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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Delta Airlines and my aching head

We are busy raising money for our stay in Estonia and our air travel expenses. We learned the hard way that buying bulk airline tickets is a precarious venture when you travel for an extended time and are not 100% positive when you will return. I lost my return ticket home from Ukraine because the holiday flying season began, and as a discounted ticket, mine was not honored during that time. Flights are 2-3 times more expensive during that one month period. My original round trip ticket was just under $1,000 (for Tom, Meghan, and I it was $2695 total), and most of that was paid for with grant money. Because I had to buy two more tickets to get home for myself and Kara, we ended up paying another $2,500 for our tickets home, for a total of nearly $5,200. Our story is not unusual, airfare is the largest expense after adoption fees.

So though we are busy raising money, we are fearful of a repeat of the flight expenses. I checked today for round trip tickets for Tom and I, they were over $1,500 each, but for Amanda's one way ticket home the cheapest I found was $1,600. Now we do not know when we are traveling, we just sent in our court application, but we heard two to three months after it was received. I just put down a late June into July travel date. The total would be $4,600. a little under the charges for Ukraine. No, I did not book anything, I am just checking prices.

I just spent a few hours talking to Delta about my canceled ticket, I did not get my 14,566 sky miles either, but half that because I did not fly back home using them. All because they said it was a nonrefundable "bulk" ticket...However, I sat at the American Consulate waiting for Kara's visa and heard that 2 of the 3 families there that also had canceled tickets by Delta, and theirs were not bulk fare, so what Esther said to me was untrue.

After a couple of hours talking to Esther I was told, "We are a business, we are here to make money, it isn't personal". A HUGE pet peeve of mine is that folks excuse themselves for not being human or humane with this absurd statement. The same thing that was said to me when I was fired for having cancer treatment and surgeries in 2004. I ended the conversation with Esther after she said this to me.

Bottom line, booking a bulk fare with a travel agent will get you into trouble if you are adopting because the ticket cannot be changed and you will get stuck paying for a one way ticket home. Esther was kind enough to tell me (insert sarcasm), one way tickets cost more because there are no restrictions on them as there would be with round trip tickets. So you pay the most expensive fare for it. when I said that was a terrible thing to do to people, especially folks who adopted, she said her "It's only business" line.

I just don't know what to do with our Skymiles, Delta to me does not care about their Skymiles members, I was hoping to get some Skymiles donated somehow too. I was also hoping to somehow get the $500 owed to me for that canceled ticket back from delta and was given their corporate office address. For others who also got the raw end of the deal from Delta over the holidays, here is where you write:

Delta Corporate Office
P.O. Box 20980
Department 980
Atlanta, Georgia.

Though I am not assuming anything will come of it, I will write a letter to them. Esther made it clear it was our travel agents fault (always passing the buck, aren't they?) for not being clear that the cheapest fare is the hardest to change, in fact we were told it would only be $100 to change my ticket, but what I was not told was that I would also have to pay whatever the going price was for the one way ticket after the $100 was paid and the $500 (the second half of my return ticket price) was deducted from that price. No bargain there at all. Caveat Emptor, and a reminder to always read the small print...if there is any, which for us, there was not.

Oh well, as you can see, we need to raise at least $5,000 for the airline tickets, we would also gladly take Skymile donations, we know Delta is not alone in their lack of appreciation for their customers...Esther pretty much said no one made us adopt, and we should have known what could happen!

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My three little girls

My three little girls
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