Next week I will have a fun set of posts on the way about my very last Delta 747 ride ever since Delta is rapidly parking them in the Arizona desert to die with no plans to replace them with 747-8s (sad to say). Yesterday I shared the interesting experience of flying with an extra paid seat in coach. Today I want to talk about an issue that impacts ALL elites and what I call #TeamBoardLast that raised it’s ugly head on my last flight of my 747 adventure.
For those who are not aware, one of the things that makes elites most crazy is something we un-affectionately refer to as SHENA that is short for shenanigans. With real 1st class upgrades becoming more rare than gold or precious gem stones every-single-seat-matters! When gate agents do not make or find the time to upgrade every single elite they can, or worse put a Delta employee in a domestic 1st class empty seat, it makes us truly question our continued loyalty to Delta Air Lines.
We have been promised on Delta.com that reps would “try” to come onboard and upgrade more when a seat opens up. When the change first was announced to employees I did get many reader reports of it happening more than in the past. But now the norm are e-mails telling me about how a seat went empty in domestic 1st class or that someone who works for Delta stole my upgrade. How sad. Also as reminder the official policy is that if you board you are giving up your chance for an upgrade (you drop off the list and #1 will be who is left at the gate not boarded).
Now before there is the never ending flood of comments that “I do not want to risk overhead space” to play #TeamBoardLast – I feel for you – clearly this post is not for you. Board #TeamBoardFirst and enjoy your open overhead space in coach. For the rest of us, read on. 😉
My last leg of my 747 adventure to Manila was on a several hour delayed CRJ900. There were some 16 people on the upgrade list. Despite the delay and the fact that a Red Coat (customer service specialist) came onboard twice before we departed, no one was pulled from coach up to the empty 1st class seat next to me. Most disappointing and disheartening.
Now I know this was a short 40-ish minute flight but with Comfort+ service all but vanishing on flights shorter than 350 miles those fake “upgrades” to C+ have become even more fake than they were before. Thus on shorter flights a real first class upgrade that still gets full service matters more than ever.
So why is this still happening? The reason is simple – there are/were no firm guidelines to remove SHENA from the equation. It is if time allows for the gate agents. It is only if they want to. All reports are that unless someone is maybe watching them I do not think they want to or see this company suggestion as a priority for elites. I wish the Delta CEO had decreed this is a MUST DO even if it takes a minute or two extra to get the flight out.
Thus the only real change from the ongoing effort with #TeamBoardLast was the move for the upgrade window from T30 to T40 and that has had some positive impact I have to say. That, Delta, I am grateful for or at least grateful when reps follow this rather than telling me it is still T30 before departure!
Thus folks we find ourselves back where we started and the situation that has been the law of the land or Deltaland for years – if you want a shot at that last open 1st class seat on a domestic flight then you join me in playing #TeamBoadLast! – Rene