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Old Aug 17, 17, 8:54 am   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Programs: DL PM Mlife Gold Honors Gold IHG Plat Hyatt Platinum Westin Gold Marriott Gold National Executive
Posts: 1,247
What keeps you on Delta?

Just curious what keeps people flying Delta? It seems like pricing for their routes is the most expensive to basically any city I am trying to fly to, and its getting harder and harder to justify flying them. Especially for who their target is (business travelers) since 99% of people have rules in place that they cant book the most expensive flights just because they like DL.

Some disclaimers for the DL Loyalists/haters:

- I am referring to ALL airlines not just Allegiant, Spirit, Frontier, etc being cheaper.
- This is not supposed to be some cheap shot at DL about pricing
- This is only in cases where I am booking, it very well could be true other places are cheaper
- United, AA, etc. are often cheaper then DL
- I am only referring to non stop routes where other airlines are non stop too
- Please leave the bitter or snide remarks out of this so this thread does not get locked, I am honestly curious what it is that keeps people flying them (service, experience, loyalty, etc.)
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Old Aug 17, 17, 9:13 am   #2
Formerly known as flyerdude88
  
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Posts: 5,022
With my business traveler hat on:

-Corporate rate includes free Exit Row / Preferred Seats and waitlist for C+
-More direct flights out of RDU to places I'm likely to fly
-Better service and more comfortable in Y than AA or UA (personal preference - know others might disagree)

With my personal travel hat on:

-Better service and more comfortable in Y than AA or UA (personal preference - know others might disagree)
-Better experience in IRROPS despite having no / minimal status (SPG Plat but that's nothing)
-When upgraded or paid F, I personally think the food is better than what they serve on AA or UA
-Tons of daily mainline flights between RDU and ATL means you can be efficient in your timing and go RDU - ATL - XYZ (or vv) with reasonably short layovers. UA requires going via EWR / IAD / ORD / IAH on mostly regionals and at times long layovers, AA is better with the short hop to CLT but prefer DL
-Free checked bag due to holding AMEX Delta but don't have to actually buy ticket with it (vs. UA which requires buying ticket to use bag benefit)
-More planes with IFE for the times I forget my iPad or don't want to drain the battery on a long flight
-Can actually use my DL miles for something even if it's not at the saver level (though my last 4 redemptions have all been saver Y or saver J for TATL so no complaints here) vs. AA which is a non-starter
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Old Aug 17, 17, 9:16 am   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 67,726
Hub captive.

Reliability and IROPs handling.

Elite perks are valuable to me (and sometimes save money, such as no checked bag fees and meals on upgraded flights or food in the SC).

ADDED: Possibly fewer crazy power tripping staff than other USA legacy carriers (and I don't want to fly WN).

Almost a decade after the merger, I think I'm starting to appreciate DL's southern hospitality style.

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Aug 17, 17 at 11:23 am
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Old Aug 17, 17, 9:26 am   #4
  
Join Date: May 2008
Location: NYC
Programs: AA EXP, 1MM; DL PM
Posts: 3,160
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentharris View Post
Just curious what keeps people flying Delta? It seems like pricing for their routes is the most expensive to basically any city I am trying to fly to, and its getting harder and harder to justify flying them. Especially for who their target is (business travelers) since 99% of people have rules in place that they cant book the most expensive flights just because they like DL.

Some disclaimers for the DL Loyalists/haters:

- I am referring to ALL airlines not just Allegiant, Spirit, Frontier, etc being cheaper.
- This is not supposed to be some cheap shot at DL about pricing
- This is only in cases where I am booking, it very well could be true other places are cheaper
- United, AA, etc. are often cheaper then DL
- I am only referring to non stop routes where other airlines are non stop too
- Please leave the bitter or snide remarks out of this so this thread does not get locked, I am honestly curious what it is that keeps people flying them (service, experience, loyalty, etc.)
The pricing thing will vary greatly by city / travel patterns I figure. My experience (and I mean that just as my experience / my travel patterns) finds Delta to usually be the same price or cheaper than AA/UA. Not always, but more often than not. That said, the most common thing is for them to basically be priced equivalently. But it's rather rare for DL to be much higher than the others. Again, I know this will vary greatly for people's different experiences and needs.

So pricing is one thing currently keeping me on DL. Another is living in NYC. I used to be an AA elite, for many years (still running out my last year of EXP) and DL simply has many more non-stops from NYC (I prefer to fly out of LGA for domestic, JFK for international, so UA isn't a great option for me). And, at least for now (perhaps), I can reach Diamond via AMEX waiver.

Those are the main drivers for me. I do find reliability and customer service to be better on DL than AA but this not one of the major drivers for me.

Allegiant/Spirit/Frontier have limited service in the NYC area, which is fine by me as they aren't really airlines I personally tend to consider.
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Old Aug 17, 17, 9:29 am   #5
  
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 71
The flights for me are in the ballpark with the rest though some times I pick UAL on cost or direct vs. not direct. I will also pick flights and times based on aircraft. 757 trumps 737 trumps MD88, etc..

All things being close I choose Delta as I like the experience more than I like UAL experience. A couple hundred dollars to be more comfortable is always worth it to me. I also have the Amex Plat card so Sky Clubs when on Delta.


Background.
Travel is CONUS so far, I buy first class tickets A and G mostly. My flights generally start out in Orlando. I only buy FC tickets for health and comfort reasons. Compressed disks, cracked disks, little claustrophobic, and generally not fond of the public / people.

