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SkyMilesInsider Update: The Award calendar and other delta.com stuff...

SkyMilesInsider Update: The Award calendar and other delta.com stuff...

Old Mar 5, 10, 4:51 am
  #1  
Company Representative - Delta Air Lines
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SkyMilesInsider Update: The Award calendar and other delta.com stuff...

As we integrated our reservations systems, lots of people were watching with anticipation to see what the combined website, delta.com, would offer. This continues to be a work in progress.

For many months, our technology teams were focused on combining two web sites and reservations platforms into one, single system. Our first priority was to make this integration happen smoothly for all of our customers. Web site integration is no small task, and we needed every person focused to get the job done. On January 31st, we turned the switch and made the change to one system, one site.

With the integration we were able to bring along some key functionality that has proven to be particularly important this snow-heavy winter. Delta.com now offers the ability to make changes to your travel schedule. So when Delta issues a weather advisory to notify customers that we’ve waived change fees due to inclement weather, you can make any changes needed right on delta.com.

That brings us to where we are today. With the most intense part of the switch completed, we’re now working on items that are next on the list – including Award calendar. We have been monitoring your past responses and continue to making sure that your concerns are considered in our plans for moving forward.

As we move down this path, we can’t overstate the importance of Delta people in the process as crucial contributors to the evolution of our technology. And we’re fortunate to now add to the Delta team the talents of those who worked on nwa.com, bolstering a robust team of programmers and project leaders working on improvements to delta.com for the future.

So the burning question you must all have is, ‘when will the new Award calendar be live?’ Our response: As soon as possible. These things take time, but we are in the process of making improvements to award calendar which you will see on delta.com by summer and we will continue to add improvements throughout the year. We hear you and we are taking action!

We have many dot com people that watch FlyerTalk already and your feedback is important to us. We are absolutely in tune with your suggestions and travel needs from department heads down to individual programmers. Our goal is continue to build delta.com into an easy to use, online source for easily communicating and doing business with Delta.

When we are ready to launch, you will be among the very first to know.

SkyMilesInsider
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Old Mar 5, 10, 5:37 am
  #2  
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If this is the plan it is indeed very good news SMI. An award calender that shows partner availability and more low awards for Business class seats on Asian routes, even if tiered based on status, would be huge..I hope that is the plan and we do appreciate the update.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 5:40 am
  #3  
 
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SMI,

Firstly, thanks for your continued updates. I'm sure like others, the award calendar, and also award availability are my biggest concerns with DL and are honestly the only thing that makes me question my loyalty.

While I appreciate your attempt to keep us in the loop, this post could basically be summed up in a couple sentences:

"Merging nwa.com & delta.com was difficult but we've managed to do it and added a couple new features. A new award calendar is coming at some point in the future."

Can you provide any more detail? What is different about the new award calendar? Why is it any better? Will it have the same lack of "low" awards?

I was eagerly awaiting your update on this topic that you promised, but this provides very little information.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 5:48 am
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What a total snow-job. Fitting given SMI's references to the winter weather.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 5:59 am
  #5  
 
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I have listened with great interest to comment made by a friend who was working on the optimization of the new site. I was assured we'd have easy access to other ST schedules, be able to book paid and award travel for them all, and even make changes on any itinerary booked on 006 stock. I never understood when, but this is all moving at a glacial pace.

Website design and launch normally is not a multi-year effort. Momentary weather disruptions are disingenuous excuses, at best.

When can we get some honest and clear information about what our expectations should be. I've been flying other carriers for the last few months, waiting for this to become functional, but I want to be back flying DL.

What is up? Please don't give us useless babble. We can understand problems and delays, but honesty will go a long way for most of us, at least it would for me.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 6:01 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by SkyMilesInsider View Post
As we integrated our reservations systems, lots of people were watching with anticipation to see what the combined website, delta.com, would offer. This continues to be a work in progress.
Yes and for those of us being assimilated from NWA, we watched the output of the DL.COM website with utter horror.

Originally Posted by SkyMilesInsider View Post
So the burning question you must all have is, ‘when will the new Award calendar be live?’ Our response: As soon as possible. These things take time, but we are in the process of making improvements to award calendar which you will see on delta.com by summer and we will continue to add improvements throughout the year. We hear you and we are taking action!

SkyMilesInsider
This is a step forwards...at least the entity confesses there's a problem - although they don't seem enthused to take responsibility for these issues.

The issue is the intersection of the awful DL.COM booking tool with the constraints imposed by rev management that choke availability. We may find that even with a new calendar, the problems are not resolved. But, I agree that it is a necessary first step.

