Bay Area tourist offered $24K in travel vouchers but says Delta Airlines rescinded offer

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San Francisco (KGO) — A Bay Area traveler was offered a voucher worth $24,000 by Delta to give up a seat for a family member on an overbooked flight. However, he says the airline withdrew an offer made after a suspected personnel accident.

“I understand flights get canceled and things happen,” said Nashville native David Reeves, who was in San Francisco on vacation.

The carrot in this scenario is an $8,000 travel voucher.

Reeves said Delta Air Lines offered vouchers to passengers willing to give up their seats on an overbooked flight from Oakland to Salt Lake City on Sunday.

RELATED: Southwest travel woes continue at SJC as travelers crave rental cars

“The woman was like she was offering $8,000 a seat,” he said. “And I kind of got three seats.”

Reeves agreed to give up three family seats on the flight.

“I was accused of ruining Christmas,” Reeves said, referring to his family.

However, the lucrative offer did not hold up. Reeves said Delta canceled the flight and voucher deal because the co-pilot didn’t show up.

“So I asked her, are you canceling a flight when you’re not honoring the voucher you agreed to pay for?” Reeves said. “I just thought it was bad business.”

VIDEO: Southwest Airlines Captain Explains Why Airlines Are Canceling Planned Flights Widely Across The U.S.

ABC7 News spoke with Thomas Carpenter, an attorney representing clients in the travel and tourism industry.

Stephanie Sierra: “Do you see situations like this often?”

Thomas Carpenter: “It is unusual for a voucher to be issued for a flight and the flight to be cancelled.”

Carpenter said airlines should offer passengers some sort of compensation before letting them off the plane unconsciously.

“Airlines can set rules about who violates them first,” Carpenter said. .

RELATED: Southwest Airlines employees hand out purchased snacks for customers after days of canceled flights

However, refunds are not always guaranteed if flights are cancelled. Carpenter says the situation must meet Department of Transportation criteria to be eligible for a refund.

In Reeves’ case, Carpenter says Delta was at fault in this scenario. The airline offered him to rebook, but the next available flight was two days later for him. So Reeves drove to the Monterey Regional Airport to catch another airline’s flight. Delta paid for the hotel and car rental, but the airline has yet to reimburse him for the trip to Nashville, he said.

“No. If I didn’t get on the flight and you gave me a voucher, why not get one?” Reeves said.

Carpenter says it’s up to the airline. The Ministry of Transport does not regulate the commercial terms offered by airlines.

ABC7 News reached out to Delta on Tuesday morning for further comment on the situation, but did not hear back as of Wednesday evening.

If you’re using the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live

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