Last week was MCO to IAD chose UAL to get direct, was not impressed gates where crazy compared to Delta gates at IAD. When I go back in a few weeks might do Delta again and connect.
Sunday is MCO to DEN chose UAL to get direct and most delta connections too much time on a MD90.
Will be doing MCO to LAX soon and will go Delta 757.
Doing family vacation MCO to SLC in a bit and will go Delta. Might send my kids Jet Blue though...
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Old Aug 17, 17, 9:35 am   #6
  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: RDU
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As an occasional flyer, I just have a better overall experience than on UA or AA. I have an upcoming trip on Delta in coach, but I'm still looking forward to it!
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Old Aug 17, 17, 9:43 am   #7
  
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Tl;dr - Schedule and price. I have limited non-stop opportunities, so everything is a connection.

I've been flying a lot more UA this year (1K through corporate match) and it's been interesting to compare/contrast.

Ontime arrival: DL less than 50%, UA 95% (this is about 80,000 miles on DL, 75,000 miles on UA since JAN 17, but certainly has to do with airports I travel to - BOS, PHL, NYC, SFO)

Service: The worst flight attendant I've ever had was on UA. The best flight attendant I've ever had was on UA (including QF, CX, BA Int'l First). I find DL to very consistently be down the middle - I've never had excellent service on DL, but I've also never had poor. Free snack in coach for 1K is very nice and I make use of this often. Elite recognition for 1K is lightyears ahead of DL for Diamonds (but I'm guessing they're taking notice based on recent surveys)

Upgrades: DL wins hands down. Based on my travel, I get DL upgrades about 60%. UA as a 1K on an M fare PHL-ORD (instant upgrade) - I better pay my extra $149 ow, or there's no chance I'm getting a seat up front.

IRROPS: It's a wash for me. UA had been very proactive in my IRROPS and will confirm me in F even if I was on a comp upgrade. DL also treats its Diamonds well.

Club: No access to United Clubs, having SkyClub access is a godsend (and since it's a full membership as Diamond, I can use the SkyClubs when traveling through UA hubs [DEN, ORD, EWR])

Schedule: DL has more flights out of MSN, but UA has well timed flights to go West through DEN

Price: It's always a dice roll - sometimes DL is $100 cheaper, sometimes $200 more. I go with whichever carrier is cheaper to save the customer $$$ as long as the schedule is appropriate.

AA? God no. I'd rather fly Spirit.
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Old Aug 17, 17, 9:49 am   #8
  
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Only ventured to Southwest for 2 trip in the last few years. When I made the switch to Delta (from UA), it was for:

Ontime Performance
IIROPS Handling (especially when I wasn't statused)
When I need to connect SLC and DTW are GREAT!
Friendlier Staff
Seatback IFE

I am allowed a +/- $200 for work travel, so if I can get Delta in that range, its a no brainer.
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Old Aug 17, 17, 10:03 am   #9
  
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: YYZ, YKF
Posts: 155
Flying out of Canada, SM is easy to get with just leisure travel. No MQD's, MQMs always at 100% (including many Skyteam airlines) and pretty good number of upgrades received so far. Contrast this with Air Canada where the cheapest fares earn 25% in AQMs.

Also, it helps that Delta/SkyTeam has a lot of cheap fare deals flying out of YYZ every so often.

They also feed us better, even in coach, than Air Canada.

IRROPS: Air Canada: Just wait. Delta: Rebooked/upgraded into paid J (we didn't pay) through a different connecting flight, pro-active notifications to rebook flight.
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Old Aug 17, 17, 10:05 am   #10
  
Join Date: Jun 2004
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In order:

. I like the color of their planes
. I am one of only 5 flyers who prefer original herringbone to reverse
. I live in Atlanta

On a more serious note, I am fairly happy with DL, but the prices can be over the top. If I move, i would certainly re-evaluate.

I do not understand why people should look for a reason to stay. Despite the "loyality" name on the programs, there is no such reality. Always look around to see whatever works best for you.
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Old Aug 17, 17, 10:12 am   #11
  
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Based in ATL is the main reason.
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Old Aug 17, 17, 10:18 am   #12
formerly B7e7US
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Based in CDG is the main reason, so different options in the morning / late afternoon to fly westbound plus the upgrade in the US-Domestic/Caribbean service. AA is my second choice, as their prices are much lower when booking last minute.

Also the free gogo texting during the entire flight thanks to my prepaid T-mobile line
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Old Aug 17, 17, 10:29 am   #13
  
Join Date: Oct 2016
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I remained loyal to Delta even when I was in Houston for five years. The main reason? Operational reliability. Secondary reason was IRROPS handling. I switched to United for the first couple of months I lived in Houston, and 75% of my flights were significantly delayed. I figured out I'd get to my destination sooner by connecting on Delta than by flying nonstop on United. Now that I'm in Boise, United is probably slightly more convenient but Delta has enough options that sticking with them is an easy decision.

Several years ago my company still had American as its preferred carrier. A year and a half of flying with them left me the impression that their motto was "Don't burden the customer with useful information." There's nothing like sitting at the gate 30 minutes after scheduled departure with no agent in site, no plane in site, and the information board showing the flight on time.

I'm not a fan of Delta's many, many devaluations for medallion flyers over the last few years, but the way the airline industry works today, United and American are sure to match those devaluations in short order. At the end of the day it comes down to the fact that most of the time, Delta will get me to where i'm going as scheduled.
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Old Aug 17, 17, 10:33 am   #14
  
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Location: New York City
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I stuck with delta because I didn't bother to check on how bad the SkyMiles program had become, while I went without flying for a while.

But Delta is always my first choice because of that 1 time I was walking down the street an fairly attractive women said to me, hello 2D how was your cranapple. (Or something like that).
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Old Aug 17, 17, 11:04 am   #15
  
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Geographical convenience... As in hub captive by DL the last two places I've lived for an extended period of time.
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