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SkyMilesInsider update: Sky Priority is HERE…

SkyMilesInsider update: Sky Priority is HERE…

Old Apr 9, 10, 12:01 pm
  #1  
Company Representative - Delta Air Lines
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
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SkyMilesInsider update: Sky Priority is HERE…

As we approach the launch date of Sky Priority and since it has been a topic of much FlyerTalk conversation already, we wanted to take some time to give you the specific details of this new program – we hope you find it helpful in your travels on Delta and we are very interested in your feedback.

When: As early as next week, you may receive a mailing about the start of Sky Priority which will launch formally in just a few days. For those who are signed up to receive e-mail from Delta, you can expect to see information in your inbox on Tuesday. Wednesday evening (in preparation for Thursday morning), Sky Priority branding on signs, select ticket counter back walls, stanchions, carpets, etc. will be rolled out across the Delta system in domestic and international cities including cities served by Delta Connection. You can visit delta.com/skypriority late tonight for complete details as well as a listing of some of the most basic questions and answers about the service.

How: As we launch this new initiative, it’s important to point out to all of you that this is an experience that is in development and may seem like and extension of existing procedures, but it also includes some new things too. We are committed to including your feedback so we can continue making improvements over time. You will be able to fill out a user-experience survey from the Sky Priority page to tell us how we are doing, things that you think we can do better and even note when we didn’t live up to our promise with Sky Priority.

What: Sky Priority is a travel service from start to finish, for Delta’s high value customers to enhance the overall global travel experience. Our intent is to do this by recognizing customer’s business and loyalty with speed and convenience through the journey with Delta and our Delta Connection partners. While Sky Priority is a new travel service designed to work with Delta’s SkyMiles program, the SkyMiles Medallion program is a loyalty program that rewards customers with tiered status based how many Medallion Qualification Miles or Medallion Qualification Segments are earned annually. Delta Sky Priority is offered to premium customers that includes Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members. They are designed to compliment one another, but are two distinctly different offerings.

Who: Customers traveling on Delta or Delta Connection in BusinessElite, First, and Business Class as well as Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members and SkyTeam Elite Plus members are eligible for Sky Priority. Customers will automatically receive a number of benefits when traveling with us – while at the airport, on boarding passes and delta.com, during flight and during irregular operations – and experience the Sky Priority brand throughout their journey.

Our SkyMiles Silver Medallion or SkyTeam Elite members will continue to enjoy all the benefits they’ve earned – as found on delta.com - and will experience no changes once Sky Priority is available to qualifying customers.

Silver Medallion members are eligible for Sky Priority services when upgraded or when a BusinessElite, First or Business Class ticket is purchased. For upgrades that are confirmed prior to the start of the check-in process, the Sky Priority identifier will be displayed throughout the itinerary. For upgrades that occur after the start of the check-in process – for example when upgraded at the gate – Sky Priority will not appear on boarding documents, however, they will join the Sky Priority group for boarding process in zone 1.

The specifics: The Sky Priority experience can begin at the time of booking for many and continues through check-in, security, boarding, in-flight – right through to baggage pick-up.
  • delta.com – from the moment a traveler is identified as being eligible for Sky Priority service, they will have a personal, branded experience on our web site. Once we have the reservation, no matter how it is booked, Sky Priority customers who have provided an e-mail address will receive real-time upgrade notifications.
  • Mobile and online check-in – we know that many of you already have used mobile boarding passes or online check-in so it is important that we recognize you there as well. When you check-in on delta.com and we recognize that you didn’t get upgraded, we will add a coupon to your self-printed boarding pass for a complimentary beverage or in-flight snack.
  • Curbside or lobby check-in – if you decide to check-in at the curb or in the airport lobby, just look for the Sky Priority signs and we will try to get you on your way in 10 minutes or less. Our hub operations in ATL, MSP, DTW, SLC and CVG will all have dedicated lines that will expedite the process. Be aware that not all airport locations will have dedicated curbside check-in stations and locations will vary. Sky Priority check-in for JFK will be located in terminal 2. At DCA Sky Priority check-in will be at the former ‘shuttle only’ check-in counter next to the security checkpoint. Checking a bag? You may also notice that agents will add a yellow Sky Priority bag tag that will help us identify your baggage for priority service. (see more on baggage handling below)
  • Security – wherever possible, we will have dedicated security lines to help you get through this part of your travel faster by easing your way to the front of the line whenever we can. Each airport can be slightly different but we continue to work with local staff to provide a faster security process – this will be an ongoing focus for us as we move forward.
  • Boarding – as many have already pointed out, being able to board early and find space for your bags is very important. Delta currently boards by zone numbers starting with BusinessElite and First Class in zone 1, Medallion members in zone 2 and everyone else in zones 3 and 4. Beginning on Thursday, Sky Priority eligible customers (BusinessElite, First and Business Class customers; Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members; SkyTeam Elite Plus members) will board in zone 1, Silver Medallion and SkyTeam Elite members will continue to board in zone 2 via the Sky Priority designated lane and everyone else will board in zones 3 and 4. Anyone that is able to board in zones 1 or 2 may board at any time after their original boarding zone has been called by using the Sky Priority boarding lane.
  • Baggage handling – if you checked a bag with us we added a yellow Sky Priority tag identifier to help us get your bag to the carousel first, but you should know that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes; our station managers have the reporting tools to see irregularities quickly, identify trends and work with ground staff to solve problems as soon as they see them. Some of you have noted that priority bag service has improved significantly since we renewed our training efforts in January – we continue to reinforce the importance of this service to our employees each day. We are already seeing better bag results by scanning all bags on to the plane, off the plane, and onto the bag belts. This helps us track the baggage process much more closely than in the past.
  • Service recovery – sometimes things don’t go as planned in this business. We know that. We also know that Sky Priority customers have a higher than average chance of experiencing irregular operations than less frequent travelers as a matter of basic statistics. To help, we included dedicated lines at our Need Help Centers and Baggage Service Offices to reduce the negative impact to the travel experience while you are in the airport.
Delta’s overall goal: We believe that these changes will provide a more consistent experience and travel path to Sky Priority eligible customers. As we move forward with the complete roll-out of Sky Priority, we will work to include your feedback in the program and encourage you to let us know how we are doing along the way by frequently completing our customer surveys.

