The Difference In Airlines

The Difference In Airlines

For almost two decades I was a dedicated Delta customer, and why not I lived in Atlanta, GA, their home base. In 2016 I switched my airline choice from Delta to Southwest, I talked about it here.

In the past 18 months, I may have flown a dozen flights on Delta, and somehow managed to keep silver staus with them based on my past travels. Take it from me Delta silver holds little benefit for the business traveler.

Last week my travel plans were to fly into Raleigh, NC on Monday and then out of Columbia, SC on the last flight Thursday night. Those were the plans until Hurricane Florence reared her ugly head.

Changes due to weather are no big deal, and when they happen we have to bear the airline delays and change fees.

My travel plans were Southwest into Raleigh, NC then Delta out of Columbia, SC. The change in airlines was simple, Southwest doesn’t service Columbia, SC and it wasn’t cost effective to incur the extra costs to fly out of Charlotte, NC on Friday morning.

I booked flights, August, 20th into Raleigh, NC (9/17) and then out of Columbia, SC (9/20).

My one-way Southwest flight from Orlando, FL to Raleigh, NC was a whopping $80.98, as affordable as it gets.

My one-way Delta flight from Columbia, SC to Orlando, FL was $345.80. A bit expensive, but a reasonable total for two one-way flights.

On Tuesday, September 11, with Florence looming it was decided to cancel the trip and reschedule for late November.

Changing Southwest was simple, the new ticket was $252.98 minus my original ticket of $80.98 leaving a balance of $172.00. I got full credit for the $252.98 and only had to pay the difference. in the two fares.


Delta wasn’t that simple. My original flight was $345.80 the new flight was $329.80. Using the Southwest procedure Delta would owe me $16.00, enough to cover an airport meal. But, this is Delta and things went sideways. Yes, Delta acknowledges that $16.00 and applies it against the $200.00 service charge. Which means I owe Delta an additional $184.00 in order to change my flight.

Yes, the new flights were similar in cost, but Southwest gave me full credit and Delta hit me with a $200.00 service fee. In years past when I held higher status with Delta, I know that the service fee wasn’t that steep.

Consider a family of four that travels once or twice a year they have no Delta status, They book a trip and then cancel due to weather only to reschedule at a later time. They’re now faced with a $700.00+ change fee, financially brutal.

The airlines can make the argument that after a cancellation they’re now faced with putting butts in those canceled seats. I can make the argument that it’s rare to board a plane and not hear, “This is a completely full flight”.

** Side note, just this past week Delta raised their checked baggage fee $5.00 per bag.

The wrap-up, your choice in an airline does make a difference.

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