What would you like to see Delta “change” or improve & what do you like this year? Plus a dual time zone watch giveaway!

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This has been a big year for our Delta Air Lines. What do you like or dislike that they have done. I am a HUGE fan of the new inside of the international terminal in ATL as I recently blogged about. I have been told the outside bus service is not so nice but have not used it myself. What do you say who have?

Delta Air Lines has been making massive upgrades to the interior of their birds. For example, nearing completion of the conversion to  “Full flat” seats in business class, and extra leg room and recline in “economy comfort”. Not just space, but international versions have standard power plugs just like in business. The skyclubs are getting a makeover to bring a fresh, clean and bright feel to them.

But what has our airline done wrong or did they miss? What did they do right? I would love to get some of your feedback. For example, I like the bright upgrades to the skyclubs. I love the little touch of adding these kinds of small tables for laptops and drinks.

Just brilliant in my mind and kudos to the one who came up with adding these. I also do like the EC seats. Sure they are nothing like the “mini-BE” seats Air France has, but still. One part lacking to me is that AF gives you BE food in EC on international flights. Could not Delta do the same?

I have many times talked about how good the food really is on Delta international flights. The quantity, the quality and the wines are just great! The only thing I just hate is the “stolen from the 70’s” faux wood “surfer” trays they have started using fleet wide in business. What is up with these things and who ever thought these would be a good addition needs to lose their job and go work for Spirit Air! Man they are ugly or what do you say?

Another great update is the Delta phone app. I have talked to other flyers who are so jealous that we have such a good one when the other “majors” apps are nowhere near as good as ours. Sure there are still tweaks to be done, but overall it just works well and I like it.

Lastly I am a huge fan of the Delta branded AMEX cards. For me the Reserve is the must have for MQM’s. But I am very happy they have not “tweaked away” (as some said they would) the companion certs as even the GOLD gets you a buy one get one for $99+tax domestic travel cert and the Plat & Reserve  gets you a coach one for FREE+tax (Reserve in 1st too). I also just love AMEX extended warranty on products you buy. Almost once a year I call and get money back on a item that no longer works and is out of mfg. warranty but still under the AMEX free extended one. My only big time gripe with the cards are international transaction fees. This is a travel credit card for crying out loud! I should not have to switch from my Delta card to my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card when out of the USA.

I am not sure I am a fan of this idea Delta is trying in Atlanta and Las Vegas (hat tip to reader David R). There has been a hard press about ZONE boarding, but how does it work with automated turnstile boarding I ask you? Humm..

So there are some of my ideas. Your turn. Tell me please what you think about the Delta upgrades and tweaks they have been doing. Are they good or could they be better and would you like to see changes. To make this fun and get lots of input I am going to do this; contribute to the conversation on the blog and you will have a chance to win this brand new Steinhausen Dual Time zone watch today! – Rene

Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
American Express – RESERVE/PLATINUM/GOLD
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71 comments

  1. I believe Delta has made great strides in the social media dept and I especially love the phone app. It’s the best! Unfortunately Delta still needs help with website. It’ frustrating at times to plan a trip using delta.com.

  2. I think the power plug is great. I hate it when my laptop has no battery in a hr or two into the flight.

  3. The only thing good about the new/old tray is that nothing can slide around because it has a tacky surface.

  4. Delta could win some customers and have an amazing ad campaign if they reduced their mileage awards by even a nominal amount. If they reduced by only 5-10k for Europe, or Asia they would start to do away with the SkyPesos mantra and find themselves more competitive with the rest of the US airlines. Especially when AA and US Airways are due to inflate their mileage currency, this would be a serious boon for the SkyMiles program. Think of the campaign, “Now Europe and Asia are even closer with Delta SkyMiles.”

  5. Having just moved overseas, I have to say I really like the upgrade to “full flat” seats. This has kept me flying Delta on TATL flights. Being a big iphone user, I really appreciate the continued upgrades to their app. It really makes flying so much easier for me to have everything I need in one place.
    As for changes I have not been too thrilled about, I’d say the changes to upgrades. I used to get upgraded as soon as the upgrade window opened. Now, I’m lucky to see an upgrade even at the gate. I have not tried out the new turnstyle gates, I am not sure I like the idea from what I have read. But I will be trying them out this coming week.
    Keep up the great blog work. I enjoy reading!

  6. I also like the new look of the Sky Clubs a lot. But I think they could be improved in one detail: a self serve area like in the club at LAX.
    I also second you on EC, I like the extra comfort. Great!

    When it comes to self boarding … well, it should not eliminate zone boarding. I don’t think it has to be either-or. Just like agents can send back a passenger after checking manually the boarding pass, it should be possible for the turnstile thing to reject a passenger who wants to board too early.

