Delta Demands $1100 From Passenger At The Airport, Then Loses Her Wedding Dress The Next Month

Airline Facebook pages are among the deepest depths of human despair and basic confusion. They’re worse than YouTube comments. And, sadly, I wound up in an odyssey of Delta pages after seeing the tweet of a woman whose “wedding attire” was “CONFISCATED” by Delta.

This is actually quite a sad story. The bride-to-be was flying Delta out of Jacksonville, Florida and connecting to Air France and on to Aegean Airlines where she would get married in Greece.

She was flying first class, her mother says, and Delta’s gate agent informed her that “her wedding dress counted as a carry-on.” This, though her mother says “everyone knows a wedding dress is always cheerfully placed in the First Class coat closet.”

So the “carry-on with her wedding veil, shoes, clutch, jewelry, toiletries, trousseu and special bridal makeup” were checked and then lost. Her fiance’s bags were lost too. And the maid of honor’s bags were lost, though she was on a United Airlines itinerary. It is not clear what the woman chose to carry on in lieu of her bridal items which were clearly, also, more than just a single dress in a garment bag that might have folded over as a personal item.

Understandably the bride is upset (“vomiting in her hotel room, crushed by the stress and needless cruelty”).

Basics of carry-on versus checked bags:

  • You can bring a carry on bag and a personal item. Each one has allowable dimensions. Some airlines, such as in Europe and Australia, may impose weight limits for carry on bags as well and actually check.

  • If you check a bag, there’s a reasonable chance it will be lost. That’s double true in Europe right now.

  • And if you pack just a carry on, to avoid this risk, but you are among the later passengers to board then the airline may run out of overhead bin space. Then you’ll be forced to check your bag, and they may lose it.

In this woman’s shoes I might have changed into the wedding dress, and otherwise reconfigured bags to ensure nothing was checked. I might have planned carry on bags differently, but I know what to expect and many do not, so I don’t entirely fault her though some readers may.

But when I went searching Facebook for the story I saw on Twitter, I actually came up with a different story this same woman shared this month to Delta’s page (and it turns out she shared it more than once).

It seems only weeks earlier the woman was traveling with her daughter, again on Delta, enroute to Bogota. She flew out of Jacksonville and met the daughter in Atlanta. They were supposed to fly together from Atlanta to Miami to Bogota. Because of a weather waiver, she says, Delta was willing to schedule them on the Atlanta – Bogota non-stop the next day.

However when they reached the airport the daughter couldn’t check in. Skipping over drama about employees fighting and the woman’s explanation that she has “a global entry pass” and knows what she’s talking about, it seems that the daughter had a reservation but no ticket associated and Delta wanted payment for travel. To her, though, they had seat assignments so therefore they must have had a ticket.

They were traveling to Colombia so that her daughter who “has already had more than $300,000 worth of surgery” could receive more. The incident, which apparently happened on June 5th, cost them $1,126.20.

So this should actually be a very simple situation to sort through: were they charged for the ticket originally. If not, they needed to pay for travel. If they were charged, then there’s an error and Delta needs to issue a refund. If Delta charged twice for the same travel and refuses the refund, file a consumer complaint with DOT.

It does seem to me, though, after a June trip on Delta that went wrong the daughter might have taken extra care in planning to travel on Delta again the next month. Is that wrong?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. “I’ve combined my love for God, the thrill of travel and the skill required to build an online presence to create the annual Lifestyle Freedom Event. If you love God AND you’d love to be able to live and work anywhere in the world, let’s connect.”

    $300,000 of (plastic) surgery? Perhaps God is punishing her for messing with His work.

  2. She lost any sympathy when she started using words like “demanded practically at gunpoint”
    Either there were guns or there were not.
    If there were not, the rest of the whole narrative is hyperbole.
    When she clarifies whether guns were involved or not and revises the story to reflect what ACTUALLY happened, we can make some reasonable judgment about what happened.

    and, no, we don’t all know that wedding dresses are cheerfully hung in the first class closet. and she was a fool for assuming it esp. since no airline says it.

