My guess is none of the Delta counters look like this today. And when you look at twitter you will find phone shots of long lines at airports around the world. As I blogged about this morning, Delta has issued a waiver. This is a special waiver compared to most others. This one is worldwide but ONLY if you have travel plans for TODAY (not the rest of this week as some news outlets are reporting). You can, however, retro make changes or get credit or cancel until Friday the 12th. That is somewhat unique. Either way, Delta is willing to let you make changes at no cost for travel booked today.
But is that it? What else would be a helpful tip or two? Reader Mary R in part commented on one of my posts today:
“René – surprised you didn’t devote today’s column to Delta global system outage. What does a flyer do when caught in the middle of an outage?”
I did have a quick post up first thing Mary, but you are spot on that this would be a good time to review all the things that could help you. The way I look at it there are two issues. The first is traveling today or in a similar situation where everything is shut down. The next is what do to after the fact.
First what to do in the midst of the mess:
Be calm & don’t get mad at Delta people for this mess today. It is not their fault. I mean it is someone’s fault at Delta, but not those trying to help you. They likely got a call early this AM to come in to work and got little sleep last night and it is Monday morning for them too!
Now what do you do if, as was the case for a while today, everything IT is totally shut down there is little anyone can do but wait. Without computers no one at Delta can do anything and that included airplanes moving at all. But what about once they are getting up and running again. Then what?
Elites will have it better since they can call the elite line. That may also have long wait times, but still better than for non-elites. But if you have Skype you can call Delta’s international service centers (See E9 post) and sometimes get faster service. Either way you can also use Delta’s call you back feature so you don’t have to wait on hold forever.
I still am just shocked (and disappointed) when any reader tells me they are not on Twitter. I don’t care if you tweet or not but sign up and follow @Delta (was @DeltaAssist) so you can use this service for help when things go wrong. They are normally quick and when things go wrong you have one more outlet that can help you.
Then we have other choices. Clearly waiting in a 100x person long service area line is not fun. So, consider a visit to the Sky Club if you have access any way at all (even if not free). If you have a Delta AMEX card you can get in for a fee and it may be worth it and not just for the help but for a place to relax during the long delay. The line at the club may be long too but you can at least have a drink in hand while you wait! 😉
How can you get from A-B? Well keep in mind Delta has limited what airlines it can “interline” with now, that is, take your Delta ticket and put you on another airline to get you to your destination. Even if they can do it they are going to be reluctant to do so. Normally I don’t suggest pushing the DYKWIA card but if you are a top elite or in paid 1st class you may have more success getting something on another airline utilizing your Delta ticket but Delta is the one who has to make that happen.
Worst case, look at all your other options. Renting a car. Now the airport may be out of cars but consider an UBER to a rental location off site that does still have cars. Sure you may not want to drive 4 or 10 or 24 hours to get A-B but if you must get there it could work. Or, consider a one-way rental to another airport that DOES have flights if driving all the way from A-B is not possible. None of this will be cheap but if you must travel there are ways to make it happen today!
We are running out of same day fixes but you can call it a day. Go to a hotel. Maybe you can get a voucher from Delta but depending on what credit card you used you may have, after a long enough delay, an option to have the card pay you back for a hotel and meals and such. Just getting away from the airport may be the best call if you can live with travel the next day.
Then what about after the fact. What can you get for your delay? If your flight was to/from Europe you can reach out to AirHelp to see about getting some money for whatever the issue was.
You can also complain, when it is fully back up and running, on Delta.com and request points or a voucher of some kind for the issue. It may not make you “whole” but something is better than nothing.
Lastly, again via your credit card, see about any other costs you could possibly get back or refunded due to paying for the ticket with a card that by default includes some kind of travel insurance when you buy airline tickets. You should know this ahead of time but if not it is worth a call after the fact.
Safe travels everyone! – René