Delta’s New On Time Baggage Guarantee is Useless

A week or so ago, Delta introduced an on-time baggage guarantee, where if you don’t received your checked baggage within 20 minutes at the carousel, you’ll receive 2,500 SkyMiles. Unlike Alaska’s similar program, you’re only offered the miles, and not the choice of a $25 credit.

I decided to pick apart their terms and conditions on this new “benefit” and figure out why it was so useless, in my opinion.

Limited Time Offers Up To 50,000 Points

“20-minute Bag-to-Claim Guarantee bonus-mile offer valid on travel between February 19, 2015 through March 31, 2015.”

So, you have just over one month to use this benefit. If your bags show up late in April, there’s no reward for you. Yes, I know Delta is going through a test phase on this to see whether they’ll be rolling it out full time, but widely publicizing this new guarantee and then only putting it into affect for one month seems a bit misleading to me.

“Requests must be submitted via within three days of flight’s arrival.”

Delta has advised in their terms that the bags will be tracked by their baggage tracking system and that claims will be verified off of that. If their system is so smart into tracking this timing, it seems odd why they wouldn’t award the miles automatically, assuming the SkyMiles number was associated with the person on the baggage tag. Here, Delta wants you to keep track of them, time the bag for yourself, and then, if there’s an issue, follow up on your own. It seems like Delta would know if your bag was late, but in fact doesn’t want to award you the miles unless you realize it, too.

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“Time to baggage claim will be as measured by Delta’s baggage tracking system, where available; lost, mishandled, and damaged bags are excluded. Oversize and overweight baggage and special items are not eligible.”

So, if Delta loses my bag, this offer doesn’t apply to me. If they “mishandle” my bag, and it doesn’t show up in the carousel, this bonus doesn’t apply to me (don’t all bags that don’t show up in baggage claim within 20 minutes fall into the “mishandled” category???). Oh, and if Delta damages my bag, well, I’m out of luck there, too. I’m actually better off getting compensation from a bag that shows up late than a bag their handlers damage. Well, that makes sense.

Sorry folks, but I just don’t buy all of Delta’s hype that this benefit is here in support of the customer. I think it’s a carefully worded scam. What do you think?

Is Delta's new baggage claim on-time guarantee useful or is it a scam?

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  1. Steve Case says

    In 2013, my wife and I flew from PDX-SAN-LIH on AS. “Abbot” made the connection at SAN but “Costello” got left behind. AS gave BOTH OF US the bag guarantee credits, airfare credit towards another flight and reimbursed me within a week for the clothes that I bought. Costello arrived the new morning and was delivered to my hotel. Let’s see DL copy that!

  2. Richard says

    My daughter took a flight in February and I had her text me when they landed, when she deplaned, and when she got her bag. I submitted a claim and was told that “After reviewing your flight information, we found that luggage from flight 1604 on February 20, 2015 to Detroit was reported as arriving on time. Since checked baggage made it to the carousel within 20 minutes of landing, we are unable to apply the bonus miles to your account.” So I replied, explaining that based upon when they landed, on the official arrival time, and on when they received their bag it could not have been 20 minutes. I asked what information they were using, what times they had, and whether the guarantee was to receive “your bags” or as they said that “checked baggage made it” There is a difference between what they guaranteed – you will receive your bag — and what they said, bags arrived. I knew when I saw how vague the program was that they would find a way to avoid honoring the pledge. I never heard back from them.

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