  3. Wait, what? I was reading 3 ridiculous stories in one article; you can’t throw every item into a wedding dress garment bag and call it a personal item; DL/AF/A3 could have vastly different policies regarding a personal item/carryon. How can using those 3 above carriers be an United itinerary. It all comes to a fanatical end when you read C_M’s comment about God and some obscure event, I refuse to google.

    Just WOW!

  4. Gary – get real. This sounds like a scam. One story may be true (as crazy as it sounds) but to have 2 instances within about a month on the same airline is just ridiculous. IMHO they are trying to get Delta to pay them something to stop the public postings. I frankly don’t believe either story – they just don’t add up.

  5. All I have to say is if the daughter had 300 Grand worth of plastic surgery, she deserves a refund from her doctors way before she gets anything from Delta.

  6. Meh. She should have got married in Las Vegas by a fake Elvis, and then go to Greece.
    Also, she made the mistake of booking with the Flying Dumpster-Fire known as Delta Airlines.
    On the other hand, she’ll get over it.

  7. MONEY GRAB. Why aren’t her children posting? Why is mommy dearest posting?

    Mom sounds toxic.

  8. Daughter/Mother needs to be arrested! She’s using known tactics to make FALSE statements regarding a mode of transportation regulated by the Federal Government for extortion! AA would pay; but ull never fly the airline again. Hopefully their on a DL Do Not Fly list. If their statements are found to be false; put them on a TSA Redress. Social blasting fraud against carriers incites passengers to ‘misbehave’. But, angry passengers doesn’t make the plane take off any faster. I just got back from FRA during the LH strike. Their lucky the passengers arrived at their destination. #bestwecan #fraud

  9. Look at me!! Look at meee!! Bride To Be shirt. Bride bag. My sympathy is with the poor bastard who in a year or two will be looking for a bridge to jump from.

  10. The sheer level of drama associated with her posts leads me to believe it’s all crap. Ranks up there with the recent Cat guy and his intense hardship related to Air Canada.

    It’s almost like people are seeing opportunity with all the chaos these days. But the reality is the chaos is not as bad as most make it out to be. They just seek out opportunity for attention and a little handout.

  11. Jeez, Gary Leff. Have you ever thought about shutting down the comments section of your blog? Like The Points Guy has done?

    So many of your regular commenters are manifest incels, insufferable cynics, or flat out unpleasant people. They’ve never touched a woman in their lives let alone gotten married so they can’t empathize with how monumental of an occasion this is for the passenger in question. They think everyone is out for profit or fame and can’t fathom that other people are human beings with real feelings.

    Airline rules are extremely arcane and it’s difficult for the average person to make heads or tails. Why can a seat assignment be confirmed when payment has not been? That’s just back-asswards on the part of airline infrastructure. As for the wedding dress, there are professional services that can pack wedding dresses for airline travel athough if space is available in a flight attendant’s closet, why not offer that?

    Airlines exist to care for people on their life’s journeys and few journeys are more memorable than to one’s own wedding. If staff can’t appreciate that they should be reassigned to non-human contact line of work.

    Let me add that Plastic Surgery is stereotyped as vanity but the majority of it is reconstructive to address trauma. Let that sink in to the ignorant know-it-all commenters sitting in their dingy basements at 50 years old with a bottle of Astroglide by their computers because that’s the closest they will ever get to intimacy. And nobody is proud of it but $300k is a trifling bill in the context of medical procedures.

    Irrespective of all of that, the bride to be in the photo is absolutely gorgeous! The level of beauty depicted in the photo has obviously caused an overflow bug in the brains of Gary Leff’s commenters.

    Gary Leff I am very sorry that so many of your commenters are such awful personalities. “Out of sight, out of mind” I say. Close the comments.

  12. Given the nature of her posts, sounds more like a passenger trying to get her $1,100 back by claiming her dress was lost.

  13. Women are born narcissists. It’s part of their genetic code, being an American only makes it 100 times worse.

  14. Something tells me Olaf is in the bridal business.

    Yes, the majority of plastic surgery is reconstructive, but you don’t fly to Columbia to have it. That’s paid for by insurance right here in the good ol’ US of A. You go to Columbia for discount cosmetic surgery.

