I really do not know how the “average” (whatever that is) Delta flyer can ever hope to know what their rights are when things change with their Delta flights. All RenésPoints™ readers clearly know, and know well, that just about every single Saturday will result in some kind of schedule change. Some of them are minor – but often they are HUGE!
We also know that Delta does not make it easy to know what your rights are when you have a schedule change. If you search Delta.com, you will not find it (via the search box on Delta.com). There used to be a quick link to the pop-up box with the real rule — but that was broken by Delta IT in an effort to make things harder on us.
Then there is the “Delta Pro” site for travel agents. Notice what the very detailed rules say about all facts of schedule changes.
“Normal Schedule Change Guidelines
When an advanced schedule change occurs, to advise the schedule change, Delta sends an Advice of Schedule Change (ASC) message to the GDS. In order for a customer to qualify for a complimentary change due to a schedule change, the schedule change has to meet one of the following guidelines:
- A departure delay of 30 minutes or more
- An arrival delay of 30 minutes or more
- An early departure of 15 minutes or more
- Any change that causes a misconnect
Travel agencies can refund a non-refundable ticket(s) when there has been a Delta schedule change if one or more of the following apply:
- There is a change to an itinerary resulting in no comparable schedule being available within 90 minutes of the originally scheduled departure or arrival
- A change in the routing of a scheduled Delta flight which adds one or more stops to the original itinerary.
- A change in equipment from DL mainline to DL Connections carrier” – From Pro.Delta.com
There are some real nuggets in the above. Now before someone comments, yes I know, reading Delta Pro rules to a Delta rep is like using a kitchen strainer to hold water. However, the above is one of the rare places we can find ANYTHING in print as to the “real” Delta rules when it comes to schedule changes. I am a real “PRO” when it comes to Delta schedule changes and I had never noticed the 15-minute early departure rule. One I will keep in the back of my head for what-if situations.
Bottom line is if you want to push a Delta rep (to do the right thing according to the rules) the only thing that really works is the current COC posted on Delta.com and read the rep word for word what it says. One of the things I think phone reps mess up most is that the 1 hour or less rule applies to free changes whereas the 90-minute rule applies to cancellations (as you will find in the COC and on the Delta Pro site).
OK, so all of the above is interesting but has nothing to do with the title of today’s post (just checking if you are paying attention). But did you notice the screenshot of a flight I have coming up on Delta (connecting in Atlanta). Delta.com is now WARNING me that a connection time greater than 30 minutes may cause me to miss my flight.
That is interesting. Why?
Another rule you will not find published anywhere is the “official” minimum connection time(s). You can find the maximum one (4 hours domestic and 23 hours international) but not the minimum. Those of us who know – know the rule is 30 minutes for a domestic connection and 1 hour for an international connection. But again, as you see above, Delta is now warning me that 30 minutes in ATL is just not gonna cut it and I may miss my connection (and I can likely change free of charge).
The change, from when I originally booked, is my arriving flight is 1 minute later than booked and the departing is 2 minutes earlier than booked. Thus, when I booked it, a 37 minute connection was “legal”. What to take from this is simply this:
It now seems a 35 minute connection is the new legal domestic connection time (at least in ATL and per Delta IT on Delta.com).
Oh my does this really matter? I mean, come on, René! 5 minutes! Really?!
It does matter for a boatload of reasons — from changing to better flight times to better connections to even longer routes if MQMs matter to you. I could go on but this minor change matters and will impact many.
But I need more data points. Does anyone else see, in all their flights, a similar warning with a 30-34 minute connection? Does anyone see the warning with a greater than 35-minute connection? You can help me, and your fellow Delta flyers, with more data points! – René
Cover image photo: ©iStock.com/Boarding1Now
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