Delta Airlines Charged Me $764 Because I Refused To Leave My Wife Behind

A fist full of boarding passes

On October 9, 2017, my wife Sarah and I went to Detroit Metro airport with two tickets to Puerto Vallarta that we bought from Aeromexico, with the flight operated by Delta. We checked our bags, were issued boarding passes, and went to the gate. When we tried to board the flight we were turned away by the Delta gate agent. We were not given a reason, but re-booked on a later flight.

At the gate for the later flight, we were again turned away, and not given a reason. I called Delta Customer Service and they told me I would have to pay an extra $764. I reluctantly paid this, as our bags were already on their way to Mexico and I saw no other good options.

I assumed this was a simple misunderstanding, but after an hour-long phone call, several letters, and a complaint to the FAA, Delta refuses to refund either the original ticket price or the extra $764.

Apparently there was a problem with Sarah's ticket, entirely Delta's fault, which Delta was able to resolve (they called it a "system error"). They re-booked both of us on a later flight. But now they are telling me that since there was nothing wrong with my ticket, and I refused to board the airplane without Sarah, I voluntarily skipped the flight. So I had to pay full price for a new ticket on the later flight with Sarah. That's what the $764 was for. Delta says, "I have confirmed you were checked in with a boarding pass and a confirmed seat assignment of 48B... In my review, Flight 2304 was not oversold and cleared 10 standby passengers. Additionally, your seat of 48B departed empty. If you were present at the gate within our requirements, it is unclear why you did not board with the other passengers... As you did not have a valid ticket for travel, you were charged correctly for the new flights."

Legally, I suppose they have a point. But this just isn't right.

I also sent two letters to Aeromexico but have not heard anything back from them in writing. On the phone they said, "there is nothing more we can do for you."

On top of all this, they also lost our luggage.

Should I have left my wife behind and gone on vacation by myself?

Ticket purchase confirmation
The complaint I sent to the FAA
Delta's response
My clarification as to why I didn't board
Delta's final response
A letter I sent to Aeromexico with more detail
An exchange with Delta Customer Service

Jim Rees