Delta had to get these changes out to all their personnel, so information about the update was “leaked” to FlyerTalk. In today’s instant information age, it is very hard to keep secrets.
Now the changes. Here is a chart of what has changed:
So, good or bad? Medallions are a bit “jumpy” lately as Delta has been eroding our benefits and making it harder next year to quality. Delta is selling this as an enhancement to the SDC program and if you are a non-medallion it is great for you as you now get a chance at SDC.
If you are a GM+, overall this is mostly a downgrade since, depending on the change, you may have to pay, not be in the right fare class, or now have a bunch more competition from regular flyers and elites (all in the same fare class). I am also confident we will see this more and more as Delta begins selling these perks at the kiosks to tell non-medallions they can do this if they want!
Award seats are an issue as well with this change. Delta says that inside the 72 hr window, many more award seats at HIGH/MED/LOW open up so this should not be a big issue. We will see. But keep in mind that each of these has a “Delta Award Fare Class” associated to HIGH/MED/LOW so you must be able to find seats in THAT fare bucket to be able to SDC your award seat.
Lastly, Delta IT will NOT be able to give you “lower” fare class seats. For example, say you book in “K” class, and seats are open in LUT, but NOT K, you booked HIGHER so the lower seats should let you get the SDC. You can, but you will have to CALL Delta to get this done!
EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that the above event is very unlikely to happen in real life. As an example, from TrojanTraveler from FlyerTalk who says:
“I can only look at my own experience, but on most of the flights that I am on, they are packed. And each time I have SDC’d, the only bucket available has generally been Y, maybe B (I know because I have looked at Expert Flyer). As many have said, this puts a practical end to SDC.“
Thus, anyone who has not booked a very high fare class ticket, will just about be DONE with SDC unless you are willing to pay the much higher fare class fee!
The standby rules are very different also as to changes in routes (you can’t) and more. You can see the full new update page HERE at Delta.com to read all the updates live.
I am sure you will see a lively conversation over this over at THIS new FlyerTalk thread put up by Delta CORP. Feel free to chime in what you think here on the blog or join the discussion over there as well! – René
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