Flying empty

Old Feb 19, 2023, 5:57 am
  #1  
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Flying empty

First off, this isn't a rant per se. There is a bit of grumpiness behind it but it's not about not getting upgraded, it's about how Delta is leaving money on the table.

So far this year DL 130/131 (MUC/ATL) and DL 140/141 (BRU/JFK) have been flying with largely wide open D1 cabins - specifically on the return. The USA-EU legs have magically filled up in the final hour but the EU-USA ones haven't been. It's only been a problem on the flights I booked PS obviously, but I'm astounded DL is still asking for $4900 for a ONE WAY upgrade to D1 when the original fare at time of booking was $4200 RT. I understand prices go up the closer you are to date of departure but that also goes hand in hand with diminishing seating availability. I'd be in for $500-1000 since that puts me back on par with what the original fare would have been, but why is Delta not taking a little sumpum-sumpum extra when they can get it? Specifically when there are 20 D1 seats still up for grabs 46 hours before departure?

When they're staring down the barrel of a 32% salary increase for their pilots you'd think they'd be a little more open to playing ball.
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Old Feb 19, 2023, 7:06 am
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They want people to pay full price. If you can get cheap last minute upgrade, then you end up like AF/KL.
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Old Feb 19, 2023, 2:03 pm
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istr some phrase like “maintaining an exclusive experience for our D1 customers” as part of DL’s response to similar questions maybe 7 or 8 years back
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Old Feb 19, 2023, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by photojojo
First off, this isn't a rant per se. There is a bit of grumpiness behind it but it's not about not getting upgraded, it's about how Delta is leaving money on the table.

So far this year DL 130/131 (MUC/ATL) and DL 140/141 (BRU/JFK) have been flying with largely wide open D1 cabins - specifically on the return. The USA-EU legs have magically filled up in the final hour but the EU-USA ones haven't been. It's only been a problem on the flights I booked PS obviously, but I'm astounded DL is still asking for $4900 for a ONE WAY upgrade to D1 when the original fare at time of booking was $4200 RT. I understand prices go up the closer you are to date of departure but that also goes hand in hand with diminishing seating availability. I'd be in for $500-1000 since that puts me back on par with what the original fare would have been, but why is Delta not taking a little sumpum-sumpum extra when they can get it? Specifically when there are 20 D1 seats still up for grabs 46 hours before departure?

When they're staring down the barrel of a 32% salary increase for their pilots you'd think they'd be a little more open to playing ball.
So, the premise here is that you were not willing to pay $500-$1,000 more when that price was offered to you when you *bought* the ticket, but you are somehow now willing to pay that much since the price has increased? How does that work?

Oh, and one more time, for the people in the back - "available" seats in the seat map do not necessarily mean that they are unsold. The seat map shows unassigned seats.
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Old Feb 19, 2023, 4:16 pm
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Other airlines which have auction/bidding are a great thing.
USA airlines notsomuch
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Old Feb 19, 2023, 5:18 pm
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Originally Posted by photojojo
I'm astounded DL is still asking for $4900 for a ONE WAY upgrade to D1 ... I'd be in for $500-1000
The problem with $500 upgrades is they need to sell 10x as many of them to keep up with the income of $5k upgrades... and that's before you get cannibalization of revenue with folks not buying D1 at the outset and hoping for a cheap upgrade.

Originally Posted by flyerCO
They want people to pay full price. If you can get cheap last minute upgrade, then you end up like AF/KL.
AF/KL serves different markets to DL, so they deal with different pricing dynamics, and they have a different strategy. In some parts of the world, you simply can't get people to pay full price.
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Old Feb 19, 2023, 6:13 pm
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Originally Posted by cauchy
The problem with $500 upgrades is they need to sell 10x as many of them to keep up with the income of $5k upgrades... and that's before you get cannibalization of revenue with folks not buying D1 at the outset and hoping for a cheap upgrade.



AF/KL serves different markets to DL, so they deal with different pricing dynamics, and they have a different strategy. In some parts of the world, you simply can't get people to pay full price.
Who's going to pay full when know can get for pennies compared to bpoking outright?
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Old Feb 19, 2023, 7:03 pm
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The lack of knowledge people have on airline economics is somewhat amusing, the reality is that for many routes cargo is paying the bill especially on the European routes, but believe me the airlines far better understand how they can monetize capacity than the armchair person saying if only they had allowed me to ……
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Old Feb 20, 2023, 12:25 am
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are you not buying the original $4200 ticket because it's against corporate rules? And you'd pay $500-1000 for the upgrade out of your own pocket? I agree, $4900 for a one way upgrade on a wide open flight doesn't make much sense.

