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Unique Delta travel tips I bet you don’t know about! Are there others you can share as well?

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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.

turn off air vents before your meal
Air vents can be “evil”

When you travel, over the past years, literally hundreds of Delta & Skyteam flights, you pick up a few little tips that really matter and sorta become automatic. Many things can become frustrations to infrequent flyers so let me share some tips you may or may not have thought about and that may markedly improve your Delta travel experience.

Before I begin, let me point out that many of these could be considered #FirstWorldProblems but I am fine with that as many readers tend to ride in the “pointy end” of the jet anyway. And when they don’t, some of these still matter and can have a real impact. Let’s dive in:

Shut off your air vents! That would be before your meal arrives. Most times the meal that arrives at your seat is not all that hot and ice cold air vents blowing on your meal is going to cool it off very quickly. Waiting for a bread roll to be provided? Yeah, by the time it arrives your meal will be a cold meal for you to enjoy.

Pull out your single headphone plug. The next one is a tricky one that may or may not work depending on a bunch of factors. Clearly the simplest fix about what I am talking about is the situation where you have a dual plug audio on the flight but your headset is a single plug. But if you don’t have an adapter one option is to pull the plug out just a tiny little bit until you hear stereo sound. Hopefully, and under many conditions, it will stay and you can enjoy the IFE with your single plug.

Careful to plug in “too” far. This is a strange one but I have tested it a number of times and you may or may not have run into this one. Have you ever plugged in your – whatever electronic item in need of power – and the light in the plug goes from green to off? Or, plugged in your laptop and thought it was charging (it was at first) but then all of a sudden it is off? The solution, many times, just like the headphones above is to simply pull out the plug just a tiny bit and then it works just fine. Silly yes but often works!

Shut your window shade! This one may seem like a “duhh” but it is so simple to miss. Say you have a night flight. I bet when you take off you likely leave the shade open. No problem right, as it is dark outside. However, depending on the direction of your travel, you may suddenly awake to brilliant sunlight waking you (and your fellow passengers) up way before you wanted to because you neglected to close the shade before you drifted off to la-la land!

Check you flight number before you choose seats. Do you know what FEBO is? Most who read the blog know but most don’t. FEBO stands for Front Even Back Odd. That is, if you are in business class, Delta most times will present food from the front of the aircraft on even flight numbers and from the back on odd flight numbers. This tends to be the case only on domestic flights but then again there are times that FAs just ignore this. Most times though, this tip can help you get your meal choice.

Printing a paper boarding pass can be like printing money! I have to admit I only do this on about 99% of my flights and regret it the 1% I forget. From bump improvements to so many other reasons having a real paper boarding pass can mean cash in your pocket. Just do this!

#TeamBoardLast. This one can help anyone from an SPG Crossover Rewards elite to a Delta Diamond. While Delta has adjusted the behind the scenes wording, the fact remains that as elites board they do give up their right to a real upgrade to 1st class. If you are the last man or woman standing and there is a seat open you should get it unless there is so much time left that the gate agent goes onboard to pull whoever was 1st on the list when boarding began. Know the latter is the exception NOT the rule.

Order a double. This one is a coach tip. If you are in C+ or if you are in coach and using a HOOU coupon, get two drinks when the FAs come by the first time. With so many folks crammed into coach the likelihood that they will come through a second time (other than to pickup up trash) is remote. If you want a refill do it at the outset – that is, do not expect a refill later on.

Learn when to split and not split a reservation. This one could be an entire post on its own but the quick answer is that, under the new paid ticket rules, keeping your +1 on your PNR is better but not always. On awards, however, it is almost always wise to split for more upgrades. Study up on this if you want to enjoy the best perks.

Consider a SDC or SDS. While same day change or same day standby are free for GM+ elites, others can take advantage of this from time to time. Say the chance to change is only a few bucks more but they want to charge a change fee. Offer the rep to pay for the fare class change and have them waive the change fee. Delta is all about the money and a chance to extract more from you vs. none may win out. Or, keep in mind, with 1st class any open seat is all that is needed to change (but you may still have to work on the non elite fee, fyi).

Lastly, never underestimate the power of the mighty Delta schedule change. Believe it or not I have had 3 minute changes allow massive changes. Thanks to SNAPP, Delta reps, who in the past had a brain and would just say no, now push the buttons and often the IT says YES to our requests. You have to love it.

So there you are. Many of these may seem basic and simple but they can help you so much when you travel with Delta. I pay attention to all of them and you should too! – 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. This comment is for those of us who still have to fly in C+ or coach: when you get your meal and notice that the butter is frozen like a brick, put it on top of the foil covering your entree. After a few minutes, it’s nicely softened and ready to go.

  2. Here’s another very general comment that’s probably worth repeating, especially with us “entitled,” “I expect to be called for my upgrade now” frequent fliers: be nice to the check-in counter, gate agents, flight attendants and other Delta associates who work so hard to make our flights perfect.

    I’m shocked by the level of egotism at check-in, or hear when someone is talking with the gate agents … if you need a little extra effort or have a complicated travel issue: be nice.

  3. @Rene – not paying attention to FEBO has got me the salad when I wanted the protein choice, for sure! And the involuntary takeoff nap flying to ATL at the crack of dawn can get you granola instead of the hot egg sandwich.

  4. Even better than printing boarding passes – print them on card stock. Gate agents take notice (as do TSA and Sky Club agents). When I determine that my flight may be oversold, I approach the gate agent with a smile, an offer of flexibility, and a card stock boarding pass. If he/she holds onto it, I tell him/her that I’ll take responsibility for finding an alternate itinerary should my seat be needed so that the gate agent can focus on an on-time departure.

  5. Today, having disembarked early from a long haul flight, I asked to be changed from my booked flight (on which I had a comfort + seat and was on the upgrade list) to an earlier flight and was given a no seat assigned boarding pass. I went to the Sky Club (Atlanta A19) where the agent confirmed that the flight was wide open with multiple comfort + seats available. Ultimately the gate cleared me on 15C. The Sky Club agent called them and suggested that as Diamond million miler they should have put me in the virtually empty comfort + . She was told by the gate “we don’t do that”! She pressed the case, and they did give me 10C but what are the rules on that? Should they have automatically have cleared me to comfort + given that was my original flight, or even given my status and the empty plane?

  6. The other trick for power plugs is to use a europlug adapter (or a european charger). Most plane outlets accept US or EU plugs, and the european ones seem to get a far more reliable connection.

  7. Nikki Nicholas Reply

    I would like to suggest that all airlines while giving their safety speech, at the end pass out wet wipes ad tell all passengers to wipe down their trays, and TV monitors. That are full of Germs , for your health concerns. Thank you

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