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Delta’s pathetic 12,500 SkyMiles offer for 30 hour nightmare. Would a US – EU261 help?

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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.


delta jets at jfk
Delta jets at JFK

I. Would. Be. Livid! I cannot imagine, after enduring 30 hours of THIS for what should have been a 4 hour flight, to have been offered 12,500 SkyMiles as an “I am sorry” from Delta (how would you feel?)!

According to the Washington Post a Delta spokesman said:

“Thomas, the Delta spokesman, confirmed the offer of 12,500 Skymiles, adding that those who don’t have frequent flier accounts with the airline were offered vouchers, but he could not say for how much. He also said the airline would evaluate other situations like Karasek’s.”

Now you can read all about just how much in personal expenses Karasek dished out, but having Delta “evaluate” the situation does not fill me with confidence. After all, once an airline plays the “weather card” they can just about dismiss any claims you may have for meals, hotels or the like.

have-one-on-us-for-delayed-flight HOOU RenesPoints blog
Is this lunch or dinner to you?

Heck, during most delays Delta nowadays just rolls out a HOOU cart and calls it good (is this really a substitute for a meal?)!

EU261 complaint

Is an American version of the EU261 complaint the answer? Maybe but even that can take forever. For example, I am still fighting Delta / KLM for my over 5 hour arrival delay from my trip in November of 2014 with help from AIRHELP. They are now, after Delta told me to buzz off and KLM has failed to respond to repeated requests to pay up, filling papers on my behalf in the Dutch courts to take my case to trial. One day I may see 1,200 Euros compensation!

citi prestige travel protection 1

citi prestige travel protection 2
$500 for food, hotels & more if delayed!

Really the only best solution for now is to take proactive steps for yourself. Either pay for the trip with cards like the Citi Prestige card <-LINK that offers trip protection and will reimburse you for issues like this or have enough hotel and other points so if you get stuck it will not cost you an arm and a leg when the airlines let you down again and again. I have had to do this myself when I was on an award ticket and weather came up and Delta said sorry not paying for a hotel and you are on your own.

I guess I would love your thoughts. Is the current system fine that whatever the airlines decide is adequate compensation (like SkyMiles) is enough or should there be rules in place to force them to do more? – René

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.

17 Comments

  1. I would think they should have offered more than the 12,500 points, maybe 25k and some skyclub vouchers? After all, what do Sky Miles really cost Delta? I would think almost nothing, as it is like printing their own money.

    I wonder if AAA or any other motor club would pick up any of these expenses as being stuck more than x miles from home?

  2. MSPDeltaDude Reply

    I just got 10K for having to wait for 30min for late incoming pilots….and I was on a 25K RT reward ticket. Wonder if she had status!?

  3. I read the story yesterday and laughed when they hid behind the weather clause.

  4. That’s why you buy travel insurance, especially for winter trips.

  5. I read this story yesterday and laughed at how this person was claiming the “I’m a victim” card. Sure, things didn’t go according to plan, but the flight crew kept safety first. Personally I just roll with it when things like this happen. Nobody died, so it could have been much, much worse!

    • @JH – I think you may get a bit slammed for that comment. Airlines owe you more than just safe travel.

  6. I’m interested in learning about other cards that offer protection. We spent some money and a lot of time trying to get to Santiago (via nyc and atl). We were rebooked a day and a paid hotel later on United. #weather. What do we think delta is gonna pay?

  7. Serious question – what can an airline possibly owe us that is more important than safe travel? While I think they owe us a dedication and desire to operate on their published schedule, sometimes things can go wrong, and in this case they did in spades. I really don’t know what the answer is here. I’m sure it was joyless, but what is the right dollar amount? The right apology? What is enough to make up for this?

    Hindsight is always 20/20. In this case, it feels like the best solution might have been chartering a bus from Manchester to JFK, but given the weather, who knows how the roads were, or how much luck they would have had finding enough buses? And don’t even get me started on reaching out to @DeltaAssist via Twitter regarding reimbursement. This is the kind of thing a well-worded and reasonable letter cries out for. It’s so “out there” beyond normal that enough of those letters from enough passengers might catch the eye of an actual human-being at Delta with the authority to do the right thing even if weather is the root-cause of the problem. A cc to the US Department of Transportation might be in order as well.

    Finally, as an airline operations and customer service manager, I would want to take a look at every detail of this flight from takeoff to multiple attempts at touching down and ask myself if there is anything we could have done differently? Does the need to clear customs figure into the airline’s dispatch decision-making and picking alternate airports for landing? If the answer is yes we could have done things differently, make sure changes are implemented and communicated to staff to help them make better decisions next time.

    • @MJ – How about the same fee paid to us they would charge us if we wanted to change? If it is fair for them to charge us, if they mess up, should we not get the same at least! 😉

  8. Interesting idea about using points. But then if you are seeking reimbursement, what are your costs? How is Delta going to refund your HHonors points? They might claim you’re not anything out-of-pocket.

  9. Rene – how and at what stage in your battle stemming from your 2014 flights (KLM) did you engage Airhelp? what are they doing for you at this point? and what do you think about their upcoming “annual subscription” service? i have heard that they require clients to sign a power of attorney. sort of spooks me away from what seems like a great concept otherwise.

    • @Mike – As mentioned in post they are now taking KLM to court for me. Yes they are representing me. They will take 25% of what they collect if they get anything. I am happy with this as I don’t have to do the work.

  10. I observed an interesting thing while on a Delta flight last night. My seatmate was not able to enjoy their IFE, it would crash and reboot every 20 minutes or so of use. He reported it to the FA, who promptly, and without being asked for any compensation by my seatmate, pulled out their smart device and awarded him 15k SkyMiles for not being able to watch a free movie…really puts Delta’s 12.5K offer into a truer perspective, doesn’t it?

  11. Tom @Bigmainedaddy Reply

    Rene,
    I like the idea of the reverse change fee. If Delta cancels my flight, delays to where I cannot make my connection or just changes the aircraft (negating my selected seat, read C+ or Comp Upgrade) they should give me a $200 Change Fee or Change Fee Voucher. Seems only fair… Don’t hold your breath.

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