If you are an elite and fly Alaska Airlines and are a single flyer you will simply NOT be upgraded to a middle seat. Simple – quick – smart. Why? Well, cuz it’s a middle seat (Hello – McFly)! This is brilliant on Alaska’s part.
But with Delta it has been different. I have recommended for years that customers simply “opt out” of C+ “upgrades” (not an upgraded seat, just maybe a few upgraded perks) for any number of reasons including the possibility it could keep you from getting a real 1st class upgrade as well as the real chance of you ending up in a middle seat in C+ and almost no one ever wants that. If I were forced to fly a middle seat I would skip it and take the next one – no way I am flying middle seat ever (unless it is business class).
Well today we learn Delta is allowing us (under most circumstances – but not all) to “downgrade” from C+ to C- seats without having to involve either a Delta phone rep or an @Delta twitter rep to get the change done. Notice what Delta tells us on the News Hub:
“Delta has also developed another way for SkyMiles Medallion Members to take control of their complimentary upgrades. In addition to the current automatic upgrade clearing process, Medallion Members may choose, instead, to self-select upgrade seats from the seat map once their eligibility window opens. The seat map will also allow a Medallion Member to choose to revert back to Main Cabin with one touch if they aren’t happy with their upgrade seat assignment, for example, to a middle seat. This improvement is designed for customers who value exact seat selection more than the ease of automation.” – Delta News Hub – (bold mine)
I love how Delta always calls C+ an upgrade but when it comes to moving back to C- it is not called a downgrade but to “revert back” to coach. Now there are issues. First the big one. As this latest “enhancement” rolled out last week, as I blogged about before, it had an unintended random consequence of blocking the seat map for all but the cabin you were seated in. Not good. I asked Delta about this and was told:
“As a result of a number of variables, customers may see fewer seats available for purchase in the post-purchase upgrade environment than were visible in the original shopping path.” – Delta Air Lines representative.
Well that is less than a thorough answer. I have 14 current reservations with Delta. A few of them are perfect and I can see all the cabins as to what seats are open. But on most either all the cabins other than the one I am in are blocked (mostly award tickets). While others it is just random that some have 1st class blocked and others 1st and coach.
I have also been chatting with another person in Delta IT and I have received a much more satisfying explanation that makes me feel better that this is a bug still no matter what the PR folks say. My feeling is this bug will go away over time as the new FCM or First Class Monitization or leg by leg upsell rolls out to new reservations. This is only a guess but an educated one based on what I am seeing and what I have been told by those who know more than the PR folks.
Next let’s talk a bit more about the leg by leg upsells. Delta’s Vice President – Global Distribution & Digital Strategy say “This is all about consumer choice” when it comes to selling these “Branded Fares”. I am not buying it – literally – I am not buying it. That is, I am not buying 1st class upgrades leg by leg or one-way or round trip unless it is super dirt cheap and the bonus MQMs make it worth it me to help me keep my status. If not, I am happy in C- or C+ or whatever I have paid for.
Clearly this will, as I talked about in the post before, have a negative impact on Medallion upgrades as more will click “buy” if the price is cheap enough. It will be interesting to see how cheap Delta goes with these new upsells. Personally I think the biggest impacts will be on C+ seats as Delta begins to block more and more of these seats for up-sells and Platinums and Diamonds see less of the “instant” free C+ upgrades.
What do you think about the C+ middle seat downgrade fix? Do you think your old perfect seat will still be there when you realize you are not in the seat you want to be? Do you like the fix and what do you think about the new leg by leg upgrades – are you buying? 😉 – Rene