How Delta’s iMessage Feature Saved the Day On My Trip Home

All things considered, I’ve had pretty good luck on the majority of my travels. Of course, every once in a while, something does go a bit wrong. That was the case on Tuesday morning when I woke up in my French hotel room to see that my flight home from Atlanta to Springfield (following our cross-Atlantic) had been delayed from 9:30 p.m. to 10 a.m. the next morning. Initially confused as to how this was a delay and not a cancelation, I did a bit of digging and quickly realized that the reason for the push was because our flight from CDG to ATL had moved back one hour, thus making our connection too tight for Delta’s liking.

Originally, my thought was that, since we had Global Entry, there was still a chance we’d end up making our original flight — and, if not, Delta would likely supply us a hotel room. Still, I’d much prefer getting home on time to spending a night in the Atlanta airport or having to head right back to said airport in the morning. So, once we arrived at Charles de Gaulle, I decided to look at options, which led me to discover Delta’s iMessaging system.

Since we had already purchased train tickets for a specific time, we ended up arriving at the airport a good five hours or so before our delayed departure. Looking at the board, we saw that there was another Delta-coded flight to Atlanta leaving at 1:30 p.m. With two hours or so to go before that time and with us having a pretty good idea of how long it takes to get through CDG passport control plus security, we were confident we’d be able to make this flight if only they’d let us. The problem was that we weren’t sure who to ask at the airport. Furthermore, I wasn’t exactly sure how phone calls were charged with our international cellular plan. But, ready to suck up whatever cost I’d incur, I went to look up Delta’s number in the app. Instead, I discovered an option to message them. Seeing as I was already connected to CDG’s free WiFi, I decided to give this a shot.

As I alluded to, this actually isn’t some chat service built into the app but, instead, is operated via iMessage. When I tapped the “message us” option, I did need to opt-into the feature but, once that was done, I was able to send my message. Of course, you don’t talk to an actual person right away. At first, AI will provide you with some prompts to select from, assuming all you need is some basic info. Meanwhile, those with issues that require more (like me at the time) can question a representative. Sure enough, despite a warning about higher messaging volumes, a Delta contact popped into the chat moments later. After confirming my info such as my name, confirmation number, and itinerary, I was able to explain my issue.

After laying out my questions in a way that was admittedly a bit too wordy and indirect, the rep asked if I had a preferred departure time. In a bid to stop beating around the proverbial bush, I asked specifically about the 1:30 p.m. flight from CDG to ATL, which would allow me to keep my original ATL to SGF flight intact. A moment later, they confirmed that there was such a flight (operated by Air France) and that they could switch us to that itinerary if we just said the word. Obviously, elated, that’s exactly what I did. Cutting ahead, after getting confirmation of the rebooking, we headed to the check-in desk, made it through security, and arrived at the gate just as boarding began. Then, enjoyed some lounge time in ATL before returning home as scheduled.

While this story ended quite well, I do want to mention a few pros and cons in my particular experience. First, while we were originally booked in Comfort+ on Delta, we ended up in regular economy after rebooking. In fact, even though we had Comfort+ seats on our ATL to SGF flight, we were moved a few rows back (presumably this means that, had we stuck with the original flight and somehow made the connection, we wouldn’t have actually had seats). Granted, this ended up being basically moot when we boarded and found that the flight was so light, nearly every person had a seat or more between them. Still, I did specifically ask about the upgrade and it didn’t happen… which is probably my fault for not following up. The lack of an upgrade also meant we were subject to Air France’s strict luggage policies for economy, meaning we’d need to check our carry-ons whereas, on Delta metal, these bags wouldn’t have elicited a second glance. C’est la vie.

In terms of pros, first, I really like how the feature is built into iMessage. This was incredibly convenient as I didn’t need to worry about accidentally exiting out of the chat and losing my connection to the rep. Plus, who can argue with the results?

If you’re scratching your head wondering why I’m bringing up a feature that’s been around for quite a while, well, the truth is that I haven’t had to use it before and didn’t really know about it. Yet, in my moment of need, it really came through for me and made for a much more pleasant return home. So, if you’re flying Delta and need to make changes, get info, or whatever else, I’d recommend checking out this feature for yourself.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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