  7. Definitely the mobile app. Kudos to Delta for creating something light years ahead of anyone else.

  8. I actually thinknthe food in C is slipping in quality, so an improvent is in order. That and, of course, BETTER SKYPESO REDEMPTIONS,

  9. Regret the loss of self-serve beverage areas in many of the former Northwest Clubs.

  10. I love Delta’s inflight Gogo service (can’t wait for the international addition) and their “lie-flat” seats to Europe.

  11. Memphis is my home airport and the significant reduction of MEM flights affects our entire area.

  12. One thing that should NOT change – the yummy bread that they get in France for the return flight back to the US!
    Much better than the bread going over!

  13. A few things I wish they would change: restrictive fare classes to use SWU’s. Frequently for intl travel the M fares are the same as straight S fares. That broken awards calendar/system is another one. And I agree with Steve about the one way awards- hope they add that in the near future.

  14. I think they need to concentrate on expanding their route network specially to Asia and Middle East and improve their redemption options for SkyMiles.. Other than that Delta rocks….

  15. The major thing they could fix would be the online award booking system. Add all the skyteam members and have it work correctly – like United’s site.

  16. To keep my business from migrating further to other carriers, Delta needs to reverse its worst change of the last year: the non-combinability, non-transferability of vouchers. The absence of either option makes it impossible for Delta to meaningfully compensate me as a high-frequency, company-paid flyer when irrops occur.

  17. Pro:
    The phone app is a definite plus!
    Online check in is so simple and convenient.

    Con:
    Delta needs to definitely reduce their mileage awards to be more competitive!! More often than not lately, we’ve started to fly other airlines because of this 🙁

  18. I’ve used LH’s self-boarding gates quite frequently and like them because it seems to speed up the process (generally there is at least 1 FA also scanning tickets). However, for intra-Europe flights they don’t have a priority boarding process – it’s just a cattle call. In this case, the self-boarding allows those who are willing to stand near the device to board first (con: this area can get crowded with standing people).

    If DL moves to this technology, I would like to see the FAs board special needs, first/business, and SkyPriority first, then go to the cattle call. Actually, it would be kind of cool if the self-boarding gates could actually enforce the current zone process (i.e. if zone 1-2 is boarding and you have zone 4, the device will not let you board).

  19. I lost Gold Medallion status in February.Ouch! I was happy with it for several years. However, please help with the following:…….the Delta awards chart requires too many miles for many international flights. Booking awards online can be problematic……….. perhaps an understatement? Otherwise, I love Delta and plan to fly with them in the future.

  20. I’d like to purchase revenue and award tickets via the app, one-way awards, an award booking engine that is transparent and works for the customers benefit and more planes with power out of MSP.

  21. When I check in for a flight and have luggage, I would like to see that claim number automatically appear in the Delta App. Also, if you have more than (1) checked item, both should automatically appear in the Delta App.

  22. Add me to the cacophony of calls for an improved award search engine and better award availability. If you cannot use your miles in a reasonable manner, then they lack value and some will be pushed away from Delta over time.

  23. I agree with Erik that self-boarding gates should enforce zone boarding. But I don’t agree with cattle call after SkyPriority. Instead, I prefer the current process (no further loss for Silver Medallions).

  24. When given the choice between Delta and any other major US carrier (United, AA, etc.), I will choose the OTHER carrier because my earned Delta miles have so much less value. My ability to find seats on other carriers’ flights, at the lowest mileage level, is actually realistic. On Delta, it is a complete joke. Entire calendars, far off into the future, are devoid of any saver seats. The entire Delta SkyMiles program (at least as so far as mileage saver seats go) is a farce.

  25. It would be great if Delta improved it’s award search engine, and if they allowed one way award fares for half-price of a round trip. I would also like to see Delta sell Delta gift certificates online that could be redeemed online.

  26. I would like to see Delta offer more “reasonable” award seats. It seems like they keep getting stingier and stingier with these low award level seats.

  27. All your information is valuable including the “Watch with Dual Time Zone”

  28. one way awards would entice me to fly with them more, but I love the new app.

  29. Delta could do a lot to improve its flight options out of SE Asia! Flights via Japan, add too much complexity considering that service between SE Asia and the US/ Mexico can be a 2-3 stop service.

  30. Service service service needs refinement. Most Delta employees I’ve encountered are decent. Some extraordinary. But there are also few who are just horrible beyond belief that the particular experience is still very vividly branded in my head (picture this: flight attendant deliberately kicks trash (not mine, nor should it matter) dropped in aisle from meal service into my seat area as she walks by)

  31. 1. Fix the [edit] award calendar!
    2. This is more of an AmEx issue than a Delta issue, but if the Reserve card waived foreign transaction fees, and/or had an EMV chip it would become more competitive with the comparable cards from other airlines/card issuers.

  32. The lie flat seats are great-better than AF or KLM by a wide margin. The food/drink in biz are fine-close enough to their partners that I can’t complain. The new ATL international terminal is OK and the upgraded JFK will be really great.

