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Breakfast with a DL exec and my overall impressions of our conversation.

Breakfast with a DL exec and my overall impressions of our conversation.

Old Aug 7, 10, 12:27 am
  #76  
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
Delta has a fine route system, good inflight hard product, mixed ground service, ... and budget-conscious infrequent flyers who don't factor FF programs into buying decisions. That ought to be enough to fill the planes; the heck with everyone else.
You can always fill your planes if capacity is reduced. We flew Delta in coach again today, and I certainly wouldn't consider a Delta a value for "budget conscious" flyers -- the experience was mediocre at best, not bad but nothing special. For the routes we fly, the numbers just don't work out to Delta's favor. Also note that the leading competition for "budget conscious" flyers has not reduced capacity and also has full airplanes.

Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
... zero-value FF program run as a sort of Ponzi deal in cahoots with Amex....


Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
... hasn't hurt them financially.
It's WAY too early to jump to that conclusion. Most companies can turn a profit if they tighten belts enough, which is all that's happened at this point. When Delta actually reports 4Q & 1Q profits, I'll start being a believer; if they continue to report them after the economy recovers and capacity is restored, I'll be convinced.
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Old Aug 7, 10, 6:16 am
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
I think they're pitching the airline to very frequent flyers who earn so many miles, they don't care about the holdup redemption tables... and budget-conscious infrequent flyers who don't factor FF programs into buying decisions. That ought to be enough to fill the planes; the heck with everyone else. They've essentially fired a lot of customers in the broad middle [I]and it hasn't hurt them financially.[/
While Delta has demonstrated that they can cut costs, they have yet to demonstrate that they can build revenue, hence the recent dissapointment by Wall Street at the Delta 2Q results.

While the merger was no small feat, as is discussed ad nauseum the best-in-class is pure and simple hype. I see no innovation it is just playing catch-up. An i-pod app. still interfaces to Delta's antiquated IT back-end.

Look at Continental for instance. Continental is testing turnstiles at IAH I believe. Wow, a solution for gate lice . That is somewhat innovative- can't be done at Delta because it would cost.
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Old Aug 7, 10, 7:13 am
  #78  
 
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Originally Posted by majorwibi View Post
I understand that DL has dropped the ball on a lot of things but people need to stop taking it personally and instead of looking at it from a business decision...
I take none of this personally, and make purchasing decisions based upon the value proposition that any company offers me (or my family, or my travelling colleagues at work.)

In this light, DL is now my low-cost carrier of choice for domestic flights, and to the extent practicable, all long-haul premium travel is on *A.

As any Soprano or Corleone would say, "It's not personal, it's just business."
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Old Aug 7, 10, 11:44 am
  #79  
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Originally Posted by ADLFO View Post
I agree that BearX may be on the right track about how the DL execs think about FT, but sbagdon hit the nail on the head in regards to the truth of the matter. Fix the award calendar and give us decent and competitive international SWUs and 90%+ (IMHO) of SkyMiles deficiencies would be rectified. I believe most of DL's high mileage flyers will remain loyal if DL can just become competitive in their FFer program benefits for their higher mileage flyers.
+1. I feel better that DL is finally seeing the wrong turns they took with the merger. Clearly they realize their mistakes and are backtracking after so much negative press and self-realization that the word is out, their FFP isn't really best in class.

That being said, if DL execs had listened more carefully to FT-ers and not continued to cast us as a bunch of outsiders, I think they (from a FFP perspective) would have a lot better of a public image and be doing better from a loyalty perspective. That being said, if the execs continue to think of us as a bunch of good-for-nothing airplane geeks who are impossible to please, it only further goes to show they don't get it. While we probably are on the extreme end of the spectrum, they certainly can make some gestures to build the loyalty ex NW-ers seemed to show to the redtail.
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Old Aug 8, 10, 2:06 pm
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Call me a skeptic, but I don't think DL would have "seen" any "wrong turns" if the UA-CO merger hadn't taken place to put pressure on them to open their eyes. There really was no incentive beforehand because they thought they were the only game in town.
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Old Aug 8, 10, 4:13 pm
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That, and the much-deserved drubbing that SkyMiles has taken in the NYTimes, the Wall Street Journal, and even the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Flyertalkers are just a bunch of whiners who DL's marketing drones can easily afford to ignore (we are but Philistines who do not recognize Best In Class when we see it) but having our very arguments reflected in the press spurs DL into action.

Hopefully some travel reporter will next tackle DL's deliberate hiding of their non-competitive international award redemption chart.

