Delta travel is like comedy – timing is everything!

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Ogden’s Hinckley airport from Snowbasin

Your “pseudo-expert” Delta Points traveler has just returned from ski trip number two for the year to Salt Lake and did not follow his own advice. But, as my blog post title says, some days your timing can be good and there was a reason for my timing too.

I will have a detailed post about my trip and all the fun and saving I had, plus the kool part of meeting up with a blog reader at one of the best ski mountains on this planet or any other, but that will be for tomorrow, for now click on the photo above to see SLC airport from 10,000 feet!

Today, I want to tell just about the return trip and some things to think about when flying Delta. So here goes.

My wife and I were flying on 25k free tickets. We were routed SLC-ATL-SBN. I am slowly learning, including many questions and warnings from readers, to avoid hub-to-hub trips unless you are a Diamond and on a high price ticket if you want a free upgrade.

The 5 day window ( the normal time for a platinum to clear ) came and went. At the airport my wife and I were 24/25 of 60 with 1 seat open. At this point most regular flyers are saying yep this is an old story. But as it turns out I ended up in first anyway. Why? Well….

After breakfast in the skyclub that was the most packed I have ever seen at any airport I gave myself 45 min before departure time to get to the gate so I could confirm my status on the volunteer list to give up my seat.

SkyClub SLC

That is when the “fun” began. The inbound aircraft had had a bird strike so severe it BROKE a slat off the front engine fan. Thus a “lengthy” delay a.k.a. “this bird will not fly today or maybe for days”! Plus, the next bird to ATL was already “broken” per the red coat at the desk. Since I was already in line for bump, I was able to score a SLC-GEG-MSP-SBN. This was a rebook so full “Y” class was the new code ( no MQM or points but still Y ) so I moved up to the top of the upgrade list thanks to my DELTA AMEX RESERVE card that puts me ahead of anyone who does not have one in Y class or lower.

Now I would love to brag that I had looked ahead and printed all the routes so I could simply tell the red coat what I wanted. But, I was too much in vacation mode and just was at the right place at the right time. To be fair part of that was my early gate arrival for bumportunities that saved the day.

So what do I want you to take from today’s post? Be aware. Be prepared. Know Delta. Use the Delta APP for your phone. Have the Delta number on the speed dial on your phone. Have alternate routes for flying.

Also this goes to answer the much asked question of how to get upgrades. Think about adding legs if you can stand it. Maybe a hop from say ATL-CVG-LAX will get you 1st where ATL-LAX no way with a billion Diamond Medallions on the flight. So if you can stand the connection, you increase your upgrade chance.

I had a great ski trip and can not wait to share it in tomorrow’s blog! – Rene


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  1. Great tips. Thanks Rene:) I have the Platinum Delta Amex butI may have to consider the Reserve (if I can ever get my head around that $450!).

  2. @Lettie – if you do, DO NOT UPGRADE! Go for the BIZ card, once you have it, then cancel your personal Plat DELTA card. That way you get the full 10k MQM. Thanks – Rene

  3. I thought flights using miles on Delta were ineligible for upgrades.. Can you explain?

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