The above is the seat map I see when I first look at my seat selection either on Delta.com or in the Fly Delta App. The shot below it is the map if I go and try to book a 1st class seat and learn that all but 1 of the seats is wide open (HT to @LaptopTravel & a number of readers for the heads up).
Well this is yet another uber frustrating change (if it is not just yet another IT bug)!
First things first, there are a few workarounds, with some extra effort, we can use to get the useful and necessary data we need to find out if seats in other cabins are in fact booked or not. One way is the Fly Delta App:
If you go into your reservation and look at the upgrade list (even not on the day of flight) you will see a ton of very useful data like:
- Number of 1st class seats remaining
- Number of C+ seats remaining
- Total number of seats remaining (including coach)
I have found that this is a much better way, before this bug popped up, to verify the real number of seats open on a flight vs. what the seat map showed as it often showed seats occupied that were in fact just blocked off for any number of reasons.
Now the above is clearly not a total solution because it does not show you the actual seats that are open just the number of seats in each cabin / class of service. Does this matter? You bet it does.
For example, say you are in coach and considering either a complimentary or paid (shudder) upgrade to Comfort Plus or C+. If there are ONLY middle seats open who in their right mind would ever move from a better seat in coach to a worse seat in C+ and especially pay for it?
Even for 1st class there could be times where you would not want to pay for a 1st class upgrade say on a Delta 737-900ER where only row 1 was open as those who are tall may rather have a coach seat exit row that is missing the seat in front of it rather than have no room at all in 1st class for their long legs.
There are other huge negative implications from this if it is a permanent change and not just a bug. Delta is rather stingy (to put it kindly) in opening up Global and Regional upgrade space on flights. They are also not the best at alerting you when space does in fact open up. Thus, the workaround is to often click the seat map and see if it “turns red” as I have shown on the blog and then you can call to finish the upgrade with Medallion reps. If you cannot see the seat map to even select a seat then this simple trick is also no longer an option due to this latest IT change.
So what are (for the moment) the only ways then to see the real seat map? One is do a “dummy” booking for the class of service for the flight you want on Delta.com or in the App. Yes, I agree, this is a royal pain in the backside and just simply ridiculous that Delta is (for now) requiring us to do this to gain simple access to the real seat map. The other option is to use Expert Flyer that I have never had the need for but this could be the tipping point for me to subscribe.
I have reached out to my Delta contacts but corporate communication on the weekends is rather slow so I don’t expect to get an answer until next week sometime. I sure hope this is just a bug an not another stupid “enhancement” to block useful data from loyal flyers (think Award Wallet and others). Once I get any reliable updates I will be sure to update this post. – Rene