Rookie Sunday: Is there anything you can do when Delta (people) make up “local rules” or don’t follow posted procedure?

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog 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 featured topic.

Me at B ATL Sky Club grand opening!

My friend Matthew had a rather frustrating situation in LAX recently. You see he was flying AeroMexico, on an award ticket in business class, and wanted to enter the LAX Sky Club in T2 but the reps at the club told him he was not allowed in on a Skyteam business class award ticket. Err – what? He asked for supervisors and all just told him go pound sand. After he blogged about it Delta Corp folks got back to him and apologized and told him the staff would get training (I assume to understand the rules they should already know). Even Skyteam reps reached out to him and apologized for the event.

But that brings us to the fact that saying “I’m sorry” is nice but what if something like this, or some other thing that is clearly not right, happens to you and could spoil that special trip you have booked? What can you do? Let’s look at your options.

  • Ask for a Red Coat. Red Coat folks are Delta customer service supervisors / specialists who should know all the rules and can even, if they want to, do special things to make up for something not being properly dealt with. They also have MUCH higher limits when it comes to compensation (think bumps etc.) as well as choice of a hotel if you are eligible for one due to whatever. Most times these fine folks can fix whatever. But what if no? Next step I would try is…
  • Social Media. If Delta reps are unwilling to help, and you know you are right (like can see the wording on then try to DM or direct message Delta via Twitter or another social media platform (vs. just a public rant). They can often contact the right folks at the airport and maybe fix whatever is wrong. If this does not work what then?
  • Ask for the station manager. Now this is a big deal so you better be dead to rights if you push things this far as this person does have more important things to deal with than you most days. Just know this is a final last option to fix, immediately, whatever is wrong. I have never had the need to go here and I fly a lot but did have one engage me with an issue and the result was amazing!
  • Ask for the head purser / flight leader. Now in the air you do have one FA that is over the rest for any given flight. If you have an issue and the FA you are talking to is not helping that is one last chance to fix whatever. Do keep in mind in this modern age upsetting a flight crew can result in really bad events (think diversion plus red and blue flashing lights outside the jet) so I would be really careful here. Unless it is something major I would wait till you land and…
  • Complain on after the fact. This really is what I suggest for most situations because no matter how bad it is – it can get worse if someone decides they have had enough and are going to take things where you do not want them to go. Let Delta customer service, after the fact, do what they can to make it right via a voucher or SkyMiles or whatever.

Bottom line and the sad answer as was the case in Matthew’s situation is that you really have few options when everyone at the airline says “NO”! I personally have pulled up and shown Delta folks rules on and they still have told me they do not apply. Seriously – what can you do at that point but walk away and complain later on.

Oh and I have learned the “I am sorry” price Delta has offered to Matthew for being rightly denied access to the Sky Club and everyone telling him “NO” was a massive (no not really) 10,000 SkyMiles! Really – Delta?

Have you ever had a situation where Delta folks have broken the rules and no one would help you make it right? – René



  1. I am highly allergic to all dogs. I was seated beside one on an oversold flight. No other seat to move to. No one would trade seats. A later flight would not work due to a tight connection. So I suffered miserably, wrote in to DL after I landed and got a telephone call apology and 25,000 SM. This was before the tighter rules regarding ESAs. The lady promised me they would be tightening the ESA rules.

  2. Dang, 10,000 SkyMiles is a devaluation in itself. It used to be that they would give 15,000 for complaints that had any merit.

  3. When I fly delta from YUL (Montreal) the check in people ALWAYS give me a hard time letting my wife have my Diamond baggage allowance. I always have to call the Diamond desk to get them to override their system. It’s so frustrating and I have to budget an extra 30 minutes arriving at the airport..And I fly from YUL 6-7 times a year. It’s crazy I dont know why they’re the only airport in the world where I have this issue, but its “local rules” I guess?

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