Rookie Wednesday: The things you should have done – but didn’t!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

questions about delta you should have asked delta points blog

It is amazing to me to read some of the things people post on travel blogs, travel journalists articles and FlyerTalk. Now I know I fly more than most when it comes to Delta Air Lines, but the mistakes so many make are, to me, so basic that it cooks my brain. I try to compare myself when I say book something I normally don’t – do I act this way – and for the most part no, but I can make mistakes when not thinking. So let’s think about these:

  • DO – as talked about last week, check your Delta & Skyteam seats and reservation often. This is especially important in the week before the trip. If anything has gone ‘wonky’ you have time to fix them before you get to the airport.
  • DO – check in 24hrs before your flight. If it does not work, shoot off a PVT DM (i.e. private direct message) to @DeltaAsssit to see what is up. If you are not using Twitter yet please start now if only for @DeltaAssist – oh and get the Delta phone app too while you are it. If they say you MUST check-in at the airport, please DO get there a little early just in case.
  • DO – weigh your bags BEFORE you go to the airport and make sure they are a pound or two under the max weight. Oh, speaking of that, make sure you know the max weight, how many bags you can check for free or at what cost.
  • DO – before you book, understand that a NON-REFUNDABLE ticket is just what it says. It may and likely will cost you more to change or try to cancel the ticket than the ticket cost in the first place.
  • DO – when sitting on the airplane, look at the airport map in Sky Magazine for where you are going next. If you have the Delta phone app, and the flight has WiFi, you can, for free, look at your next gate as well as the gate you are arriving at (it can change). At least this way you have some idea where you are going next or which way to baggage claim.
  • DO – set your phone on ‘airplane mode’ before you turn it off. Especially should this be the case when traveling internationally. Speaking of that, your phone may or may not work ‘over there’ and you may not want it to depending on what your cell provider may charge you (check on international plans before you go if you want them). I chose to just use WiFi and SKYPE for my needs when I travel internationally. Does not work for all, but works for me.
  • DO – put on luggage tags before you get to the airport. Not just that, but put something with your name and contact info inside the luggage in case all the tags get ripped off along the way.
  • DO – carry different credit cards (i.e. husband and wife). That is NOT the same account. So say you have the Chase INK Plus, she can carry then the AMEX SPG card etc. (you get the idea). That way if something goes very wrong and you lose your wallet you are not without a credit card. Oh and speaking of that, scan on a PDF the front and back of the cards and keep that someplace safe. Maybe you can email the PDF to your phone and have it there? But, you had better have a good LOCK CODE on the phone as so many seem to lose there phones nowadays!
  • DO – check to see if a visa is required to where you are going (I hear Texas is like a whole other country, but I don’t think you need one to go there 😉 ) There is the real possibility you can be put on the next flight home – at your expense – if they don’t let you in the country!
  • DO – call or look online and confirm your rental car and/or hotel. Oh, while you are at it, email the hotel and let them know you are looking forward to your stay and as a valued (insert elite level here) member you would greatly appreciate an upgrade if available.
  • DO – if you want to, ask for bumps from Delta at each point along the way. Unlike other airlines, it really is up to the gate agents for the final call. Do check at check-in if the flights look oversold. Ask at the Skyclub to call down and put you on the list. Then at the gate let them know you are their volunteer if they need help.
  • DO – make sure your Delta frequent flyer number is in the record. Don’t have one, (what is wrong with you?!) then get one and put it in. Make sure if you have a Skybonus account the number it is in there and for all your employees as well.
  • DON’T – drink to much alcohol on flights. You should never over drink anyway (it is bad for you) but especially bad on flights. Drink lots of water the day before you fly and as you fly. Yes it is true that the lower air pressure makes you have to go more often (plus you are drinking all that water) but it will help your body take the flying changes better.
  • DON’T – be mean or nasty to anyone with Delta along the way. Most likely you will not get what you want this way, but things could go very bad. Instead make note of names and such and email later about it with the names. You will likely get a pile of Skymiles and the rep will likely get talked to and if they are smart they will act as you did when they are listening to their supervisor share what you said!

So there is today’s Rookie post about DO’s and DON’Ts when you fly Delta and travel. Do you have some more good ones I have not talked about that you have found a Rookie often does when traveling? Then please share them on the comments section below on the blog – René

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Thanks for the Rookie tip to call or email the hotel ahead of your stay to request a room upgrade if possible. I would not consider myself a rookie but I read your Wednesday emails diligently and I’m glad I did that today. I will have the first opportunity to take advantage of the new Crossover Rewards program this weekend. I had requested a room with a view at booking my room a few weeks ago but I decided to send another friendly email (using your template in the Essential tab) this morning to follow up with my request for a room upgrade. Thanks for the tip!

    I’ll report back if I receive any good news from the hotel.

    Thanks Rene!

    • @Matt – txs! I does also help if you ARE and DO become active on an post often when your travel, good or bad, as you can then send your user link to the hotel as well 😉

  2. Great tip about TripAdvisor/Yelp. That is a polite way to let them know you will share the details, good or bad.

    Two quick tips I want to add:
    1. Luggage tags. I never use my home address or phone number. Either that of my business or a relative (that will be home while I am traveling).
    2. About the copy of your wallet contents…. if you have a web-based email account, you can just email the PDF file to yourself. That is a little bit safer than storing it on your phone. Also, should you lose your phone, you can access the PDF file from any internet café.

  3. JP Traveler Reply

    I scanned all my CCs and passports and store them digitally on a cloud service (for me, it’s Dropbox). I have them as password-protected PDFs, so they’re secure.

    When traveling, I also create a pdf containing my itineraries and all relevant confirmations, reservations, etc. All in one “strung together” file. I can access it via the Dropbox app and review it anytime I need to.

  4. Thanks for the check your seats tip! We are traveling with our Chihuahua from IND to SAN and just noticed a plane change and we were placed in bulkhead rows. What a disaster it would have been to show up and discover we couldnt store our pup under our feet(and risk losing our economy comfort seats!).

    +1 Delta Points!!!

  5. Good stuff…some of these seems obvious to me, but they are things that people who rarely travel might no think of. For example, I always know gate information ahead of time. When I land with a connection, it is the first thing I check. If you have a tight connection, knowing before you get off the plane might mean the difference in making or not making the connection. Also, I appreciate your note about NOT being rude to Delta agents. I have had one situation before where a Delta agent was overly rude and short with me, but typically, they do all they can to ensure a good experience. It is not acceptable to be rude to them, most especially if you are made over something that is your fault or over something you should have known about. For example, bag guidelines. Don’t get short with a gate agent because you are trying to carry on a giant suitcase and they want you to check it. 🙂

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