Saturday, November 17, 2012

Delta Airlines and the big bait and switch

Delta airlines
So, here is how Delta airlines baited and switched me into paying extra for my ticket. I have always believed that if you purchase a ticket for a plane ride, then by gum, you should have a seat for that plane ride. 

And Delta agrees with that part of it. Certainly, they gladly charged me for my ticket and I was confirmed as a passenger for my flight down to Atlanta and then connecting to Key West. All was set. I was going. Now, the original flight was late, way late. That is not totally part of this story. It is just an added irritation.

However, to continue. The day before my trip, I received an email from Delta Airlines telling me that I could check in. I got the email and within five minutes, I was on the site and trying to check in. I was able to check in and select my seat for the first leg of my trip without incident. But, and here's the kicker, when I went to check in to the Atlanta to Key West leg, an interesting thing occurred. Sure,  I could absolutely check in. However, there was not a single seat available on the flight that was free. Here's what I mean. Generally, you have to pay through the nose for first class. I never fly that way. Nowdays, in an effort to charge you more money, but look like they are charging you less, the airlines charge for every little thing that actually should come with your purchased fare. For example, who travels with absolutely nothing? Without even a carry-on bag? No one. That's who. But if you believe some airlines, they are only responsible for getting you and only you to your destination. If you want to bring anything else, you are screwed or you will be out 25.00. Or, if they can, they spiffy up some seats towards the front and then charge you extra to sit in them. 

Airtran does something similar if you try to select your seats when you first buy your tickets (as opposed to checking in the day before the flight). They charge you 10.00 to reserve specific seats when you purchase. However, they keep seats available for you to check in and select the day before your flight. Sure, there are some seats that might cost more, but those are business class or something like that. Generally, though, you do get to select a free seat even if you will be stuck in the middle seat all the way at the back of the plane.

Did Delta do that? Nope. Here's what they did.  When I tried to check in for the second leg of my trip, there was not a single free seat listed as available. Every single seat that could have been free and available was Xed out. The only "available" seats? They cost 25.00 to reserve. Now, I am not an internet junkie. I am not on email every single second of the day. However, I am on it quite often. I got the email and immediately went to the site to check in. No one can tell me that those seats were snagged up so quickly, within the first five minutes of check-in being possible. The only thing I can think is that Delta deliberately marked all those seats as "taken" or "unavailable" so that I would be *forced* to select what they call a, "Comfort Economy" seat. And then I'd have to pay 25.00 extra for the privilege of traveling on a plane and sitting in a seat that I had paid for when I initially purchased my plane ticket.

Nice one Delta Airlines. You've ensured that I will never fly with you again and you have also ensured that I will tell everyone I know how you do business. With any luck, I will help you get a little of other people's business. I understand. Believe me, I get it. Economic times are tough. But here's the thing. The more you gouge people for every little thing, the more they will vote with their pocketbooks. And the faster you will be out of business.

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