RealDLInsider - Questions/Answers

 

Old Mar 25, 08, 3:45 pm
  #1  
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RealDLInsider - Questions/Answers

Hope everyone is doing well!

It’s been a crazy last few weeks, and oil prices continue to beat up Delta, the airline industry overall and even further, the U.S. economy. With non-controllable costs continuing to increase, the challenges we are facing to grow revenue and further reduce costs have become ever more challenging. I’m sure you have viewed some of the announcements around upcoming baggage charges and additional employee layoffs, and although obvious, no one is cheering these changes. In fact, none of these announcements come with joy to anyone here at Delta, but they are a brutal reality to the world we live in. I can also share that because how difficult these decisions are, they come with significant debate cross-divisionally.

With respect frequent flyer programs, I thought I’d take a different approach and try to address some of the specific questions that have been raised in the last few weeks. Here we go:

Question: It looks like you are moving to immediate ticketing of award seats?

Answer: It is true that we now require “immediate ticketing” of award seats for bookings made via our phone-reservations department, however we continue to retain the 48-hour hold for award reservations made at delta.com. A recent finding and to our surprise, is that almost 90% of the award reservations booked via phone and also online, are never ticketed and eventually cancel at the 48-hour expiration window. Unfortunately, it is rare that a customer calls us back to cancel a held award reservation, and as mentioned, only 1 in 10 of them ever get ticketed. This is a significant number of award seats that are held up by customers, with many other customers willing to take and ticket them. The policy change may make it inconvenient for some, but it will benefit far more.

Question: We heard you are discontinuing the award waitlist capability?

Answer: False. We continue to offer the ability to award waitlist for all customers. Although we are reviewing the waitlist process, particularly in light of the upcoming award program announcements around three tiers, there is no change in the current waitlist program

Question: Can you clarify the SkyChoice change made in December and will this program continue?

Answer: The SkyChoice change that restricted last-seat availability was made in early December and will remain in effect until we launch our new three-tiered award structure. As I’ve mentioned before, it was done to protect the most peak flights throughout our system, and will impact only a few thousand customers at most – or significantly less than 1% of all redemptions. The program was always an interim measure, however given the confidentiality around the new “Pay with Miles” program and the new three-tiered award structure that is coming, I could not publicly state this at the time.

Question: Was the “Pay with Miles” program and the new three-tiered award structure the “giveback” with respect to the SkyChoice change?

Answer: Yes. The SkyChoice change impacts a few thousand customers. In turn, the new “Pay with Miles” program impacts several million customers and the new three-tiered award structure will positively impact hundreds of thousands of customers who today have to pay double miles when savers aren’t available. The “Pay with Miles” program almost guarantees a rate of exchange of miles on any fare and at any time, and the feedback thus far has been overwhelmingly positive. We have over 25K “PwM” redemptions in the first few weeks since launch, and the daily rate continues to increase. The new three-tiered award structure as communicated in the WSJ recently, will price award tickets more appropriately based on revenue demand, and in turn far more customers will buy down from SkyChoice to a lower tier, than will have to buy up to last seat availability pricing. I’ll share more specifics around the three-tiered structure in the coming weeks, however when continuing to offer combinability of awards, it will be very positive for many customers. Although some of you may not agree, and I accept this, our decision to implement the SkyChoice change on an interim basis was worth getting these two new programs approved, implemented and launched successfully throughout 2008.

Question: Are you attending the Freddie Awards this year?

Answer: This year I will be attending the FTMA conference in Phoenix on Wednesday and Thursday, and will be attending the Freddie Awards on Thursday night. I look forward to talking more 1:1 with any of you who might also be attending the Freddies.

These were the major questions and highlights from the last few weeks.

Until next time …

Jeff
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Old Mar 25, 08, 3:55 pm
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Can you clarify the "red-tag" issue for us?
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Old Mar 25, 08, 3:59 pm
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The immediate ticketing requirement for award tickets made on the phone is amongst other things a way for DL reservations to increase the amount of money it gets from telephone booking fees for award tickets.
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:02 pm
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So is the three-tiered award redemptions just a way to make sure that fewer DL redemptions for last minute domestic award tickets cost just 25k miles? I hope not. Otherwise this is yet another DL devaluation, and rather than a real "giveback" to the customer this would be a real give back to DL -- not the customer -- that is costing the SkyMiles customer.
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:04 pm
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Blah blah blah blah blah... Thanks for coming back and pretending to care about your loyal flyers. I've worked in politics for quite some time and Delta spins with the best in Washington DC.

Who asked about the Freddies? Does DL actually think they will win one? Is there a new award for Best Airline Frequent Flyer Devaluation Program?
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by AndyTLe View Post
Blah blah blah blah blah... Thanks for coming back and pretending to care about your loyal flyers.
That's just plain rude and uncalled for However, thanks for providing the perfect cut-and-paste text for me to use from now on for every WHINY "devaluation" post around these parts
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by AndyTLe View Post
Blah blah blah blah blah... Thanks for coming back and pretending to care about your loyal flyers. I've worked in politics for quite some time and Delta spins with the best in Washington DC.

