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What would be the first question you would ask Delta’s CEO Richard Anderson?

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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.

freddie awards at flight museum in atl 2015

I have never met Richard Anderson. Years ago, if I had, I would have told him that, despite all the naysayers, Delta is amazing and irrespective of the haters Delta is the best airline in the world. Today, well, really not so much due to the destruction of the frequent flyer program this year and last year (not just earnings but redemption as well).

I hope at the Freddie awards in Atlanta, a little over a month away, I will, either at the event itself or the many other events surrounding it, have the chance to speak with him one on one for a bit. What will be the first thing I ask after introducing myself?

“Why do you want to destroy SkyMiles?”

Now I am sure he will give me the stock answer and say something like we had to make a industry leading change and or our research shows most elites like these changes. Also he will explain how the two fold redemption’s this year also show that the new program is working as planned. I will answer:

Your data is wrong and the reason for the high redemption of awards this year is because folks are terrified to their bones over what is coming next after the constant waves of devaluations to the program! I myself burned 1 MILLION SkyMiles this year alone.

If I can I will also share how upsetting it is to see REAL VALUE stripped away from SkyMiles like stopovers disappearing. Next, Delta breaking the website to be able to use it to put together an award that clearly shows LEVEL 1 space leg by leg. It is so frustrating that we can no longer do what we could before on and now it over charges you for two tickets. Oh and clearly I will mention the shameless move to remove the award charts from

Those three would be the ones I would desperately like to talk about with him if I have the chance. Will he listen? I have no idea. I have been told he never reads a letter twice, that is, he acts on something once to be efficient. Perhaps, if anything I share has an impact, he can act on it as the lower suits have not told him the truth of the matter and just how upset flyers are.

I am under no illusion that Delta will win anything this year at the Freddie’s (be sure to vote for someone btw). Delta had NO shot last year. Delta was barely mentioned the year before that. This year it will be embarrassing for the hosts in Atlanta (not that they will not be outstanding hosts for the event itself). Next year I hope Delta just decides not to even send reps to attend the 2016 event unless they start making some positive changes to SkyMiles.

I guess that brings this down to you this weekend. What do you think my first question to Richard Anderson should be? Am I asking the right one? What questions would you ask if you had the chance to sit down with him one on one?- 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. Young_Tho®ough Reply

    What is your greatest driving motivation behind your stance towards another north Georgia commercial airport? What it’s your stance? Where would be your preference and would DAL expand operations to your preferred GA additional location?

  2. Ask him nothing, Rene, knowing that whatever question you ask will illicit a standard bunk, talking-point answer like the ones provided from the comments/complaints section on Tell him that many of your readers have been loyal delta flyers for years and years who have been pumping money into the company through all the ups and downs. Tell him that the avalanche of devaluations to the skymiles program and the way many of them were announced or just flat out covered up have left many feeling disrespected and insulted. While mergers have limited our options, many (me for one) are taking their business elsewhere. That would be a start but not a complete list.

  3. Santastico Reply

    1) When are you going to retire and let someone that cares and respects Delta’s loyal customers run this company?
    2) I understand you are greedy and loves to brag all about your company being the best, bla bla bla but do you realize that without us (customers) your company has nothing? Do you realize that if we get really tired of how you disrespect us and stop flying on your planes your stock price will tank as fast as your planes can reach 10,000 feet?
    3) While you work on your way to get out of the door, could you please take your bragger face out of the safety video? We don’t need to see your face there.

  4. Rene,
    CEO’s hate to get caught up in the minutiae of their business. Open up with a question he might get from an institutional investor, such as what is the one force that will propel your stock up another 20 pts? Once he is talking about something that interests him and not you, than you ask him if he believes all loyalty programs will eventually go away. If he says no, than follow up with what is the one greatest aspect of the loyalty program for his customer, that puts a smile on his face. Those type of questions are big picture topics that he can easily answer and engage with. The details of what has negatively impacted you as a passenger is not something that will engage him or open him up to further conversation. Or you can do some research and find out where he went to school and comment on something interesting about that, or what charity he gives to the most, or what he thinks his kids most accomplished endeavor was. I have tried to bring up my own pet peeves with the powers that be at the 3 airlines I have worked for and believe me, it got me nowhere. They hear complaints all the time. They want to talk about forward moving, grand scale ideas that ignite some passions for them personally or professionally. Once you have then hooked, then bring up the future of all loyalty programs, and then how he thinks is best customers are receiving all the changes to his program. Not specific things that bug you, but the concepts. You will at least get 3 minutes of his time if you don’t delve into your pet peeves. Even if they are legitimate to you and to us.

