Delta

Great News: Delta May Be Cutting SkyClub Memberships As A Diamond Benefit

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As much as Delta has led the race to the bottom as far as U.S. frequent flyer programs go (by adding revenue requirements, awarding miles based on spend, adding basic economy fares, eliminating award charts, etc.), they’ve also genuinely innovated in many ways. Unlike other loyalty programs, they’ve made some significant and deliberate improvements, which I commend them for.

Just to give a couple of examples, a few years ago they eliminated fare restrictions on systemwide upgrades, and just last year they added the ability to redeem systemwide upgrades on Virgin Atlantic.

Well, Rene’s Points writes about some potential changes coming for top tier Diamond Medallion members, which I hope to get confirmed one way or another soon.

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Here’s What Delta’s CEO Has To Say About Trump’s Victory

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It’s always interesting to hear what airline executives are thinking, as it gives us a good idea of what we can expect going forward. Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, was on CNBC yesterday, and had some interesting things to say following the Donald Trump victory in the U.S., as it pertains to the Gulf carriers, airfare forecasts, etc.

A lot of what he says simply reflects what has happened to the markets over the past several weeks, but there’s also some airline specific stuff in there. I’d highly recommend checking out this four minute clip if you have the time:

The highlights (I realize much of this obvious, but…)?

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Delta Is Paying $19.5 Million For 5 Weekly Slots At Heathrow Airport

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London Heathrow Airport is one of the most heavily slot restricted airports in the world. There’s a limited amount of capacity, and there’s a lot of demand. As a result, airlines have to purchase “slots,” which give them the right to operate a flight at a specific time.

These slots can be sold between airlines, and in some cases can go for a lot of money. For example, just under a year ago Oman Air paid a record amount for a Heathrow slot. Oman Air paid $75 million to buy a Heathrow slot from Air France/KLM.

The value of a slot can vary significantly based on when the flight is due to operate. Part of the reason the slot that Oman Air bought was so expensive was because it was for a peak early morning arrival and departure, which is generally the most desirable.

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No Surprise: Delta Cancels Their 787 Order

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Delta has just announced that they’ve canceled their order of Boeing 787-8 aircraft. Delta had 18 of these on order, which were set to be delivered in 2020 and beyond. These were ordered by Northwest back in 2005, and Delta has repeatedly deferred the delivery of these, which is why the order being scrapped isn’t surprising.

Here’s Delta’s press release regarding the order cancelation:

“Delta Air Lines has reached an agreement with The Boeing Company to cancel an order placed for 18 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that Delta assumed in 2008 as part of its merger with Northwest Airlines.”

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Ugh, The Captain Of The #BoycottDelta Flight Is An Idiot…

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The biggest airline story of the week has been about a YouTube prankster who got kicked off a Delta flight from London to New York yesterday morning. I shared my initial impressions of the situation, and then wrote a follow-up post about why I think it’s too soon to point fingers at/boycott Delta, given this guy’s history.

Then yesterday evening I shared Delta’s statement after the plane landed in New York. So I think it’s only fair to share the follow-up story from the two guys who had been kicked off the plane, as they published follow-up videos.

Adam published the following video, with his account of what happened:

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Delta’s Latest Statement Regarding The #BoycottDelta Situation

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The biggest airline story of the day has been about a YouTube prankster who got kicked off a Delta flight from London to New York this morning. I shared my initial impressions of the situation, and then wrote a follow-up post about why I think it’s too soon to point fingers at/boycott Delta, given this guy’s history.

The prankster who was kicked off the plane has a history of lying about what happened on planes, and even of lying about being discriminated against.

Earlier today Delta issued the following statement regarding the situation:

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Why It’s Too Soon To Get On The #BoycottDelta Bandwagon…

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Earlier I posted about how a YouTuber allegedly got kicked off a Delta flight from London to New York for speaking Arabic. While I’m appalled by the number of times that people do get kicked off planes due to other peoples’ ignorance, this is a case where I’m giving the airline the benefit of the doubt, at least for now.

Why?

— The guy who was kicked off a plane is a self proclaimed “professional idiot”
— Just last week he lied about shipping himself in the cargo hold of a plane, which turned out not to be true

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How Much Money Will Alaska Lose Due To Cutting Ties With Delta?

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On Monday we learned that Alaska and Delta are cutting ties as of May 1, 2017. The two airlines have been frenemies for years, as Delta’s presence in Seattle has continued to grow. Even so, they seemed better off together than separate.

However, Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America finally caused Alaska and Delta to cut ties, likely due to the increased number of routes on which the airlines overlap (Virgin America competes in many of the same transcon markets as Delta).

While this is bad news for frequent flyers, I have to commend Alaska for announcing several positive changes to help offset losing Delta as a partner. I’m feeling pretty great about Alaska Mileage Plan at the moment.

