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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…

I would venture to guess very few Delta flyers spent their morning listening to Delta Air Lines  $DAL  1Q16 financial conference call, but if you had you would have taken away some interesting bits. To a man they all put forward that everything is great at Delta. They are crushing it financially and will continue to do so going forward (gosh I hope they share with the Pilots some of this gain after all the cuts they took). They focused on the fact that Delta has a “premium product” as well as “travel experience” and international growth is looking great going forward. Selling Comfort Plus or C+ seats has grown 45%. They see that continuing as well. Again, anyone who thinks Diamonds and Platinums will forever get “instant” C+ upgrades as 16MAY16 comes and goes just has not looked at the numbers. Incoming Delta president Glen mentioned that they have…

I really wish I could see the numbers. I so want to know if the bean counters running the Delta mothership have consulted psychologists and have counted the cost of up-sells vs. those who will give up on loyalty to determine if it will result in a net gain for the company. And not just for now, but for the future. If folks today are just willing to buy 1st on other airlines, since loyalty no longer matters, maybe they like the other airline more once they try them? So what am I talking about today? First off I can promise you many Delta flyers are shamelessly compromising their principles and buying Delta up-sells. We have seen that in the February earnings number where year over year Delta was down 5.5%, while they made money up-selling and volume. But why are loyal flyers committing this act? First off they must…

I have a trip next week. The first one of the new year for me on Delta. I booked it a while back and was seriously considering adding the return trip to my “day of shame” when I was trying to burn up my travel credit vouchers that were spend them or vanish by 31DEC15. The only thing that stopped me was that the price shot up overnight, from a little over $100 for the upgrade, to well over $300. Then, as you can see above, it shortly thereafter dropped down to under $300 just days before the medallion upgrade window opened up. How convenient to see a timely price drop with even less seats open than before. That was both interesting and depressing to me; to see the roller coaster ride up and down of the FCM price to upgrade. Clearly I have strong feelings against this deplorable practice.…

Yes, I did it. I feel so ashamed that this force has “awakened” in me. I admit it, I have committed the unforgivable deed of FCM. I feel like dirt. No, the froth under the pond-scum. This is so horrible – YES – I have committed FCM or First Class Monetization and purchased a 1st class upgrade after ticketing! But wait, I have an explanation that may go a long way toward redemption and forgiveness or maybe even be a way out. Before you condemn and sentence me to back row middle seat, let me try to explain my heinous actions. I was wise enough to follow my own advice and JUMP on the 100,000 point CNB Crystal card deal that I broke back on 1OCT15. You see this card is just amazing. It comes with $250 travel credit for incidentals, including seat costs. Most AA flyers who got this…

I have to start with a disclaimer as I REALLY hate FCM, that is, First Class Monetization or the selling of upgrades that all used to go to elites via the Fly Delta App or Delta.com and can be paid for with cash or sometimes with points (and next year with points and even for discounted fare classes). Also as I have said many, many times before, I have no problem whatsoever with Delta making as much money as they can and selling upgrades. My only problem ever is selling upgrades at such a cheap price that it makes medallion status all but worthless. For the most part Delta has been decent and I STRONGLY commend them. They have not gone so far as to “give away” upgrades at ridiculous prices. They have maintained a reasonable balance of cost vs value vs sanity and are still selling more upgrades. Good…

Last year we saw the sad and frustrating move by Delta to begin to sell, both via the Fly Delta App and online, 1st class seats as an upgrade and the impact on medallions. This was done segment by segment or leg by leg for your trip. Initially the price was very high and I think most choose not to spend the money on these types of upgrades. On a personal note I have never nor will I ever pay for one of these upgrades. I find this effort an absolute slap in the face for the loyalty of those who spend the most with Delta on tickets to have upgrades likely snatched away by someone who understands that their upgrade chance is very low (or non-existent) so the only way to get one  is to buy up. The result, clearly, is less seats for complimentary medallion upgrades. Now even…

There are few times I truly LOL at my computer screen but it happened today as I was watching Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, speaking just yesterday at the Detroit Economic Club (HT to reader Mark). After his speech, full of bashing of the ME3 airlines, he was willing to take questions from the audience. He answered some of them and others he danced around and said other things not answering the question. But the most classic one that made be bust up was this one: Question: “How will cabins be configured in the future to be less uncomfortable”? His answer was just great. First off he says that he flies coach on Delta (was in row 19 on a 757 up to DTW). This answer that he often gives should come with an asterisk because: 1) He only flies coach domestically but flies DeltaONE internationally. 2) His…

