I promised an update to my attempt to get compensation from Delta for my almost three hour departure delay and more than five hour arrival delay under the EU (EC) 261/2004 regulation. Let me first bring you up to speed on what happened. I was planning on keeping much of this for a multi-part post about the trip, but for now I will break this part out on it’s own.
I had booked flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Gothenburg (GOT) on Delta. All were Delta flights other than the little hop from Amsterdam (AMS) to GOT and the same on the return. On the return, the KLM regional jet “went mechanical.” It was delayed again and again and at or just before the three-hour-delay mark, it was at last fixed and we departed.
The result of this LONG delay however was that I missed my connecting Delta flight and had to find other flights to get home. Here is where it gets really “fun”. I had booked the ticket in coach, and then used my shiny new Global Upgrade certificates to get confirmed business class seats both ways (other than the little KLM hops). Now that I had missed my flight – due to KLM – I was no longer on business class flights home! After much bribing with chocolate and hard work by the lounge folks in AMS, they got me on the most direct flights they could that day and in business the whole way.
So I arrived MUCH more than five hours later than originally booked. By my watch, I was delayed more than three hours on the departure but Delta is sticking with the fact I was “only” delayed 2 hrs, 50 min departing. Either way, they agree I was more than five hours delayed on the arrival into LAX. However, they are saying that’s not their issue. Using my fellow BA blogger Chris Elliotts published Delta contacts, the corporate offices, in again denying my request for compensation under the regulation, said to me:
“I understand you’ve requested a review of your claim for compensation under the guidelines of European Union regulation which defines an airline’s requirements when flight irregularities occur. I’ve read through your original emails and our responses to be sure my colleague’s consideration was complete. It is correct that the arrival time of your final destination is a factor in determining if EU cash is legally due by law. But it’s important to point out that this mandate is also based on the delay of the operating carrier from Europe. Since the delay on KLM was less than 3 hours and you were connecting to a mainline Delta-operated flight into the U.S., cash compensation is not due under the European Union regulation.” – Customer Solutions Specialist, Corporate Customer Care Delta Air Lines
Now this really troubles me on so many levels. ALL the flights were Delta CODE-share flights and it was a Delta ticketed flight so my ONLY source for compensation is Delta, not KLM or the KLM regional carrier who operated the first flight that resulted in the delay. Next, I am baffled by the fact that Delta is saying, as I understand the wording above, that since my Delta flight was not late there is no basis for a claim under the regulation.
Please also keep in mind, under my first request, Delta did give both Lisa and me 20,000 Skymiles each that I do appreciate and value. But this does not change, in my opinion, the fact that under the regulation I should still get further compensation for the mechanical delay.
Lastly, as a word of warning when using Delta Global Upgrade certificates, be ready for a REAL battle if you miss your confirmed flight — even when it is the airline’s fault that you missed that flight.
What do you think readers. What should I do next. According to this Wikipedia post I can attempt to have third-party sites help me get compensation when airlines refuse to honor the regulation. Should I reach out to one of these and push this to the next level or let it go? I will leave it up to you to tell me what I should do next! – René