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Rookie Wednesday: Remember Delta equipment swaps can happen any time – and they DO!

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

delta can swap aircraft any time they want to

Everyone knows Delta is all but fanatical about completing each and every flight. No matter what it takes or how many aircraft they have to change, swap, load you on (and off of) and then back on they will finish the flight at some point. Only second to this is departing on time even if that means elites are many times left in coach seats with either an empty 1st class seat or a flight attendant who is waiting for any seat (think #TeamBoardLast) gets the open seat just before the door is closed.

But what Delta is not at all fanatical about is alerting us to when these equipment changes happen. I think this is currently one of Delta’s greatest failings and they don’t seem to care at all about it. It can happen at just about any time and it does.

The most common time this happens is on just about every single Saturday all 52 weeks of the year. If you are not sometime Saturday (or at least Sunday) every week checking all your flights and comparing them to what you booked, you will likely be in for a nasty surprise when you go to check in for your flight. Oh and that perfect seat you so carefully selected – yeah – you are likely not in that one anymore.

But Saturday’s are not the only time this can happen. At just about any time you may find that when you look at your reservation on all of a sudden you are not seated where you thought you were. What can this mean?

  • You may be downgraded back to coach
  • You may no longer be in an aisle seat
  • Your party may not be sitting next to one another

Yep, all of this is very possible and DOES happen (just not that often thankfully). But this means, since Delta is MUTE on alerting us, that it is up to you to check and check often if you don’t want to suffer the results of this.

So what if this happens to you? What are your choices? If it is a regional change it can be huge. If you are no longer flying the airline you booked with (i.e. the regional partner [whatever company] that is painted to look like a real Delta jet) is now no longer the same airline then even if the time is 100% the same you can change free. You may not want to but know that you can.

What if you are downgraded from 1st class (either on a paid or complimentary upgrade). Can you demand 1st class? Sorta. If there are no seats they will not bump someone out of a seat. You can, however, look at just about any other route you want to get you A-B and get your 1st class back. Or, you can push it for some kind of compensation in the form of a credit voucher or SkyMiles for the issue.

What if your family or party are no longer seated together? If there are no seats there is little Delta can do other than again look at other routes. If C+ seats are open I sure would push to put everyone there at no charge to you – they are the one who messed up your past seat selection.

I just wish Delta would either A) simply alert us ASAP when these changes happen or B) give us the ability to again use Award Wallet to notify us when this kind of event has occurred. Sure the latter is not perfect as it is only 1x a day but better than nothing from Delta.

For now, it is up to you and me to be proactive and check and check often! – René


  1. Happened to me. Used RU to get from LAX to MSP. MSP-Home segment was changed from CRJ200 to 700. Used the current upgrade to get moved toF!

  2. Hi Rene, I have a question about upgrade eligibility and equipment change. I have a non-stop JFK/BOG (Bogota, Colombia) flight at the end of Aug on a B757. The original B757 had the domestic first class seat (not the transcon D1 lie-flat), so I was able to request complimentary upgrade as a PM. A few weeks ago equipment change happened–now B757 with 16 D1 lie-flat seats. But I am still eligible and on the upgrade request according to DL site, app and PM desk rep. I asked the PM desk rep and she said it’s not considered as D1, just biz class, which I don’t quite understand since it’s a 6-hr flight in D1 seats. There’ll be dinner service in economy so there should be a meal in D1. I know we DL elites are not eligible for complimentary upgrades on aircrafts with D1 to northern South America. However, with the equipment change, I’m still on the upgrade list so far. Fingers crossed… Have you heard of any situation like this?

  3. rene

    @Ben – Yep. It is NOT the seat they fly but the route. They fly D1 all over the USA and we can UG on those too. Again, must check route, not the seat.

  4. Regarding a regional partner change without a time change, how do approach the request for a change? The times for my flight are the same, but it went from Compass to Endeavor with different flight numbers, and that’s it. Can I really call and get a change on that basis? I’m assuming the line is simply, “There was a change to one of my flights and I’d like to move it to…”

  5. rene

    @Chad – If Delta moved you to another airline (aka regional partner) you did not agree to yes free change

  6. René,

    Would a 3rd party app like TripCase notify us of an equipment change?

  7. rene

    @Gregg – Have never heard of TripCase but most that did this have been shut down by Delta like AwardWallet. If it works let me know but will not blog it as Delta legal will likely go after them if they find out. 🙁

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