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Top 10 DUMB things Delta does that they could & should fix in 2016.

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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.

not smart
Yeah, that is dumb!

Delta, clearly, does a bunch of things right. But you know just because you do some things right, does not mean the DUMB things you do can’t offset the good things.

Just what kind of dumb things am I talking about? Well as someone who has flown over two hundred segments with Delta over the past two years I think I can really speak with authority when I tell you what they need to fix.

Many of these will not cost Delta much money, and could even end up making them more money. That should be motivation alone to spur Delta to action. Let’s take a look at my top ten list if you will.

1) Food problems. I guess I could have broken this one out into many, but simpler to have in just one. We know Delta does well when it comes to meals in the air. They are even making them better in 2016. But there are three GLARING issues. First, not being able to pre-select meals means they often run out of your first choice. Other airlines allow this so why not Delta? The second one is NOT following FEBO, if they cannot do the first one then follow FEBO ordering that is Front Even Back Odd number flights so we can at least plan where to sit. The last is the DUMB food dead zone between 2-4 PM on long flights. Just end this please.

2) No seat change notice. I cannot believe Delta IT is not smart enough to tell us when they have, for whatever reason a.k.a. equipment change etc., bumped us out of our favorite seat. Delta is all about selling the “travel experience” in 2016 and our seat choices matter. Please TELL US if you change us. I mean if Award Wallet can do it, surely mighty Delta IT can as well.

3) Additive prices. It really is so stupid to charge 2x, or more, for a SkyMiles award. I mean Delta is already, most times, charging so much more than most airlines for an award ticket but the arrogance of adding another one way on top of inflated ridiculous prices is just insane and dumb. Just stop it Delta. It is shameful and you can fix the tech to stop this if you want to.

4) Can’t combine Vouchers. “Back in the day”, that is, about 4 years ago this month, you could combine a bunch of vouchers from bumps etc. You could even give them to someone else to spend. They were basically Delta CASH. Then Delta snapped back to prevent people from selling them on eBay and even went to only one per person. You can use up to 3 Delta e-Gift cards per ticket, but only one of the “other” type. This needs to be fixed. I get only for you and those with you but let us use up to 3 like with e-Gift cards.

5) Shena. We all should know that officially when you board you give up your right to a medallion upgrade. That is why many of us join #TeamBoardLast to score that last upgrade seat. But we should not have to play this game. A GA or gate agent should not be SO worried about on-time departure that they cannot go onboard and upgrade the elite who was #1 on the list. Or, they should tell them that they should wait to board (a simple fix).

6) Forced gate check for elites. The day a gate agent forces me to gate check my carry-on is the day I will be taking another flight. We should all know by now if you are Zone 2 or higher you are likely going to be forced to check your bag. But, elites can board through the Sky Priority lane when they want after 1st class & DM’s have boarded. So whenever they board they should never EVER be forced to gate check a bag. Space can be found for those few elites late to the gate!

7) Delta studio issues. Now I know Gogo is basically the one in charge, if you will, with Delta studio but then the mothership should push or punish them for not fixing it. It does not work with any Android phones and that is ridiculous. It does not work with Windows 10 and that is beyond ridiculous. Even when you have a working device it does not work many times and that is shameful. Delta, fix Delta Studio now!

8) RU & GU upgrade space. Regional and Global upgrade certificates was a brilliant idea. We value them as elites and especially the Global ones as they are the one way we can upgrade on international flights as medallions. But we know revenue management is so tight on giving up space that 100% empty flights will often not have one single seat for RU or GU use. That is just wrong. When you post a flight offer a set number of seats always. If we miss the chance to book those, well, then it is our fault not yours!

9) CRJ200s! Delta you promised to park more of these as fast as possible. Now we have rumors from regional pilots web boards that you are doing the opposite, that is, bringing more of them back on-line for us to “enjoy”. You know we all HATE these “evil” things. Of all the things you can do to really upset us – THIS – is one that could drive folks to seek out other (less torturous) travel experiences, like flying other airlines (now that SkyMiles is all but worthless) or even taking a bus.

10) SDC changes (you pick what version). I can tell you, dearest Delta, few things upset Delta elites more than Same Day Change changes. Go back to what you had that worked. Allow us to change if there is a seat in the CABIN of service we booked. If we booked coach, any open seat should work. Let us get home an hour or two sooner rather than let the seat get filled with a Delta employee. Reward our loyalty dollars. Please!

So this is my list of stupid things Delta does that they really could fix and would be #KeepClimbing events that would motivate more loyalty dollars being spent on Delta tickets rather than other airlines. What do you think of my list? Do you agree? Have I missed anything you feel is a major failing that Delta could change in 2016 if they wanted to? – René

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. Don in ATL Reply

    #1. I took a nothing airline (Pegasus Air) in coach two months ago, and they gave me my menu choices at the time of booking. I selected my meal at booking. I was impressed! If they can do this, DL can. Secondly, there are many, many FA’s who don’t follow FEBO even though has told me repeatedly in writing that this is the policy. Every time we encounter a FA who does not follow FEBO, we should report them by flight number, date and/or name to Maybe after a while, all FA’s will get educated to the policy after being called in for their reviews.

