What will be the next set of “Enhancements” on the way from Delta Air Lines?

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The product (i.e. the planes and seats et al), the people who fly and help us along the way. The Skyclubs as well as the phone and @DeltaAssist people. These are all major reasons we fly Delta.

However, we have seen over the recent past, as I talked about a while ago, some changes to the program. Changes like:

  • Less earnings on consolidator fares
  • Less earnings on partner airlines
  • More restrictive SWU’s
  • MQD starting next year
  • SDC change
  • Bequeathing Skymiles gone
  • Silver Medallions less perks
  • Higher award pricing mid & high
  • Any more?

Should we be surprised? Delta is making money and continues to do so and make choices that in their eyes will make even more and their team of expert psychologists and sociologists have told them we will just take it (a educated guess – besides, what can we do about it all anyway)!

So where else can they and will they cut next? Let’s take a look at what is left and what could just be on the chopping block. All of these are areas we are currently costing potential revenue for the shareholders of DAL stock. Also, my analysis is written from Delta’s point of view – not ours – clear?

$ 2 Free bags GM+

$ Carry on size and weight

$ Sports equipment

Unlimited upgrades discounted fares

Unlimited Skymiles ticket changes

Full earnings from Discounted Fares

Change to flat 1 cent per Skymile redemption

Waived phone booking charge

Annual status for Million Milers

Bags! Just look at the amazing amount of money Delta is making from bags. Now, Silvers only get two free bags if they have a Delta AMEX card. Why not expand this to GM also this year, and PM the next. The money will just build and build in bag fees!

Carry on! Enforcement of this has just about been nonexistent with Delta. Too much money is on the table here. If rather than offering ZONE 2+ free gate checking, they demanded payment, tons could be collected and flyers would think twice about not checking the bag to begin with.

Sports Equipment! Skis & boot bag are both one piece and golf bags are huge. As long as either example is under 50 lbs now you are fine. But, these are huge. Why not have a $25 up-charge for these types of things. Think how much money SLC would bring in as a hub! Huge money potential from sports fans!

Upgrades! There is simply no reason deeply discounted fares should get a free pass to unlimited upgrades. If you want an upgrade, you will have to pay for K class or higher. This would greatly improve the bottom line and even low level elites would get a TON more upgrades. Win-Win for Delta.

Changes! The 72 hour no change rule has be a HUGE success. Much less gaming going on. But all these willy-nilly changes is just too generous and these elites are still gaming the system too much. There is money to be made here too; give them 2 free changes then they must either redeposit for free (& see if they can find low level seats again 😉 ) and start new or they can pay a fee for each change after the first two that are free!

LUTXVE! Most of Skyteam partners give less MQM & RDM for deeply discounted fares. Skymiles are a 4.4 Billion dollar liability on Delta’s books and giving less to the less desirable flyers who are only after a cheap fare is fine. They are not booking for miles anyway just a cheap seat from A-B.

1 Cent Skymiles! This is happening right now. The change to let you book first class seats now with Skymiles and actually earn for this is airline smart. The net exchange is a seat that more than likely would have gone to a LUTXVE class upgrade but now has burned a huge amount of Skymiles for only a few in return.

Phone reps! So much has been spent on Delta.com that it needs to be used. Not just for the advertising space that is open to the eyeballs but it is so much cheaper than a breathing human who may not follow the computer rules. Expect a flat fee for all but DM’s soon for any phone booking. Think what tacking on another $25 per ticket could do for the bottom line!

Million Milers! Hey, what have you done for us lately? You may have flown a bunch of miles in the past, but not lately. Status is no longer lifetime, and if you want to keep your status, you will have to spend some money with us. Or, maybe, have at least a Delta AMEX card to keep your status going.

So these are the possible things we have to look forward to over the next two years as more and more enhancements to the Skymiles program rolls out to make the airline more and more money. My question to you my dear reader is, at what point, will you say enough is enough? Maybe it is time for “Save our Skymiles” part 2! – René


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  1. Odd that they cannot figure out that the only thing keeping business travelers with a “full service” airline like Delta are perks and service. Cut those and I’ll be on Sun Country, SWA, etc in a heartbeat. Traveling Delta is not always the most convenient route. As they are quick to point out, “you do have a choice”.

  2. Printed my ticket on my PCM no Delta. Snack or drink coupon guess that’s gone too!

  3. @Mark – ohhh I like that one! But, as they say, Delta is cashless so you will need a credit card on no fly! (unless on a CRJ then CASH ONLY so that works)! 😉

  4. Next steps:
    Meals eliminated (but you get peanuts)
    Open seating
    New destination: Love Field
    New paint scheme to more closely match the red and gold AMEX cards

  5. Honestly, there really isn’t anywhere else to go. Delta has solid customer service across all levels of interaction, have a decent frequent flier program (with perks), and a generous credit card program. United falls way short in the customer service category, and the to-be-formed American will be run by the US Airways clan, which isn’t promising. Southwest is pretty good but getting expensive, especially for long hauls, with little business program benefits.
    As such, Delta is a great choice because they do the basics well and much better than their competition.

  6. you forgot about all of the $$$ theya re making in sky clubs as anything worth drinking u must pay a premium $$$ for////and there is little or no food … even in some business lounges

  7. Why not consider removing most seats and reconfiguring planes more like a subway with bar and straps to hang on? Seems like a real revenue raiser for Delta. Then we can hire some teenagers to give the planes a new paint job with some spray paint. Of course, subway cars do not need to offer food or water – more ways for Delta to save money!

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