If you had somewhere to be this weekend and booked to fly with Delta Air Lines, there’s a decent chance you either arrived late, never made it, or had to fly another carrier — all thanks to lingering cancellations and delays brought on by a storm. Yet Delta’s nightmarish weekend was a windfall for some frequent fliers, like one family who scored more than $11,000 by choosing to not fly Delta.
Travel editor Laura Begley Bloom wrote about her experience with Delta in an article for Forbes, noting that her family profited from the airline’s travel woes as they tried to make it from New York to Florida.
For those unaware of Delta’s recent issues, powerful storms led the airline to cancel around 3,000 flights beginning last week and into the weekend.
In an update on Saturday, the airline apologized for the “disruption and continued difficulty reaccommodating those whose travel had been affected by the lingering impact of this week’s storms.”
While the airline attempted to placate some passengers with multi-airport pizza parties, the cheese pies can only create so much goodwill for frustrated passengers.
According to Begley Bloom, her family received a bit more than pizza when they were unable to fly out of New York over the weekend.
She thought they might miss the chaos Friday, as the storms had already passed, but she was wrong and they endured hours of delays. The airline eventually began offering money to volunteers to give up their tickets for the family’s overbooked flight.
At first, they weren’t tempted enough to give up their trip to Florida, but when the compensation jumped to $900 a ticket in retail gift cards, she began thinking of taking the option.
They eventually negotiated a price of $1,350 per ticket to give up their seats on the flight — a total of $4,050 — and headed home for the night after rebooking for Saturday.
When they returned Saturday, they found the flight was already delayed and the airline was offering compensation for those willing to give up their seats. The family once again played the waiting game, that is until Delta offered $1,300 per ticket. When you include the $15/each for lunch, and a $50 roundtrip taxi ride, the family made about $4,000 on Saturday alone.
Rebooking for Sunday, however, became a problem. With the family drained, they asked if they could just forgo the trip altogether. This garnered them another $1,000 per person, plus the original cost of the three tickets.
“We accepted Delta’s offer and went home, sad to miss our trip, but not so sad about the lucrative results,” Begley Bloom wrote.
While she admits that she felt guilty making so much money off the airline, she was assured by other passengers they were doing the right thing.
As for Delta, CNN reports the airline says it should be operating at normal service today after canceling another 150 flights Sunday.
“Unfortunately, availability of flight crews to operate within federally mandated crew rest and duty day guidelines following last week’s disruption are still prompting some additional cancellations and delays,” the airline said in an update at the time.
According to FlightAware’s Misery Map, Delta currently has four canceled flights and 117 delays. Still, Delta continued to apologize and attempt to assist passengers in Twitter posts Monday.