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.
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 @Delta:
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 @Delta 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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