Delta eventually does the right thing, but it's not instinctive with them.
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Old Aug 8, 10, 4:21 pm
  #82  
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Originally Posted by hazelrah View Post
Look at Continental for instance. Continental is testing turnstiles at IAH I believe. Wow, a solution for gate lice . That is somewhat innovative- can't be done at Delta because it would cost.
Come now...it's not because of cost....you know that as well as everyone else.....it's because DLTragic can't handle it
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Old Aug 8, 10, 6:43 pm
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post

We talked a little about Flyertalk. Mixed feelings expressed (on both sides); net impression was that DL pays close attention but regards the FT contingent as extreme-outlier air geeks, borderline unappeasable, and isn't going to go broke trying to build the airline around FTers' expectations.
I don't totally believe this. The frontlline employees, including myself, are informed really well on how important our premium customers are to the success of our business. Most of this coming from NWA; posters, facts, different compensatin, etc. The differences is that NWA gave us the TRAINING, tools/technology needed to make it happen and did not police the agents. A lot of what I see on FlyerTalk, certainly not all, is addressed in some way but is not implimented due to lack of training or technology.

25% of our business of comes from JUST 5% of our customers! We should be bending over backwards for you guys! If we could snag just over 1% of premium customers away from our competitors we would be profitable all year.

Little off topic but dealing with the lack of training. This is more in the spoke stations and where auto announcements are not used. How many of you are invited to board during "PREMIER" boarding?
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Old Aug 8, 10, 10:01 pm
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First, I thank the OP for such an informative post.

Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
Delta has a fine route system, good inflight hard product, mixed ground service, terrible IT, and zero-value FF program run as a sort of Ponzi deal in cahoots with Amex. So they are not trying to be all things to all people. I think they're pitching the airline to very frequent flyers who earn so many miles, they don't care about the holdup redemption tables... and budget-conscious infrequent flyers who don't factor FF programs into buying decisions. That ought to be enough to fill the planes; the heck with everyone else. They've essentially fired a lot of customers in the broad middle and it hasn't hurt them financially.

No more than they have to.
This is perhaps the most cogent analysis I've seen. Sadly, I don't quite fit Group A (anymore), and I hope it's a long time before I hit Group B. My pointed emails and notes to DL corporate on award availability and customer service gaffes fell on deaf ears. As the lowest tier member on AA this weekend, I received outstanding service, two upgrades(!), a coherent boarding process, and I found 2 biz or first awards to Buenos Aires for the month of December (choose my dates). It's clear this airline has made a business decision not to cater to me.
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Old Aug 10, 10, 10:14 pm
  #85  
 
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Originally Posted by NWA012 View Post
I don't totally believe this. The frontlline employees, including myself, are informed really well on how important our premium customers are to the success of our business. Most of this coming from NWA; posters, facts, different compensatin, etc. The differences is that NWA gave us the TRAINING, tools/technology needed to make it happen and did not police the agents. A lot of what I see on FlyerTalk, certainly not all, is addressed in some way but is not implimented due to lack of training or technology.

25% of our business of comes from JUST 5% of our customers! We should be bending over backwards for you guys! If we could snag just over 1% of premium customers away from our competitors we would be profitable all year.

Little off topic but dealing with the lack of training. This is more in the spoke stations and where auto announcements are not used. How many of you are invited to board during "PREMIER" boarding?
+1000. The issue is NOT the front line, customer-facing employees. You nice people are what is keeping many of us flying on DL. The hard product is also not the issue. IMHO, the main issue is the focus by the accounting types at DL on cost of the FFer program. I wish DL could think outside the box like other carriers. On a different but important issue (on-time performance), UA's management was quoted as saying the following.

Originally Posted by The Street
Scott Dolan, United senior vice president for airport operations, said on-time performance has played a role in the carrier's financial resurgence, although the impact is impossible to quantify. "It's about when customers make a choice, especially schedule sensitive, high-yield business travelers," he said. "We can't break down how much of our current financial performance is due to this, but we know it has a major impact."
I just wish DL's management was able to see that issues regarding the value of their FFer program also have an effect on the behavior of similar travelers, and that keeping them happy will only result in a lot of satisfied customers who tell others of their good experiences. As UA has noticed in regards to on-time flights, such value to the airline can't always be quantifed, but it can and DOES have a major impact. It was refreshing to see an airline managment type say something along the lines that FTers have been saying for months, but it was discouraging that it was not from DL. I can dream.
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