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SWAG Saturday: What changes could Delta make for the good that would NOT cost them money?

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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.


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I am working on a full report of my latest mileage run as well as a cost breakdown and, yes even with all the crazy changes going on with Delta, a mileage run can still be worth while!

But I have some ideas for some changes Delta can make that would have a good impact and yet not cost them at what matters most to them – money.

1) Change boarding to 1st class and Diamond Medallions at same time. This is a perk the top level should get when they don’t get an upgrade.

2) Give better access to medallion reps for Silver Medallions. They are still medallions, at least reward them with good phone support.

3) Enforce the cabin bag “size check” at check-in or if all carry-on at boarding. Do this enough and boarding will go faster and maybe less forced checking of Zone 2 & 3 flyers.

4) Give some Choice Benefits to Gold & even Silver Medallions. It does not have to be all the perks of PM & DM but how about something like a few Skymiles or some GoGo day passes or even a Skyclub pass or a free amenity coupon or two. This can not cost much of anything and would show appreciation.

These are the main ones I can think of that to me would go a long way at really “enhancing” things for flyers and yet not cost the company money. Can you think of any others that would not COST? I want to know and this is the point of this week’s SWAG Saturday. The rules as each week are here so check them out.

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Time to get creative. For a chance at a nice 10,000mAh Astro E3 power brick and a Craig rechargeable bluetooth speaker I need your best idea of what Delta could do for us that would cost them little or no money. What real improvement do you want to see that Delta could really do for almost free? – 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.

99 Comments

  1. Taking a page from the United credit card, include a couple of one-time lounge passes with the Gold Amex credit card

  2. As a FO I would like boarding with other medallions. Also I spend more than most GM!! So I would at least like rollover MQS! How about linking MQS and MQD to status? I do 45-50 MQS and over 15k in MQD and I get FO? I could do a mileage run for under 1k and probably bump up to gold? Who are they rewarding with this system?

  3. I have several ideas:
    1) allow people to search award night on te iPhone app. The web service should be the same as the site, and adding extra button for filtering should not cost anything.
    2) allow first class or DM to scan themselves in and allow the rep to scan the other people. We don’t and shouldn’t wait for the rep to scan first class and DM. At least DM people should know by now how to scan their ticket and this free in up the wait for other people.

  4. Please please please enforce the bag size and 2 bag limit!!!

    Past that, a PM and DM perk could be GoGo for a year.

  5. As a lowly silver, I would love to be able to board with other medallions, or at least before zone 1. Even at my level I think silvers should be able to board before amex cardholders.

  6. Allowing regional upgrades to be used on domestic BE routes only at the gate (Basically when the agent is about to board, they can go through and upgrade those using the regional upgrades. These would not clear in advance of the gate, so there would be no impact to the potential of selling the seat to a high paying customer)

  7. I just this week received my Amex reserve card. While I got it for the MQM’s, the club access is a nice perk. Needles to say I am disappointed, but will keep the card for one year to see if it meets my needs. I (and I believe many frequent travelers) would be happy with a few guest passes to use with my family on vacation.

  8. Up front, a bottle of water is placed by your seat
    In the back you need to wait for “service” but you may ask for a WHOLE can of juice or soda
    How about a little bottle/can of beverage for all passengers —- beverages will be consumed by all, one way or another during the flight
    🙂 thank you Rene!

  9. One way to add variety to the “free” pretzels/snack is to partner up with companies that want to promote their product with free samples and that could also be given out as an option.

  10. Allow Diamonds to board with first class, give them a free drink and bottle of water plus a free movie, if they are not upgraded.

  11. Please have a better area for boarding. That mad rush and scrum, weaving in and out to get around people with zones that lower. How about a system that visually shows you what zone is boarding and also shows people where to find what zone they are in.

  12. They could offer elite discounts (perhaps tiered) on all of their recently re-priced lounge access membership plans. While this might “cost” them money on the individual scale, they might actually make more money due to the likely increase in volume of memberships purchased.

  13. Allow “purchase” of Choice Benefits with sky miles. Heck, they probably would even make money on this one.

    On the other hand, doing something which shows good will, like a couple of free lounge guest passes for Medallions, might very well make them money in the long run even if it costs them just a little up front. DL is sorely lacking in the good will department.

  14. I agree that the aspect that DL really needs to focus on would be the demonstration of their appreciation for customer’s loyalty.. even ones who bring in lower revenue such as lowly Silvers. Therefore, it makes sense for them to give better access to medallion reps for Silver Medallions… DL really needs to step up their phone support!

  15. If you don’t want to put FO in Sky Priority, at least give us our own boarding zone that doesn’t include Amex card holders. United has something like six boarding zones even for a little crj. Also pleeeeeease do rollover MQS. I have silver with 45 segments. It stings a little to read about people getting much higher status with so few segments. So much travel on cramped little planes…

  16. Young_ThoRough Reply

    How bout keeping it simple digitize the HOOU into the fly delta app or medallion bag tag barcode. I shouldn’t have to waste a sheet of paper for that coupon to show something that should already be known, that I am elite medallion. No overhead on that one and hopefully minimal cost to implement.

