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WARNING: Delta phone reps now impacted by Delta seat blocking “bug”. You can NOT trust the info they provide you!

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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.

Are all the seats really booked?

This. Is. Maddening! If you are not aware of this issue let me bring you up to speed. Delta has had a number of issues with seat maps for a while now going all the way to the introduction of C+, on the Fly Delta App and, not showing the correct number of open seats. They have fixed some issues only to this year end up with an even worse problem that many times all but the cabin (or class of service) you paid for are blocked. For example, when in “Comfort Plus” on a Delta CJR200 the rest of the cabin shows full.

The real open seat map!

However it is clearly not when you do a “dummy” booking in the app or online. Delta has simply chosen with their IT “enhancements” to prevent us from seeing the real open seats. It is beyond frustrating that Delta has done this and we have to take this extra step to see what seats are open in whatever cabin. It has now become MUCH worse.

Delta phone reps screens are now seeing the same “blocked” seat maps!

Yep, you can now expect, even when you call to ask if you can be moved to another seat in coach that the Delta rep will give you false information that all the seats are full (when clearly they are not).


I have had this happen to me over and over this month. The first few times I thought it was just lazy reps who did not want to help me. But the last time it happened I decided to grill (in a nice way) the rep for more info. The conversation went something like this:

René – I would like to downgrade from row 1 Comfort Plus to exit row 8 C&D

Delta Rep – Sorry the cabin is all sold out.

René – Really I see a number of seats including 8 C&D

Delta Rep – No, sorry those are not available.

René – Please check again as I can, right now, if I book a ticket, select these seats.

Delta Rep – Let me check another screen. No, those are not open.

René – Do you need me to simply book a ticket to show you they are open and then send you that PNR?

Delta Rep – Let me try one more screen and see.

René – OK thanks

Delta Rep – You are right – they are open and many more. That is strange that I could not see them. OK you are moved and I have sent you a confirmation to your e-mail.

Moved to open seats

There were a few other things said but that is the gist of the conversation. The part you and I must key in on is Delta IT is now even blocking Delta customer service folks from seeing the real open seats and thus we CAN NOT TRUST THE INFORMATION they are feeding us unless we check for ourselves. Even then, expect a fight as they will trust their eyes that the seats are full when they are not. The effort to “dumb down” the tools Delta reps have is just shocking and so sad. The phone rep even complained to me that with each update they get it is harder for them to do their job!

I did reach out to Delta Corp about this seat blocking but now expanding to impact not just us as fliers but even impacting phone reps 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. All applications – for consumers or agents – show the same seat availability. We continually monitor the tool’s functionality and customer feedback to ensure it works as intended. “ – Kate Modolo Delta Air Lines (bold mine)

This was very similar to the quote from last time with the addition that now AGENTS also show the same seats available. Just great! Now we can expect, at times, that Delta reps who we should trust to give us accurate information are not always going to be able to do so. Then, we will have to fight them when we have to tell them they are wrong (never a good thing to have to do – right?)!

I really do not understand this “Keep Descending” worthy IT change by Delta and am shocked that this is working as it was intended to. I can maybe if we really push it understand the logic of blocking every day users from seeing a seat map in a class of service they have not paid for but blocking Delta customer service people from seeing the true map is flat out crazy! How is this a good thing for anyone I ask you?

At least you know now what you need to do and have been warned. They do not seem to care to fix this and be ready to HUCB if you get a rep who will not do what it takes to put you into the seat you want to be in that is in FACT wide open. – 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. YES! So true! You helped my wife and me with this exact scenario at the end of June when they “upgraded” both of us coming back from our wedding to middle seats in C+! Crazy!!!!!

  2. I’m saying it now…

    If Delta crushes us further by removing the proposed MQD credit card waiver then it’s Alaska Airlines MileagePlan program and hybrid points for me going forward!

    Alaska has great partners, better award rules than their partners, companion certificate, miles for flown miles +Elite bonuses.

    The boys in ATL better be looking at JetBlue, Norwegian and the Gulf Carriers and stop turning their backs on us.

    Too many hybrid points out there that transfer to Alaska to keep me drinking the ATL Kool-Aid

  3. Oh JOY!!!! But thanks for letting us know.

    Any new news regarding the AMEX waiver situation??

  4. I called last week to check on the status of my global upgrade, which I’ve been waiting eight months for. The agent told me there were only nine seats left in Delta one. I panicked. But after much closer inspection, I found his numbers were wrong and so were the ones from the second agent I talked too. I was perplexed but this explains all .

  5. And this explains my perplexing conversation a couple of weeks ago and about flights to Vietnam.
    For some reason the agent saw less flights then I was able to see or had seen.
    It was my first negative experience with an agent on-line in forever.
    I’m now seriously looking at other airlines for my new trans-pacific life.
    This dumbing down of their own agents is just mind boggling and bodes ill for the future.

