Delta 2015 year in review – What was lost and what was gained!

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change from 2015 to 2016

I thought today would be a good day to muse about 2015 and what we have gained and what we have lost as loyal Delta frequent flyers. There is no question about it that it has been another brutal year of “enhancements”. But have we gained or lost more? Let’s take a peek back.

I will start with what we have lost and get the depressing bits out of the way first so we can at least end on a positive note today. Here are the major negative changes I have seen.

  • Hiding award charts. This just makes me sick each time I think about it. United, American and Alaska publish their award and upgrade charts – why can’t Delta?
  • Transcon Diamond upgrades. This one hurt a lot for those of you in JFK, SFO and LAX. I have a feeling a bunch more of you have tested Jet Blue MINT over the past year and liked it.
  • HOOUs for elites gone. This was a really nice perk for elites and not just Diamonds. Now that C+ is going to be an “upgrade” seat as of 16MAY16 I think more of us are going to be sticking in coach and would love to have a HOOU back.
  • Drop in upgrade percentage. Delta is proud of it’s FCM efforts and is winning clearly in 2015. I held my own but missed a number of upgrades that would have cleared in years before as a Diamond.
  • C+ seats for Gold Medallions. Ah yes, do you remember when you did not have to wait to pick seats in C+ as a Gold? Well 2016 will not be any better if that helps at all!
  • RU & GU certs becoming harder to use. When Delta first launched these certs there was a TON of open space. I could clear just about any route if I was a bit flexible. Now there are so many flights with wide open 1st class space and yet Delta has released ZERO seats for RU or GU certs.
  • Slow death of Alaska partnership. Gosh it is sad to see how far down the tubes this has gone in 2015. From points to elite perks and club agreements just about everything is gone.
  • End of AA interlining. You may not know this but if your Delta flight is canceled you will not be put on AA, ever. Delta dumped that agreement in 2015
  • Medallion restrictions on E-fares. Yeah they warn us about it but to have a fare class that you may end up in due to a OTA or a company booking policy that means you get NO elite perks is just sad.

Well that is depressing as all get out to think about is it not? And all of this was just in 2015. So now what about the positives? What was gained in 2015 as a plus for us to focus on?

  • Sky Club upgrades. Gosh the clubs are so much nicer in 2015. From drinks to food to power and faster wifi, all are so much better. Now some would argue we are paying for these improvements that have come at the cost of the +1 upcharge but no matter who is paying the changes are good.
  • Food and hotel vouchers are back. Is bringing something back an improvement? I say it is. Delta once again will, if you ask, give you a $15 voucher for food and even a hotel room if you have to overnight as a result of IROP or a bump.
  • Snack basket and free drinks and movies in C+. Now sure you have to have a 900+ mile flight to get all these perks and getting a Delta FA to come by more than once is just about never going to happen. But this is an upgrade and we like it!
  • Food in 1st class is better. I mean it was good before but more choices are out and on the way. Delta really makes domestic and international food an enjoyable experience.
  • Wine is MUCH better on-board. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have the swill that was served gone now. Having many choices is SOOOO much better than just one bad one.
  • New biz seats with large IFE & power. As much as I dislike the slimline seats in coach, the domestic biz seats are quite good. I love the large, clear and tilting screens with a USB power port right next to the screen. Plus power at each seat is just sweet.
  • Pay with Miles earns MQMs (even in coach). I have to say I dislike only getting 1 cent in value for each of my Delta points, but if I am earning MQMs by spending them I can see the value. Sometimes.

So that is the bad, and the good I have seen from Delta in 2015. Does the good outweigh the bad? No, not really. Plus some of what has been announced during 2015 does not take effect until 2016 so there is that too. Plus I may have missed a few but was really trying hard to find some good to balance the bad – it was a tall ask!

I really wish I could be optimistic about the 2016 flying year but I think something has to change for Delta to start to tip the PRO vs CON factors in our favor and that is less people spending and flying Delta and that just has not happened – yet. – René


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  1. “Does the good outweigh the bad? No, not really.” You are actually seriously trying to weigh disappearing upgrades against better wine and devalued status against a snack basket? Yea, right, sure. Just like taking away my transcon upgrade but giving me a free frozen yogurt bar in C+ is an enhancement. Or making DM more exclusive by raising my required spend. I suspect you have been drinking the Kool-aid in the Skyclub. Is this what happens when you buy into FCM?

  2. Rene, you must be in good holiday spirits. I think you have been very generous with delta on the “enhancements” side. In the major devaluations category, I’d include eliminating r/t/w award tickets, changing the companion policy on C+ to make clearance for these seats based on the status of the lowest level skymiles member in the reservation, and trashing the Korean Air partnership while promoting China Eastern which was on a recent list of the world’s worst airlines.

    It is absurd that delta has the nerve to tell us that an economy seat is an upgrade. But don’t get too comfortable in C+ because now that delta has seen the benefits (to it) of FCM, it won’t be long before the bean counters turn to C+ monetization.

    Sure. All businesses strive to make money. But as I’ve said before, it seems that delta regards customers the way a vampire views the living. It is an analogy that would be easy to expand on. I’m in a holiday mood too; so I will leave it there.

  3. C+ has been monetized for a long time at $65 upgrade. Why the shock and surprise. Compared to steerage it is an upgrade.

    As far as mileage charts go, move past it. If one watches cost in miles for a given route on a given set of dates, you do see it move around. In fact if your attentive, you can find miles prices below the old award charts. I don’t see it as hiding anything. It’s a new system that has a variable rate equation – it can help and hurt!

    The ask for award charts has been the wrong ask. The sky miles pricing algorithm or a fair description of it is what is needed. New system new decider ring. The award chart is anachronism.

    I may sound like I’ve drunk the kool aid. But there is only one domestic airline that doesn’t treat you like cargo. In fact Delta has stepped up and bailed me out when I was being mistreated by the other airlines at no monetary gain to them. My experience e delta is if you don’t act like a DYKWIA big shot the vast majority of delta treats you well.

    My advice as you make you resolutions for next week. Raise those issues that are truely issues and move on when it’s a new system w new rules – learn the new rules vs complaining about wanting the old.

    In the end delta is s business, and as hvc we do want to be afforded benefits as a loyal flyer but too much crying is just complaining to complain.

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