Did you use a TA or did you book your own air? If you used a TA have him or her go to bat for you. If you did your own air it seems to me that you are giving up too easily. Get a senior Delta manager on the phone and let them try and help you get an earlier flight or a flight a day before. The managers are paid to deal with problems, and many like the challenge of trying to help their customers to the best of their ability to do so.
Hope that this helps.