Delta

Wow: Delta Expands Free Meals To More Domestic Flights

Delta-Meal

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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Jet Airways Awards Are Now Bookable On Delta’s Website!

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India-based Jet Airways changed up their North America routes early last year, given that the airline has been bleeding money for a long time. The airline used to have a mini-hub in Brussels, and operated flights from Newark and Toronto to Brussels, with connecting flights to Delhi and Mumbai.

In theory it seemed like an efficient network, since the flights were timed so that travelers could transfer from Newark and Toronto to either Delhi or Mumbai, and vice versa. Unfortunately the bigger problem was that without nonstop flights between North America and India, they didn’t really have a competitive advantage over any other airline offering one stop service between the regions.

So they changed up their strategy, and eliminated Brussels as a hub. They discontinued flights to Newark altogether, and kept operating a flight to Toronto, except via Amsterdam instead of Brussels. As part of this, the airline launched a strategic partnership with Delta and KLM, with extensive codesharing.

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Hands Down The Worst Airline Lounge Behavior Ever

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The Associated Press has the terrible story of a guy who allegedly committed a hate crime against a Delta employee in a JFK SkyClub while awaiting his connection. Robin Rhodes approached a Delta employee while she was sitting in her office, and the following ensued:

“Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Rhodes came up to the door and went on a profanity-laced tirade, asking the woman if she was praying. Rhodes then allegedly punched the door, which hit the back of Khan’s chair. Khan asked Rhodes what she had done to him and Rhodes replied, ‘You did nothing.’ He then cursed at her and kicked her in the leg, Brown said.”

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6 Alternative Facts About Basic Economy

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There is a good deal of confusion in the marketplace about basic economy fares, the no-frills tickets that Delta has been selling for several years now and American and United are poised to begin selling this quarter.

My biggest concern with basic economy fares is that there’s no good way to identify them when searching using Google Flights, or really anywhere other than the airlines’ websites. This seems like an easy feature for Google to add and would go a long way toward helping consumers make an informed decision about what they are about to buy. Of course I’d like to see all of the online travel agencies implement something similar, and honestly, I think that is coming.

But it turns out that there’s a lot more confusion about basic economy than just our inability to identify these fares. Let’s look at six alternative facts about basic economy.

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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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