Does the below Delta statement pass the “sniff test” to you? I am not so sure and truly feel there is a lot more to this mega award mess that hit over the weekend.
What mess? I posted the other day that with the latest unannounced changes to Virgin Atlantic awards it effectively destroyed Upper Class redemptions. But then, less than 2 days after it appeared, the mega junk fee called a “Carrier Imposed International Surcharge” was removed.
I, and other bloggers, reached out to Delta for an official statement, but the inquiry was never responded to. Then on Tuesday on FlyerTalk Delta posted the following:
“To clarify and alleviate any confusion, the surcharges that were being applied to Virgin Atlantic Award Tickets was an error that was quickly fixed.” – FlyerTalk.com by “SkyMilesTeam” Company Representative from Delta Air Lines – 30MAY17
There is just so much “wrong” with this and much of it comes from our complete mistrust of anything that pours out of SkyMiles and Delta. Everything they do tends to be no-notice and we have to sleuth out any new and devastating changes ourselves. Transparency and SkyMiles are as diametrically opposed as oil and water.
So let’s look at the Delta statement and begin with the opening. Nothing about SkyMiles ever “alleviate[s] any confusion“. Publishing award charts now that would alleviate confusion as would a working award page on Delta.com that does not yield errors for the simplest of multi-city award searches. No, to me confusion is the hallmark of the SkyMiles program.
Next we are told “surcharges that were being applied to Virgin Atlantic Award Tickets was an error“. Let’s read more into this. Just exactly what was the error? I cannot see this kind of computer code required to produce this kind of result just being some random bits of code that suddenly, for no good reason whatsoever, popped up online over the weekend. Do you? I sure don’t. I see this as something that is either ready to be implemented, or was soon to be implemented, and the only “error” was that it went live before it should have gone live. That was the error, the way I see it.
Lastly Delta tells us “that [the error] was quickly fixed“. I really feel sorry for anyone who purchased an award ticket during this time. I sure hope Delta is refunding them the massive error junk fee and waiving any change fees or penalties if outside the 24 hour window to be able to change a ticket for free.
The only other interesting bit in all of this is we are seeing another shift at Delta “communications” in regard to FlyerTalk and engaging fliers. If you look at the history of the “Company Representative” you will notice it went completely dark between 9APRIL16 and 4MAY17. Now we are seeing sporadic posts once again from at least one of the many company “handles” on the mega frequent flyer chat board. Why is this? I have no official word why but my guess is all the latest social media firestorm of airline events has created a push to try to squish any possible public relations mess before it goes viral and that simply requires once again engaging on FlyerTalk.
Anyway, at least now we have something official from the company in regard to the Virgin and SkyMiles awards. Could they flip-flop on it next week and implement this junk fee for real? If they do, we can be 100% assured they will NOT give us any warning before they do – it is Delta SkyMiles after all. – René