  5. “Why haven’t you delivered more value to your shareholders? Employee bonuses are nice – but pay them in restricted stock, not cash.”

  6. What is the value of not posting changes to Sky Miles in advance?

  7. Rene, I would ask him if the savings from the major Skymiles devaluations for flyer been offset by the increased profit and benefits to Delta business? In other words are the gains worth the losses to Delta’s bottom line?

  8. Ask him if DL as the largest partner in the Skyteam can help make their website more user friendly to integrate flights with their partners

  9. Ask him to explain why MQS’s don’t roll over like MQM’s? Especially now that MQD’s are the first step to status any way. It doesn’t make sense at all. you earn either MQM or MQS (along with MQD) for status, why does only one roll over? Thanks

  10. I would ask the very same questions, and add another. Why is Delta essentially rewarding people who can earn miles through credit card spending (that usually has more to do with everyday expenses,) than actual airline loyalty? As you have pointed out in the past, these days flying to earn miles is the slowest way to earn them. Much better to sign up for the Delta Platinum Reserve AMEX card than to actually fly Delta!!!

    • @Annie – I can answer that one. Look at the 2 Billion (that is “B” Billion) dollar deal with AMEX.

  11. I think you have great questions. Whether ol’ Dick provides any worthwhile answers is a different story. I’d imagine that he considers those annoying, pestiferous customer types to be just a big pita that stand in the way of a fatter bonus check for him.

  12. Agree with @Scott — know your audience. Your blog’s speculations and questions are appropriate for its audience — though generally poorly written considering your target demographic per recent readership polls — not for C-suite.

  13. I would ask him what his plans are to ensure Delta remains the best airline in the U.S. and how he plans on making sure Delta is returning profits to shareholders. I’ll probably be called a heretic, but my loyalty to Delta goes far beyond a loyalty program. The loyalty program is a nice perk and I take advantage of it, but I want to see them successful as a business most of all. (No, I don’t own any Delta stock, but I’m considering making it a small portion of my portfolio as I’m an aviation geek and they have been making some decent returns in an industry I love.)

  14. Mr. Anderson,
    As a million miler, I have flown a lot on your airline. What about removing the spend limit to reach status for million milers?

  15. dotti cahill Reply

    why do they want to irritate their loyal customers so much????

  16. This ain’t a job interview, right? So instead of impressing Anderson with your questions, IMO tell him what you think and why you believe what you are saying is correct. Honest, objective opinions are something CEO’s may not hear much. Then see what he has to say. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think there will be much of a real conversation. Hopefully, I’m wrong. Good luck.

  17. Julie Bartz Reply

    i would challenge him and his top 20 executives to take the longest nonstop route sitting in the middle seats which don’t recline and see if maybe they think how corrupt their seats are to the average traveler.

  18. #4’s first three questions are right.

    Then follow up with : The next time the economy has problems, what will you be doing to win back the frequent fliers who have left you over your gutting of the frequent flier program? Wouldn’t it have been cheaper in the long run to just not mess over your FFs in the first place? Or are you planning on bailing before then?

  19. You could suggest that some of your readers have worked for large public companies and are familiar with 10-K’s (Annual reports for the SEC from the large public companies), and find it puzzling that Delta rarely mentions the airline’s best customers’ satisfaction with the product. Why is that you never mention or seem to maintain a running KPI (key performance indicators) that compares year-to-year customer satisfaction at all levels – contract companies fliers, Elite status – Diamond, Platinum, Gold & Silver plus regular flyers. As a CEO, I would really be interested in the trends.

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