Upgrades. Medallions are rather, shall we say, interested in them. One very frequent flyer coined the term “tapgrade” to describe the feverish tapping of the Fly Delta app to see if we have moved up or down the upgrade list and if we have at last cleared.
Cleared. That is when the sense of relief and at the same time a wave of excitement hits you; you will be riding in first class on the next flight. Your stress is over and it is time to look forward to your pre-flight beverage and all the other perks that go along with your upgraded seat. But is cleared just what it says it is? Maybe not.
Boarded. Ahhh.. the sense of relief is now mixed with delight as you relax in your seat, drinking a cool refreshing beverage. You feel great anticipation of the wonders to come in your first class cabin seat which is now yours for the duration of the flight. What if, at this moment, the gate agent comes onboard with a worried expression and heads in your direction? What could this be about? Did you leave something behind at the gate that the agent is kindly returning to you? Your mind races with the possibilities, but would being asked to now forfeit your prized first class seat be among them in your mind?
Something just like this happened to a reader, Lee Ann. Think how you would have reacted as she tells us her adventure:
Hi Rene & Delta Points readers.
On Friday of Labor Day weekend I flew from LAX-MIA. I am a Gold Medallion & I was upgraded at the airport (saw my name go off the upgrade list and they gave me a new boarding pass) from Economy Comfort into First. I boarded the plane. I started to enjoy a glass of wine, and settled in.
Then, right at the end of the boarding process, when everyone was on board and the gate agent is closing the flight, she stepped in front of me and confirmed my name. Then she told me that a family of three had purchased the first class seat she upgraded me into and showed up at the last-minute, despite having had their names called several times.
She then moved me and another gentleman into different seats. I was put into a middle seat while the other guy got an aisle because that’s all she had left. We were both put in Economy Comfort. All she did was apologize – even when I expressed that I had lost my original seat, which was a window.
It wasn’t until I got up to use the bathroom that the flight attendants recognized me and apologized further, and offered me wine and snacks.
When I wrote to Delta, they gave me 7,500 miles. I was surprised at this “gesture” considering that they have given me more miles for dirty tray tables and poor service from flight attendants.
The flight was a red-eye and I barely slept because I was in the middle seat and not prepared at all for this. The gate doors should have been closed at the point where they revoked the upgrade and moved my seat.
I really don’t understand why they wouldn’t just rebook those people on another flight. Actually, I do understand – they paid and I didn’t. I’m just a GM.
Have you ever heard of this happening? The flight attendants were surprised and said they had never experienced this before.
PS – Delta did follow up with me and I was offered another 7,500 miles as an apology and shared in part with me:
“Our gate agents have many responsibilities and tasks to perform prior to departure and the last thing we ever want to do is provide a customer a complimentary upgrade and then soon thereafter have to ask you to move to another seat in coach.”
Thank you Lee Ann for sharing your experience. Had this have been me, I would have reacted differently. I would have pushed it. I was boarded and upgraded. I was in my seat. I would have said that announcements are made all the time that 1st has checked in full; to me sitting in my seat, boarded, gives me the right to that seat. I realize that refusing to comply with crew instructions carries a HUGE risk, but I would have said if you are pulling me off the flight now out of my assigned seat I will expect compensation and a 1st class seat on the next flight. Bottom line I would not have just caved and taken whatever seat was now open. At least I would have demanded my old seat back and have that flyer moved as well!
What do you say dear readers. Was a token 7,500 Skymiles enough compensation for this event? Was 15,000 enough and what should have been offered the first time? Would one of Delta’s 1 year free upgrade certificates been the proper compensation? Would you have caused a “ruckus” or just followed the gate agent’s instructions? Delta does read the blog so chime in and tell them what you think! – René