Saturday, January 18, 2014

How I Made Money on My Flight to Hawaii

A few months ago, I booked an impulse trip to Maui when I saw that there was a flight deal for a $188 round trip ticket from SFO. So here I am, in the middle of January, laying on the beach. Life is easy. Flying to Maui... not so much.

When we first booked our flight, we were scheduled to fly out of San Jose in the morning and land in Hawaii by noon. Perfect. One month after we booked our flights (and after we prepaid a hotel room - first mistake), we found out our flight time was changed to 1 P.M., so we wouldn't arrive until 9:30 P.M. Not so perfect. Losing an entire day was a big deal, so I immediately called Delta, explained the situation, and tried to get on an earlier flight. There were no earlier flights available, so the best Delta could do was to switch our flight to Oakland (more convenient for us), and to credit my account with 5,000 miles.

Unfortunately, this was only the beginning. Once we stepped off the plane at LAX for our 50 minute layover, we found we were delayed an additional hour because of a mechanical problem. One hour turned into 6, and we weren't off the ground until 11:00 P.M., getting us into Hawaii at 3:00 A.M.

While this was frustrating, most of the people on the flight stayed positive, especially when Delta credited everyone $50 and started handing out free drinks and snacks. The Delta agent also suggested filing a complaint with Delta online, which I did right from the airport. Three minutes after tweeting about the situation,  I was credited another $150 to my frequent flier account. The credits ended up being worth more $200, which was more than my original ticket! I always find that a respectful and positive tone wins more than hostility. I simply tweeted: "@DeltaAssist  What happens when a mechanical errors causes a delay that prevents me from staying in a prepaid hotel room?"

While I obviously would have preferred an earlier arrival, I am happy that I now have $200 to spend on Delta. Where should I go next?

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