12+ hour delay at airport due to mechanical failure

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Aug 22, 2019
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I don’t know what else to do. My husband and I had a flight on August 7 at 11:45 am direct from SLC to HNL. We deplaned shortly before takeoff when they discovered a mechanical failure. They had to fly in a part and we waited while they repaired it. Around 5 pm, they told us the mechanic broke a part while fixing the first part. We would have to wait for another part to be flown in. They also told us they would fly in a plane from NY in case the plane couldn’t be repaired. Then they told us they had to fly in another plane because the NY plane couldn’t make it because of weather. During this time, they offered food vouchers but nothing else. We didn’t leave the airport until after midnight, more than 12 hours later than originally scheduled. We lost two days in Oahu, one day of car rental and one day of hotel and 10 hours of PTO my husband took when he could have been at work. Later Delta deposited 7500 miles in our accounts for our trouble.

I understand that airlines aren’t required by law to reimburse for losses, but what about goodwill and keeping customers happy? I wasted my 10th anniversary (14+ hours) with my husband sitting in an airport when I should have been in Hawaii. We had to spend the next day recovering and taking a taxi back to the airport to pick up a car we had prepaid for an additional lost day for. 7500 miles is nothing compared to our losses and nothing compared to what Delta does for passengers who are voluntarily bumped for a later flight. (These people literally get a thousand dollars sometimes.) Why doesn’t Delta think it’s their responsibility to do something more for us?

I have contacted customer care. They can give me $300 gift cards or 20k miles, still not adequate in my mind for the extreme suffering and losses.

I have also emailed the executives you list on your site. I have received no response. This wasn’t just a few hours delay. It was extremely significant and costly. Do I have any other options?
 
Aug 22, 2019
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I forgot to mention that the Delta agents told us to keep our receipts for possible reimbursement. Delta told me later that they do not reimburse losses from delays. I feel that the Delta agents misled us.
 

BittyBoo

Jul 30, 2018
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Unfortunately, airlines are not responsible for consequential damages from disrupted or cancelled flights. The contract of carriage that you agreed to when purchasing the ticket only requires them to transport you from point a to point b. Anything they offered you is a goodwill gesture. Yes, people have been known to receive high dollar amounts in ticket vouchers but thats usually for getting bumped (denied boarding)from a flight. When purchasing any type of prepaid, nonrefundable travel product (hotel accommodation, car rental, vacation home rental, cruise, tour, etc) it is highly recommended that you purchase trip insurance as well. Even more vital if your plans include air travel since disruptions and cancellations are par for the course, especially during the busy summer season. Check if your credit card has such a benefit.

When you wrote to the company contacts did you start with the first one, waiting a week before writing to the next one? If you wrote all of them simultaneously you are almost certain to not receive any response.

Hopefully you were able to salvage your anniversary trip and celebrate this milestone in such a magical place! Congratulations!
 
Sep 19, 2015
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What an unpleasant start to the trip.

One thing I want to point out -- Delta is offering almosthalf of what would be mandated by EU regulations -- and those are some of the most generous consumer protections around. (EU compensation would be Euro 600 or roughly $660)

Even the EU regulations do not pay for consequential losses, such as car rental, hotels and such, as that falls under the realm of travel insurance -- and lost wages? No, not that either.

You can write to Delta but keep in mind if one asks for too much one may be turned down completely.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
What an absolute nightmare, I am so sorry ... and on your way to Hawaii for a special celebration ... ugh. Alas, frequent travellers all have stories to tell like this. It just happens sometimes. I've spent the night in more places that I hadn't planned on than you can imagine. I wish that all travellers could see the 50,000 people, a third of them children, stranded by snow at Heathrow one Christmas ... 50K people just in Terminal 4. FOUR DAYS. I had snagged a room at the Hilton at 400 pounds a night and was glad to have it. I'm glad Delta offered you something ... dollars and miles are always welcome. Maybe your CC has some trip insurance built in? I wish we could be more positive.
 
Sep 3, 2018
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I am sorry for your messed up flight. Travel can be such a bite these days; makes one just want to stop. Last year, our 49th wedding anniversary trip, got delayed 2 days. Weather caused a diversion, then the Delta crew timed out, and we were put on a virtual school bus back to Atlanta (3 hrs bouncing along, no toilets, no food all day, except they gave us a bottle of water and some peanuts on the bus, folks were screaming to pull over and let them pee alongside the road), only to find a line of hundreds at the counter at midnight -- spent two nights in Atlanta instead of Switzerland, and made it just in time to catch our river cruise. This year, on our 50th anniversary trip, it was American with a mechanical problem, and the entire flight was cancelled after hours of delay, and with it our cruise. I got the 2, $300 gift cards from Delta, and a full refund from American, because we didn't get to go on our trip, at all. It stinks -- just take the $600. It will be a memory of how you spent your 10th, down the road, and a lesson if you didn't buy trip insurance and your losses exceeded the cost of insurance.
 
