What will cause more PR buzz than the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (that spent nothing on real advertising)? Well my fellow BoardingArea blogger, Ben, who apparently got a Delta employee to share some info off the employee only Delta Net, yesterday posted that Delta is jumping bump up to just shy of $10,000!
- It will never happen – this was mostly a PR stunt.
Well, let’s just say it will likely never ever happen because it would take such an extreme situation to cause a Red Coat (customer service specialist) to go anywhere near that kind of compensation.What will have a much bigger impact is the fact that front line reps a.k.a. gate agents can now go to $2000 without needing to go to a Red Coat.
So why do I say this is “mostly” a stunt? In the wake of the United “we beat up our paying customers” mess this was perfect timing to show they are, as I posted the other day, never ever going to have what happened to United happen to Delta.
Here is why a $10,000 voucher is never going to happen. Let’s say a flight is oversold BAD. I mean like 10, 20 or 30 people bad because an aircraft was downgraded from a larger one to a smaller one with far fewer seats. Delta must get many paid customers off the flights. The will do all they can as quick as they can to avoid that many people needed to bump at the gate. Then what?
I have taken a lot of bumps over the years. I have earned thousands and thousands of “Delta Dollars” that are only good for flights. I have also earned AMEX gift cards that spend just like any other credit card for anything you want. If a Delta gate agent were to offer me, or anyone else, $2000 in AMEX gift cards I would RUN to them and give up my seat no matter where I am going. And…
Can you imagine a gate agent coming on board a jet that had to have a few people offer to give up their seats before they could depart and the agent said we will give you, in the form of Delta Dollars, $3000 or $4000 or even $5000 to take another flight? Again, I think you would see an almost dangerous stampede of people wanting to rush off the flight for those kinds of numbers.
- Again, 10k is not gonna happen.
But what this will do is accomplish what Delta ultimately wants and that is all but forever eliminated IDB or involuntary denied boarding situations where someone who really wants to fly and does not want to give up their paid seat is forced off the jet or blocked from boarding. As I have shown, and Delta knows this, at some level of real or airline money you will have enough folks saying for “that much” I will take another flight or simply cancel my trip.
- This really is brilliant thinking by Delta!
Beyond this, and I think especially so when it comes to numbers over $2000, they will ONLY offer Delta Dollars not gift cards. Why? I have talked to Delta people who have told me that many times bump vouchers go unspent. I was not told a firm number but my guess is it is a big number. Thus, Delta can offer the compensation, get folks to give up their seats, and many times they have in the long run got folks to help out for net free to Delta. Again, just brilliant.
Worst case they are filling up a seat with a customer who, much like redeeming SkyMiles, is a seat that could have gone empty anyway so again no massive cost to the company. Fantastic (for Delta).
So what does this mean in the end for you and me? First thing will be if the online offer screen (or Kiosk offer screen) will now allow manual bids higher than $800? If so, we should consider higher numbers. You may be saying: “Wait they take the lowest bids”. Sometimes but not always. Not just that, under many circumstances you can offer lower than your bid at the gate if that is your choice. Lastly, when it comes to smaller stations run by DGS or folks who look like Delta people but are really Delta Global Services subcontract workers, I expect they will be much more likely to go up to higher numbers. Exciting to say the very least!
What do you think of this change in bump compensation? Is it mostly a PR stunt by Delta or a real effort to make sure the United situation never ever happens to them! – René