Dear ABC News Fixer: Delta Upgrade Seriously Downgraded My Wallet

PHOTO: Delta airlines aircraft takes off from airport

Dear ABC News Fixer: In January, I purchased two upgradeable, round-trip Economy class tickets from Delta Air Lines to fly to Europe. These upgradeable tickets were more than double the price of non-upgradeable tickets, but I regularly do this because I use my air miles to get a higher class of service.

My wife and I typically do this when we travel to Europe once a year.

The transatlantic and European legs of the trip were with Air France, a Delta partner.

I made the reservation and agreed to the transfer of my Delta SkyMiles to be upgraded to First Class on the way there and Premium Economy on the way back.

However, on the day of our flight, we were removed from upgraded service without explanation and ended up traveling in Economy. Apparently, Delta did not transfer the miles by Air France's deadline. A Delta rep apologized for that mistake, but then the same thing happened on the way home.

Now, Delta refuses to refund the difference between what I paid for upgradeable seats and what I could have paid for regular seats. They offered me less than $500 in SkyMiles as compensation, and they are content to keep the additional $5,000, even though they breached our agreement.

- Donald Bohler, Niceville, Fla.

Dear Donald: What you didn't mention in your letter is what we found most interesting: You're a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who later worked as an executive at Lockheed Martin, and you were recently notified that you're getting the French Legion D'Honneur for your work to memorialize WWII veterans.

Which made the ABC News Fixer wonder -- if you couldn't get this fixed, what about all us regular people?

You definitely had a solid case. Bottom line, you bought upgradeable tickets that weren't able to be upgraded.

The two tickets cost you $8,993.72. You said it was still a better deal to upgrade those than to buy tickets in a higher class outright. Regular non-upgradeable Economy tickets would have been about 5,000 bucks cheaper, you figured.

We were able to get the ear of someone in Delta's communications department. He found someone else to review what had happened, and in the end the airline made this right. Delta agreed to pay you the difference between the two types of tickets – $4,936 – and they also threw in a $300 voucher for a future flight. You said you'll definitely use it.

- The ABC News Fixer

Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

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