Jul 30, 2019
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Super bummer! As an extreme frequent flyer I came to rely on annual trip insurance. You should too. Definitely a lifesaver. I used it incessantly. I calculated nearly 50% of my flights had significant delays or other issues. I learned to plan my important trips with three days on the front end to allow for delays and to get over my jetlag. If I got there before the 4th day it was always a bonus. Sad but true.
 
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Jul 30, 2019
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Plus, when you're not in a rush you're not stressed. When they offer to bump you if you build in 3 days, you feel like you can take it, because you still have time to make it. I took $3k to bump on a recent trip to Europe because I had built so much time in the front end. I used that $3k for a RT Boston to San Fran, a RT San Fran - San Diego, and RT San Fran - Auckland. I built days for delays in those trips too, and nearly got another $3k bump. Never, never, never travel 24 hours before an important day. Give yourself more time and you will never regret it. Life is just too short.
 
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weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
Super bummer! As an extreme frequent flyer I came to rely on annual trip insurance. You should too. Definitely a lifesaver. I used it incessantly. I calculated nearly 50% of my flights had significant delays or other issues. I learned to plan my important trips with three days on the front end to allow for delays and to get over my jetlag. If I got there before the 4th day it was always a bonus. Sad but true.
As a paranoid cruiser, I travel 4-7 days in advance of embarkation to a location within easy driving distance. Not a hardship if your embarkation is Tahiti, Panama, the Galapagos or the like.
 
Jun 27, 2017
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A few things we learned from a rather trying experience on Delta over a 30-hour travel day/night/day (TUS-ATL-CDG-BUD): 1. Keep calm when you make an unexpected landing at JFK and your jet is followed by 3 or 4 fire trucks to a hazard stand far from the terminal. 2. Keep calm when Delta mechanics race down the aisles with tools galore headed toward the back of the plane where they suspect the problem is (faulty ovens in our case). 3. Keep calm as you watch airport personnel suck fuel out of the wings. 4. Be calm as you wait to hear anything from anyone about what's going on. (We did initially from the pilot as we descended into JFK; not much after that). 5. Be thankful the AC (it was HOT outside) and restrooms worked. 6. Learn not to believe anything anyone from the airline tells you: "We know you have connections in Paris; we are working on new flights." (Nope not so, as we learned in Paris where no one knew anything about our delay). "We expect to depart shortly (We did over 4 1/2 hours later)." "We will serve dinner meals shortly (Nope, only 1st class got fed - the aromas were wonderful, but you can't eat aromas."). "We will serve water shortly." (Never happened). "We've been cleared for takeoff." (Had to wait another 30 minutes for the pushback; then another 30 minutes getting in line."). We did arrive in Paris 5 hours late. Had to wait for busses to bring us to the terminal as once again we got parked far, far away. But at least we landed.
 
Jun 27, 2017
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And if you think the OP had a bad experience getting to Oahu, read about Delta Flight 975 JFK-LAX on 8/23. It was delayed 18 hours and involved time on the tarmac, 2 deboardings, pilot time outs, food vouchers handed out after the restaurants had closed, and sleeping on terminal floors.
 
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VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,453
4,220
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the United States
To your question "Do I have any other options?", given that you have emailed all the executives listed on this site, the short answer is "no". However, I do sincerely wish your anniversary trip had been more pleasant.

The only tangible benefit I can see us offering would be to review and comment on your email(s) if you are willing to post them. Our feedback could be helpful to you in the event you encounter future problems . . .
 
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Mel65

Mar 23, 2015
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Honestly, the $300 gift cards are pretty generous. Take them. Have a weekend at a bed and breakfast somewhere or see a special show to make up for the lost day/evening. Make a new memory. Move on. In the grand scheme of things this was a blip on the radar and they're being more generous than most and they are highly unlikely to up their offer. Happy Anniversary!
 
Dec 20, 2018
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Plus, when you're not in a rush you're not stressed. When they offer to bump you if you build in 3 days, you feel like you can take it, because you still have time to make it. I took $3k to bump on a recent trip to Europe because I had built so much time in the front end. I used that $3k for a RT Boston to San Fran, a RT San Fran - San Diego, and RT San Fran - Auckland. I built days for delays in those trips too, and nearly got another $3k bump. Never, never, never travel 24 hours before an important day. Give yourself more time and you will never regret it. Life is just too short.
That's a great idea, IF someone is retired or otherwise unemployed, has generous vacation time at work. And doesn't have pets or children to plan trips around. Many people are fortunate if they even get two weeks of paid vacation a year at work.
 

