For crying out loud main stream press, GET OVER PASSENGER SHAMING from Delta! BASIC Delta fares are NOT shameful (but do avoid them if an elite)!

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gary view from the wing on delta basic fares

It is just amazing to me what ends up getting national press coverage. Everyone seems to be going ape crazy over the item I touch on the other day from the piece from the LA Times about Delta shaming passengers with BASIC fares.

My fellow blogger Gary was on TV yesterday and please do check out his post and the video and his very correct and reasonable evaluation of Delta BASIC fares. Also notice how the news person was just about ready to jump out of their skin and seemed frustrated that Gary would not jump on the bash Delta band wagon over this. Why?

First off, I have posted about the evils of basic fares a number of times. If you are a Delta Elite Medallion flyer you want to avoid this fare at all costs. We know Delta brags that their warnings are causing flyers, at least two thirds of them, to avoid buying these fares at checkout. And well they should, but not for shameful reasons. The restrictions on this “Spirit like” fare are so crippling that saving a few dollars on a round trip is just not worth it to me as an elite flyer to miss an upgrade or all the other perks we usually get on other normal fares.

So just why is this topic getting such national attention? It is simply because it is a topic easily understood by the normal flying public. Delta has made such shameful changes to SkyMiles that if it could be simply “boxed” and shown to the masses in an understandable way it would be making national news everyday all year long. However, the general public does not understand the value of points travel (like you do, my dear reader). They do not understand that a stopover, which is lost now with SkyMiles 2015, is a massive shameful devaluation of their points. They do not understand that a potential 1 million mile award ticket in the foreseeable future could virtually makes their SkyMiles balance worthless. The general flying public does not understand all the shameful changes Delta has made over the past years.

Sorry but this shaming issue really is a non issue! If someone wants a cheap, and yet Delta reliable service, buy a BASIC Delta fare. For crying out loud, just get a Delta AMEX credit card and check your bag FREE and you will not have to board last. Even if you do get a middle seat for a one or two hour flight you will survive. You will even still get Biscoff cookies (all you want) plus water or a free soda and Delta will likely be on time virtually guaranteed to complete your flight that day no matter what. This BASIC Delta fare issue is not a national issue. The other things Delta is doing to the SkyMiles program that is shameful, that is passenger shaming, we should be yelling about. – Rene


  1. As a person who is “Points literate” but a Delta “outsider” (by dumb luck it’s one of the few programs I’m not investmented) here is my perspective:

    I’ve read enough agony over Delta’s devaluations to conclude that they are leading the devaluation pack. I have to believe as other companies evaluate Delta and their own programs, any bad news for Delta is good news for the rest of us right? Like…Kmart/Sears could devise the perfect frequent shopper program, but no rational retailer is going to follow Kmart or Sears in anything.

    I work in the Consumer Foods industry and I can tell you a lot of terrible and self-defeating practices are copied and implemented everyday purely because a “(market leader) is doing it”.

    So – from that perspective, I agree with your logic, but I am also thrilled with any bad publicity Delta receives (for all of our sakes) as long as I continue to see them as a major threat to the points and rewards programs we all know and love.

    Just my perspective, and perhaps I’m giving their influence too much credit. I said I’m points literate, not an “expert” 🙂

  2. Precisely, Rene. As usual they’re harping on the wrong issue. Here Delta is offering a product some of its customers will be interested in and some won’t. And it’s being bashed for full disclosure, exactly what it should be doing.

  3. The biggest shame offenders IMO are frequent flyers – calling economy flights “torture” or “cattle class” or “unwashed masses” or “gate lice” etc.

  4. Ha! This week (granted I stood by for an earlier flight), last row, window my very enjoyable middle seat mate was a 6′ 300# gentleman. He could not sit in the seat without spreading his legs and taking up about 5″ of my seat in the shoulder area. I spent more intimate time with him this week than I did with my husband!

  5. I saw that story this morning on TV and it made me cringe. It’s a solid business practice to reduce frills and offer (as an option) a more basic product to appeal to a specific audience motivated by value.

    Let people pick exactly what is important to them – no more and no less.

    When I go to a restaurant do I feel “shamed” when it comes to eating a-la-carte? No! I order what I want and I certainly don’t feel guilty if that is just an appetizer or salad.

  6. I am not a FF or even come close to having medallion status. I only fly one to two times a year. I have to say that these “basic” fares have only helped my travels. I do however have a Delta AMEX card and being Zone 1 makes a world of difference when it comes to getting on the plane and getting situated. We didn’t have to worry about checking our bag or running out of overhead space because of the full flight. The wife and I just flew RT from ATL to TPA for 7500 skyrubles because of the sale. We were able to go to a wedding in St. Pete and save tons of money!

  7. Coach is “cattle class” and riding in a CRJ is “torture” for a FF. Why?

    I’ll usually fly 4-6 times a week and being in coach kills my body. This week I only had to fly MYR-ATL rt in C+. It wasn’t bad for 45 minutes, but the amount of personal space is minimal.

    Now, if you fly 1X/year on vacay then who cares. Enjoy the cheap fare, don’t carry anything on and check your bag.

    Comparing these two types of travelers and what they have to endure when flying is no different from comparing apples to rocks!

  8. Well put Rene. I’m a non-elite and took the easy $0.01 / mile option redemption option with my Amex for a basic economy fare (x 3 seats) ATL-FLL on the Friday before Labor Day. Not a tough choice with the devaluations. Fare was $108 when booked. If that jet is as full as I think it will be, and with my son in a car seat (FAA says ONLY window seat for him, nothing in exit, one row in front or behind) I like our odds for a bumpertunity or getting economy comfort. If not, we’ll still load early and no more than one of us will sit between the two fat guys in the back of the bus!

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