If you have been reading the blog for a while you know I have very little affection for Delta / Delta Connection CRJ200s. They are horrid and evil jets. But what is even worse, than the jet itself, is the simply and utterly moronic move by someone from Delta to make the worst possible seat on any Delta jet into a “Comfort+” seat as I have shared in this post.
The above is not new information but important to this narrative. You see Delta has an award program called SkyMiles. They say it is “A” award winning program (it’s not). It used to be an amazing program with stunning value and rock solid IT that worked very well if you were just patient. Now, thanks much in part to revenue management gumming up the works, it is beyond frustrating to do even the simplest things on all Delta and Delta connection metal (let alone partners).
OK, that information is not new either – but this next part is.
You see I have booked just about the most simple award possible for next year from my home town airport of South Bend (SBN). I start with a CRJ200 to the heart of Deltaland that is, Atlanta (ATL) and on to Europe from there. No other flight or Skyteam connection is included. All flights Delta “metal” (yes, Delta connection is not really Delta metal but they paint them to look that way and Delta Corp even owns one of the major connection carriers). I booked the ticket at a Level 1 award price per the hidden award charts. All good? Well, not so fast.
You see Delta now employs complex computer algorithms and joins one segment to another to compute award prices. This stupidity is called married segment logic. In English it means that if you say find A-B at the lowest level award (Level 1) and then find B-C leg also at the lowest level award it does NOT mean A-B-C will also price at the same lowest level award price even though it should (as it did in the past – always – every time)! This impacted me in a way that still simply blows my mind.
My booking put me in C+ on the CRJ200 and then Delta One (D1) over to Europe. If Delta flew “real” jets from SBN to ATL I would have been in domestic first class segment one then D1 over to Europe. Since CRJ200s don’t have first class I was put in row 1 or C+. I clearly hate these seats but Delta, on paid tickets, allows you to “downgrade” (their words not mine) to “main cabin” a.k.a. another same coach seat on the jet for free.
But here is where the fun begins and all of the above info matters. After booking my award I called to move from row 1 C+ to the exit row 8 as this is the only marginally better seat on this tiny jet. I was told sure that was possible but it would cost my wife and I EACH 40,000 SkyMiles to change seats or a total of 80,000 extra SkyMiles.
Errrr – wait – what???
Yep, the friendly elite Diamond Medallion line rep told me that to move from the worst possible seat on the CRJ200 (again called C+ by Delta) to any other seat just the same on the jet would result in the ticket being reissued and it would cost us 80,000 more miles – JUST TO CHANGE SEATS.
Mind – totally – blown!
Again, keep in mind the Delta CRJ200 is an all coach seat jet. The Comfort+ seats are the exact same seat as every other seat on the jet (just with much less leg room and no overhead space). The Diamond rep was empathetic but told me there was nothing she could do as the computers (thank you Delta IT) will not let her move us out of the worst seat on the jet unless I am willing to pay a total of 80,000 more SkyMiles to move 8 rows back.
Now there are any number of things I have learned flying Delta over the years. I know what reps can and can not do. I can often tell just by the tone of a rep if I should keep talking or just thank them and HUCB.
After about 15 minutes a very nice (and helpful Strive for Five) rep told me she found a way to make it work and to reissue the ticket as an even exchange of SkyMiles. She agreed it was simply ridiculous for the computer system to try to charge us 40,000 more SkyMiles each just to CHANGE SEATS and even, per Delta, to a worse seat on the CRJ200 jet.
I did reach out to Delta Corp for a comment about this “bug” or feature or whatever it is and no comment was provided.
Bottom line from this is that Delta is making even the most simple redemptions harder and harder with SkyMiles. You simply MUST utilize the award charts to compare prices and do not let them over charge you for any award. You need to stand your ground when clearly ridiculous things happen and find someone who is smart enough to work around the horrid and punishing Delta IT in place to rob you of your hard earned SkyMiles. Please, if you can not do this on your own, use my friend ADAM to get this done!
Have you ever had Delta try to charge you more SkyMiles to change seats on a Delta jet? – René