Delta mistake bumps non-stop travelers to flights with layovers
Travelers who booked non-stop flights from Salt Lake City to various Hawaiian Islands were frustrated over the weekend after their travel time nearly doubled after being stumbled upon a flight with a layover. (Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY – Travelers who booked nonstop flights from Salt Lake City to various Hawaiian islands were frustrated over the weekend after their travel time nearly doubled after being stumbled upon a flight with a layover.
Doug Wren, a Wren International travel agent, said small changes to flight routes are not uncommon, but this is not a “small” change.
“It’s an inconvenience,” he said. “That doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t feel right.”
KSL investigators confirmed that at least four families traveling from Salt Lake to Hawaii have been kicked off their direct flights and flights with stopovers have been included.
Wren expects there will be more.
“I think it’s a tip of the iceberg,” he said.
People traveling to Hawaii from SLC have been banned from their non-stop flights and are now faced with lengthy layovers. But here’s the kicker – her original flight wasn’t canceled. So how can they just be booted? They ask @KSLInvestigates tonight on @ KSL5TV at 4:30 p.m. pic.twitter.com/iZva6ZYT1a
– Matt Gephardt KSL (@KslMatt) July 27, 2021
A family traveling to Maui this week was told they must now make a stop in Los Angeles.
Two families scheduled to fly in August learned they now have stopovers in Los Angeles and Seattle. People were also bumped on the non-stop return flights.
A family traveling to Honolulu in August learned that they had to drive east to Minneapolis on their way home to catch a flight back to Salt Lake City.
Each itinerary meant that travel time more than doubled.
What is unique is that in each of these cases the original non-stop flight is still available.
Anthony Black, a Delta Airlines spokesman, said on the phone Tuesday that human error was responsible for all of this.
Delta made the decision to use different aircraft for these different flights. It’s a common move, said Black.
The passengers with tickets should have been automatically moved to the new location, but instead they were accidentally canceled, causing the Delta system to start rerouting people.
Black said Delta is currently working to “automatically correct” the issues and get travelers back to their original itineraries.
Affected travelers should receive an email from Delta, Black said that their flight “was affected by a scheduling issue that accidentally rescheduled them to another flight.”
“Unless you have already made changes through My Trips or by contacting one of our specialists, we’ve fixed the problem and reset your itinerary to the best available option,” the email said. “In most cases, your itinerary has been traced back to your original flights. However, in some cases your original flight was affected by a flight schedule change and so we have rebooked you to the best alternative itinerary. You don’t need to move on.”
KSL investigators confirmed that the travelers who had contacted KSL about the problem and were scheduled to leave have been returned to their original flight.
To make matters worse, Delta currently has massive wait times for people to reach customer service, sometimes six to eight hours or more.
A traveler who contacted KSL about her Hawaii flight said she was able to return to the originally planned itinerary after being on hold for more than five hours.
When asked about the phone delays, Black said they expect the wait times to get shorter in the coming weeks.
The airline is bringing back operators who have retired as contractors and are hiring new operators, but the biggest factor behind the delays will inevitably go away as the people who kept their travel credits they received in 2020 are these use up and the travel industry calms down back to normal and flights continue to be booked out.
Black apologized on behalf of Delta for the “problems and headaches”.