Delta Airlines Un/Improvements and other changes in 2011 and what to expect in 2012

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Is the list of Delta changes we’re unhappy about longer than the list of changes we like? Maybe yes maybe no! Now this is from our perspective as flyer’s – not for Delta as a business.

Let’s start with the BAD list:

1) T-72 hour rule is by far the worst change from our point of view, as well as the subsequent changes to said rule. It is crazy that it takes complaints to the DOT to make our airline do what is right. Plus, most reps you talk to still get the “latest” updates on the rule wrong and that can cost you money, miles or both! Lastly, we know any rep can override if they want to. Crazy!

2) The VDB rule change to only 1 per ticket per VDB and the fact Delta’s staff has not been told about this or other “stealth” changes makes us all nuts!

3) Selling Skyclub passes on Groupon and everywhere. Have you noticed how crowded the Skyclub are now a days as a result of the unlimited sales of day passes?

4) Selling of MQM’s (this one can be a good or bad btw). If you were just short of earning status then you loved this deal. The other side is that if you earned your status BIS you might not appreciate having all these buyers of MQM’s competing for your hard earned upgrades.

5) Devaluation of the Silver Medallion level. As the Travel Abstract recently pointed out, you are almost better off just to get as DELTA AMEX card rather than work for this status level.

6) SWU’s. The current SWU certificates have such a multitude of restrictions that it makes them almost unusable. Unlike the other major airlines useful policy’s for SWU’s, this must change to keep Delta medallions happy soon.

7) Devaluation of skymiles value flying transcon or Hawaii in BE. Delta has made “sud-o” 1st class by upping the miles for these seats. It is funny I bet soon all the new lie-flat planes will cost more in miles.

So what are we happy about now that I have made your blood boil thinking of what you have lost.

1) Elimination of Skymiles Expiration. We are the only airline that has this. Will it last?

2) EC or Economy Comfort. This alignment get us current with KLM/AF and keep up with other airlines. The extra space is great. The near worthless Delta coach service is not. Also the facts that some FA’s still don’t understand the benefits of this new seat is frustrating.

3) GoGo in-flight WiFi. Blogg’in in the air. Just love it.

4) GM now can access international lounges. This is a great perk for GM flyers.

5) Expansion of NYC creating a new city hub. CVG’s demise paved the way for this growth. It will mean more options for skymiles. But expect even more delays. I will try to build in 3 hrs for connections here (or short ones and hope for schedule change).

6) @DeltaAssit and new phone app. No matter who you are and what status you do or do not have you can uses these great new tools. They will save you a ton of time and frustration!

7) The best change? The creation of   (O’ sure a shameless plug but you agree with me 100% right?)!

So what is next? What should we expect in 2012? There’s so much speculation here because of the lack of good information by our beloved Delta even though we are already into 2012! Here is what I expect, if not this year, then very soon.

1) Expect to see a monetization of the skymiles program to begin. This would result in Y+ fare classes earning 100% skymiles / MQM’s while “LUT” maybe only earning 25-50% credit. Also it may be if you have the AMEX Reserve card you would still get 100% or some variation on this them. It does stand to reason if you look at the Del-AMEX-ta-ization of the airline during this past year. It is just a matter of time kids so get ready for this.

2) Adding a revenue component to elite qualification is another change some expect to see in 2012. So, not only would you get less RDM as above but you may have to spend, even if you fly “xxx” miles, at least this much to earn GM, PM or DM status. This could happen at the same time rollover miles goes away or become in addition to MQM’s ( thus making roll over miles worth much less unless you keep spending real cash ).

3) The now infamous T-72 hour rule, will it NOT go away in 2012? In fact it may get worse. Management has this as a point of pride. Right now it only applies to outbound (but some pages still show the OLD rule of both ways). Also, many reps don’t understand the rule. I would expect it to morph again. Wait and see – just can’t wait how about you?

Some other hoped for changes are more consideration for segment fliers stuck on regional jets a bulk of the time. Changes to the “choose 2” awards choices for DM’s, and hopefully the completion of the modifications of all of the premium cabins by the end of the year!

We also have the Delta page to tell us what is coming: DELTA Web site link

So that is what I think. Your turn. What do you think of the above and what do you expect we will soon see? – René

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  1. .It seems a bit late to change the MQM earning rules for flights in 2012. I already have 85k MQMs of flying booked, and it would be THE END of me buying DL tickets if the MQMs were changed after purchase. Granted, this IS Delta we’re talking about…

  2. @joseph, an SWU is a System-Wide Upgrade. “Useful” for upgrades on int’l flights, but as Rene already mentioned, they are not that useful. I’m not quite sure but I think you need to book Y, B, or M fare to be eligible to use an SWU.
    For me as a Silver Medallion it does not matter.

  3. Rene, I hope you are wrong with your thoughts on what changes might come. I’m flying twice a year to the States (“home” airport is FRA) for vacation (always booking U or T fares) and thus just qualify for SM. I would definitely not like it to lose my status.
    All in all I like being Silver except for the new baggage rules. And as a Non-American I can’t apply for Delta Amex cards. My Amex Platinum card helps me getting into Sky Clubs but that’s it.

  4. I agree with Joeseph. Overuse of acronyms made this article difficult to understand for those of us who are still learning! What is VDB?

  5. Just stumbled across your blog. Great – all things DL.

    But … I can’t let you get away with misspelling the name of the company.

    It’s Delta Air Lines – three words, not two.

  6. Personally, the T-72 rule doesn’t really bother me that much. I think it’s awesome to be able to redeposit without penalty in the first place, and it’s hard for me to imagine not being able to make up my mind more than 72 hours out. However, I realize you are not the only person who dislikes this rule. What’s the sticking point? Is it just that other airlines don’t have this rule for their elites?

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