Woman Furious With Boyfriend After He Takes $2,000 From Delta Air Lines To Delay Visiting Her

Delta is the only one of the largest U.S. airlines that still offers extremely generous compensation to avoid kicking someone off of a flight when they overbook.

Here’s an agent literally begging passengers to take $1,300 (not travel vouchers!) to give up their seat and take a later flight, because more people showed up than they had seats.

One family was offered $24,000 to take a later flight. In that case the flight cancelled so they didn’t technically need the family to volunteer, and the airline reneged on the offer.

But as long as the flight pushes back, volunteering to give up your seat with Delta can be very lucrative. This was a practice that began after David Dao was dragged off of a United Express flight and beaten in 2017. Airlines went to great lengths to avoid involuntarily ‘bumping’ passengers. United and American have scaled back what they’ll pay, however.

So Delta ramped up the bidding before a flight, and one passenger who took $2,000 is now in a huge fight with his girlfriend over it.

The flight looked like it was going to get canceled anyway. It did. So now I have $2,000 and a hotel stay but my fiancée is mad at me because I chose the money over coming home. But it looked like the flight was going to be canceled. Not to mention I called once and texted once to ask her opinion and she didn’t answer either so I had to make the decision by myself. She claims because shes been in a semi depressed state the last few days it is crazy of me to ever make that decision.

Relevant takeaways:

  • The flight actually cancelled so he wasn’t going to see his girlfriend either way. This way he’s $2,000 richer.

  • If the flight had cancelled prior to pushing back, he’d have gotten nothing. I suspect, then, that the issue was weather rather than a mechanical.

  • His girlfriend, though, feels like he made a decision that wasn’t prioritizing her and she feels like she was in a place where he should have done so.

It seems to me that there’s a Coasian bargain to be struck here, and the passenger wasn’t communicating very well. “I probably won’t make it to you anyway because of all this bad weather, but I struck a deal with the airline that’s going to let me buy you $500 earings – you deserve it because of what you’ve been going through!”

My take is that he maybe should run away from this relationship? I don’t claim to have very much data to work off of, but there do seem to be warning signs.

Here’s another test of a relationship using denied boarding compensation: you’re about to head home and leave them, you’re offered denied boarding compensation to take a flight the next day instead, how excited are they about this and is it the money they figure you’ll spend on them or the prospect or extending your visit?

If they want you to spend more time with them and forego the compensation, does that mean the relationship is strong and you should stick with it – or does it mean that priorities are misaligned?

(HT: Paul H)

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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  1. Ha Ha. My daughter’s engagement ring is referred to as the “Delta Diamond”. Her now husband was en route to visit her at the time he took Delta’s 2K offer to travel on a later flight. That money put him over the top of what he needed to purchase the ring. She didn’t mind at all.

  2. When trivial things get overblown, it’s usually a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Since they’re engaged, I would seek counseling to see if it’s addressable before ending it. Otherwise, things will only get worse from here. Life is hard enough without an unhappy, nitpicking partner.

  3. It is now 4th down for that relationship. Time to punt. Her mistake was not responding to the text to provide her thoughts. He decided and she should be good with helping him spend the $2k.

  4. He made a good decision to take the money. She shouldn’t have thrown a fit and he could have shared the money since the decision affected both of them. Her throwing a fit is a big red flag. He needs to reevaluate if this is a look at the future if he stays with her.

  5. @ doug — Precisely my thought. I would be livid at my SO for NOT taking the $2,000.

    Next year, Deta will start giving MQDs for compensation.

  6. People are saying they’d be mad at him for not taking the money are missing the point. It was his time, his decision either way.

    She sounds like a self-important narcissist, and yes he should run in the other direction.

  7. Want a happier life? Minimize —or, better yet, avoid spending —time around such “oh, you don’t think about and prioritize me enough” drama-makers.

  8. As in any relationship, a one-sided account only conveys one side. We don’t have the full context of the specific circumstances (plans for the weekend, etc.), history of the relationship and past events, or how frequently the OP flies home.

    I wouldn’t automatically dismiss the fiancée’s reaction.

    That said, if the poster doesn’t understand his fiancée well enough to realize his decision wasn’t going to go over well, the relationship is probably not aware or healthy enough to be getting married anyway.

    It reads to me the poster was looking to provoke a reaction and deliberately poked the bear. There’s any number of ways he could’ve handled this differently, had he chosen to, while still taking the offer.

    I give it equal odds he’s the narcissist and she’s the one who should run.

  9. Everyone’s missing the point. Why tell her about the money in the first place? Just tell her your flight got canceled, see you tomorrow (hopefully)…end of story.
    What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

  10. United was offering passengers $1,400 to take a later same day flight from Wichita to Chicago back in March. Not sure Delta is the only one where large compensation is still possible. I couldn’t take them up on it since I had a ticket to Africa on a separate reservation that I would have missed.

  11. He should have framed it this way: with an extra $2000, I’m trading a night away from you for the ability to afford to fly out to visit you several more times. That’s what I would have done.

  12. She is a fracking control freak, and very likely a narcissist with her gaslighting him over her so-called depression. She had several chances to respond to his messages and chose not to, then gaslights him after. He needs to dump and ghost that train wreck.

  13. Dude, better look for your receipt from the Girlfriend store and take her back for a full refund.

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