    Sorry, but this is a case of a Bridezilla, or more specifically, her Mominator. Run, groom, run!

  15. Something else that seems unusual: Delta CSR has reached out to the mom on Twitter to send a DM, mom complains that it’s a link to the 1-800 number, but when I click the link I can send a DM to the csr

  16. @Olaf. You must be new here? Laughing that you are defending Gary, the king of sensationalism and stoking the fire. Grab a seat, dude.

  17. This woman is a pathetic loser with a great imagination. So happy someone fell for her baloney and gave her more attention.

  18. @ C-M

    “Yes, the majority of plastic surgery is reconstructive, but you don’t fly to Columbia to have it.”

    The latter is not necessarily true. My best friend’s wife is having constructive plastic surgery in Colombia (it’s Colombia not Columbia) following ongoing challenges with cancer. It’s being paid for by his (UK-based) company.

    It’s unfortunate to malign others when you are in fact the one harbouring ignorance based on presumption.

  19. @ C_M

    “$300,000 of (plastic) surgery? Perhaps God is punishing her for messing with His work.”

    Has it even occurred to you that such surgery might be in response to a tragic life event?

    I’m thinking of one friend who had a double mastectomy and chose to have her breasts reconstructed.

    Do you think insulting people like her is funny?!

  20. “In this woman’s shoes I might have changed into the wedding dress.”

    That Gary I would have like to see.

  21. @Tim Dunn

    “She lost any sympathy when she started using words like “demanded practically at gunpoint. Either there were guns or there were not.”

    IIRC security and police in US airports carry guns. How many reports do we read featuring airline staff calling on such at varying levels provocation? If you have a confrontation with airline staff, surely, you are acutely aware of the risk of such escalation?

    “revises the story to reflect what ACTUALLY happened, we can make some reasonable judgment about what happened.”

    If you read her original post, it is mostly written cogently, with factual reference.

    “and, no, we don’t all know that wedding dresses are cheerfully hung in the first class closet. and she was a fool for assuming it esp. since no airline says it.”

    Whatever. Either she was told she could take the dress as a carry on or not. If she was told no, surely, she would have had to check-in the garment somehow at check in.

    Being unsympathetic is a personal choice.

  22. @ Olaf

    “So many of your regular commenters are manifest incels, insufferable cynics, or flat out unpleasant people.”

    Right on, Olaf!

    It is quite disturbing to read the majority of comments on this article.

    “Normalising” such by allowing them to go either unchallenged or simply removed makes the blog owner complicit.

    Yet again.

    The demeaning comments towards women are particularly vile.

    The lack of sympathy is sociopathic.

    The absence of any human decency is disgraceful.

  23. Let me guess, @platy thinks the Kardashians are real.

    This is a mega-expensive destination wedding, a lifestyle guru/influencer mom, and a blatant publicity stunt. If you got evidence otherwise, I’m willing to listen.

    In the mean time, I’ve got a really cool bridge for sale in Sydney – wanna buy it?

  24. Delta used to be a great airline. That was when it was much smaller and had a lot of competition. My last two trips on Delta have been nightmares. On my last flight, I was flying Atlanta to Kenya with a continuing flight within 5 hours to rwanda. It was a detailed trip that involved travel to five countries and over 20 cities. The only leg for Delta was Atlanta to nairobi. I was to return to Nairobi for one week approximately 3 months after I Departed.When I arrived at the airport 4 hours before my flight, I had to wait until they open international ticket counter. I presented my ticket and my passport which had a multi entry Visa for rwanda. It also had two previous East African visas which included Kenya. The agent told me I needed a Visa for kenya. I explained to him that Kenya did not require a Visa as long as I was not leaving the airport. He still refused to allow me to board. I called the Kenya embassy in DC and they reassured me as long as I had a ticket to Rwanda I did not need a can of visa. Not only did I have a round trip ticket to rwanda. I also had round trip tickets between Rwanda and Johannesburg and Johannesburg and Botswana and namibia. Additionally, I had all of my accommodation reservations with me. Everything, airfare and accommodations, had been fully paid in advance. The agent had great difficulty understanding that I did not need a visa because I was only changing planes in kenya. He apparently called someone and they stated I needed a visa. I was denied boarding. And had to purchase a transit Visa for Kenya. This is despite the fact that I had a multi-entry Kenny Visa which was being processed and had the documentation for it. I miss my original flight, and it was only when I threatened to notify the media was I allowed on a later flight. This caused me to not only miss a connection with a person in Amsterdam, but also to lose my ability to obtain a multi entry visa for Kenya. That meant I had to pay the regular price for the visa to internally on my way back.