  17. Enable the ability to book an award ticket and a paid ticket on the same itinerary, instead of creating separate PNRs.

  18. Allowing silver to board with all other medallions. We have status too!!

  19. Allow free access to the SkyClub to anyone with a domestic first class ticket, whether they bought it, got it with Skymiles, or were upgraded. This is basically what they do with international first class/business elite, correct? Once the new rules are in effect, I’ll no longer get in for free with my husband and his Platinum Amex when we’re traveling domestically; we’ll have to pay $29 for my access to the club. This would be a nice perk that wouldn’t cost Delta anything.

  20. Have the HOOU in the app so I don’t have to find a printer. Mild choice benefits for GM, 2 system wide upgrades, perhaps.

  21. Make the HOOU coupon part of the electronic boarding pass and free or discounted WiFi for first class passengers.

    The first suggestion would cost nothing and the second one should not cost much.

  22. Allow the same award space to any level medallion level. Clearly they have made an investment in Delta already.

  23. Delta should be more vigilant about the already established boarding rules. The GA should clear the Sky Priority lane before the start of boarding and then turn away those who attempt to board out of turn.

  24. Boarding DM w/First won’t work for tight turns, since 1st frequently boards while the cleaning crews are finishing the back, but it would be nice otherwise. Free GoGo for DM & PM would certainly be a nice thank-you for all those MQDs!!

  25. Free samples of additional food items provided by businesses for marketing purposes.

  26. Better food service– new items more often; allow pre-purchase to ensure enough of each food item; allow longer period for breakfast sale; more fresh items such as bags of baby carrots, fruit salad, etc.

  27. Give a boarding perk to FO. SkyPriority would be nice but even just something to separate from the general populace. Maybe a GoGo perk of some sort.

  28. iwantmoremiles Reply

    Add 4 free passes to Delta Club if you get the Delta credit card.

  29. They could amend there new rule on no free upgrades jfk – lax , that once the door is closed if there are empty first class seats the FA could move DM ‘s and PM ‘ s and GM’s up in order of status !!

  30. Keep the Boarding area clear and stop the mad bunch up at the start of boarding.

  31. The boarding process needs rework. People are so desperate to get onboard for bag space I’ve seen it sometimes nearly come to blows. They need to enforce the boarding zones and not let those out of turn get onboard. It shouldn’t be such an ordeal.

  32. Give folks a fixed number of free hours of GoGo with their medallion level, increasing with increasing level. GoGo wins; folks get to use the service and see how useful it can be, and perhaps be willing topaz for it later. Delta wins: medallions feel as if they’ve gotten something of genuine worth at minimal cost to the airline.

  33. Delta should expand the premium meals that they offer on certain routes out of JFK to routes out of their other hubs. Diamonds who don’t get an upgrade should get a discount. They will still make money. Another idea is to make the HOOU coupons available on the App so you don’t need access to a printer to use them. I like the idea of Diamonds boarding with first class. There will be 10+ boarding on long-haul flights who don’t get upgraded. We can console each other.

  34. OK idk if its low cost?! but maybe throught fuel savings?! Upgrade the regional planes that fly TYS-ATL!

  35. I’d really like to see them enforce the bag size rule or allow FO’s to grab EC seats earlier.

  36. Enforcing how many carry-ons some passengers take onboard and then fill up all the bins above my seat.

  37. Boarding for silver before Group 1.
    Lounge guest passes when flying Delta

  38. Do something about the boarding process. Those zone 3&4 folks who hoard the boarding door when first is called are a neusciance. Also enforce the carryon size and amount.

  39. In the boarding process Delta should use lanes that correspond to the boarding zones. They sort of do this at NRT. It would cost Delta a little for the signage and some type of divider between the lanes, but it should reduce the time for boarding and reduce the stress and chaos that reigns at most domestic gates. If boarding time is reduced, Delta could increase the utilization of it planes which could save a ton. Because I have already submitted a comment this will disqualify me from a chance to win, but I never win anyway.

  40. Allow Elite flyers to NOT get their bags measured and/or number of items counted and make Coach Class flyers without status adhere to strict carryon rules, speeding up the boarding process for everyone.

  41. Priority boarding to anyone without carryons (Just a purse or small backpack or computer case) , then let the Gold and Silver Medallions on the plane, even with carryons.

  42. I’d say anything for silver. They get nothing special. Likely I’m GM…..for now

  43. Definitely enforce the bag size check and maybe start offering (selling) mini bottles of champagne of domestic flights!

  44. replace some of the “Crappy” snacks from the skyclub and replace them with similarly priced “good” snacks.

  45. I really like the idea of Diamonds being able to board earlier, particularly on elite-heavy routes (yep, those flights where there are 90 elites on the upgrade list).

  46. It would be nice to be able to search for award flights on the iPhone app.

  47. Free SkyClub guest passes based on level (thanks to the recent and ridiculous change).

  48. Just don’t do anything for at least one year (i.e. NO more devaluations).

  49. Allowing medallions (all) to bring one additional person with entry to skyclub given the new “enhancement”. This would be a nice perk for loyal flyers, while not overcrowding the line for carrot sticks and skunky beer. Also a choice of gogo passes in skybonus rewards would be an easy thing to add.

