Let me preface this by saying I don't have any problem with flying on Delta. While their planes are usually jammed to capacity, the overall experience is typically a good one.
Now I had to buy a couple of tickets, yes, with cold hard cash, which I am loathe to do. Checking out my Delta account I spied that I had an online coupon to save about $500 or so; which was going to expire in a week. This was a golden opprotunity, a blessing, I tell you. So I get the two tickets into the ol' cart, and utilize the coupon code, or whatever marketing term they used for it.
I complete the purchase, and notice a TWO HUNDRED DOLLAR "Service Charge". $200! For what? "Service?" No, wait, if it was a first-class upgrade, I could then at least say "Well, I got a nicer seat, a good meal, and some comp diet soda refills out of it", right? But in this case, the work needed to process that order is probably not one keystroke or CPU cycle more to process that discount coupon order than a full-faire order. So what's up with the $200? I decided to fire off an email to Customer Service, and here is their reply, unedited, other than redactions for personal identification info, and the "good parts" bolded for emphasis:
|Dear Mr. Mccollough,
RE: Case Number 16812985
Thank you for your email to Delta Air Lines inquiring about
Administrative service charge. I am sorry for the delay in responding
Please note, changes are permitted with the collection of an
administrative service charge (ASC) plus any difference in the new fare
you select. The ASC is collected to offset some of the costs associated
with reduced-rate ticket reissues. However, the total cost of the
transportation, including the ASC, often represents a substantial
savings over the unrestricted ticket cost.
While we would like to offer special consideration in this case, we are
unable to honor the many similar requests from others in equally
deserving situations. We follow a consistent policy, ensuring we are
fair to everyone who travels with us. Accordingly, we must respectfully
decline your request for a refund of the administrative service charge.
If you need further assistance, please contact our Reservation Sales
Department at 800-221-1212, 404-765-5000, or the number on the back of
your SkyMiles card. A representative will be glad to assist you.
Mr. Mccollough, thank you for writing. I appreciate your interest in our
SkyMiles program and look forward to see you on your next Delta flight.
Online Customer Support Desk
Original Message Follows:
Delta Air Lines Delta.com Booking Form
First Name: Alan
Middle Name: J
Last Name: Mccollough
Reply-To Email Address: XXXXXXXX
Airline Program: DL
Frequent Flyer Number: XXXXXXXXXX
Address: XXXX XXXXXXX
Address Line 2:
Postal Code/Zip: 99XXX-XXXX
Phone Country Code: US
Phone Number: 907XXXXXXX
Departure Date: XXXXXXX
Departure Flight Number: DLXXXX
Departure Origin City: ANC
Departure Destination City: SEA
Return Flight Number:
Return Origin City:
Return Destination City:
Number of Travelers:
Response Required: yes
Message: This is for trip # XXXXXX. I noticed I was charged a $200
service charge Service Charges and Fees Service Charge/Fee
#006231450XXXX Fees 200.00 USD TOTAL 200.00 USD Why? That is an
extravagant amount to be charged with no explanation given.
Submitted: Fri Jul 24 2015 13:17:51 UTC-0800
"...The ASC is collected to offset some of the costs associated
with reduced-rate ticket reissues..."
Here, let's try that in a different format:
Happy Birthday, here is $500*! Have a great time, and I love you!
*In order to keep our costs down, we found it necessary to impose a $200 Service Charge on your $500 gift. I still love you, though. Use your remaining $300 wisely."
Doesn't sound as generous, now does it?