    Something must be done about Delta and the poor quality of service they are giving their passengers. I plan to take this matter to the next level. Like the woman in the article, I got absolutely no response from written correspondence and have been unable to get anyone on the telephone.

  25. @ C_M

    No thanks, mate, I already paid for that bridge by paying a toll every time I drove over it.

    For your world view to hold all three sets of luggage were never lost. The mother is wantonly perjuring herself on social media by claiming such. Contact is being made with Delta to remedy issues that never happened. Delta have been responsive in resolving the issue, but that is being speciously denied.

    For context – yeah, sure – airlines don’t lose bags, agents don’t make mistakes when changing flights, airlines don’t give customers the run around, airlines respond immediately to customer complaints. Megyn Kelly made it all up as well.

    FWIW if mother’s book sales are anything like that claimed, she certainly doesn’t need the publicity…

    (PS. The god delusion stuff did make me laugh! Now that does sell books!).

  26. That dress bag looks 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide and it was full of what(!!??) other stuff? How heavy is it? And it’s supposed to fit in a closet on a plane? This whole story sounds fishy. Sad that commentors have to insult others with horrible assumptions on people they don’t know. You have destroyed your credibility. Now I know who’s comments to scroll over. Don’t get me started on destination weddings, a haven for truly narcissistic deluded psychopaths. Even the Royals of England wouldn’t pull that crap…..

  27. The fact that this same woman has two major complaints against Delta in such a short time makes me skeptical of her story. At a minimum, she sounds like a drama queen.

  28. Let’s put the lady’s personality stuff to the side for a minute.

    Does anyone actually expect a gate-checked expensive gown in a gown bag to NOT be stolen when connecting to an Air France flight at CDG? Of all places, CDG. Never mind lost, I mean stolen. Of course, not that it’s okay but we knew what the likely outcome was.

    To Gary’s point, bringing a gown bag as carry-on is unrealistic. My wife has gowns and the ONLY practical way to transport them is putting the gown alone in its own suitcase. Period. If you have to pay for an extra bag, c’est la vie. My sense is that she can afford it.

    To Olaf and platy, I don’t necessarily agree with all of your points but I do agree with your assessments about the commenters. I sometimes wonder if any of them subscribe to a faith and what aspect of that faith condones such comments. I also wonder in what way such comments “promote domestic tranquility.” Lastly, I wonder whether Gary’s click count would increase if comments were turned off. Hmmm.

  29. Wtf? Since when does checking a bag mean “a reasonable chance of loss?” If that were true, no one would check bags. Biased much?

  30. @ Eric says:

    “Given the nature of her posts, sounds more like a passenger trying to get her $1,100 back by claiming her dress was lost.”

    Did you even go back and read all of the posts?

    Firstly, I can’t see a reference to the $1100 issue in the subsequent dress issue posts – can you? So why do you think she was trying to leverage? Remember it as @ Gary that dredged out the older posts.

    What makes you think that the first issue had not already been resolved before the various bags in the wedding party went missing? If the ticket had already been paid for (and not just reserved) there would be a trail of transactions to prove the matter.

    Are you suggesting that the gags didn’t go missing – that is itself fabrication?

    Are you aware that is now (unfortunately) the the default way of getting an airline’s attention is per social media (sad but true)?

