the lowest compared to any other medallions?

  10. @Richard – Yep. If you don’t mind splitting up that is a good call. What I do with my wife is I take middle seat and put her in the isle better seat. If I upgrade I take her seat 😉 and she goes upfront.

  11. Rene’

    I booked JFK-ATH with sky bonus points and ATL-JFK with Skymiles. I want to check bags in ATL. DM rep said they can’t link the flights. Said redcoats in ATL could day of flight. Thoughts please

    Thanks
    Rand

  12. @Rand – I think you mean JFK-ATL and ATL-JFK as two one way tickets for you? You can not link those no. Now if you have another person on the same flights you can link that to each one way on it’s own.

  13. Rene,

    What said is correct. Round trip domestic ATL-JFK and international round trip JFK-ATH Athens Greece. I want to link so I don’t have to check in again @ JFK for ATH flight.

    Thanks!

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