Potential move back to DL from AA

Old Feb 6, 17, 2:54 pm
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Potential move back to DL from AA

Hi all. My company's travel policy and preferred vendors will change beginning 15 March and they have dropped AA and WN as preferred vendors and added B6 (AC, DL and UA continue to be preferred). So with the change I will be saying good bye to AA. I used to fly DL regularly (was a PM) until 2012 and have been with AA and a little bit of pmUS since. Overall, I am happy with AA and wouldn't leave had our new travel guidelines allowed me to continue with them.

When I was a PM a few years ago, my upgrade percentage was dismal and I am expecting this to still be the case. Is Comfort + typically available? What does DL mean by "shortly after booking" for PM/DM members? Is it within hours? Days? something else? How do the regional upgrade certs work and as a PM can I expect them to actually clear? With AA, I don't have a good upgrade percentage, even as an EXP, but most of my trips touch ORD and DFW, both difficult upgrades for EXPs. It is unlikely I will ever be able to reach DM due to the higher mileage and segment thresholds, although the spend wouldn't be an issue. I assume DL requires BOTH MQS/MQM in addition to MQD. So if I make PM on MQM/MQS but DM on MQD, I am still PM, correct? This is just based on what I have done with AA in the past, usually 100-110k miles and 130-135 segments but around $17k in spend according to the corporate card, subtracting fees and taxes.

Overall, what else can I expect going to DL from AA? Also, if anyone switched from UA to DL recently, I would like to hear your thoughts on DL vs UA as well since UA is my only other option. I am silver on UA due to Marriott PP status but seldom use UA.
Thanks in advance!
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Old Feb 6, 17, 3:00 pm
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I am not an expert on status match so I can't speak on that but obviously you should pursue it if possible.

C+ happens almost always. For PM/DM it's nearly instant and for SM/GM it's a few days before or at the gate. I think you will get that like 80%+ of the time as a SM/GM.

For the life of me I can't figure out when I'm going to get upgraded. My worst upgrade route is MSN--> MSP and yet I do well on MSP --> LAX, go figure.

My main advice as not the most savvy, but savvy enough, is to get either the Platinum or Reserve Amex. It will get you so many more miles and if you have to re-earn status, it will make it far more tolerable along the way.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 3:05 pm
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Can't speak to UA recently.

As for DL, you must satisfy either MQM or MQS requirements, AND you must satisfy MQDs on top of that (or get a waiver from DL Amex spend).

Competition for First Class upgrades on DL is as vicious as it has ever been. Expect the same or worse compared to what you were used to a few years back. Comfort+ being treated as a separate cabin has been one giant cluster. All sorts of bugs (i.e. not showing on First Class upgrade list if you've already been upgraded to C+) or annoyances (no ability to pass on a C+ upgrade if only middle seats are available; not being able to switch back from your C+ middle seat to your Preferred aisle seat without agent intervention, etc).
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Old Feb 6, 17, 3:27 pm
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Upgrade success varies widely by route. Presuming from your profile you are based in TPA, you will likely be connecting in ATL a lot, and unsurprisingly upgrades on all routes to and from ATL are tough. If you are able to take advantage of some of the more unusual routes from TPA, like to RDU, BOS, LAX, and maybe JFK/LGA, you may have a better upgrade success rate. Travel times outside of Monday morning and Thu/Fri PM also help, of course, as I'm sure is true on AA as well.

But C+ should be easy to get as long as you are not booking last minute. PM and DM are usually upgraded to C+ within minutes of booking if seats are available. Not sure what AA's treatment is these days, but DL does not consider exit rows to be C+, so that is another fallback if you don't get C+ (or while you are Silver/Gold Medallion and working your way up the ranks, if you aren't able to get a status match direct to Platinum).

You only need to make MQM or MQS, not both, and then in addition to one of those you also need to make MQDs or credit card waiver. Sounds like you should have enough spend to make the MQDs so it's just about having enough MQMs or MQSes.

Note that one nice feature DL offers that AA does not, is that if you qualify for status on MQMs (and have enough MQDs), you can roll over the extra MQMs above the status threshold to next year's elite status earning. Unfortunately it sounds like you may qualify for status primarily on MQSes though, and those don't roll over.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 3:46 pm
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UGs are not DL's strong suit, but DL is a much better airline for so many reasons. Probably the biggest is that DL does a better job correcting when things go wrong. And somehow, when I fly AA/US, things tend to go very wrong.