Few things upset Delta flyers more that FCM (First Class Monetization). Most of us work very hard to maintain our elite status with Delta and for them to offer 1st class seats for sale at cheap prices is NOT what we want to see. This is really NOT the way to reward loyalty and have us keep wanting to flying Delta year after year. Free upgrades really do matter to us. Now look what Sheraton recently offered me in a “welcome” e-mail from the general manager of the property at AMS airport that I visited on my way back from Sweden last week. Welcome Starwood Preferred Guest® Platinum member. As a Starwood Preferred Guest® Platinum member we are pleased to offer you these exclusive local offers to make your stay more enjoyable: Upgrade to a Suite Room for €100 per night and receive 2000 bonus Starpoints®: More space than you…

I think the only controversy that pops up on the blog more often than the value of $kuRubles (my fake name for SkyMiles or SM as an abbreviation) is the use of abbreviations. Now for those of you are new, please read the Essentials posts. For those of you who are not new, please read the Essentials posts. 🙂 Listed there in E15 is a very handy Flyertalk page that has just about every frequent flyer abbreviation know to man. This post was inspired because this morning I used the OFCMB abbreviation for Delta’s new (Dec’14) seat names. By clicking any of the links (especially the 3rd one that comes up or is linked in the first one that comes up) you will find a post with the detailed description of what OFCMB stands for as I think using the longer terms takes up too much space (that is Delta…

New this week when you fly you will find an advertisement in your seat back pocket bragging up the new OFCMB “Your Time” experience. And that Delta is committed to your satisfaction and how proud they are about winning some awards (not so much at the Freddie’s 2015 and I wish they cared at all about the frequent flyer program 1/10th as much as they do about selling stuff). And inside the glossy 3 panel ad they brag up 1st class (not 1st class but domestic business class, then the same coach seats but C+ with perks and then the rest of coach). The first part is plenty of space regarding 1st class seats. I wanted to take issue with this as I have, for the past 6 weeks, spent a LOT of time on Delta jets and in many different seats. And I have a quiz question for you.…

Last week I was on a Delta jet every single day, Monday – Friday. This week I am again flying a number of segments. With that many regional and mainline flights I had a chance to ask a bunch of questions and observe how Delta was doing with their new “seats”. I say that in quotes because the seats themselves have NOT changed, just the leather covering them is or will be updated and the level of service in many sections has been enhanced. As I talked about in a post a while back, Delta training had been nonexistent up to that point. I was, after that post, firmly chastised by someone at the mothership that the post made Delta look like they did not know what they were doing when it comes to training. Well, now we have the results of that training Delta has provided in the days…

My fellow BA blogger from “The Gate” Brian Cohen had a post yesterday, that entertainingly, talked about the fact that many FlyerTalkers did not see Skymiles2015 was “the bloodbath” they were expecting. Now this in itself is a HUGE comment about the new Delta program – members are happy it was NOT as bad as they expected. I ask you, when you buy a new car, TV or anything you value, do you always first say – “Gosh, this does not stink ½ as bad as I thought it would?” Oy! For me, who is full “game-on” for 2015, in many ways I could not be more happy so far with Skymiles2015. I have worked my two Skymiles redemptions both down to 25k awards. One had horrid times but thanks to schedule change (see E8) got the perfect flights and the other due to space opening up on the days…

When I was in college for my Bachelor’s degree I triple majored in Marketing, Advertising and Business Management. This means I understand a bit how each works and the relationship each has with the other. The creative marketing and advertising folks try to “sell” management that their ideas are AMAZING and in turn management asks how any of what they intend to do will make the company more money (or cost them the least amount possible for that return). Simplistic, maybe, but a solid overview to me. How does any of that apply to the post at hand and the OFCMB seats we soon will have when flying Delta? Well Delta had, with this rebranding choice, a real shot at fixing and making the seat choice simpler, better and much clearer to the flying “public”. Did they do this? Not even remotely and instead have made it worse than ever…

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