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My flight through Delta was scheduled for the 4th and fell into these terms
(To, From, or
Through) Dates of Travel Impacted Ticket Reisssue Date
(On or Before) New Travel
Origination Dates (No Later Than)
Santiago, Chile (SCL)
Feb 27–Mar 05, 2010 Mar 08, 2010 Mar 08, 2010
The kicker to this statement is that you have to rebook and fly by the 8th. You can only rebook to the same fare type, ours was L (whatever that means). If you book to a different fare you incur the difference in fare.
There was no way for us to fly on the 4th. After finally getting sent to customer services, double speak for sure, they waived the $250 per seat fee that would allow us to fly outside the 8th. After I got confirmation from our landlord that all was well and that we were still welcome I called Delta back to get booked. Back and forth we went for 5 hours, at least 10-12 people and 2 dropped calls. We were finally told that there was availability for a flight on the 12th, but that because it was a different fare type that it would be an additional $1300 per seat, we have 4 seats. So after 5 hrs of talking to them at this point I knew full well that every seat up to the 8th was booked. I asked the agent to go ahead and put me on a flight on or before the 8th so we wouldn't have to take the monetary hit. She just sat there then softly mumbled that there were no seats available. My question was, how does it work if I have to book and fly by the 8th and there are no seats for us, this was at the 4 hour mark. She said it doesn't work.... so off to a supervisor I went. 40 min later we were rebooked for the flight on the 12th with no additional fees. She was very friendly and even extended our return date.
The problem is that the first line of corporate defense at Delta has absolutely no power to do anything other than what is posted on the web site, period. Avoid the 4 hours of trying to reason and politely ask for a supervisor. Politely is the key word. Just like any time in an emergency you should keep your cool, maintain your composure and think logically, not with anger or fear. No one is going to go out of their way to help you if you're treating them crap.
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You forget about it most times, but then when you head for the South Pacific and are lucky enough to fly Malaysia Air or something like that and get spoiled rotten with a guaranteed hotel room to freshen up if your layover is too long as well as an in-flight menu to order from, you realize how far customer service has fallen in North America. The last time I flew American overseas, the snack between meals was a lousy granola bar.
My policy is to always go straight to the supervisors. I just keep climbing the ladder until they either see reason or give up. It usually works.
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We were scheduled to fly to Santiago at 10 am on Saturday.
For more information visit: https://www.spencerglobal.com
From USA and outside Chile dial 1-917-727-5985 (U.S.), in Chile dial 65 2 42 1024 or by cell 747 97974.
It was suggested to me by another passenger that Air Canada are taking advantage of the "act of God" clause. Apparently they could fly BsAs->Santiago, but chose not to since their route flies on to Toronto and passengers could only disembark and not board, hence they'd fly Santiago->Toronto half full potentially. So it's an "act of God" plus not wanting to losing too much money perhaps?
I'm not sure what I was expecting from Air Canada, I feel they were a bit vague and unhelpful. It was a bit expensive hanging out in BsAs for 4 days more.
Regarding the outbound flight, I preferred the plane, in-flight entertainment, food, etc... over the LAN equivalent which is sightly more expensive. But for such a short journey it barely makes a difference.
Needless to say I'm a very happy camper now and wanted to relay my story. If anyone is in a similiar situation, I suggest you go the Delta site and plead your case. Just make sure you chose "other" in the window that asks what the coorespondance is relative to and then type in Chile Earthquake. I figured that might get my mail answer ahead of others who may be emailing to complain about meals etc..