Example one: I didn't like a meal so they gave me 5k SMs. Compare this to AA: One of the engines stopped working midflight for no apparent reason, we made an emergency landing in CLT among more ambulances and firetrucks than one would think were in the entire state of NC, we were stranded in CLT until 2:00 am, arrived in ATL over five hours late, had to walk two miles (40+ min) through tunnels with construction and without electricity to leave the airport and AA deposited 4k unusable AA points into my account.

Example two: Previously, AA left me in stranded in CLT when there was a maintenance issue with my flight in from AVL. There was a flight I could have gotten on to PIT which would have let me connect to DFW, which the GA had arranged, but the manager would not allow it. She said I had to take a flight that would get in the next night. When I pointed out that was after my meeting and after my DL DAL-ATL took off, she said there was nothing she could do. She couldn't route ke to ATL because my flight was to DFW. When I pointed out DL would have done that, she said she used to work for DL and DL wouldn't. I called DL, apologized for cheating, they found me flights and I got to DFW early the next morning, in time for my meeting.

Example three: Arrived late in DSM. Luggage not there. Had packed cords that I needed for the next day, plus clothes. The DL luggage agent said buy what I need, DL would reimburse. I indicated it might by hundreds of dollars, so I wanted that in writing. He needed permission and went to call someone. The AA gate agent leaned over and said something like, "You should get nothing. Your luggage will be here around noon tomorrow. On our airline, you would be limited to $50." I said back, "Your airline wouldn't be happy if they knew you are voluntarily trashing them to a potential customer. Would you like to say that again while I record?" PS, I got the note from the luggage agent, had to buy things at Walmart that had the same cords. Ran up about a $500 tab. Walmart told me to use the cords, bring the stuff back the next day and they would take the return. Which they did. Except for the clothes, which DL did pay for and have never been worn since.

Last edited by CJKatl; Feb 6, 17 at 3:51 pm
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Old Feb 6, 17, 3:53 pm
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Thanks all for the quick replies. Good to know that "shortly after booking" really means what it says. On AA EXPs can get upgraded up to 100 hours in advance, however, 99% of the time when one clears, its at the gate. I was afraid C+ would be similar. ATL and DTW were my primary hubs back when I used DL and yea, upgrades were bad. I tried as often as possible to use CVG since its such an easy place to connect an the SC there was large and had tons of available seating. Not sure if TPA-CVG is still around, but if it is, I will try to use it as often as possible. Upgrades there as a PM were still hit or miss but far better than ATL and DTW (again this is all 2011/2012).

On AA, bulkheads and exit rows are treated as MCE and AA has yet to announce MCE and power port rollout to the pmUS fleet, with the exception of the A319s. This is something I won't miss, I try to avoid pmUS metal at all costs, at least DL seems to be very consistent in offerings.

One more thing. Is DL still adding AVOD to its fleet? AA just recently announced that it will not be available in the new 737 MAX deliveries. While I can see their (and UA's) logic, I hate staring at a 5" mobile phone screen to watch a 2 hour movie, and worse yet, with no power on pmUS metal, I simply can't use the streaming IFE. If DL is still rolling out AVOD, that in conjunction with their superior Y+ offering would surely take the sting out of no longer being "top tier".
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Old Feb 6, 17, 4:26 pm
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When you are logged into delta.com, you can check upgrade availability to Comfort+ to see if it is currently available for the flight(s) you are looking at. IME, as long as it says it is available, I get upgraded to Comfort+ immediately after booking.

ETA: I always check the seat map before booking as well, to ensure there is a non-middle Comfort+ seat.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by outwrdbound View Post
One more thing. Is DL still adding AVOD to its fleet? AA just recently announced that it will not be available in the new 737 MAX deliveries. While I can see their (and UA's) logic, I hate staring at a 5" mobile phone screen to watch a 2 hour movie, and worse yet, with no power on pmUS metal, I simply can't use the streaming IFE. If DL is still rolling out AVOD, that in conjunction with their superior Y+ offering would surely take the sting out of no longer being "top tier".
What are your typical routes?
For US Carriers, I think Delta has the best hard product. It also depends on your routing, if you are going to smaller regional hubs served by CRJ200 on connection carriers then it honestly can suck. If you are talking about larger flights on mainline Delta Wifi is almost always a given and AVOD is common on longer routes I fly. You can stream movies for free through the wifi on your iPad or phone. Upgrades are hit and miss. My personal experience is that I've just noticed there are way more business consultants on the M-W and M-Th flights than in years past and upgrades almost always seem to go to the gate.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 5:20 pm
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Originally Posted by outwrdbound View Post
One more thing. Is DL still adding AVOD to its fleet?
Yes. See the thread below for details.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta...er-thread.html

All widebodies have it. All mainline narrowbodies that don't have it already are getting it except 717, MD-88 and MD-90.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by ty97 View Post
When you are logged into delta.com, you can check upgrade availability to Comfort+ to see if it is currently available for the flight(s) you are looking at. IME, as long as it says it is available, I get upgraded to Comfort+ immediately after booking.

