Seats

Does Delta have to honor the MONSTER NYC billboard ads or can they say anything they want?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Photo from landeej from FlyerTalk
Photo from landeej from FlyerTalk

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.

jfk to lax nonstop vs connect flat bed vs 1st class delta points blog

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)

what delta seat maps with full flat bed seats look like

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
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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

4 Comments

  1. Santastico Reply

    Well, we all know Delta is “above the law” when it comes to customers. They can do whatever they want, Cheat, lie, remove award charts, overcharge you miles, etc… and people will still pack their planes. Do you know why? Because there is almost no competition anymore in the airline industry in the US. And many customers have no choice but to fly Delta. And many customers just don’t care. I read the other day a blogger saying that an amazing high % of Americans do not have or never heard about credit cards that give you points/miles. What % of the people that fly Delta really read travel blogs and care about their miles? I would bet that many don’t care and Delta knows that. Same situation with the billboard in NYC. How many people that buy their ticket and do not get a flat-bed will find a lawyer to sue Delta? They will get to the plane and be mad but that’s it. When they get to their destination they will be busy and have so much to do they will forget about what just happened. And life will go on.

  2. Jake from MSP Reply

    Deceptive advertising complaints to the DOT and FTC would be very annoying to Delta…

    If only there was someone who would do it…

  3. John DELTA Reply

    @Rene-

    I am amazed that Delta still publishes their “contract of carriage.”
    Something that is still posted that we can find, read and refer to?
    New branding coming:

    Incognito Airlines:
    How many miles do you have? Give us all of them

    Where will you fly? Where the hell we decide to take you

    When will you go? No sooner than 21 days…maybe never

    Seating? At least it’s not standing room only (yet…ask Rynanair)

    Food? Maybe a basket…perhaps a bag of pretzels, or maybe you’ll get lucky with a premium food (Delta biscoff cookies)

    Delta does anything it wants…I am just praying for Congressional hearings someday on consumer protections for frequent flyer programs. I totally understand the many court decisions on the frequent flyer programs…what we need to do is get Congress (and then following the proper legislation…the courts) to realize that miles/points do have a value/cost to them…and as such should be recognized as some form of “consideration” as the third component in a legally binding contract (Offer, acceptance, consideration) and then following this logic…offer protection for the purchasing party.

  4. John DELTA Reply

    I am still upset about the SEA-JFK route they promised flat-beds on. And I have an email from Delta Corp telling me flat-beds will be offered by March 2nd, 2015.

    When I look at bookings farther out (say August) they are obviously NOT all flat-beds as promised in their Press Release found here:

    http://news.delta.com/2014-06-16-Delta-Offers-Full-Flat-Bed-Seats-in-BusinessElite-On-All-Flights-Between-New-York-JFK-and-Los-Angeles

    Where they state: “All flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle will feature flat-bed seats on Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft by summer 2015.”

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