Delta

Delta Is Cutting Complimentary Elite Upgrades On 2 Transcon Routes

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Delta has just announced that they’re cutting complimentary Medallion upgrades on their routes from Washington to Los Angeles and Boston to San Francisco. Actually, they didn’t announce that directly, but it can be inferred when reading between the lines. Delta will be launching two additional transcon routes over the coming months:

— Starting April 24, 2017, Delta will launch nonstop flights between Washington National and Los Angeles
— Starting June 8, 2017, Delta will launch nonstop flights between Boston and San Francisco

We already knew that these routes were coming, and that they’ll be operated by internationally configured 757 aircraft. These flights will feature fully flat seats up front, which we’ve also known.

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Why I Have ZERO Sympathy For U.S. Airlines Whining About Gulf Carriers

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For over two years now, the “big three” U.S. carriers have been trying to stop the “big three” Gulf carriers. The basis of their claim is that Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar, have been violating the Open Skies agreement because they’re government subsidized, and therefore the playing field isn’t level.

They argue that it’s not fair that a reciprocal agreement causes them to have to compete head-to-head with airlines that are really big government vehicles.

I haven’t been very sympathetic towards the arguments the U.S. carriers make. Many people have assumed that it’s because I love the glitz and glam of the Gulf carriers, and don’t think of the impact it has on U.S. jobs, etc. That’s not the case. My main issue is that the U.S. carriers are making their case so poorly, to the point that it really feels to me like they’re targeting and bullying three airlines.

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Delta Increases Their Same Day Flight Change & Standby Fees By 50%

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Delta has quietly increased their fees for same day flight changes and standby. As of March 15, 2017, Delta has increased the fee for both same day flight changes and standby from $50 to $75. This new fee structure applies for tickets issued as of that date — previously booked tickets still qualify for the old fees.

As before, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Medallion members are exempt from same day flight change and standby fees. However, keep in mind that basic economy fares aren’t eligible for same day flight changes or standby, regardless of status.

Obviously this is a negative change, as Delta is increasing these fees by 50% overnight. At the same time, Delta is simply catching up with both American and United here. Both American and United charge $75 for same day flight changes and standby, and Delta’s same day change policy is certainly more generous than American’s.

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Is There No Limit To How Expensive Basic Economy Fares Get?

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American, Delta, and United all sell basic economy fares. Delta pioneered this concept back in 2012, and in the past couple of months American and United have started selling these fares as well. The restrictions associated with these fares vary by airline. They all don’t let you select seats and upgrade on these fares, while American and United don’t even let you bring on carry-on bags when purchasing these fares.

Airlines have justified basic economy fares in two ways:

— It allows them to compete with low cost carriers, who charge for all kinds of extras
— It offers passengers a lower fare option

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Delta Flash Sale: Save On Award Tickets To Europe ThIs Summer

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Delta SkyMiles has announced a great award sale for travel between the U.S. and Europe. The promotion is valid for travel in both business class and economy class, so it’s a great way to snag a discounted award ticket to Europe this summer and fall.

Through this promotion, roundtrip economy class awards start at just 50,000 miles, while roundtrip business class awards start at just 110,000 miles.

The major terms of the promotion are as follows:

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Delta & Korean Air To Announce A Joint Venture Soon

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Well this has the potential to be interesting…

Bloomberg is reporting that Korean Air’s president hinted that a joint venture was coming between Delta and Korean Air, though for now he refused to elaborate. If we were to see a joint venture, we’d likely see more route and pricing coordination, expanded frequent flyer benefits between the two airlines, and perhaps even more Delta service to Incheon.

While Delta and Korean Air have slowly been warming up to one another, the two airlines have made a point of not working with one another up until now.

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Wow: Delta Expands Free Meals To More Domestic Flights

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Wow, Delta is bringing back the good old days of free meals in domestic economy. 😉

Last week I wrote about how Delta is rolling out free meals in economy between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco as of March 1, 2017. This follows tests that they ran between November 1 and December 15 of last year. I guess the feedback was positive (who doesn’t like free food, though?), so they’re looking to make it permanent.

However, this new expanded meal service won’t just be limited to the typical “premium” transcontinental flights.

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GREAT DEAL: $2,100 Business Class Airfares To Africa On SkyTeam!

Nairobi business class availability on Delta's website in October

It’s been a while since we’ve seen some business class fare sales on SkyTeam carriers, but there are a few notable deals going on now that are worth jumping on quickly, particularly if you’re eyeing a trip to East Africa — perhaps to try out the new Park Hyatt Zanzibar?

