We’ve cringed at the “you’ve been upgraded” emails that joyfully inform us that we’re in the same Comfort+ seats we selected when we purchased our tickets. But now, and I can’t say René didn’t warn us, Delta’s systems indeed are recognizing Comfort+ “upgrades” as “real” upgrades and not automatically adding us to the standby list for First Class (real) upgrades.
Let me illustrate the issue with a description of my recent experience. Standing by for an earlier flight from DTW-ORD, I cleared easily and received a Comfort+ seat about one hour before the flight departure. Since there were plenty of seats in First, and I hold Diamond status with Delta, I had a really good chance of getting the upgrade. Or so I thought.
Then I noticed that I was not on the upgrade list. The gate agent assured me I should be there but could not override the system (think SNAPP) to put me on the list. She was apologetic but quite baffled.
“This isn’t right”, she offered; “you should write in and tell them about this.”
It was a short flight so I didn’t really care about the upgrade. The implications of what I just experienced, however, were far greater than just this missed opportunity. Perhaps I could have been flying on a much longer flight and the same scenario happened? I’d be annoyed but more importantly, it would be evidence of a change in Delta’s policy of which we were not informed. And certainly, it should not happen to others.
So with René’s encouragement (“people need to know” he said), I wrote to Delta and described the system problem.
My first email resulted in a response from Delta that basically told me I could not be added to the First Class standby list if I were standing by for a flight. OK, I knew this already. I wrote again telling them that they had not addressed the issue I was complaining about and I received a more appropriate response:
Thank you for your additional email describing the problem you
experienced on August 31st on your connection flight out of Detroit.
Ms. Krzyszton, I apologize for your frustration. I have reviewed the
history of your flight and have noted that there was an issue regarding
the automated processing system placing you on the complimentary upgrade
list to first class following the changing of the second leg of your
flight mid-travel. The automated upgrade processor is programmed to
place you on the first class upgrade list but did not likely as a
result of the mid-travel change. However, as noted in Ms. [name removed]
response, if this occurs in the future, please contact the Diamond
Medallion Desk to have your ticket reissued and the upgrade processor
“reset”. As well, I discussed this with my teamlead who indicated that
we do not anticipate that this will be an ongoing issue. I have also
forwarded your email to our IT department for internal review.
Again, our apologies, and thank you for your Two Million Miler, Diamond
Medallion loyalty and we look forward to seeing you on your September
[Delta rep’s name removed]
So, I rest my case. The Delta IT system failed me for an upgrade and it can fail for you. It doesn’t matter the level of your elite status, you could be robbed of your chance for a First Class domestic upgrade if the system recognizes your Comfort+ upgrade as a “real” upgrade and subsequently does not add you to the upgrade list.
While Delta notes in the response that they don’t see this as an ongoing problem, they are forwarding the issue to IT and I applaud them for that. They also reminded me that I should contact the Diamond Desk if this happens again. It was not that important to me at the time but I will certainly do that if it happens again.
Maybe it is time, for now, to rethink Comfort+ upgrades. – Christine
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[From René. I really appreciate this guest post by my friend, Christine from the FTG while I am away on vacation this week. I have to tell you I am more and more staying away from C+ upgrades and this post just scares the living daylights out of me. No way I want to risk a 1st class UG for a C+ “sidegrade”. How about you?]