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Having trouble getting through to Delta? You're not alone

June 04, 2020
5 min read
Having trouble getting through to Delta? You're not alone
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Throughout the pandemic, airline call center agents have had to deal with unprecedented flight cancellations and reservation changes, leading to hours-long hold times, if customers were able to get through at all. As we explain in this post, we've generally had success reaching a Delta agent at 1-800-323-2323, but that isn't the case right now.

Reader Tom S. contacted TPG to share his experience this week, and other Delta customers have also reached out to us, and posted on various social media platforms, about a current inability to reach a Delta agent over the phone. Of the three largest U.S. airlines, Delta appears to be the only carrier currently experiencing severe call center issues — calls placed to American as an Executive Platinum elite and United as a Premier 1K member were answered right away.

As for Delta, I've made many attempts to contact the airline myself, most of which resulted in the following prerecorded message:

Due to extremely high call volume, we are unable to answer your call. If you need to travel within the next week, please try your call again later, or message us from Delta.com/needhelp or by clicking the "Message Us" button in the “More” section of the Fly Delta app.

Several TPG colleagues continue to hear the same message when they call, though Delta Platinum and Diamond elites on the team have been able to request a call-back, with wait times of between 42 minutes and two hours. TPG's Zach Griff, meanwhile, was offered a call-back time of 50 minutes when calling his elite number, even though he didn't enter his SkyMiles number, so it's clear that "your mileage may vary" here.

Luckily, we've landed on a few workarounds, that even work for non-elites. Members of our team were able to get through without any wait at all by calling one of Delta’s international reservations numbers – such as for the UK – or by calling its number for group reservations.

While agents are dedicated to assisting customers traveling in a party of 10 or more, I spoke with a very friendly group reservations agent who was more than willing to assist with an individual reservation. I was also able to get the option of a call-back when calling the regular reservations line, 1-800-323-2323, by selecting the option to make a new reservation and providing an origin, destination and flight date the very next day. If you aren't able to reach an agent through the UK or US group line, that's an option to consider as well.

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

It seems that the current call center issues are related to a staffing shortage, after the carrier asked agents to take a leave of absence in an effort to control costs. In an internal memo to employees that was viewed by TPG, Tori Forbes-Roberts — the airline's VP of reservations sales and customer care — asked agents to volunteer to come back to work. "The simple fact is we need 2,000 more people back on the roster in June and July in order to better deliver on the Delta Difference for our customers," she explained.

As Forbes-Roberts explained, due to distancing protocols in place at a variety of call centers, agents may be required to work from home for the time being, including those based near Cincinnati, Dallas and Salt Lake City. According memo, Delta also plans to reassign some group sales agents, given the lack of demand for group travel, and other specialists may be answering "core customer" calls as well.

A Delta spokesperson confirmed the move:

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As Delta continues to manage through the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Reservations and Sales team is working diligently to serve our customers. Many of our specialists are returning from voluntary leaves of absence next week and Delta is expanding the training and capability of all specialists to be able to better serve the needs of any customer. We are also working to adjust and enhance technology to further support our specialists and continue to enhance our self-service options available on delta.com and the Fly Delta App. We appreciate our customers’ patience and apologize for any inconvenience some may be experiencing.

While nobody likes giving an airline a ring to make important flight changes only to hear "we are unable to answer your call," with staffing ramping up, hopefully Delta's main reservations line will be able to take your call, soon.

Featured image by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy

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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more