Per this FlyerTalk thread, airfares between Los Angeles and Nairobi are available for as low as $2,146 roundtrip in business class on Delta, KLM and Kenya Airways. What’s notable about this flash sale is that the fares are good through the end of schedule, so this is worth jumping on if you’ve been itching to plan a safari but have been unable to find an award routing that works for you.

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Limited Time: Delta Is Offering Triple Miles For Airbnb Stays

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Last November, Delta and Airbnb introduced a cool new partnership, where SkyMiles members could earn miles for their activity with Airbnb. This is the third partnership that Airbnb has with an airline, as they also have a partnership with Qantas and Virgin America.

Under this partnership, new Airbnb users can get $25 off their first qualifying Airbnb stay, and up to 1,000 bonus miles (for a stay of at least $150), plus earn one mile per dollar on stays going forward.

For a limited time you can earn more SkyMiles with Airbnb. For bookings through April 30, 2017, and for stays through April 30, 2018, SkyMiles members can earn:

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Delta Is Bringing Back Free Meals In Economy On Select Transcon Flights

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Between November 1 and December 15, 2016, Delta offered complimentary meals in economy on their flights from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco (and vice versa). As much as I sometimes give Delta a hard time for leading the race to the bottom when it comes to frequent flyer programs, there’s no denying that they run the best operation and offer the best onboard experience of the “big three” U.S. carriers.

So based on the feedback from that trial, Delta said they’d decide whether or not to permanently reinstate free meals on these routes. Well, the results are in, and it looks like free meals will be a permanent feature in economy on select Delta transcon flights.

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Delta Is Offering Double SkyMiles For Travel To Australia

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With Australia’s peak travel season slowly winding down, Delta has a bonus offer for SkyMiles members. SkyMiles members can earn double base miles when they fly with Delta or Virgin Australia from Los Angeles to Australia (either Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne) through May 31, 2017.

In order to be eligible for the offer you need to first register, and then book and fly. Unfortunately that means that previously booked tickets are disqualified from this offer. Furthermore, the flight needs to be marketed by Delta, though can be operated by either Delta or Virgin Australia.

Given that Delta has a revenue based frequent flyer program, the bonus comes in the form of five bonus miles per dollar spent on base airfare. That means a base member would earn 10 miles per dollar spent, while a Diamond member would earn 16 miles per dollar spent. Furthermore, you only earn the five bonus miles per dollar spent for the portion of the airfare between Los Angeles and Australia, and not for any connecting flights.

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CONFIRMED: Delta Improves Diamond Medallion Choice Benefits

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Last week Ben wrote about a rumored addition to Delta’s Diamond Medallion benefits. Per Rene’s Points, it was suggested that for the 2018 SkyMiles program Delta would take away the automatic SkyClub membership it bestowed upon its top-tier Diamond Medallions, and add a SkyClub membership back in as one of three “Choice Benefits,” as opposed to the two Choice Benefits that Diamond Medallion members currently receive.

In other words, the SkyClub membership — which for many credit card members was a redundancy for a benefit they would have received in any event through their card membership — is now “opt-in,” and the upside would be that a Diamond Medallion member who already has SkyClub access could choose an entirely different third benefit.

Well, the rumors are true and actually part of a big overhaul to the Choice Benefits program for Diamond Medallions announced today.

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Donald Trump Blames Delta For Airport Chaos This Weekend

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On Saturday, Tiffany wrote about President Trump’s executive order, which created chaos for many international travelers, as those with passports from seven countries were banned from entering the U.S., with immediate effect.

Regardless of how you feel about the decision as such, I think we can all agree this created confusion and chaos, given the lack of notice, and the lack of clear directives for those who were supposed to enforce the rules. Trump insisted this was necessary, because all the bad hombres could have entered the country if there were a week of advance notice:

So, what caused big problems at airports this weekend, according to Trump? Delta’s computer outage, of course… even though it just happened late yesterday evening.

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Breaking: Outage Grounds All Domestic Delta Flights

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Per the FAA, “automation issues” have grounded all Delta flights to domestic destinations, including flights operated by subsidiaries. According to the notice, all international flights are exempt, though based on what I’m hearing, that’s not the case across the board. As of the time of this post the issue is persisting, though hopefully it’s fixed soon. Here’s the FAA notice about it:

GROUND STOP DAL AND SUB CARRIERS TO DOMESTIC DESTINATIONS.
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT ARE EXEMPT. THIS IS DUE TO AUTOMATION ISSUES
WITH DAL. UPDATE AT 0030Z.

Hopefully this isn’t as bad as their outage last August…

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