The outbound flights going from tons of seats to almost none is non-revs. I guess it could be a family of 10 who all decided to buy D1 tickets at the last minute but that's probably incorrect. Nothing against the non-revs, I've flown buddy passes and have DL employee friends, they deserve it.
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Old Feb 20, 2023, 1:44 am
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Originally Posted by jrl767
istr some phrase like “maintaining an exclusive experience for our D1 customers” as part of DL’s response to similar questions maybe 7 or 8 years back
Generally it's been referred to as protecting/maintaining the "integrity" of the product. It's actually about protecting product "pricing integrity" and not about keeping the riff-raff out as commonly mis-interpreted (DL cares more about how much people are paying to get into premium cabins rather than what they look like).
It's mostly just FTer's quoting each other and not really anything DL has published as far as I can tell. You can also see the reference with other airlines going pretty far back.
So you want a transatlantic upgrade on UX?
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Last edited by xliioper; Feb 23, 2023 at 8:54 am
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Old Feb 20, 2023, 3:42 am
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Originally Posted by tennessetom
The lack of knowledge people have on airline economics is somewhat amusing, the reality is that for many routes cargo is paying the bill especially on the European routes, but believe me the airlines far better understand how they can monetize capacity than the armchair person saying if only they had allowed me to
On the 2 routes you reference, this could be very much be at play. I have friends who have worked at DL and DL cargo maximizes EU-USA flights which have a headwind. If a flight is payload optimized, then they only board non-revs in the back, even if J is wide open due to weight and balance. If its really bad, non-revs don't get boarded at all. DL could have D1 upgrades priced so high because they don't want more weight in the front of the plane. The fact that it went out so open and wasn't filled with non-revs at the gate is telling (though it is EU off season so maybe there weren't nonrevs).

Lastly...the quote about nonrevs filling up the seats US-EU...if the seats disappeared anytime before 2 hours before departure, then they were not nonrevs filling those seats. Nonrevs only get issued boarding passes at the gate in the last 60-90 mins.
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Old Feb 23, 2023, 3:47 am
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Originally Posted by Qwkynuf
So, the premise here is that you were not willing to pay $500-$1,000 more when that price was offered to you when you *bought* the ticket, but you are somehow now willing to pay that much since the price has increased? How does that work?

Oh, and one more time, for the people in the back - "available" seats in the seat map do not necessarily mean that they are unsold. The seat map shows unassigned seats.
Well... no. The difference between PS and D1 was roughly $2800 (or $4000+ versus the tried and true $3600). So, "how that works" is I would normally pay the D1 fare, but I had never seen that fare over $3700 previously. So I thought this one time I would roll the dice and see if I could get the discounted PS fare but then pay as low as $1000 (2x $500) to get a lower aggregate fare for D1.

For your counter point, I managed to give 40,000 points for the upgrade on the way home instead of the 420,000 DL was asking. So... I guess I won, and your point is moot?
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Old Feb 23, 2023, 3:51 am
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Originally Posted by cauchy
The problem with $500 upgrades is they need to sell 10x as many of them to keep up with the income of $5k upgrades... and that's before you get cannibalization of revenue with folks not buying D1 at the outset and hoping for a cheap upgrade..
Of the 21 remaining seats at T-30 minutes, roughly 16 of them went to non-rev. I'm starting to wonder if this is some backend union deal to be honest.

Despite the dorks above, I got my upgrade at 8% the miles they wanted, but will most likely just continue to buy D1 outright because it was such a clusterbowelmovement to get what I was asking for at a price that was acceptable.

Last edited by photojojo; Feb 23, 2023 at 4:14 am
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Old Feb 23, 2023, 5:31 am
  #14  
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It sounds like you got a mileage upgrade award to clear and did get to sit in Delta One. There are a number of channels through which Delta sells long haul upgrades (GUC, MUA, upsell/refare, whatever FCM seat map upgrades are called on long haul) and its worth checking all of them.

The two routes you mentioned have a lot of government and automotive industry business that will pay the fare for D1 at the last minute. As a prior poster pointed out, Delta would have to sell ten $500 upgrades to make up for not selling a $5000 fare. These travelers tend to book last minute, so there is value in leaving seats open. Main Cabin probably had empty seats, so why should Delta not have empty seats in other cabins?

Also, if I understand correctly, the only place the $500 number came from was that it was the amount you were willing to pay it was never the fare difference or the cost of an upgrade presented to you. I am willing to pay $10 but upgrades at that price are rare too
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Last edited by VFR; Feb 23, 2023 at 5:33 am Reason: Spelling
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Old Feb 23, 2023, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by photojojo
Of the 21 remaining seats at T-30 minutes, roughly 16 of them went to non-rev. I'm starting to wonder if this is some backend union deal to be honest.
It's a defined benefit for employees

they are offering you a product for a price, either buy it or don't, nobody here is really interested in what you in particular think it's worth or what your fantasy revenue manger plan would be.
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