  6. Come on Delta……… this is totally on purpose……..grow up and figure it out…..if your IT department is bad enough figure out something or do an overhaul. Having to talk to multiple reps to do simple things is absurd but its becoming more and more common.

  7. Happened to me on a flight tonight from Gainesville to Atlanta. Called and was told no seat availability in the exit row. Not only was the exit row open there were 3 other rows wide open!

    • @Scott – We at #Delta call that “A” award winning customer service spin. We are USnews “A” top something or other *PS don’t tell Alaska they are really 1st 🙁

  8. Blocking seat maps for customers is crazy. Blocking seat maps for Delta’s hard-working agents is crazy on steroids. Industrial strength stupid. #StopTheMadness

  9. This is so infuriating and inexcusable IMO. There’s no valid reason to block us, but especially Delta customer service agents, from seeing the seat map. Forcing someone to partially book a flight to be able to see the seats that are actually available for us to select form is just ridiculous.

    I haven’t filed a complaint on the website about this yet, so I guess it’s time I do as I was assuming they would get around to fixing it. Unfortunately, as you indicated, they don’t seem to care about fixing this issue and it seems to be intentional. Everyone should go fill out the complaint form about this and hopefully enough people complain to get it changed.

  10. Rene – did you get the name of the screen or program the successful agent used? It would be helpful to guide phone agents to the best program rather than HUCB.

  11. This is why I’m no longer loyal to any airline. It’s all about who gets me to my destination and back home the quickest. I used to move heaven and earth to fly Delta, but after all the devaluations and other tricks, no more. Currently I fly Southwest a lot since they offer nonstop service to almost all the destinations I need for work.

  12. I don’t think this is a glitch at all….

    Typical fliers will take a look on-line and say no seats. I guess that is “okay”.

    More experienced fliers knew to call and the agent would move them. Now they checked and it is “okay”.

    Only the most persistent fliers will perservere and get there seat moved if they can find a good agent.

    DL has closed another “loophole” except to the most persistent.

  13. Roberta Fleischmann Reply

    I am getting really fed up with Keep Decending. We may not even try for our Diamond Status again, it’s almost impossible to use GU or you get them and they change planes or something and you lose them. Just not worth the $$$$ to,try to get 125,000 miles recreational travel!

  14. Being a relative newbie. I will have to ask: how does one go about making a dummy bookin? In my past experience one could not choose a seat until one had actually paid for the flight. Is a dummy booking different?

  15. Dummy booking? We’re all dummies for putting up with this nonsense. I’m going to Tweet Delta every day to complain until the madness stops. Anyone care to join me? #StopTheMadness

  16. I have had problems with this a few different occasions including the last, I switched flights, on my first leg, I was put back in coach,2nd leg upgraded instantly to first class, Diamond once day 1. Somehow the request to get into a C+ set did not get entered during the switch, when I looked, they all looked full, was a Thursday evening no surprise, many business travelers. Then when the doors shut, the surprise hit! 4 C+ seats empty. I could’t see if there were any available on the app so didn’t ask. Learned my lesson. On both occasions I wrote Delta, the first one I got a call back, a surprise, the 2nd one I just told them and have followed through, until they fix this, every time I get one of their requests to fill out a survey, I blast them with 1s and will do so until the problem is solved.

  17. This is EXACTLY why I am happy to get your blog. We got an email from delta, “congratulations on your award travel.” Huh? I haven’t booked any award travel except for the one I made months ago for an upcoming trip in September. Seems delta changed the first leg of the trip and kicked me out of my seats on the second leg. I immediately called to get the seats back on the second leg but was told they weren’t available. Funny, when I did a dummy booking, those seats were still available I told the rep this and the rep said she’d have to talk to her supervisor. I had to leave and the rep told me itwas being taken care of so I didn’t need to stay on the phone and she would email me the changes. I got home from my doc appointment and the seats had not been fixed. Call again. Get the same song and dance as to availability and had to talk to a supervisor. I didn’t get off the phone until I got the email and checked my account.

    Now I get to fix the first leg of the trip . . . And, that is also an interesting story I will save for another day.

  18. Ran into this same situation today.. Had to book main cabin per my job and then went to “upgrade” to first class out of my pocket and low and behold no seats available. Did a pretend one way ticket and there was 8 FC seats available. The rep said the FC cabin was sold out and I asked him to try to book a ticket and he saw the open seats. Had to get a supervisor on the line and I was able to purchase… BUT they said it was a “computer glitch” and they would look into it.. What a shame.. 🙁

  19. I have had this 4 Times this month. Always, the gate agent fixed, and once even came on board to move me from just-upgraded EC to 1st. Not only is this frustrating to us pax, but risks penalty to Delta if departure is delayed due to overworked gate agents. I’m sure now that consumer financial protection will disappear, airlines will soon have even more free rein to trample our experience on board.

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