The Definitive B/E Upgrade Complaint Thread

Old May 12, 10, 1:54 pm
  #76  
 
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5khours for whatever reason you are disgruntled I fail to see how you think every customer is like you. Many corporations, such as the one I work for, fly DL exclusivly for international J, while getting a corporate discount for buying J. Unfortunatly, no other carrier has been able to provide the quality of service and price as DL has. DL wants our business as many other large corporations and businesses.....domestically and internationally.
As far as SWU's I've used them most for personal travel and found them to be a great product. I think the price is fair considering what I receive in return. I hope you enjoy whatever airline you fly but your negative attitude won't get you anywhere.
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Old May 12, 10, 1:57 pm
  #77  
 
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Originally Posted by rockandcorp View Post
As far as SWU's I've used them most for personal travel and found them to be a great product. I think the price is fair considering what I receive in return.
I think we could agree to disagree. The M fares have seen a very steady creep up in prices, going from 1500s to closer to 2800-3200 these days. They used to be significantly below the pricing of an I fare and now are usually comparable to them.
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Old May 12, 10, 4:08 pm
  #78  
 
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Originally Posted by 5khours View Post
Let's see....it costs UA around $1200 to fly me in J and I'm paying $1500. Then I have family members who do another 15 RT TPACs and employees who do about 30 so that's comes to about $15k on UA's bottom line. Sure there are lot of customers who generate a lot more profit but $15k on the bottom line is not insignificant.
Actually, $15k is insignificant. It is a rounding error. Immaterial. More importantly, you assume that the seats would go out empty otherwise. I don't buy it. There is not enough differentiation in either loads or pricing on a consistent basis to suggest that any particular carrier can dominate a route via FF benefits. If catering to elites via long-haul upgrades were the route to profitability, then WN would be a failure. Any lost traffic from losing a few elites can be made up by discounting your fares by $1.

Originally Posted by 5khours View Post
Pity you! If you're stuck in a DL captive hub, you're SOL. If I were you, though, unless I was going to DTW I'd be thinking CO. CO has been hinting at putting in E+ and with the UA merger, this seems pretty certain. Even w/o E+, as an elite, you ought to be able to score exit rows. Plus if the merged FF program is anything like MP, you'll be able to UG to J most of the time, and the 757s on the EWR-CPH route are expected to be completely converted to lie flat by 7/11 (there are reports that they are already showing up on EWR-AMS.)
A few thoughts:

1) I am not in a DL hub, and the only DL hub I fly to is MSP. Well, JFK too, but there is so much service there that it doesn't matter. That DL continues to offer the best schedule to most of the places I fly is a testament to the quality of their route network. My time is actually pretty valuable, you know.

2) I will believe E+ on CO when I see it. They have repeatedly stated that they don't see the benefit (and I agree - it is a ridiculous waste that was introduced with absolutely zero strategy to help contribute to the bottom line). They have continued to offer industry-worst seat pitch on their long-haul fleet. They continue to lag with some of the least comfortable seats in the industry. Anyone that thinks CO is their friend in comfort is sadly mistaken.

3) You clearly don't have any experience with CO if you claim that upgrade rates will be fine. They were very late to the party with SWUs. They pioneered upgrade co-pays. And they probably have the lowest % of TATL J seats of any major carrier, due to the fact that the 752 is their TATL fleet. Ex-CPH, in particular, they offer 16 J seats and don't fly every day. DL will soon offer 52 J seats. UA, of course, offers zero.

Last edited by pbarnette; May 12, 10 at 4:30 pm
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Old May 12, 10, 4:25 pm
  #79  
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I love some of the comparisons, sort of like the UA comparisons someone made awhile back to JNB, considering that UA did not fly anywhere near JNB and doing so would take 2 times as long, put you on LH w/o upgrade for more than half the flight(s) and give you no upgrade. UA to Europe is almost irrelevent when comparing to DL or even CO (that will change when UA and CO merge) then you may have more reason to factor in competition, however as has already been proven several times on such threads, all things being equal, one may have an advantage upgrading from much lower fares with UA if one is buying months in advance, but from 21 days out it is generally either even, or in Delta's favor.
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Old May 12, 10, 4:31 pm
  #80  
 
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Originally Posted by hfly View Post
UA to Europe is almost irrelevent when comparing to DL or even CO
UA flies to Europe?