    Her original post to DL was articulate and factually informed. W ado you call that the work of a drama queen?

  31. @ Reno Joe

    Ah – what a breath of fresh air!

    More than happy to concur or disagree with your good self (and others) based on some rational and respectful dialogue.

    FWIW I would agree that the prudent traveller adopts a risk averse approach, especially in the current crazy travel environment. That said, I’m always amazed at what US based airlines allow on board compared with non US airlines!

    Luckily, my wife isn’t a full-on-gown sort of gal! I made the deal that I’d take her traveling in premium,
    with the proviso of cabin bags only!

    ” I sometimes wonder if any of them subscribe to a faith and what aspect of that faith condones such comments.”

    The Tibetan author Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used the term “spiritual materialism” when claim to a spiritual path is used to bolster ego – attaching to spirituality as a possession – remaining lost in the material world under the guise of a spiritual pursuit. Its’ a interesting concept whatever your faith (or absence thereof).

    “Lastly, I wonder whether Gary’s click count would increase if comments were turned off. Hmmm.”

    Or at least moderated somewhat.

    Cue experimental trial….?!

  32. If it is Delta, I believe everything. April incident (refund failure). Customer service ticket ticket created. in early May. No contact from Delta by mid July. DOT complaint result that Delta issued another customer service ticket. So no they have 2 tickets on the same incident and no attempt at refund resolution.

  33. Why anyone would purposefully choose delta at this point is beyond me…
    Mileage program? Worthless. Their brand new lax-ppt mileage reward on an ancient plane is so far above market it’s almost amusing but that’s delta.
    Reliability? A joke

    Partners? Does anyone with a clue want to land in amsterdam right now?

    Hard product? The worst in the industry and purposefully inconsistent, at best.
    If delta is super cheap, sure. Enjoy your Bellini that poses for your second real drink on any other carrier, but delta shouldn’t be a real option for any serious traveler unless you’re cost conscious especially to europe where their partners are a disaster

  34. Too much drama for me- the only thing that stuck out was the 300k worth of surgery? Like who does that? And flies to a different country to get it done? Why? Sounds to me like she is trying to get some of that money back-

  35. @olaf and all that agree with his comment. I’ll try and be as polite as possible but you and your supporters are jokers.. first off no airline can guarantee space for a wedding dress. And someone mentioned the flight attendant closet. Not all aircraft has a closet and the space is limited and reserve for crew bags. Not to mention she’s connecting on two different carrier with different rules for carry-on. It’s really a waste of time writing this but overall it seem like she was being a Karen trying to take to many stuff onboard and they denied her and unfortunately it was lost but if she can pay 300k to nip tuck herself she should have shipped her dress express mail and it would have arrived before she can fly there

  36. @JT wins for most practical advice – wish I’d thought of it. And I’ve ordered things from Europe, selected DHL free shipping, and had it in two days. Forgot it runs the other way, too.

    Need to keep that one in my tool bag.

  37. @ JT

    Yes – sometimes we forget we can ship our own stuff. I have done just that to avoid checked bags, both Honolulu to Australia and London to Australia, and frequently for interstate travel.

    FYI garment bags can be allowable carry ons (depending upon the airline), although they may need to be foldable to comply the HxWxD maxima.

    Cosmetic surgery isn’t necessarily for purely self indulgently cosmetic reasons (see examples cited above) – but demean the woman by assuming the worst, if that swells your ego. Also assume you know who paid for said surgery. Each presumptive step you make illustrates your inclination to sociopathy.

    Airlines offer the service of transporting the customer’s bags (within prescribed limits of items , size and weight) – you are paying for that as part of your ticket.

    It is a slippery slope if consumers keep making excuses for poor performance by airlines.

    Especially sociopathic when folk denigrate those customers who advocate for reasonable levels of service and responsiveness when things go wrong. There’s a very nasty abusive undercurrent by you and others on this thread.

    Where does you foul attitude lead to, JT? At what point will you call an airline to account? It shouldn’t be up to the consumer to find ever smarter ways to mitigate the risks of airlines not doing their job to provide service.

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