There is a saying that LIFE GETS IN THE WAY. Well, unfortunately, so does death.
I was supposed to go to Mexico for a long weekend stay from Thursday to Monday next weekend for Martin Luther King Weekend. The flight, which I booked a long time ago, was an award booking for 31,000 Delta skymiles plus $80 tax per person. I also made the hotel reservation a long time ago.
I’ve lost a lot of time from work due to my mom’s hospitalizations and the funeral and the Shiva. I thought about my trip next week and realized that my heart just isn’t in it. Plus, Dave was starting to balk at the two days he would be missing from work if we went on this trip (even though he approved it back when I made the reservation, pffft). It would not be a problem to cancel the hotel reservation, but canceling the flight was another story.
I decided to give it a shot and see if Delta would let me cancel or move the dates of the flights. There haven’t been any significant flight time changes, so I couldn’t use that as an excuse for waiver of the $200 per ticket cancelation/change fee. Frankly, I didn’t want forfeit the 62,000 miles and $160 invested in the flights for the two of us and I didn’t want to pay cancellation/change fees.
I called Delta, and was ready to HUCA if the representative didn’t sound like a kind soul. But she did.
I told her of my mother’s death and how much time I had to take off from work to be with her and later with my family. The representative asked me for my mother’s name and the name and phone number for the funeral parlor.
To my surprise, she said I could reschedule the flights or cancel without penalty. I canceled. I feel so relieved.
Thank you Delta!
I should note that Delta did the same thing for me in 2012 following Hurricane Sandy. I was supposed to go to Singapore two weeks after the Hurricane, but I’d already missed over a week of work from the Hurricane. I phoned and Delta let me cancel my flight without penalty.
Lesson: Be nice, have your story ready (it helps if it is true), and don’t be afraid to ask for an airline (or hotel) to permit cancellation of a non-refundable flight (or reservation) and for a waiver of the corresponding fees based on extenuating circumstances.