Use SDC to get more upgrades when traveling with Delta Air Lines

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As I finish an “extra” mileage run, that I really did not want to take, I have once again successfully done an SDC to get into first class on a transcon flight yesterday. Just how does one do this?

First you need to know the rules changes mid April this year. In the past, you just had to have a seat in the same cabin of service to get a change. Now the rule is the same class of service or lower. Most feared this would be very very hard. I have not had an issue thus far (it could be a perk of DM i.e. bending the rules but no reps have said anything yet).

Also know anything booked PRE-rule change you can get under the old rules or under the new rules your choice so you can work it maybe.

The end result is if you are on a flight with very few 1st class seats, and another route had a bunch, it may be worth the risk to switch. If you have other confirmed upgrades along the way they will be gone so please count the cost.

Another question I get is how do I check to see how many Diamonds are on another flight I want to change to. To my knowledge, only phone reps and @DeltaAssist have access to this info but will share it with you if you ask. So, you could ask say: “How many DM s are on this flight if I change“. They are happy to share the numbers checked-in for the flight thus far. However, they can not tell where you would be on the upgrade list until you change so keep that in mind.

There are times this does not work. Take today for example. I was on my redeye #5 with 1 open. No way I would clear this one. There was another flight with 5 seats open. I took the chance, changed, and am now #14 with 5 open – rats! Also there are 48 on the upgrade list on the new flight. Ah well, it will be the only upgrade I miss this trip. Worth the shot? Why not try (you will be in coach one way or the other right 🙂 ). – René

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  1. I was able to get a ticket agent at LAS to tell me how many GMs/PMs/DMs were on the upgrade list before I tried SDCing to an earlier flight (had confirmed upgrade on later flight). No PMs or DM. I was at the airport somewhat more than 3 hours before the earlier flight so they intiially SDSd me and I wound up at the bottom of the list but when they managed to SDC me I was #1 as a PM (they told me DMs and PMs are the rules breakers). Worked out well for the upgrade and I got to watch a football game in the centurion lounge. 🙂

  2. I recently did a SDC at the gate in DTW. The gate agent told me that she believed that I could not be added to the Upgrade list until the customers holding tickets cleared. I called the Diamond desk and was fortunately to get an incredible person. She did not agree with the gate agent and made change to my ticket that required me to check in. When I did, I was on top of the upgrade list and there was one seat remaining, which I got. She actually waited on the phone while I checked in at gate to make sure it worked. The gate agents were not happy but the computer system immediately issued me the upgrade. After I landed, I called a supervisor at the Diamond desk to lavish praise on Tracy in Salt Lake City who had helped me.

  3. Trying to figure out how to structure a trip. I can’t figure out how to find a cheap flight out of DTW to anywhere!

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