  2. While I agree with most of your list (though with the exception of #3, they seem pretty minor), I strongly disagree with #5 & #6. I fly Delta because they get me where I need to go on time. The GA’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd priorities should be getting the plane out on schedule. If there’s time to upgrade me before departure, that’s great (I see that happen fairly frequently), but as a Diamond, I’d rather sit in a middle seat in Economy than miss (or cause others to miss) a tight connection. Before boarding, I have the info I need to decide if an upgrade is likely, so I can decide to board later – and take the concomitant risk that I may need to gate check a bag. Who is supposed to rearrange the overheads so a DYKWIA can get his or her oversized carry on and carry-on sized “personal item” stored? That’s not the FAs’ responsibility. And what about all the other elites (and plebs) whose bags will necessarily get handled/moved/squashed in the process?

  3. It wouldn’t cost Delta anything to enforce the one carry-on and one personal item rule. The offenders are EASY to spot: They are the DMs with 3 large carry on items fighting to board first because they’ll be filling the entire overhead bin above their seat and they know the GA won’t say anything. GAs could put an end to the abuse by insisting the offenders gate check those items that do not comply when they present their boarding passes.

    I am a DM and a card-carrying member of both #TeamBoardLast and #QuitBeingAPig. From now on when boarding begins I am going to photograph the offenders and their bags. If he/she happens to be sitting in my row, I will insist that he/she remove a bag so I have room for mine.

  4. Rick Christman Reply

    #1 – Allowing us to order meals at time of booking probably has a cost associated with it so, DL won’t do it. FEBO is the worst idea ever. Makes no sense to me.

    #3 – Gets DL out from under a very large liability ($, that is) quicker.

    #5 – I had an upgrade but my wife didn’t so I boarded as a DM. When scanning by boarding pass the GA asked me if I wanted the Coach seat I had originally. I told him I did. Just before closing the door, he came to me a verified that I wanted to stay in Coach which I confirmed was correct. Out of 6 – 7 times I refused U/G because my wife did not get one, this is the only time I was asked to confine I wanted a Coach seat.

    #8 – was told by several agents that Gus are not available FROM AMS. They couldn’t give a reason why. As that is nearly the only gateway to USA from Europe I use, I can say that I’ve never received an upgrade even with a seat open.

  5. There’s absolutely no reason they can’t do something about #2. I completely agree that with the decimation of seat availability, especially with the horrible changes coming in May, they really should so something about this. It’s not like it’s hard to do, they just seem to be too lazy to write a few lines of code to send us an email when they move us to a different seat.

    Here’s another example of how bad their IT staff is: If you use the Add to Calendar feature to add you flight to Outlook, you have to be careful NOT do this immediately from the flight booked confirmation page. This page uses the local time of the flight and does not properly adjust for time zone changes, so you have to go in and manually edit the times. If you book the flight, go away from the confirmation page and back to My Flights and then add it to your calendar, the time zones are all correct. How can they make it work in one place and not the other. I reported this at least 18 months ago and they still haven’t fixed it.

    Regarding #5, I had the crew come move me up front twice after boarding this year. I asked at the gate if I should wait and they said they would come get me. I think it just all depends on the gate agent.

    Regarding #7, Delta Studio won’t work on a Surface Pro 3 (Windows 8) device either and that’s just dumb too.

  6. Exceptional list overall, Rene. I do think that #6 is wrong though. Wayne makes some excellent points about rampant abuse of privileges. Besides that, holding space until just prior to boarding is highly impractical. Most of the time, you end up just blocking out space that won’t be used, so several people are forced to gate check luggage, then there’s overhead space available that goes unused because a few elites might or might not be late.
    As to the CRJ 200’s, why the beef? According to Seatguru, seat width and pitch are both equally horrible as in a CRJ 900. At least in coach, which is where the vast majority of people fly.

  7. Dale Williams Reply

    Maybe what is DUMB is saying these things are DUMB. Putting a logical, non-emotional suggestion and justification in the post might prompt serious consideration by the Mother Ship staff. No one likes to be told what they doing is dumb.

  8. Hi Rene, many items don’t bother me that much. I always were able to get my first choice of meal, etc.
    Anyway, regarding Delta Studio: On my recent fligths last December I wasn’t able to use it on my phone and my tablet. Both are Android devices, and the problem was, I have version 5.1.1 running, and Android is only supported up to version 5.0 … at least according to the error message I got. If this is not dumb, then what is?
    The Delta website states (well did so last time I checked) that Android version 3.2 and above (except for one or two 4.something versions) would be supported.
    Well, information on Delta’s website cannot be trusted 😉

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