SALT LAKE CITY — Travelers who were booked on non-stop flights from Salt Lake City to various Hawaiian Islands were frustrated over the weekend after their travel time nearly doubled because they had been bumped to a flight with a layover.
Doug Wren, a travel agent with Wren International, said little changes in flight itineraries are not uncommon, but this wasn't a "little" change.
"It is an inconvenience," he said. "This doesn't seem right. It doesn't feel right."
The KSL Investigators confirmed at least four families traveling to Hawaii from Salt Lake were kicked off their direct flights and put on flights with layovers.
Wren expects there are more.
"I do think it's a tip of the iceberg," he said.
Folks traveling from SLC to Hawaii were kicked off of their non-stop flights and are now facing lengthy layovers. But here's the kicker - their original flight wasn't cancelled. So how can they just get booted? You ask, @KSLInvestigates tonight on @KSL5TV at 4:30PM. pic.twitter.com/iZva6ZYT1a— Matt Gephardt KSL (@KslMatt) July 27, 2021
One family traveling this week to Maui was notified that they will now have to make a stop in Los Angeles.
Two families scheduled to fly in August learned they now have layovers in Los Angeles and Seattle. The nonstop return flights also saw folks bumped.
One family heading to Honolulu in August learned that on the way home, they would have to go east to Minneapolis to catch a flight back to Salt lake City.
Each itinerary meant the travel time was more than doubling.
What's unique is in every single one of these cases, the original non-stop flight is still available.
Anthony Black, a spokesperson for Delta Airlines, said over the phone Tuesday that a human error was responsible for all of this.
Delta made the decision to bring in different planes for these various flights. It's a common move, said Black.
The ticketed passengers should have been automatically moved onto the new place, but instead, they were accidentally canceled, at which point the Delta system went to work rerouting people.
Black said Delta is currently working to "auto-correct" the issues and get travelers back to their original itineraries.
Impacted travelers should be getting an email from Delta, Black said, stating that their flight was "impacted by a scheduling issue that inadvertently moved you to a different flight."
"Unless you have already made changes through My Trips or by contacting one of our specialists, we have corrected the issue and returned your itinerary to the best available option," the email reads. "In most cases, your itinerary was returned to your original flight(s). However, in some cases your original flight was affected by a schedule change and therefore we have rebooked you on the best alternative itinerary. You do not need to take further action."
The KSL Investigators confirmed that the travelers who contacted KSL about the issue who are scheduled to leave have been returned to their original flight.
Compounding the issue is Delta is currently experiencing massive wait times for people to get through to customer service, sometimes six to eight hours, or longer.
One traveler who contacted KSL about their Hawaii flight said that, after sitting on hold for more than five hours, she was able to get back onto the originally scheduled itinerary.
When asked about the phone delays, Black said they expect the wait times to go down in the coming weeks.
The airline is bringing back operators who retired as contractors and are hiring new operators, but the biggest factor in the delays will inevitably peter-out as folks who are holding onto travel credits they got in 2020 use them up, and as the travel industry settles back into normalcy and flights are booked further out.
Black apologized on behalf of Delta for the "hassle and headache."