The burning question I actually have is, ‘when will the new DL Award calendar deliver performance that is comparable to that of its competitors?

The only valid response: As soon as factual comparative data demonstrates that awards can be redeemed on DL.COM for similar, or better, value than on AA.COM, CO.COM, UA.COM and US.COM.

That's what will at least justify the claim :-: comparable in class :-:
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Old Mar 5, 10, 6:05 am
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Such a long post by SkyMilesInsider and still nothing of substance.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 6:16 am
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Yawn, more marketing speak and spin meaning nothing. Answer the question at the top of the forum. If you (DL) can't keep your word, why should we give weight to anything you say?
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Old Mar 5, 10, 6:20 am
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by Savage25 View Post
Such a long post by SkyMilesInsider and still nothing of substance.
I agree. Reminds me of an old Texas saying. " He's all hat and no cattle ".
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Old Mar 5, 10, 6:38 am
  #10  
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Posts: 3,386
HARD DATA: This is what we mean... the system is broken and grossly uncompetitive

Encouraged by this communication, I checked DL.COM and CO.COM just now for an itin that I really could use, TUS-SIN 6/15-6/29. Default search, specifying Y.

DL.COM finds an itin at 185k, with $78.90 in taxes/fees.
CO.COM finds an itin at 65k, with $71.20 in taxes/fees.

DL.COM's itin takes a total of 91 hours 10 mins. 45hr 55 mins on the outbound and 45h 15 mins on return.
CO.COM's itin takes a total of 60h 39 mins (32h 36 and 28h 3 mins).

Let's compare the hard data across all three performance indicators:

Mileage required: DL is 290% worse than CO.
Cost in $: DL is 10% worse than CO.
Time taken: DL is 50% worse than CO.

DL does offer one segment in J, from SIN to NRT on the return flight. Is that worth the gigantic difference in mileage and time? Although I can't get J all the way there and back on CO.COM, I can get J all the way outbound with a Y return on CO for the stated minimum mileage of 95k (32.5k + 62.5k). This is still just over HALF what DL wants for the one J segment. Let's not forget DL's needless forced overnights in SLC outbound and ATL inbound.

The data shows that the DL itinerary is a. ridiculously costly compared with Star offerings and b. practically unusable because of the extra two forced overnights at DL hubs.

Notice also that CO.COM presents the mileage required and total costs at the top of the screen in the summary, not at the bottom of the screen. CO.COM also has a good reputation for delivering what it claims on these screens. DL.COM, in case you weren't aware, most certainly does not.

I've pasted the contents of the search outputs below so that you can see exactly what we mean.

There is a very, very long way to go for DL to be remotely competitive, never mind best in class.

Attention DL.COM developers and SM managers: DL needs to factually beat CO's performance to eliminate the ironic ridicule of your company's slogan and to encourage customers to return to using DL for their paid itins.

-----------------------DL.COM------------------

Tucson, AZ (TUS) to Singapore, Singapore (SIN) on 15 Jun 2010
11:30am
TUS 12:25am
SIN

Arrives 18 Jun
Multi-stop
Salt Lake City, UT (SLC)
(23 hr 31 min layover)
Tokyo-Narita, Japan (NRT)
(1 hr 40 min layover)
45 hr 55 min
Delta 4769
CRJ 100
Operated by Skywest Dba Delta Connection
In-Flight Services
Coach
View Seats
Delta 609
Airbus A330-200
In-Flight Services
Coach
View Seats
Delta 619
Airbus A330-200
In-Flight Services
Coach
View Seats
Singapore, Singapore (SIN) to Tucson, AZ (TUS) on 29 Jun 2010
5:55am
SIN 12:10pm
TUS

Arrives 30 Jun
Multi-stop
Tokyo-Narita, Japan (NRT)
(1 hr 05 min layover)
Atlanta, GA (ATL)
(19 hr 55 min layover)
45 hr 15 min
Delta 620
Airbus A330-200
In-Flight Services
Business
View Seats
Delta 280
Boeing 777
In-Flight Services
Coach
View Seats
Delta 2104
Boeing 757
In-Flight Services

-------------------------------CO.COM---------------------------

Price Details:
1 Reward 65,000 Miles
Ticket Taxes/Fees $71.20
Total Price 65,000 Miles and $71.20

Purchase this reservation without redeeming miles.

