Delta, you need an upgrade

I was buying a ticket for an upcoming trip and found a decent fare on delta.com. I paid for the ticket with my credit card, but a few days later I realized that I’d used the “wrong” credit card. By that I mean that in these tough times, many of us are managing balances on multiple credit cards. I charged the ticket on a card I hadn’t intended to use. No worries, I thought. Maybe I can just ask them to charge a different credit card. So I call their call center and explain the situation to an agent. I’d like to have the exact same ticket, but I’d like to use a different credit card. “It’s already been charged.” Yes, I know, but can you reverse that and just charge a different card now? “No, you’d have to refund the entire ticket and repurchase it.” Okay, is there a charge for that? “Yes, your ticket has a $150 change fee.” Huh? But I’m not changing anything. I want to continue doing business with you (a rarity with airlines these days) - no changes to seat numbers, flights, heck, it’s even the same price online today. I’d just like to charge a different credit card. “Can’t do that, you bought the ticket a few days ago.”

Now I thought I understood the purpose of change fees, but I’m confused now. Who knows why they wouldn’t allow me to swap credit cards. Maybe their systems are too outdated to do this. Maybe they don’t have the checks-and-balances in place to allow their agents to edit the transactions. Maybe someone at some time figured out some way to game the system by doing what I wanted to do. (How? Who knows.) But I think the answer is really this: they just don’t want to be bothered.

2 thoughts on “Delta, you need an upgrade”

  1. I think that’s how it should be. It’s basically like you went into a store to buy something. Once you’ve purchased, the only way to put the charge on another card is to process a return and then have you complete a new transaction.

    With airlines it might be slightly different as the base fare may change in the time that passes, but the fee comes about because they have to cancel your ticket and then reissue another one, which to me is slightly BS.

  2. I think you’re describing a limitation of their system rather than the way it could (and I think should) be. If we’re going with a store analogy, then I guess Delta’s change fee is synonymous with some store’s restocking fee. I bet if I walked into Best Buy and said, “Hey, I bought this laptop a few days ago, love it – price hasn’t changed, but can you put it on a different credit card?,” a manager would oblige. Because he’s not _restocking_ it. Just as Delta isn’t really _changing_ the ticket.

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