But, yes, I agree that some of the comments here are ridiculous. My personal favorite was the thread where someone flying Full Y to NBO and with a 100% upgrade rate was encouraged to switch to *A because the SWUs with UA were so great.
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Old May 12, 10, 6:10 pm
  #81  
 
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Originally Posted by pbarnette View Post
Actually, $15k is insignificant. It is a rounding error. Immaterial.
Let's see. $15k on the bottom line times 50,000 1K members in Mileage Plus. That's $750MM for a company with $1.4B in EBITDA. Not exactly immaterial.
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Old May 12, 10, 6:12 pm
  #82  
 
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A BE Upgrade Wish List Item!

Posted something similar in the NRSA thread...

When I was a KLM FD member, one nice thing was that you could redeem an upgrade award, and if there was space on most legs, but not all - you could book it and then be put on a airport waitlist for space available upgrade irrespective of booking class/inventory.

I redeemed a DL award US-Narita-Asia. US-Narita was available in Z. Narita-Asia was not.

Although there were 10 empty seats in Business on the NRT-Asia flight on the day, because DL decided not to release any Z inventory, I sat in the back even though I had redeemed mileage that would make me eligible for an upgrade on that flight. Instead the seats went to NRSA's.

This is poor. DL should allow those whom have already redeemed mileage for an upgrade to stand by for any available space on the day.

Restricting award space / G and Z inventory is fine and part of standard revenue management, I get that. But 1 hour before, if the seats are still open, why refuse to upgrade someone whom has ALREADY USED miles to upgrade on that route, in favour of NRSAs or leaving the seats to go empty?
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Old May 12, 10, 6:13 pm
  #83  
 
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Originally Posted by 5khours View Post
Let's see. $15k on the bottom line times 50,000 1K members in Mileage Plus. That's $750MM for a company with $1.4B in EBITDA. Not exactly immaterial.
Spoken like someone that has zero financial knowledge...

If you think that you gain $15k, on average, from your 1K members, despite having no discernible revenue premium, then you clearly don't care to understand the economics of the airline industry.

The reality is that you simply give away J seats to some portion of the Y seats that you would otherwise sell at market price, and receive no revenue premium.

At the numbers you propose for the "value" of loyalty (what, $250 for a TPAC leg), I would think that the airlines would make more money by simply selling to the highest bidder.
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Old May 12, 10, 6:40 pm
  #84  
 
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Originally Posted by pbarnette View Post
Spoken like someone that has zero financial knowledge...

If you think that you gain $15k, on average, from your 1K members, despite having no discernible revenue premium, then you clearly don't care to understand the economics of the airline industry.

The reality is that you simply give away J seats to some portion of the Y seats that you would otherwise sell at market price, and receive no revenue premium.

At the numbers you propose for the "value" of loyalty (what, $250 for a TPAC leg), I would think that the airlines would make more money by simply selling to the highest bidder.
1. I'll ignore the ad hominem argument.

2. The problem with your analysis and with DL's model in general is that they try to maximize revenue per flight rather than system revenue over time. It's a great model except it assumes a) that travel is fixed and that customers will not reduce travel in response to high pricing and/or bad service, and b) that customers won't switch to competitors who have better programs.

3. There is a revenue premium at least for UA. Budget conscious 1Ks generally pay a couple hundred dollars extra for an upgradeable W fare in order to use their SWUs. They have also introduced a co-pay for international mileages UGs. On top of that 40% of 1Ks are Global Service members with a minimum $50k annual spend.

4. Selling to the highest bidder would make sense. The carriers just haven't figured out how to implement an auction system. (It wouldn't be that hard.)
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Old May 16, 10, 4:16 pm
  #85  
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The armchair CFO talk is fascinating and all, but this is FT, and we want upgrades; lots of 'em, and cheap. Isn't that what being an FTer is about?

So, I will officially "complain" that DL's BE upgrade benefits are well below average, all based on my personal experience:

1) availability is poor
2) eligible fares are pricey
3) the upgrade instruments are cumbersome to use, with e-SWUs being downright painful
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Old May 16, 10, 4:49 pm
  #86  
 
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SWU's are one pain in the arse to use

The upgrades are worth the pain aren't they?

Broke all the rules by buying the M fare (B on return) without upgrades available. Used expert flyer alerts to tell me when an alternative flight opened up with Z availability.

