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Is flying Delta now the same as sitting in on a Time Share presentation?

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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.


I love sitting in on time share presentations. Why? Not because I would ever in my life buy a timeshare, but I love being able to get the free perks offered for putting up with the sales presentation. Also, I love being able to show the sales rep how I travel for pennies on the dollar with points and most times staying nearly free at the location of the timeshare presentation!

A free presentation is quite different than paying for a seat on the Delta jet. But if you think about it flying Delta nowadays has become a full-press-timeshare-presentation (we are ham sandwiches to the VPs ya know). Just take a look. As soon as you check in they charge for your bag (this kinda warms you up to paying btw). Then it’s time for snacks and drinks you can pay for those. Want to watch a movie or television show that’s for sale and if you need your buds they’re $2 a set! The new thing is selling seat upgrades in the air – yep – if you wish to upgrade your seat like to Economy Comfort Delta will sell you an upgrade at 32,000 feet (so don’t even think of switching seats)!

Lastly before landing we also have the presentation for the Delta American Express® Gold Card. Well this one I kinda agree with but they are many times offering the wrong product. For many flyers the Delta Platinum or Reserve card is a much better choice and the only option they are allowed to suggest is the Gold American Express card.

delta-FA-hand-unit sales

What could be next you ask? What about a pitch for Delta Vacations? Sorry Delta Vacations does not earn MQD credit but on that next long flight an FA could sell you a hotel/car AND Delta flight at a “great price”. Maybe he or she can book it all for you on the hand unit!

Let’s continue down this line for a bit. Say your flight is delayed and no connections today – so sorry. But we can at least book a hotel for you on-board right now that way when you land you can go right to the hotel shuttle pickup location. Don’t need a hotel, how about a car rental since you can’t fly.

The part that frustrates me most about this is the amount of time this takes for an FA rather than being focused on both details and enjoyable flight experience; their main goal from now on is selling you every single product possible once the boarding door closes. Does it bother you that everything other than air in the seat you paid for now costs extra when flying Delta? Do you think an FA’s job is the new revenue management front line agents? Let me know (cross check and all sell) – 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. Sadly, I think this is the way *all* US carriers are trending. US Air really started this upsell-like craze when they started advertising on the tray tables. Most airlines have pretty blatant advertising on their cocktail napkins already…and no, not just their name. I’d like to blame it on fuel prices, but I think we all know that’s not really true; it’s the poor management at the top that is brining in fewer dollars/passenger while the need to earn more and more money is the real bottom line. Since I’ve cut down on travel for work, all my real flying is done via international carriers for primarily personal reasons, in business or first, and paid for through miles but flown on international carriers. Anymore, I’ve pretty much declared all US carriers (aside from VX and WN, really) as personae non grata.

  2. “everything other than air in the seat you paid for now costs extra “. Remember the SNL skit from a few years ago where the FA is charging for everything and then the emergency masks drop down and she says “that will be $75 for oxygen to flow to your mask”?
    Don’t give them any ideas Rene! Great post.

  3. Wow you have missed one simple concept. There is no free lunch! Let’s step back to you activities and those that you promote on your blog. I have no issues with “working the system” I have issues with you complaining about the company figuring out ways to pay for your free flights. What you promote is not reality for many people and unless you devote your time to doing this you will be a Hack just like stating a diet and failing to stop eating crap! Milage runs for the most part take seats away from people who could use the to make trips that matter. My father inlaw needed to fly today to be with his dying brother (short notice trip) this week and the costs are very high.
    Why are they high? Hmmm it costs a lot of money to issue credit cards over and over to the same person, it costs a lot to handle your free bags, your upgrades all the Free Stuff you enjoy is paid on the backs of the average family that most likely cannot get the cards you posess. You are driving up the cost of doing business, directly my business I own my one company and have to travel, I am at the mercy of Delta or others for seats I can afford. If your butt is in that seat via points or MR you are costing me money. Not to mention you will advance on the upgrade list ahead of me when I could sure use a bigger seat in first to do a little work or god forbid get some sleep. Yep I have a Delta Platinum Card and Platinum status. Earned without the tools you employ to work the system. I hope that the new rules will get some of the freeloaders in the back of the plane where they deserve to be. I am amazed that you have figured out how to work the system, I am pleased the Delta is making it harder for people to take away what I have earned from being a loyal customer. I would hope that you would take half of your new found 191k in miles and make a difference is someone’s world that is not as smart as you or flexible when it comes to travel.
    How about sending a family to Disney, you got the miles. I would help find some people to offer up some hotel points for rooms. You up for the challenge??

    • @Jim – wow quite the rant. First sorry for you loss. Now on to the rest of the rant. Anyone can follow my tips and enjoy the perks. Those who don’t can enjoy the ride back in coach. The Delta changes will do nothing to remove those who game the system; in fact the new rule REWARD gamers much more than those who are flyers like you – that is unfair but the new #Skymiles2015 rules. Those like you will get hit the hardest. I would suggest getting AMEX Reserve card to get more MQMs so you can make Diamond and get more upgrades. Oh, btw, I give a ton of money each year to charity but I always give with my US BANK FlexPerks card as gives 3x points worth 6% for charitable donations and enjoy the tax write off – I would never ever give points I work hard to earn and enjoy the perks of earning these points!

  4. They know they have a captive audience (where can we go once the doors are locked without going to jail), so they are now taking advantage of it.

    It stinks for us, but it makes business sense. Thank goodness for noise cancelling headphones that you can wear the entire flight now.

  5. I feel sorry for the FAs. They can’t enjoy hawking. I’ve been impressed with Delta staff at all levels — check in, lounge, gate, on board. I’d rather see them doing professional duties.

  6. Doesn’t bother me as I admire it. Delta management knows how to maximize profit. While we can complain and debate rewards programs all day long, as a business owner I respect many of these practices. They have a captive audience; why NOT monetize them?

    Similar setup… You don’t pay $99 to enter Magic Kingdom for a day of fun. You pay $99 for the privilege of buying snacks, meals, and souvenirs.

  7. No wonder the availability, “price”, and convenient schedules have all gone down the tubes in recent times for Skymiles “awards”. Delta is pushing their Gold Card on every passenger!! What kind of “award” is it when you have to scour the entire US for low award airports, only to find so many of them are “red eye” and other undesirable flights.

  8. Don’t forget the solicitations for the charity of the day. I think that is what annoys me the most. It appears that every aircraft has at least one FA who either has some sort of disease, or a family member who has just been diagnosed with some sort of terminal illness.

  9. Darth Chocolate Reply

    Obviously, you have not done a whole lot of flying on domestic Chinese carriers. Ads on the back of tray tables. Ads on the front of tray tables. Ads on the little headrest disposable cloth. Videos with ads for the entire flight.

  10. @Jim — I disagree that mileage runners are taking seats which should be put to other uses. DL discounts these seats because they are not selling — if only few seats were available then higher prices would prevail and MRers could no longer afford them.

    Re FAs selling stuff: They appear to get a commission for doing so. An FA won’t give out an Amex application without writing a source code on it and they all seem to have their own codes. I imagine something is kicked back to them. This may extend to other products or services they sell as well.

  11. It is sad to see all airlines and delta in particular turning themselves in to restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores and super markets instead of focusing on enriching the customer experience and customer service. What business has airline got to do in promoting shopping? This is sad state of affairs. We need to go back to what we were before year 2000 where I really enjoyed flying. Now it is more of a pain rather than pleasure. During those days the airlines really bothered about customer service and not just selling things. I don’t think we will ever get those golden days back.

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