What a Crazy Week: YouTube Changes, AA back to SBN, ATL Weather Recovery, Empty Delta 1st Class Seats & More!

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I know for most who do not blog either full time or part time the mega changes in the industry over the years has likely gone unnoticed. To help you understand, back in the day (think 5+ years ago) it was simple to get lots of advertising sources at very respectable rates. Now, really not so much. Plus, on top of all of that, there are issues like spam and malware ads that can creep in if you do not have tools in place to stop them (FlyerTalk is infested with them right now fyi). Bottom line is things have changed a ton and now YouTube is changing as well and only wants the larger players to be a part of their paid advertising. I would like to remain as such so if you could take 1 minute of your life and subscribe to my YouTube channel <-LINK  I would really appreciate the help (and thank you in advance for your assistance in getting me to 1000 subscribers).

In other news that really excites maybe only me and a few others is that American Airlines is again returning to the South Bend SBN airport and adding 93,000 seats a year. While I do not intend to use this news to switch over from Delta to AA, I do still have hundreds of thousands of AA points to burn and this will help me do that and it may just have an impact on the ridiculously high Delta ticket prices out of my home town airport!

Once again weather all but paralyzed Atlanta this week with a bunch of cancellations and many frequent flyers going to social media about how badly Delta recovered from the mess. Having lived a number of years in the ATL area I get they just don’t deal well with snow but I do agree that Delta should try to figure out a better way to prepare (think bring folks in to stay at local hotels maybe) for staffing travel issues and more. ATL is just “too big to fail” and IMO more should be done when they know a mess is on the way. Heck the weather was so bad it even impacted tours at the Woodford distillery!

I have done a fair amount of traveling to start the year (but not as much as some) and I have seen most flights packed to the gills. However, I have received many reports by readers of Delta 1st class seats flying empty with many “still” on the upgrade list. I put still in quotes because we all know, by rule, once you board you give up your upgrade shot. Yes, the Delta CEO said it would be different, if there is time, but now we know that promise is largely going unfulfilled. Folks, if you are not playing #TeamBoardLast you are missing out on upgrade – period!

A bit of Gogo news for us to savor. First off Gogo does not own satellites. They make the bits that go on our Delta jets and they then lease bandwidth from others who put satellites into orbit. Well another one has gone up to give us more fast 2Ku speed and that is good. When you have a 2Ku (or even Ku) jet you will be impressed with the speed! Oh, and while we are talking Gogo they have a tweet contest that if you tweet them a photo of a 2Ku dome on a jet you can win some swag each week.

Via “The Gate” we learn that Wyndham is buying La Quinta hotels. I am somewhat happy and sad about this. I have been, for years, a La Quinta fan because for Utah skiing they have been a cheap points choices for a Holiday Inn type experience. That has worked for me as I spend all my time on the slopes and only need a bed to sleep between runs. The Wyndham rewards program is much different but also has some perks. Either way the death last year of the La Quinta credit card made really cheap nights a thing of the past anyway.

Lastly speaking of hotels there is a new The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card <—LINK that I will be going for soon. Why? Since I am not going to be spending ¼ million on Delta Amex cards (thanks to Delta partner flights) I will have no issue spending 40k on this new card to get Hilton Diamond Status. While I may not use it to the maximum advantage, it will afford me the chance to status match / challenge with other hotel chains when I want to now and then (and the light bulb goes off in your head). I am thrilled about this card and there is real value for the low yearly fee!

Just today we learn Delta is cracking down on emotional, and other, support pets. I have mixed feelings about this one and I blame Delta as much as those who are “faking” it. Delta now forces you to check pets on cargo jets (under most conditions) and if you are to pay to carry them on-board it can cost more than your seat price AND counts against you as your carry-on allowance.

Lastly this week, be sure to pay attention this Saturday for Delta schedule changes. This past week they were rather quiet and that normally means the next week will be big. Yes, you may get moved from your chosen seats, have an equipment change or a connection that now will not work and the likelihood of Delta letting you know about any of these events is almost zero. Please, on Sunday afternoon sometime, check ALL your Delta flights and seats! – Rene



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  1. The change to require 48 hour notification for service and support animals is a Great leap forward. I have severe asthma and, prior to this change, I was unable to know whether there were dogs near me except when I actually was at the gate. Once I called Delta 4 hours before the flight and was told that there were not any animals on the flight, only to arrive at the gate and find out that there were 5, yes five, dogs within 3 rows of me. 1 was right behind me, 1 across the aisle (being fed from the food served by Delta) and 3 others scattered near me. I gave up my 1st class seat to sit in coach to get away from the kennel.

  2. Delta needs to give flight attendants the ability to bring people up once on board if the gate agent’s aren’t…..they have access to the data let them use it!

  3. funny, Delta used “enhanced” when it talked about the changes with the ESA.

    I agree, there is an issue with people scamming their way to travel with dogs. Most should just leave them at home.

  4. Tried to use a GU on a CDG-SLC flight and there were still empty seats when we took off and I was in coach. Good thing I got other airlines to match my 546,000 MQM’s and started flying other airlines last October. Delta lost the last 2 months of the year, of my flying dollars to their competitor because of [edit] like this. Other upgrades have been a joke the past year and I’m leaving Delta.

  5. Hi Rene. I’m an Alaska elite and I am a regular reader of your column as it is educational. I found the segment on #teamboardlast very interesting. Thank God that Alaska doesn’t work that way. My wife and I have been seated in economy to see a gate agent coming down the aisle with our new boarding passes and those beautiful words – you’ve just been upgraded! AS fills their first class seats before the boarding door closes.

  6. @Another Steve – Delta could learn a LOT from Alaska like how to have “A” real winning award program and a working award booking page an on and on…

  7. A DL gate agent came on board my flight to TPA last month and upgraded my wife and I from Comfort+ before closing the door. He asked a seated F/C passenger to switch seats so my wife and I could sit together. I was pleasantly surprised and quite impressed!!

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