Outbound experience:

Called diamond line, and spent roughly 30-35 minutes on the phone with the agent while she personally called the rebooking desk to process the change of flights and apply the upgrade. That's a lot of time and I had already researched the upgrade availability. She did apologize profusely for the time spent on the phone to handle this simple request.

On outbound flight (which is 2 days before international) leg checkin agent advises me that I will not be able to checkin at the airport in JFK because the upgrade has not been 'processed' and it can no longer be managed at the airport. He says when you get to JFK ask them to contact the rebooking desk.

When I get to JFK I try just this in the Skyclub. There the agent just looks at me like you've got to be kidding. Call the diamond line they will do it for you.

I then try just that. They tell me that it will be handled don't worry about it. I insist she put it through. The agent goes quiet and comes back saying it's been done while acting all bothered that I asked her to do work. And folks this is the DIAMOND LINE.

When the time comes to checkin online, I cannot. So clearly the upgrade was not processed so I call the diamond line. The agent says sure it's been processed. But I can't checkin... okay okay let me transfer you to online customer service. The customer service rep insists that there is nothing she can do. At this point, I politely insisted that this in unacceptable and asked her to tell her superiors that these SWUs are a nightmare and this isn't how you should be treating your diamonds. She apologizes and we hang up. About 20 minutes later I get a call on my cell from Delta. She tells me she solved the problem and I can checkin now. Voila I can. Kudos to the online customer service rep for fixing this and calling me back!

Grand total spent on the phone talking to agents about just one one way upgrade is now well over 75 minutes.

We're not done yet...

Expert flyer alerts me last night that availability just popped on the return -- not a preferred routing as it has a long layover, but heh that's still better than coach. I call the diamond desk on skype, the diamond desk agent hems and hahs that she doesn't see the upgrade space then finally says oh wait I see it. She then transfers me directly to the rebooking desk (rather than doing it herself as the first agent did). I sit on hold for well over 20 minutes and I got a wonderful agent who was able to set everything up for me in about 10 minutes. We'll see what happens when I try to checkin online.

Grand total time spent so far on the phone with delta is over 115 minutes for just one round trip. Add to that the time spent on expert flyer and there is clearly a huge time commitment required to use these eSWUs.


The upgrades are worth the pain aren't they?
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Old May 16, 10, 7:30 pm
  #87  
 
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Originally Posted by doglover View Post
The upgrades are worth the pain aren't they?
After your 4th glass of wine and your legs are on the footrest comfortably, then.... yes (I think).

I've had the same frustrating PMU redemption experiences, although the last one was processed correctly in (only) about 25 minutes.
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Old May 16, 10, 7:47 pm
  #88  
 
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Originally Posted by k2 View Post
The armchair CFO talk is fascinating and all, but this is FT, and we want upgrades; lots of 'em, and cheap. Isn't that what being an FTer is about?

So, I will officially "complain" that DL's BE upgrade benefits are well below average, all based on my personal experience:

1) availability is poor
2) eligible fares are pricey
3) the upgrade instruments are cumbersome to use, with e-SWUs being downright painful
Well said! +1
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Old May 17, 10, 6:47 am
  #89  
 
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Sorry to sound cynical (I'm going to anyway) but:
What is 'definitive' about this thread?
Why is this thread a sticky?
Why does anyone think Delta will pay more attention to this thread over the 5,000 ongoing NSRA or B/E or SWU/PMU certificate threads this forum already has?

-RM
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Old May 17, 10, 10:48 am
  #90  
 
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Originally Posted by asnovici View Post
There is no issue. DM's in the back didnt pay for the BE seats nor used their SWUs or miles. Therefore they are not eligible to sit in BE. If DL (or any other airline) was giving premium BE seats on their transatlantic and tranpacific flights for free to their top elites, those seats would never be paid for. There is something called revenue protection, fare rules and SkyMiles rules. I don't understand what is this thread about.

I understand what the thread is about. I have also flown international trips, ATL-DXB, and seen a packed economy cabin and empty B/E. I understand that there are Skymiles rules. My question is, why doesn't Delta change its rules to allow elite passengers to use miles to upgrade, without having to buy the most expensive economy tickets to do so? I'd be willing to use a ton of skymiles to do this. Delta would get a lot of miles off the books, could resell some of those economy seats that would be vacated by people upgrading, and would make their most loyal customers happy. It especially seems like a good idea since I understand that some other major airlines (United, for example) permit elites to use miles to upgrade from the cheaper economy fares.
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