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Short Checking Bags With Delta- Update...

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:13 am

Hey guys,

Some of you may remember a thread i started a while back concerning whether or not Delta would let me short-check my bags, and i wanted to update with some useful info.

Here is the old thread, but i added info in this one so you can follow along:
Help With Logistics Of Planning Flights (by lexkid12300 Nov 14 2011 in Aviation Polls)#menu1

My local airport is PVD and my girlfriend and myself were trying to get to MCO "in style". I wanted to catch a ride on one of Delta's 777's from DTW-ATL, but the ticket from PVD-DTW-ATL-MCO was WAY too much $$$ on Delta's website. So i had the idea that we'd buy a ticket with Delta from PVD-DTW-ATL-(anywhere) and simply get off in ATL and go with AirTran from ATL-MCO since i also wanted to catch a ride on the 717. We found a ticket for PVD-DTW-ATL-ECP for VERY cheap and booked it, however a month later Delta changed the 777 to a 757 so we called and had it refunded. We then got a ticket from PVD-DTW-ATL-TLH for the same price as before, but the only issue was how we'd get our luggage off at ATL... Since there was no guarantee Delta would let us get our bags in ATL, we booked a direct flight with Southwest from PVD-MCO in case it didn't work out with Delta.

So how did it go? Let's just say the 777 was AMAZING and so is Delta's customer service.

Our original flight with Delta was as follows:

9:05am-11:21am PVD-DTW on the CRJ
12:05pm-2:20pm DTW-ATL on the 777
8:03pm-9:29pm ATL-TLH on the CRJ

A few months ago i called Delta's main number and asked if it would be possible to get our bags when we got to ATL, and here's how that went (this is from my first thread when we had us going to ECP instead of TLH):

"I explained to the agent that a co-worker and myself needed to plan a business trip in which we'd need to make short presentations to clients at DTW, ATL and ECP. I asked if I would have to puchase separate tickets for each of the destinations, to which the agent said she'd try to find a flight that would give me layover times in DTW and ATL. She was able to find the same flights I already bought (at this time I didn't tell her I already bought them) and then I asked her about the luggage. I said that we were bringing "samples" to show clients, and asked what the limit for carry-on baggage was, to which she said one bag plus a personal item was the absolute limit. I then told her that we wouldn't be able to fit all our samples in such few bags, and so she suggested we check bags as well. I said that was fine, and noted that we'd need to gain access to them in ATL during our 3.5 hour layover, as we'd be leaving the airport to visit clients a cab drive away. She then said it was impossible, and after 10 minutes of nagging she wasn't going to budge! I asked why I couldn't gain access to my own bags and she said it was out of her control, that it was a security measure controlled by the TSA. I asked her what rule this was, and she clearly had no clue and suggested I call the TSA. I told her I had done this bfore recently with another airline and so I was doubtful that the TSA invented this rule. She then asked if I wanted to speak to a supervisor, to which I agreed. 5 minutes later the supervisor came on the line and I asked her why I couldn't gain access to my bags in ATL, and she said it was a security rule, since the bags wouldn't be screened again. Apparently she thought I wanted to get my bags at the gate or something? I then explained that we'd actually need to get our bags and leave the airport, and leave the samples, then come back to the airport and go through security again to get on the ATL-ECP flight. She then said she understood what I meant and said it was completely fine, but that she couldn't do anything about it now, and that I should simply tell the agent at PVD in the morning that we'd "need to claim our bags in ATL and wouldn't be checking them in again for the ATL-ECP flight." I mentioned that I was worried the agent at PVD would say it wasn't possible as the first agent on the phone I just spoke to did, but she assured me that it was completely fine to have the bags sent to baggage claim at ATL as long as I wouldn't be re-checking them for the ATL-ECP flight. Which works out for us since we aren't even taking the ATL-ECP leg."

So last week on the day we were leaving, we got to the Delta desk at PVD in the morning and told the lady we'd need to get our bags when we arrived in ATL. She said it wasn't possible, and so i told her i had spoken to the person at Delta's main number who said i could file for "voluntary separation". The lady said i was "misinformed" and that voluntary separation is only for when i'm late for a flight or something like that... I asked to speak to her supervisor and explained to her that the lady on the main number said i could get my bags in ATL. She was sympathetic with me and said she was sorry i was misinformed and said she'd try to help. She went in the back room and contacted her own supervisor. She came out a few minutes later and said what she could do was switch our ATL-TLH flight from 8:03pm to a 9:57pm flight, which would give us a greater layover in ATL, allowing us to short-check the bags to ATL. We said it was OK (since we never intended to ever get on the ATL-TLH flight) and she printed us out new documentation which we could scan at a service desk to get a new boarding pass (which we never needed to do). She printed out the luggage tags which now read PVD-ATL and we got our bags from the belt in ATL after 2:20pm. We then re-checked the bags with AirTran and boarded our flight which landed in MCO that evening.

We saved a heck of a lot of money, gave some poor stand-by passenger a ticket from ATL-TLH, and got to fly the 777 and 717 like we wanted to. Granted we may have told a few white lies, but it worked out... No repercussions for never boarding the ATL-TLH flight- and heck, we never even got boarding passes for it. I'm not a skymiles member or anything like that, so i think we'll be fine.

I have to commend the Delta people at PVD for being so understanding and helpful in allowing us to get our bags in ATL. I'm sure they would have reacted differently had they known what we were really doing, but nevertheless they were very helpful and made our day.

So i guess the secret is getting a long layover? I didn't post this again to "agitate" anyone, only to provide info to any other daring passengers who might like to give it a try. I know it was "wrong", but heck it worked. I'll be taking a few more "day trips" on the DC-9 this summer so they'll get my money...

And yes, once we found out we could take the Delta flights, i walked over to the Southwest counter in the PVD terminal, handed them our "just-in-case" boarding passes and said we wouldn't be able to make the flight, and within 30 seconds they replied with, "OK you're all set and you have the credit which you can use within a year of purchasing" and i walked away. Now THAT's good customer service.

If only Southwest flew anything interesting... maybe they'll let us transfer funds to Airtran sometime soon? The 717 was fun...

Here are some pics. Delta's website indicated our 777 would be a 777-200LR yet the one that showed up was a 777-200ER... kind of a downer, but oh well!

Enjoy, and hope this helps for anyone who might need to try this in the future!

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