Delta Airlines quietly announced today, that starting tomorrow, Delta airlines will no longer allow you to combine vouchers (vouchers for denied boarding, service recovery and residual credit), or transfer them.
Why is this important?
In a nutshell — if your flight is overbooked and you accept a Voluntary Denied Boarding (VDB) voucher you are a sucker.
Lets say you and your wife are traveling and they hustle you into accepting two $600 vouchers. You can just combine them and have a ticket to Europe, right? Nope.
Before Delta merged with Northwest airlines, my wife and I made the mistake of accepting vouchers when we were involuntarily denied in Atlanta. The gate agent hounded us to accept the voucher and not any cash. Not knowing any better, we took the vouchers, because it seemed like a good deal. At least it seemed that way until I decided to try to use them.
After several hours on the phone, I was finally told I had to drive to the nearest airport to redeem the travel voucher in person. I had to pay for parking, and go up to the counter to redeem the voucher. All total, it was about three hours of my time including driving time.
The voucher pulled from the same seat inventory as award tickets. Therefore, we had to be very flexible in order to get the promised trip. In the end we were able to book a round trip ticket to Las Vegas, albeit departing at the crack of dawn.
But wait, it gets better.
We arrived at the check-in counter on the morning of our flight and couldn’t check in at the kiosk. We had to wait for counter agent to finish chatting with her friend before you helped us. Nope, we can’t check you in, and no refunds.
We had show tickets booked. We had non-refundable hotel reservations. We were stuck.
She took our bag and charged us $50 for our bag and $50 each to standby. Now we are at $150 for our “free” trip. She printed up some passes to get us past the security checkpoint and to the gate. As we waited, the first four flights left without us we were starting to get nervous.
We could not get a confirmed seat on any of the flights; all of the flights were booked solid. The gate agent could only get us a confirmed seat to Orange County, California. We had to rent a car and drive to Las Vegas. I don’t remember the exact amount but a one way rental to Las Vegas was well over $300.
We drove straight to the Las Vegas airport to pick up our luggage. The luggage office was closed. We finally checked into the MGM around 2 a.m.
Coincidentally, our luggage arrived on the first flight, at least that is what the employees in the luggage office said. Nice.
For the return flight, we arrived at the airport four hours early not wanting to end up driving home. The flight was delayed, by six hours. It finally left around 1 a.m.
I vowed never to fly Northwest ever again. And I never did. I secretly hoped they would go out of business.
So as far as I’m concerned, Delta vouchers are now relegated to the same category as annuities, universal whole life insurance and other investments that prey on suckers and stupid people.