  50. Give us back decent booze and beer in Sky Clubs. IF they are “thinning the herd” with new Sky Club changes they should be able to give us good drinks again.

  51. Deltasegmentrunner Reply

    1. Get rid of CRJ200’s from tri.
    2. Let Diamonds board early.
    3. Give Diamonds 10 companion lounge passes or let first class in.
    4. HOOU coupons in app.

    Btw delta without me complaining first just gave me 25000 miles for two cancelled flights and many delays last week.

  52. Implement a Southwest boarding process based on your zone, should help eliminate the swarms during boarding.

  53. Day of flight gate comp upgrade to biz/first for any remaining seats on flights to HI for DM.

  54. Show that you appreciate people who get status instead of daring them to switch. If I ran my business like they do, I’d be out of business.

  55. Simplify! So many rules, regulations, and exceptions, it’s like the tax code. I think one reason Southwest has any loyalty at all is they have simplified the rules and fees for their customers. Delta could learn a lesson from this.

  56. Boarding is the number 1 place they can affect change for free! Start boarding on time, enforce carry on size requirements, enforce boarding zones. Doing these things will make boarding less rushed and will have give it a more polished feel instead of the same feeling you get fighting for a black friday deal on thursday night!

  57. Being able to price/book awards on the mobile site or app. Using the full site on a phone is a pain!

  58. Give Silver’s Sky Priority or at least board them before zone 1.

    It would seem important to treat Silvers a little better than they currently are treated because any NEW Delta loyalists are going to come from the Silver ranks……so why not hook them early.

  59. I would say the boarding process, too many people board in the sky group, maybe DM and PM then gold then silver… I hesitate to suggest enforcing the carry on size, but certainly limiting it to one bag is appropriate.

  60. Yes Yes Yes to Rene’s suggestions. Show us lowly silvers a bit of love. Just a little something to make us think we are valued.

  61. Board Silver prior to zone 1 (Amex holders). This doesn’t need to be with the rest of sky priority, but something to note that your frequent customers are appreciated more than someone with a card (who may not spend anything or generate any value with it).

  62. enforce carry on size ₩ and amounts then maybe boarding zones

  63. Choice rewards for gold would be a great option! Lounge passes for credit cards too.

  64. Delta could realistically treat Medalion memebers differently as ‘special’ and be consistent with the perks they hand out.

  65. Delta App:
    – Be able to search & book award tickets in App
    – Maintain the App better

    Perks:
    – Diamonds should receive a certain amount of GoGo Inflight Wifi passes to be used during that status year
    – For Diamonds/Platinum Members, they receive 15 companion lounge passes valid for 1 year
    – Silver, Gold, & Platinum members receive 2 international Eco-Comfort passes

    Boarding:
    – Diamonds board with first class/business elite
    – Platinum/Gold/Silver board as one group
    – Then Zone 1 etc…
    – Have more organized boarding procedures instead of the usual horde of people crowding the jet way (maybe have stanchions set up to guide each zone to the jet way, could possibly ease the chaos)

    In-Flight:
    – Offer more premium meals on more routes
    – Diamonds and Platinum should have access to at least one free movie on longer haul flights
    – Diamonds & Platinum’s should receive a bottle of water at their seat if located in coach (a small consultation prize for not getting upgraded)

    Those are just some of the ideas that are floating out there (after typing this, I read the comments above and went back and added the In-Flight Section, those would be some really good changes)!

  66. Any improvement in the boarding process would benefit all Delta flyers. And that improvement includes enforcing the carry on bag limits as to size and number of bags.

  67. Better trained (MUCH better trained) agents. Years ago I was trying to book award seats to China and I had several agents try to tell me that CAN (guangzhou) was NOT in China.

  68. Fix the award calendar and allow me to hold a free flight for at least 24 hours so that my husband can make a reservation that matches mine.

  69. Allow Silver status folks to board early…like how it used to be.

  70. Silver to sky priority for boarding and security purposes.
    Better phone support for silver.

  71. Fix the boarding mess at the gate. Too many zone 2-3 folks crowding the gate and boarding with Sky Priority forces Medallions to crowd gate as well.

  72. What about upgrades for Medallions for overseas flights? It can’t cost any more to fill those seats.

  73. I’d like to see all FOs, GMs, PMs and DMs offered a bottle of water either by the gate agent as their ticket is being scanned or by a flight attendant as they are boarding the plane.

  74. Bag size limit on carry-ons enforcement. Also a couple of guest Club passes for Delta AmEx flyers would be nice to offset the recent bad news.

  75. I *LOVE* your idea #3: Enforce the cabin bag “size check”.

    As I PM, I board with the SKY group, so I don’t have to worry about overhead space for myself. But people trying to lug WAY TOO MUCH and WAY TOO BIG carry-ons slow down the entire boarding process for everyone! They drive me insane. The only addendum I’d add, is that if someone tries to bring too much carry-on junk, their punishment is it all gets thrown in an incinerator! 🙂

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