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Did A “Professional Idiot” Get Kicked Off A Delta Flight For Speaking Arabic?!

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Usually I’m enraged when I hear of people being kicked off planes for speaking Arabic, because discrimination is a very real thing. At the same time, here’s an instance where I’ll give the airline and other passengers the benefit of the doubt until a full investigation is done, given who we’re talking about.

Why? Because just a few days ago I wrote about Adam Saleh, a YouTuber who claimed to have flown in the cargo hold of a Tigerair Australia plane from Melbourne to Sydney, and videotaped the whole thing. However, as it turns out, the whole thing wasn’t real, and he actually flew in the cabin — the airline did a hilarious job calling him out.

You’d think he’d lay low for a bit, but now he’s back with his latest airline “story.” He just uploaded a video to Twitter of him being removed from a Delta flight this morning at London Heathrow:

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BREAKING: Alaska & Delta Are Cutting Ties As Of May 1, 2017

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With Alaska’s takeover of Virgin America having just closed, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that some partnerships at Alaska may be changing, given how the “new Alaska” is competing in some markets that they hadn’t competed before. This change shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but Alaska & Delta have just announced that they’re discontinuing their partnership as of May 1, 2017:

“Effective May 1, 2017, Delta and Alaska will no longer have a codeshare agreement, and sales of flights under DL- and AS-coded flight numbers flown on Alaska and Delta aircraft respectively will cease. Additionally, customers of each airline will no longer be able to earn and redeem Delta miles or Mileage Plan miles on flights operated by the other carrier. The carriers will retain an interline agreement, allowing them to continue offering customers ticketing and baggage connectivity. Delta and Alaska today codeshare on only a small number of flights as Delta’s growth in Seattle has reduced the need for codeshare flying.”

As you can see, they’re discontinuing their partnership full stop. They won’t codeshare, provide reciprocal benefits, or even let members earn and redeem miles for travel on the other airline. Alaska and Delta have been partners for years, even though they’ve been feuding as part of their “battle in Seattle.”

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Video Of Passenger Being Dragged Off Delta Flight… Literally

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Rene’s Points shares the crazy video footage a reader sent him of a lady being dragged off a Delta 737, which was scheduled to fly from Detroit to San Diego this morning:

Here’s what the reader had to say about the circumstances surrounding the incident:

“She didn’t check in with gate agent and walked right on. [The] woman blew by gate agent and didn’t check in because she wasn’t an early boarder and deserved overhead bin space. Colleague in back by her said she was mouthy and had a huge attitude. Police tackled her out of her seat and brought her to the ground. Not sure how she was subdued, some people speculated a taser.”

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SPG Platinum Members Now Receive Delta Comfort+ Upgrades

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Delta and Starwood have an innovative partnership called Crossover Rewards, which gives reciprocal perks to elite members of both programs.

Through this partnership:

— SPG Platinum and Gold members earn 1 Starpoint for every dollar spent on eligible Delta flights. Plus, SPG Platinum members enjoy elite benefits when traveling with Delta, such as Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades, and first checked bag free.
— SkyMiles Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion members earn 1 mile for every dollar spent on eligible room rates at over 1,100 Starwood hotels and resorts globally. Plus, SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members receive additional SPG benefits at Starwood hotels and resorts — 4 p.m. late checkout, access to the SPG elite check-in line, complimentary in-room Internet access and an upgrade to an enhanced room at check-in, when available.

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Delta Is Improving Their Free Snacks In Economy

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As U.S. airline profitability has improved significantly over the past couple of years, we’ve also seen the legacy airlines invest somewhat in the customer experience, even in economy. For example, while Delta has offered free snacks in economy for a while, United and American have added free snacks in economy within the past year. Ultimately it’s a small gesture, but certainly makes the economy experience more enjoyable. It’s crazy to think that for years you wouldn’t even get free pretzels on a six hour domestic flight.

Given that American and United have somewhat caught up with Delta on the snack front, it looks like Delta is upping their game once again.

As of December 14, 2016, Delta Air Lines branded peanuts and pretzels will be retired, in favor of brand name products. Delta will offer improved snacks, including Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels, Squirrel Brand Honey Roasted peanuts, and NatureBox Apple Cinnamon Yogurt Bars, in addition to their existing Biscoff cookies.

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Delta Pilots Are Getting A 30%+ Pay Raise

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Roughly 82% of Delta’s 13,000 pilots have voted in favor of a new contract, which will see them getting a pay raise of over 30% over four years. Pilots had voted down an earlier contract, so while this one will be costly for the airline, at least they have an agreement that should lead to good management and pilot relations for a few years.

Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, here’s how the deal is structured:

They’ll get an additional 3 percent raise in 2017, followed by another 3 percent raise in 2018 and a 4 percent raise in 2019.

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