    So, what’s left? Plenty. Using the web site for award redemption isn’t worth the excercise in frustration. I go to AF’s Flying Blue or use the KVS tool (fee required) instead. When there is a rare occaision when premium awards are available at the lowest cost they’ll show it. Even calling Delta first is problematic. Now I find something, then call and tell them what it is.

    And, if you’re like me and recently retired with the time to burn miles at what you thought you’d use at the advertised redemption rate, think again. OK, I got two of us to LHR in January, ATL-MIA-LHR & return LHR-AMS-ATL, for 100K each. But then the MIA-LHR flight was eliminated so next time will be tougher for sure. Next March was to be ATL-DTW-HKG. That route is gone effective late August. Care to spend 220k instead of 120K? Good luck. Even those flights via NRT are now scarce. Any dates in the first four months of ’13 ATL-ANC are 80K-not 45K-in first. Jeez.

    So even with their touted plethora of ways to earn miles, the truth is that the cost of the awards goes up faster than all the earning opportunities combined, including credit card churning.

  33. As many others have said, award availability and navigation of awards search need to improve immensely. I’d also love to see them take a cue from Jetblue, with the ability to do price adjustments and get an account credit if the ticket price goes down after booking.

  34. Still dissatisfied with award booking online. I do love the mobile app.

  35. I hate those faux wood “surfer” trays as well as the idea of using a turn stile to board the plane. if they are in customer service dont you think they should atleast attempt to offer that and not leave it to the customer to do? Same goes for self-checkout at grocery stores. how degrading is it for the person working next to one of these.

    that said, i am SM and i also would like to see a better approach at making elites feel elite and not giving out SM to everyone.i almost never get an upgrade anymore and i fly non-busy time and non-busy routes.

    and im sure itll never happen but i dream od a skyteam-megado and upgrades on intl flights

  36. I would love for them to offer a free drink in coach to higher level elites that don’t clear an upgrade (similar to what Alaska/American do when top-tier doesn’t get upgraded).

    I would also love for their phone system to automatically recognize my number and send along my SM info to the agent, instead of me typing in the number, and then the pin, and then waiting on hold

  37. Not sure about the self serve turnstiles as it seems too many times the gate staff is too few……wondering if this affects zone 1 boarding

  38. 1) Drop the 72 hour award cancel rule down to 24 hours
    2) As much as I love the new Intl terminal in ATL, the walk from the Old E concourse to Atlanta Security is a bear with only one small set of moving walkways. (Thats more of a city thing, but it is mostly Delta)
    3) Actually close the non-sky priority lane when when sky priority is boarding (had this in ATL on Friday, I really liked it and helped to cut down some of the mutiple lines of first class/elite boarding
    4) Give subscribers to Delta Points priority in upgrades 🙂

  39. I like EC, the Delta App, not happy with award availability, I second the motion…Give subscribers to Delta Points priority in upgrades. As much as I travel, I’m pleased with Delta. Love my Delta reserve card.

  40. Love the AMEX credit cards, and the phone app is great.

    Not too thrilled about service on Intl flights.

  41. While the Delta Credit Card is useful, the hassles of no free luggage if my wife takes a trip because I am the primary on the card and not flying are crazy. Award availability (or lack of a good search engine) needs improving. The App is nice, but since I am on a BB for work, it doesn’t get the same attention as the iOS / Android versions. My only other complaint is all the places that don’t take Amex.

  42. Hi Rene
    I love EC for free domestic and $40.00 for GM
    Out of US
    I don’t like my JFK sky club
    That’s why I dropped membership 
    I get in for free on international
    And can always buy if i
    Need to get In somewhere better than JFK
    I also don’t like those plastic straw trays
    I do LOVE being moved fromEC to BE
    As I was sat night flight 2

    Cheers Nina

  43. I know Pre-Check is mostly the TSA but I LOVE IT! Makes me miss Atlanta when I fly out of an airport that does not have it. I would like to see drinks added to the EC seats on domestic flights as well as International.

  44. Would be nice to be able to book partner awards online as you can with United and AA is in the process of doing. Also, one-way awards, get rid of the 3 tiered pricing system, better award availability at the low level.

  45. I would really like Delta Airlines to hire their own aircraft cleaners to clean their different types of aircraft. Instead of outsourcing those positions to save a little money.

  46. This is a little annoyance for me. When I visit the Delta home page I see the page and then the pop over window comes up to choose my country. If you clear cookies, this happens each time.

    Its a poor implementation for international coverage. There should be an button on the main page that allows to change the language and stop the pop over.

  47. Spouse (Gold) and myself (Platinum) have found awards and upgrades impossible – we purchase FC in order to sit up front. I see the turnstiles problematic; people taking 4-5 bags with them to avoid bag fees, massive delays and clogging of the boarding process. Stick with FC, Zone boarding.

  48. Please bring back JFK-BOM nonstop!!! And keep up the excellent customer service I’ve been receiving.

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