I had a totally different post ready for today, but just had to pop this one up. As someone who flies literally a hundred plus segments a year with Delta, I observe things and can provide a perspective that the folks who run Delta will never see or know about.
You see AA, apparently, when you are a top elite and stuck back behind the curtain, that is, not in 1st class or business class, you get a free meal / snack choice from the beverage cart (and a drink included). Well it seems, according to the FlyerTalk link above, United is following the same course. Now United needs to do whatever it can to keep elites from revolting onboard so this seems like a good move. But if AA is offering this kind of service to top elites, and UA is as well, what about Delta?
After all, Delta is shooting for all elites (well 7 out of 10 that is) to NOT enjoy a “loyalty earned” upgrade to 1st class. No, you are to be sitting in C+, that is if you are if alone, or in the WAY BACK in coach if with your spouse / +1 or your family. So, even as a top spending elite, we need to begin to understand that coach is where we belong unlike the public promise, from a few years ago, by Delta CORP as well as the deep, impressive, voice of the original Hawkeye Pierce, star of the movie MASH, Donald Sutherland!
But that means, now and then, all we get is an “enhanced” snack basket. Here is the thing. It is only for flights over 900+ miles and even then, I have found, 1st class gets to pick over that basket at least as much as C+ (yeah Delta, that is what the FAs are doing – I can attest to that). Unless you have experienced this glorious basket it is nothing like a real meal choice from the “Eats Menu” that Delta offers for sale back in coach. That is a problem. Well that, and the 1st class pilfering is a problem. Yeah, both are a real problem when you look at what the competition is doing.
So Diamonds, including million milers, are going to, in 2016, (and especially even more so after 1JUNE16 when Delta is selling most fare classes for upgrade with $kyRubles option) be flying around back in coach (yeah C+ is coach as well no matter how Delta tries to spin it). They will enjoy middle c+ seats as “upgrades” and have to fight 1st class for crummy snack basket treats when and if they come around on 900+ mile flights. Really? Do you see a problem brewing here? I do!
Delta it seems, according to focus groups, is moving to put “all” the upgrades in one simple place for flyers on Delta.com to “enjoy”. If you think it is hard, right now, to score an upgrade to 1st class (i.e. business class) just you wait for what is next. By the end of 2016 if you are not using some kind of “instrument” to upgrade, that is a cert or money, or “bat crazy” numbers of $kyRubles you will be stuck back behind the curtain. That is what your years of loyalty to Delta have earned you! Do you feel appreciated for all those miles?
But I am veering off topic. I am talking about coach and feeding all the loyal Medallions who will be spending the rest of their lives stuck back in coach on Delta. I do not think what Delta is extending to them, especially the top elites, is enough. It is time for Delta to offer the same perks as the other majors to at least Diamonds if not Diamonds and Platinums stuck back in C+ or coach, that is, a choice off the snack cart and free drinks. If not, they are going to seriously look at the competition and start thinking: “if I am not scoring an upgrade as a Delta elite, where can I get the best deal in coach“? That will not be Delta Air Lines.
Delta needs to remember that “most” elites have continued, year after year, to put up with all the crushing changes and “enhancements” to SkyMiles because they got their upgrades. When that goes away this year, there will be no reason to be loyal to Delta any longer. That is, unless, when stuck back in coach, they are still tossed a bone or two (and maybe a meal choice) to reward YOU for your loyalty dollars given to Delta this year! – René