ETA: I always check the seat map before booking as well, to ensure there is a non-middle Comfort+ seat.
Good tip, thanks!

Originally Posted by tajd12 View Post
What are your typical routes?
For US Carriers, I think Delta has the best hard product. It also depends on your routing, if you are going to smaller regional hubs served by CRJ200 on connection carriers then it honestly can suck. If you are talking about larger flights on mainline Delta Wifi is almost always a given and AVOD is common on longer routes I fly. You can stream movies for free through the wifi on your iPad or phone. Upgrades are hit and miss. My personal experience is that I've just noticed there are way more business consultants on the M-W and M-Th flights than in years past and upgrades almost always seem to go to the gate.
Home airports are TPA and SRQ, both have mainline on DL (SRQ is Eagle only on AA). When I flew DL years ago I most often connected in DTW and ATL although I would book via CVG as often as possible. I would also connect often in MEM, but I know that has since gone the way of CLE, PIT, STL, and others. On AA, I mostly go through DFW and ORD, both very difficult upgrades, even for EXPs and CKs.

Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Yes. See the thread below for details.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta...er-thread.html

All widebodies have it. All mainline narrowbodies that don't have it already are getting it except 717, MD-88 and MD-90.
Thank you for providing this, I will take a gander at the thread. Great to hear that all but the "T-tails" are getting AVOD.

Is DL still using a lot of CRJ-200s? I remember back when I was using DL they were going away, in favour of smaller mainline (DC9 back then) aircraft. I think it was reduced frequency but larger aircraft if I remember correctly. These would have been into smaller markets out of ATL such as CAE, AGS, HSV, etc.... Is this still happening at DL? Seems like AA uses an insane amount of CRJs, even on routes such as DFW-GRR, CLT-HPN, CLT-MKE and others.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 7:25 pm
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Originally Posted by outwrdbound View Post
Good tip, thanks!



Home airports are TPA and SRQ, both have mainline on DL (SRQ is Eagle only on AA). When I flew DL years ago I most often connected in DTW and ATL although I would book via CVG as often as possible. I would also connect often in MEM, but I know that has since gone the way of CLE, PIT, STL, and others. On AA, I mostly go through DFW and ORD, both very difficult upgrades, even for EXPs and CKs.



Thank you for providing this, I will take a gander at the thread. Great to hear that all but the "T-tails" are getting AVOD.

Is DL still using a lot of CRJ-200s? I remember back when I was using DL they were going away, in favour of smaller mainline (DC9 back then) aircraft. I think it was reduced frequency but larger aircraft if I remember correctly. These would have been into smaller markets out of ATL such as CAE, AGS, HSV, etc.... Is this still happening at DL? Seems like AA uses an insane amount of CRJs, even on routes such as DFW-GRR, CLT-HPN, CLT-MKE and others.
The MD90s are being considered for AVOD because they have engines that are still being produced (V2500) and still have a good 5-10 years left, but it probably won't happen.

All the routes mentioned are now B717 routes but DL still has some CRJs out there. Most of them are CRJ-700s or CRJ-900s with F/C+ but there are still plenty of CRJ-200s roaming around.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 7:29 pm
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Originally Posted by BostonPlanesAndTrains View Post
The MD90s are being considered for AVOD because they have engines that are still being produced (V2500) and still have a good 5-10 years left, but it probably won't happen.

All the routes mentioned are now B717 routes but DL still has some CRJs out there. Most of them are CRJ-700s or CRJ-900s with F/C+ but there are still plenty of CRJ-200s roaming around.
Key difference is that DL doesn't fly 50-seaters on long routes. They're mostly limited to flights under 500 miles.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 7:44 pm
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Originally Posted by outwrdbound View Post
Is DL still using a lot of CRJ-200s?
DL uses far fewer single class RJs (CR2 or E145) than do AA or UA presently. There's more mainline (91 717s) and 2-class RJ. About six years ago DL had a press release that said domestic routes greater than 750 miles would get 2-class RJs or mainline. People have seen some exceptions but generally DL has stuck to that.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Yes. See the thread below for details.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/delta...er-thread.html

All widebodies have it. All mainline narrowbodies that don't have it already are getting it except 717, MD-88 and MD-90.
A320 are not getting AVOD.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 7:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Crossinator View Post
A320 are not getting AVOD.
never mind, I was wrong
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