Flight Details:
Depart:
6:09 a.m.
Tue., Jun. 15, 2010
Tucson, AZ (TUS) Arrive:
8:17 a.m.
Tue., Jun. 15, 2010
San Francisco, CA (SFO) Flight Time:
2 hr 8 mn Flight: UA6369
Aircraft: Canadair Regional Jet 700
Fare Class: Economy (X)

Change Planes. Connect time in San Francisco, CA (SFO) is 6 hours 33 minutes.
Depart:
2:50 p.m.
Tue., Jun. 15, 2010
San Francisco, CA (SFO) Arrive:
5:55 p.m. +1 Day
Wed., Jun. 16, 2010
Beijing, People's Republic of China (PEK - Capital) Flight Time:
12 hr 5 mn Flight: CA986
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400 Combi
Fare Class: Economy (X)
Meal: Dinner
No Special Meal Offered.
Change Planes. Connect time in Beijing, People's Republic of China (PEK - Capital) is 5 hours 35 minutes.
Depart:
11:30 p.m.
Wed., Jun. 16, 2010
Beijing, People's Republic of China (PEK - Capital) Arrive:
5:45 a.m. +1 Day
Thu., Jun. 17, 2010
Singapore, Singapore (SIN) Flight Time:
6 hr 15 mn

Travel Time:
32 hr 36 mn Flight: CA975
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Fare Class: Economy (X)
Meal: Snack
No Special Meal Offered.

United Airlines flight 6369 operated by UNITED EXPRESS/SKYWEST AIRLINES.
Air China flight 986 operated by Air China.
Air China flight 975 operated by Air China.

Depart:
9:30 a.m.
Tue., Jun. 29, 2010
Singapore, Singapore (SIN) Arrive:
3:30 p.m.
Tue., Jun. 29, 2010
Beijing, People's Republic of China (PEK - Capital) Flight Time:
6 hr 0 mn Flight: CA976
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Fare Class: Economy (X)
Meal: Snack
No Special Meal Offered.

Change Planes. Connect time in Beijing, People's Republic of China (PEK - Capital) is 5 hours 30 minutes.
Depart:
9:00 p.m.
Tue., Jun. 29, 2010
Beijing, People's Republic of China (PEK - Capital) Arrive:
6:00 p.m.
Tue., Jun. 29, 2010
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Flight Time:
12 hr 0 mn Flight: CA983
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400 Combi
Fare Class: Economy (X)
Meal: Dinner
No Special Meal Offered.
Change Planes. Connect time in Los Angeles, CA (LAX) is 3 hours 10 minutes.
Depart:
9:10 p.m.
Tue., Jun. 29, 2010
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Arrive:
10:33 p.m.
Tue., Jun. 29, 2010
Tucson, AZ (TUS) Flight Time:
1 hr 23 mn

Travel Time:
28 hr 3 mn
redtailshark is offline  
Old Mar 5, 10, 6:40 am
  #11  
 
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I for one am happy to have some communication on the subject. At least we know they recognize the problem, are working on it and talking to us. I would be happy with just an accurate awards calendar. Availability is not an issue for IT to deal with, that is management.

Thanks SMI even for a little bit.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 6:48 am
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If I can look for award tickets any time of the year, and be pretty much assured that I can get some at the low level if I have a little bit of flexibility in dates, then the product will be improved. This includes peak times -- like the low level summer tickets I used to be able to find on NW -- again with the understanding that I have some flexibility in dates.

If not -- if low level tickets remain largely an illusion -- then any improvements will be fluff.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 6:50 am
  #13  
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The new award calendar must display award inventory accurately at a glance for there to be any meaningful change. More specifically, we SkyMiles customers need to know when we can book awards online at a "low" price, however elusive that sadly may be, without extra clicks that lead us to discover that the initial suggestion of available "low" inventory was actually a mirage.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 7:02 am
  #14  
 
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Thanks for the update and glad to hear that DL is at least aware of our concerns.

Tell everyone working on the project to go over to the AA/CO etc websites and try to book an award ticket. Then send them to Delta.com and try the same thing. This should help to illustrate the problem.
The lack of a workable award calender is an embarrassment.

I understand that award redemption levels are probably determined higher up the food chain, but at least have the IT folks give us a functional tool to book our overpriced awards with.
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Old Mar 5, 10, 7:12 am
  #15  
 
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Thanks for the update SMI.

As a NWA.com user, I really liked the award booking layout (similar to CO.com now) and wish the DL.com could change to that style.
I hope that we could show partner availability also. If you have the same NWA.com programmers then it should be possible. For example NWA.com would show KE and China Southern flights in addition to NW flights for intra-asia award.
I hope that this is also done quickly. It seems that CO, even though they were changing alliances, was able to update their award booking process fairly quickly to include star alliance partners and it seems to work well.
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