For those of you attending the Delta Mini-DO in Atlanta on April 24, I look forward to hearing your personal accounts and suggestions over dinner.

SkyMilesInsider

Last edited by DLCorpTeam; Apr 15, 10 at 4:44 am
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:05 pm
  #2  
 
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Thanks for the update SMI. Sounds like some nice changes and I'm EXCITED() to see the program implemented!
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:08 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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great news!!
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:12 pm
  #4  
 
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Thanks for the update.

So I guess the Breezeway is being replaced by the SP lane, correct?

Another question. If not upgraded at check in, I get a coupon for a drink/snack. If a gate upgrade is received, does the coupon then expire, or can I save them up or give to a friend in Y?
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:14 pm
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Sounds like a bad thing for first class flyers as now we have to board with a million other people (gold/plats who are not upgraded, etc.). On many of my flights, this could be 70+ people trying to board in Zone 1.
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:14 pm
  #6  
 
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Thanks for keeping us updated.

As a HVC I would much prefer that time, attention and resources be dedicated toward adding benefits to bring Delta in line with its competitors:
  • A working online award ticketing calendar.
  • An affordable international SWU program.

While curbside check-in and other speed of service benefits are nice, I'd much rather have an enhanced program that includes amenities readily available at other airlines.
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:17 pm
  #7  
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Sounds like an exact copy of Continental's Elite Access program, which we've had for many years - with the key difference being Continental didn't tell its Silver members that they don't really matter.
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:21 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
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EXCELLENT news. THANK YOU for the update. The free drink/snack coupon is a great touch. Thanks, Delta.
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:22 pm
  #9  
 
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Thanks SMI! I love the idea of getting a coupon for a drink or snack if the u/g doesn't come through. Also, thanks for the heads up. This is a step in the right direction. ^
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:23 pm
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Sounds exciting. I'm glad to see DL knows the only way I can cope in coach is with alcohol.
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:25 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by crazygrow View Post
Sounds like a bad thing for first class flyers as now we have to board with a million other people (gold/plats who are not upgraded, etc.). On many of my flights, this could be 70+ people trying to board in Zone 1.
I have to agree - boarding every priority customer in one pack is just ludicrous. Many flights between certain key business centers are 50%+ Medallion. This will create havoc as half the flight tries to squeeze through the elite side, while simultaneously pushing and elbowing non-elite gate lice who try to jump into the fray. What a mess.

Continental does it right - they board F/J first through the Elite Access lane, then Elite Access, then open general boarding through the general lane while keeping the Elite lane open for latecomers.

The boarding process doesn't take any longer, people can even remain on the upgrade list and get upgraded after boarding and the flights still leave on time.

Why does DL keep taking other company's product ideas and knocking them down a notch instead of kicking them up a notch. This is best in class??
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:25 pm
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Originally Posted by crazygrow View Post
Sounds like a bad thing for first class flyers as now we have to board with a million other people (gold/plats who are not upgraded, etc.). On many of my flights, this could be 70+ people trying to board in Zone 1.
excellent point

We all know that a passenger who actually pays for a seat in domestic F (not that this ever applies to me)in reality receives very little for the price of his ticket. He at least deserves to be able to board first and get himself situated and stow his carry-on without 50+ elites who did not get upgraded squeezing past him in the aisle. The current boarding process was ideal -zone 1 for F, then zone 2 for elites, and unless the aircraft is being boarded via the second door there should be a few minutes wait between boarding zones 1 & 2. As important and high- priority that elites should be(yes, even DM's), they should still be one notch below a paid F pax.

Last edited by acf1270; Apr 9, 10 at 2:13 pm
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:29 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by crazygrow View Post
Sounds like a bad thing for first class flyers as now we have to board with a million other people (gold/plats who are not upgraded, etc.). On many of my flights, this could be 70+ people trying to board in Zone 1.
I will agree that this is the one thing on the list above that I shuddered at.
Certainly a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

I don't know that too many of those affected by the new SP program had any issues with the boarding order.
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:29 pm
  #14  
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Couple of nice touches (I like the free drink/snack coupon idea), but mostly incremental give all the hoopla surrounding SkyPriority:
  • This is a negative for F/J pax (especially those who paid rather than upgraded).
  • The free wi-fi idea seems to have been scrapped.
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Old Apr 9, 10, 12:31 pm
  #15  
 
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While I don't often miss an upgrade, the offer of a cert is appreciated. I have also experienced improved baggage delivery and as someone who would prefer to check baggage vs. dragging it through security, this is a huge plus.
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