Mel65

Mar 23, 2015
471
950
93
55
Plus, when you're not in a rush you're not stressed. When they offer to bump you if you build in 3 days, you feel like you can take it, because you still have time to make it. I took $3k to bump on a recent trip to Europe because I had built so much time in the front end. I used that $3k for a RT Boston to San Fran, a RT San Fran - San Diego, and RT San Fran - Auckland. I built days for delays in those trips too, and nearly got another $3k bump. Never, never, never travel 24 hours before an important day. Give yourself more time and you will never regret it. Life is just too short.
That's a great idea, IF someone is retired or otherwise unemployed, has generous vacation time at work. And doesn't have pets or children to plan trips around. Many people are fortunate if they even get two weeks of paid vacation a year at work.
Right? Where do people think all these "extra days" come from for those of us who WORK for a living? I get 15 paid days a year off, and I use some of them for around the holidays, the occasional sick day, etc because it's universal leave...and so my actual travel vacation days are carefully doled out, and I'm also supposed to tack on a "spare" 3 in front of a vacation so I'm "less stressed"? *SMH*
 
Dec 20, 2018
32
23
8
46
Plus, when you're not in a rush you're not stressed. When they offer to bump you if you build in 3 days, you feel like you can take it, because you still have time to make it. I took $3k to bump on a recent trip to Europe because I had built so much time in the front end. I used that $3k for a RT Boston to San Fran, a RT San Fran - San Diego, and RT San Fran - Auckland. I built days for delays in those trips too, and nearly got another $3k bump. Never, never, never travel 24 hours before an important day. Give yourself more time and you will never regret it. Life is just too short.

Right? Where do people think all these "extra days" come from for those of us who WORK for a living? I get 15 paid days a year off, and I use some of them for around the holidays, the occasional sick day, etc because it's universal leave...and so my actual travel vacation days are carefully doled out, and I'm also supposed to tack on a "spare" 3 in front of a vacation so I'm "less stressed"? *SMH*
Same here. I also get 15 vacation days a year, and have to save some for other uses. I normally only take one 3-4 night trip a year as well, due to a very limited travel budget. And having to pay to board my pets when I travel also.
 
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May 7, 2019
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It would be useful if those commenters who recommend travel insurance for every single trip, in ever single situation, would disclose whether they are travel agents who earn commissions selling travel-insurance policies.
 
Sep 27, 2018
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A few things we learned from a rather trying experience on Delta over a 30-hour travel day/night/day (TUS-ATL-CDG-BUD): 1. Keep calm when you make an unexpected landing at JFK and your jet is followed by 3 or 4 fire trucks to a hazard stand far from the terminal. 2. Keep calm when Delta mechanics race down the aisles with tools galore headed toward the back of the plane where they suspect the problem is (faulty ovens in our case). 3. Keep calm as you watch airport personnel suck fuel out of the wings. 4. Be calm as you wait to hear anything from anyone about what's going on. (We did initially from the pilot as we descended into JFK; not much after that). 5. Be thankful the AC (it was HOT outside) and restrooms worked. 6. Learn not to believe anything anyone from the airline tells you: "We know you have connections in Paris; we are working on new flights." (Nope not so, as we learned in Paris where no one knew anything about our delay). "We expect to depart shortly (We did over 4 1/2 hours later)." "We will serve dinner meals shortly (Nope, only 1st class got fed - the aromas were wonderful, but you can't eat aromas."). "We will serve water shortly." (Never happened). "We've been cleared for takeoff." (Had to wait another 30 minutes for the pushback; then another 30 minutes getting in line."). We did arrive in Paris 5 hours late. Had to wait for busses to bring us to the terminal as once again we got parked far, far away. But at least we landed.
Your post brought back memories of an Eastern flight landing in MIA, and we were all wondering why the runway was lined with firetrucks. After we started taxiing to the terminal the pilot came on and said they weren't sure the landing gear was locked down, so this was a std precaution in case we crash landed. So nice he didn't want us to worry.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,926
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It would be useful if those commenters who recommend travel insurance for every single trip, in ever single situation, would disclose whether they are travel agents who earn commissions selling travel-insurance policies.
I am not affiliated with the travel industry in any way and I buy trip insurance more often than I don’t. I also insure tickets to events. Just filed a claim for tickets to The Rolling Stones as my father passed away unexpectedly. If you want to recoup any expenses then insurance is the way to do that without relying on a business to extend an exception to their non-refundable rule.
 
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