Who asked about the Freddies? Does DL actually think they will win one? Is there a new award for Best Airline Frequent Flyer Devaluation Program?
Wow Andy. You have been sticking up for DL all day while I have been mourning my gradual departure on this board.....Glad to have you aboard, buddy. At least I am not the only one who is sad about all the changes and the nonsense spin.

Adios Jeff. Bienvendo SW/US.....arrggghh
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:18 pm
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I'm sure we'll never get a response to this but:

The award calendar doesn't work!!

We have to pay booking fees to call res agents simply because the calendar is broken.

It is probably the #1 worst issue regarding award ticketing.

Fix the damn thing!
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:19 pm
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Thanks for starting what is sure to be a very interesting thread. I only ask one thing; in about 36 hours, after a lot of commentary and discussion has appeared here, could you return to this thread and directly address the points which are developed? Your previous threads you haven't done this (iirc), and if you do it will make a big difference for all involved. You will also surprise a lot of us.

TIA,
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:21 pm
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Originally Posted by ClipperDelta View Post
That's just plain rude and uncalled for However, thanks for providing the perfect cut-and-paste text for me to use from now on for every WHINY "devaluation" post around these parts
I can appreciate that Jeff comes on here and tries to answer our questions. But even the most optimistic person can see through all of it. I would prefer a straighforward answer instead of more "spin". I think it is insulting to the most loyal of Delta flyers that these changes are in any way positive.
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by ClipperDelta View Post
That's just plain rude and uncalled for However, thanks for providing the perfect cut-and-paste text for me to use from now on for every WHINY "devaluation" post around these parts
Frankly, I have to agree with AndyTLe.

Anyone who has any experience with corporate memos or news releases can see right through any and all of this.

The spin is what is truly rude and uncalled for when your audience is typically educated and travel savvy.
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:40 pm
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Originally Posted by spgaston View Post
The spin is what is truly rude and uncalled for when your audience is typically educated and travel savvy.
Irritated and angry Clipper head on:

Well, while most of the posts that show up on this board may be from 20-50 year olds, often times, the majority of the whiny posts on here sound like they are coming from a bunch of spoilt 10 to 15 year olds....

Irritated and angry Clipper head off (slightly).

Originally Posted by AndyTLe
I think it is insulting to the most loyal of Delta flyers that these changes are in any way positive.
99.99999999% of companies or entities try to spin a negative change into a positive message. Show me a single airline that has not tried to 'spin' a negative change. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second, in the world, there are Corporate Communications people out there trying to couch negative messages in a positive light. Would you do any differently if you were in a business or industry that is exposed daily to thousands and thousands of (mostly) anonymous customers (many of whom are simply not savvy or educated about the product or experience at hand)? It may seem that this forum is full of 'knowledgeable' people but this is ultimately the internet and millions of people around the world have access to it and many usually only have 'partial' facts right...

I am not sure that many of us in a similar corporate job would end up doing differently. As always, people should walk a mile (or more) in others' shoes....
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:43 pm
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it maybe ok to charge the phone booking fee if DL had a website that works well for awards. The fact that u cant book partner travel online should have fee waved, or at least offer to hold the res so one can make sure other arrangements in place before ticketing, paying fees, having to make changes, pay fees again..

Also, why are DL SM partners going away? no more EK, VS... Now SM awards are pretty much limited to skyteam and SQ. makes me wonder When is SQ leaving the program?

All these changes make the SM program less and less valuable to me when compared to other programs (even ST programs like CO and NW), as I am sure to most FTers.

I appreciate RealDLInsider participating in these discussions and taking FTers feedback to DL
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Old Mar 25, 08, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by ClipperDelta View Post
Irritated and angry Clipper head on:

Well, while most of the posts that show up on this board may be from 20-50 year olds, often times, the majority of the whiny posts on here sound like they are coming from a bunch of spoilt 10 to 15 year olds....

Irritated and angry Clipper head off (slightly).
There is an old saying about customers that goes something like, "I would rather have a customer complain than simply not come back."

My travel $$$ are now split between BA/LH as Jeff tries to maximize revenue. He is a big boy and as you said, has a job to do. He is fortunate that DL has so many passionate customers willing to "whine" as opposed to just walking away.

Using numbers to support corporate spin is generally fruitless. Didn't Coke has "taste test" numbers that more people preferred New Coke?

Anyway, DLClipper, as it seems you are someone who cares about DL's future, be glad that there are still some customers passionate enough to complain about DL.

For RealDLInsider, I thought the Q and A format was a big step forward in providing coherent feedback to the FT nation. It would also be worth taking a look at how "successful" corporate reps on FT such as Starwood Lurker, LH Relate and the ones of the CO and NW Boards interact with the vocal FT community. Clearly, each company has its own issues, but they seem to have developed a relationship of mutual respect. I would say it is probably never to late to start again
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Old Mar 25, 08, 5:20 pm
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Originally Posted by elitetraveler View Post
For RealDLInsider, I thought the Q and A format was a big step forward in providing coherent feedback to the FT nation. It would also be worth taking a look at how "successful" corporate reps on FT such as Starwood Lurker, LH Relate and the ones of the CO and NW Boards interact with the vocal FT community. Clearly, each company has its own issues, but they seem to have developed a relationship of mutual respect. I would say it is probably never to late to start again
I completely agree and dialogue is much preferred over the current way things are done of infrequent posts.
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