Delta “buddy pass” changes. #TeamBoardLast still working? IT meltdown ticket issues. Leg by Leg FCM & more!

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Hot off the DeltaNET

There are just so many tiny little Delta gems I see each day and many are just too hard to put into a single post or work up into one. So, today I am going to summarize a bunch of small ones I have come across and try to pour out all these bits into one post.

The first one is from a DYKWIA twitter user who seems to relish pouring out “Delta Net” info gleaned from FAs. The thing about this info is that it could get the Delta employee fired as the bits are to be internal only and not shared with others outside the company no matter how much they fly Delta. Anyway, here is the news.

It seems that as of 2018 Delta “buddy pass” riders will have to have a Delta employee with them when they use this “free” pass in either First Class or in Delta One. Keep in mind there are many kinds of Delta passes and the other ones, for now, are not affected.

Why the above change? My guess is all the negative PR from #LeggingsGate (even though Delta allows leggings as approved wear even in 1st Class / Delta One) and other high profile media events. Why invite trouble for the airline. An interesting change nonetheless.


Next up I have some feedback on how TeamBoardLast is going – that is, the idea that if you board you lose. You may recall that Delta has changed the upgrade time from 30 minutes before departure to 40 minutes before departure to help prevent Medallions from losing out on upgrades and more Gate Agents coming onboard to upgrade loyal flyers. Well reader Chris recently commented:

“Rene, As a silver I have gotten a fair number of upgrades this year doing this. But in the last month I’ve been getting a LOT of push back from gate agents saying they are going to go on the plane and pull someone up. It’s really frustrating. Has the policy changed or are they just being unhelpful?” – Reader Chris

I responded that I was thrilled as it seems more gate agents are implementing the official change and those who were #1 when boarding starts would be the one who was pulled to the 1st class seat before the flight departs. However, another source inside Delta told me that gate agents are most likely to follow this procedure only when a manager is watching. So, folks, who knows if TeamBoardLast is still alive and well?

From a PVT Delta Pilots board

Next up I found a funny exchange on a Delta pilots board about the “free” passes Delta handed out to all the employees during one of the 3 (or all of the 3 – hard to keep track) Delta meltdown events over the past year. It seems our “good friends” at revenue management that makes SkyMiles all but worthless and RU & GU certs so hard to use were also making the promised “free” employee ticket just as hard to use as everything we received. Also that a quick internal letter to the Delta CEO seemed to fix things as Mr. Ham Sandwich does jump when Ed calls (or so it seems anyway).

What a comment about loyalty!

Next today an interesting and unconfirmed comment from a reader. I have no idea if this person really spends 5.5 Million (yes Million) flying on Delta each year and they did not leave their real name anyway. But if the person is honest and really does pull that kind of spend with Delta, and others do as well, I can see the lack of upgrades and 20×2020 (selling all but 20% of 1st class seats by 2020) driving high spenders away from Delta. There is always a fine line in any business and loyalty is becoming a thing of the past with airlines including Delta!

What ever happened to “free” Medallion upgrades?

Lastly, as I am sure most of you have noticed, on the same day the bug popped up where many of us cannot see any seats other than the cabin of service we are in, that Delta has started to sell upgrades leg by leg rather than just one-way all flights or even round trip. This is another way to, as they say in sales terms, “reduce to the ridiculous” – that is, lower the price more and more until it becomes so low that you say yes. The downside, like many C+ up-sells, is you can get some to bite once but if they have buyer’s remorse never again. It will be interesting to see what further impact this has on shrinking Medallion upgrades.

Any other bits you saw that I missed the past few days? Be sure to comment below! – Rene


  1. I think “Team Board Last” is increasingly silly, unless you like to have no overhead space.

    Data point: Today, flying JFK-SEA. Woman sitting next to me in C+ finds another woman coming to sit in her seat. Why? Because she was next on upgrade list and is about to be pulled forward to the front of the cabin.

    Gate agents were clearly not under a watchful eye based on what I saw at gate, but knew >who was nextsometimes< see to Seattle.)

  2. last fl from atl agents told a guy in front of me “if u think u are going to get an upgrade don’t get on”!!!!

  3. Is it correct that the Buddy system in 2018 for retired Delta employees is no longer available

  4. With the new buddy pass system with the employee being charged does the charge come out after the trip has been taken or immediately?

  5. Have you heard anything about Delta Buddy Passes being cancelled. A friend of mine – a Delta employee – told me this past June that Delta had stopped issuing buddy passes to its employees. It never occurred to me to follow this up and check online till another friend indicated otherwise. Any info in that regard?

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