A Grueling Two Week Saga with Delta Air Lines Comes to a Happy Ending, I’m Going to New Zealand!

I want to recognize and apologize for the delay in getting this post published. I realize that this subject, the $900 New Zealand tickets, isn’t really a relevant or current topic at this point. However, I’ve been very busy lately and unable to get much done as it relates to blogging. Still, I feel as if this is an important post to get out as it shows that not all error fares have an unhappy ending. After fourteen grueling days, Delta Air Lines decided they were going to honor my $900 business class ticket from New Zealand to the United States. Here’s how everything played out.

I’m Currently Putting The Final Touches On My Trip to New Zealand

As I write this, I’m currently putting the final touches on my first trip to New Zealand. On my way down to Auckland, I will be flying in economy on American Airlines which is no big deal. However, on the way back, I will be flying in DeltaONE on one of Delta’s longest flights. I’m probably most excited for the flight back, which is a shame because New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Anyway, I’m extremely excited to try out Delta’s ultra-long-haul business class product in addition to earning nearly 29,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles.

I don't know if I'm more excited for New Zealand or the flights?

I don’t know if I’m more excited about New Zealand or the flights?

This trip is all thanks to an error fare Delta Air Lines posted for roundtrip business class tickets between Auckland, New Zealand and select cities on the US West Coast. As mentioned in the preface, those tickets were just $900 USD ($1300 NZD) a pop. Those $900 fares first appeared sometime in the evening on November 1st. Keep that date in mind when reading on.

When I purchased my round trip ticket between Auckland and Oakland, I fully accepted the possibility that Delta might call or email me in the following days informing me that the fare wasn’t valid. With that in mind, I waited around five or six days to start booking additional transportation and lodging.

November 9th – OneMileAtATime Reports That Delta is Cancelling $900 Business Class Tickets

A week had passed since I had booked one of the $900 fares. By that time, I had no doubt that I would be flying back from New Zealand in business class. I wasn’t even aware that I had purchased my return ticket as the result of an error fare by then. You could understand my frustration when I first heard that Delta was canceling tickets booked as a result of the error fare. However, I didn’t let the reports get the best of me. I was holding out hope that the news wasn’t true.

Some $900 itineraries included flights operated by Delta's joint-venture partner, Virgin Australia (Image: Delta Air Lines)

Some $900 itineraries included flights operated by Delta’s joint-venture partner, Virgin Australia (Image: Delta Air Lines)

November 13th – Delta Gives Me a Call

Four days passed since Ben at OneMileAtATime first reported that Delta was canceling the $900 fares. I assumed that I was fine as it had been nearly two weeks since I purchased the ticket and my trip was roughly 25 days away. I continued to make plans for my trip to New Zeland and even extended an invitation to friends and close family. I ended up getting a plus one to make plans. This was shaping up to be a trip of a lifetime.

Unfortunately, my streak of good luck came to a halting end on the morning of November 13th. I was meeting with co-workers when my phone lit up. I knew exactly what this call was about when I saw the Atlanta area code. A representative from Delta was calling me to cancel my ticket or downgrade me to coach. I wasn’t going to budge.

After sharing my thoughts with the agent regarding Delta’s decision to wait 12 days after I booked the ticket, I was placed on a brief hold. I was clear that I wasn’t going to accept any offers from Delta unless one of those offers was a check for $2,000+ for non-refundable expenses. A manager was unavailable to take my call so the Delta representative informed me I’d receive a call from a higher-up by the end of the day.

November 14th – Delta Apologizes, Decides to Honor My Ticket

When I failed to receive a callback from Delta by the end of the day on Monday the 13th, I assumed I was in the clear. On Tuesday, I traveled to Miami to attend a press event at the new American Airlines Flagship Lounge. Before the event, I stopped off at the American Express Centurion Lounge. While visiting the lounge, I received a call. I picked up my phone and sure enough, I saw an Atlanta area code.

The same agent from the day before was calling me back. Before she could continue, I apologized for the profanity I had used the other day. I honestly felt bad as I didn’t handle her first class appropriately. I was angry and let my emotions get the best of me. The Delta rep then proceeded to apologize to me and said that my behavior on Monday was totally warranted. She even noted that my behavior was better than most of the customers she spoke to regarding the $900 tickets.

After apologizing she went on to recognize how unprofessionally Delta handled the ordeal. I could tell she was sincere. She told me that she was personally amazed at how the Delta higher-ups originally wanted to handle the error fare; by canceling everyone’s tickets. Finally, the Delta representative informed me that my ticket would remain unchanged and that I should enjoy my trip to New Zealand. I thanked her for her help and went on with my day, relieved.

Delta ONE (Image: Delta Air Lines)

Delta ONE (Image: Delta Air Lines)


I know this is old news by now, however, I felt compelled to get this post out. Though I’m still amazed at how poorly Delta’s higher-ups first handled the error fare, I can’t complain. Things worked out perfectly for me. Essentially, all I experienced was a little hiccup. It could have gone much worse. Some customers who booked this fare had their tickets canceled and received a simple, “sorry.” I can’t thank the Delta representative who called me and handled my ticket enough. I like to think that Delta’s customer service team might have had some impact in getting the airline to honors these fares. What’s the lesson I learned here? For starters, I’m going to be much more hesitant next time an error fare comes up.

Did you book one of Delta’s $900 Business Class fares? Did Delta make the right call in honoring the fare?