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The Merger - The bad and Jeff you better listen

The Merger - The bad and Jeff you better listen

Old Jan 22, 09, 1:06 pm
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The Merger - The bad and Jeff you better listen

I have heard nothing but constant .....ing and whining and complaining --- and yes mostly from NW elites --- since this merger. It's got to be hard to Delta to see through any of the comments to find out what really matters. They are painting the planes, get over it. They are going to move planes, get over it. The NW brand is going away, get over it. ATL is an airport, it gets people around, get over it. Surely, I have missed a few other complaints but I think you get my point.

Yep, I am biased and opinionated but honestly I have the confidence to say that I know what is really important to the common Medallion and what does matter. So here goes:

Redeposit and rapid redemption fees. Honestly, I don't care that much. But, it's apparent that there are a lot that do. How many customers can you afford to lose for these extra dollars? How about just slightly less loyal? That one is a harder one to figure. What is the rapid redemption thing 21 days? How about 7? I absolutely understand that some people use these things from short notice business travel to avoid the huge Y fare. But most of those would be inside 7 days. Are there other options like charging a fee only if the fare would be M class or higher? I just bought a U on two days notice last month. Redeposit fees I have less heartburn over. The one time I that I had to redeposit miles, I would have gladly paid.

Upgrading LUT faresWhile posted a while ago not too many noticed then. Then someone brought it recently and it's gaining traction. I don't believe for a minute that you are going to eliminate upgrading LUT fares. It's time for communication,to put this rumor to bed right now. Now, let's assume that you are considering it. First you better stop. I am as loyal to anyone but I would probably have to leave over this one. I thought eliminating the K+ upgrade thing was the worst thing that Delta ever did. I had my company trained to buy K+ fares for me and we (me and the company) felt we got extra value for that fare especially since it could be upgraded at the time of booking. You will never get it back. Not from me. Not from thousands of others. Oh sure, there will be people that have to buy K+ because it is the only ones available and others with money to burn that don't give a damn but largely it won't work.

The Award CalendarFix the Son of a ..... Gun. Personally, I think you get a raw deal on award availability. I redeemed 4 tickets in 2008 for exactly the dates, times, and locations that I wanted. And all of the surveys that I have read come out pretty good for Delta. So, a few weeks ago, I came up with an idea "The Great Delta FlyerTalk Award Search". No one else knows it yet, but we are going to do our own survey. But I can't tell everyone to do it because the freaking calendar is so messed up. I mean fix and fix it now. I mean I am talking like by next Friday. If whoever can't get it done by then, fire them and give it to someone else until the next Friday, then fire them. Otherwise, turn the calendar off and go back to what it was before. Leo Mullin actually built some of the best technology stuff that money could buy not all that long ago. How did Delta fall behind? I don't think it is as terrible as some indicate here but there are issues even outside the award calendar.

"Best of" program I think that is what Oscar called it in the World Traveler and Sky Magazine. Where? Seriously, I was OK with the status quo for benefits but you insisted that we are were going to see the best of and make the best FF program out there. Honestly, I think NW members are a little full of themselves on how great everything was. But they do get 125% bonus miles...that sounds like a "best" to me. Of course, I think it is ironic that NW people complaint about Delta members getting all of these extra miles when they get them on every flight. I would love to see what "best" is. Right now, it doesn't look like you are going to hold onto the customers that you have...and yes, especially NW ones. If it was really the best, then maybe, you get some come over from other airlines....after all you have the biggest baddest route network going.

Fourth TierSince I can make 100,000 miles, I am all for moving PM back to that level. It doesn't appear that I can do anything to get myself up to the White Envelope status. Sorry, I am not going to get a AMEX card for SkyMiles. I have two million in the bank, I don't need more. I think some think that some of the PM benefits are being taken away so they can be given back to the 100,000 mile level but you had better communicate things like this quicker before you lose customers which leads to the last point.

Communication I know FlyerTalk causes you some unique issues. You have things that aren't ready for dissemination but we find out about them anyway. I guess I just suggest that you move faster on some of this stuff. I am sure that some of these decisions have to made on not that much notice. Directly to Jeff (my cell phone number is in your Private Message Box if you want to talk), I don't have any problem with you. And I know your hands are tied by the economy and decisions that are made by people that are higher than you. And yes, the breath of FlyerTalk is limited but they do sit beside people all day all every day on your planes. Guess what, they are most likely sitting beside another elite member. Guess what that they are likely to talk about these days? And Jeff, I think you have got a bad rap among people here but I will criticize a little bit. Apparently you aren't conveying the message you need to in just the right words. We see you have hired an External Communications person. I think a lot of people here at FlyerTalk think that means Director of FlyerTalk relations when we know that it doesn't. I do believe that you need someone here on most days or at least once a week. It doesn't have to be you. This whole board is well enough know in your industry (via mostly Randy) that I think it would be appropriate for Richard Anderson to make a statement here. I hope he doesn't think it is beneath him to make a statement on an internet board. It would show that he is in touch with his customers.

I will get off my soapbox for now. Heaven knows what the response from the FlyerTalk community will be to these threads. I know I am tired of hearing the same old rhetoric. I have slammed NW elites a few times in here, so I am sure that won't go over too well. It's just MHO...or maybe not so humble in this case.

The link to the good thread:


Last edited by indufan; Jan 22, 09 at 2:58 pm Reason: typo and added link
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Old Jan 22, 09, 1:11 pm
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nice job
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Old Jan 22, 09, 1:24 pm
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Well said I do have to disagree with you on one point.

.. Redeposit fees I have less heartburn over. The one time I that I had to redeposit miles, I would have gladly paid.
I feel like Delta should be making it a point to KEEP its current customers, not give them a reason to look elsewhere. Why do something that might potentially drive a customer away and loose revenue in the hopes of MAYBE generating some due to a redeposit. If Delta would allow changes to be made online completely, it wouldn't cost them anything other than the development costs. It would certainly make me stop looking around.

I had my company trained to buy K+ fares for me and we (me and the company) felt we got extra value for that fare especially since it could be upgraded at the time of booking. You will never get it back. Not from me. Not from thousands of others.
I completely agree with you here. I actually left Delta over this one, and didn't find greener pastures and came back. But boy did this one make me mad...it still does.

If Delta really truly wanted to have a "Best in Class" program they need to start adding benefits not taking them away.

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Old Jan 22, 09, 1:27 pm
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Old Jan 22, 09, 1:31 pm
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The major problem with with change and redeposit fees, is that they're largely because the airline doesn't release awards that fit most people. We've become accustomed to grabbing an award when even one or two segments are right.

You want biz, but only coach is available. Book it. Biz opens on one leg. Book it. Biz opens up on the first leg, a day off. You book it. Finally 2 weeks before the trip the right day opens and you book it.

Just being able to use your miles is an ordeal sometimes. I've spent 5 hours on the phone with the friendly NW elite folk in the last couple of weeks tweaking, or finding *some* routing that works. I'm pretty flexible on dates, but awards, in particular FC or Biz awards, are mighty hard to find!
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Old Jan 22, 09, 1:37 pm
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Indufan, I don't disagree with the general theme of the post but see things a little different. I could live with LUT fares not being upgradeable as I could squeeze a slightly higher fare class and often do. But I do understand why for some it would be a deal breaker. That said, I can't get to 100K MQM at least by flying and have no interest in tacking on yet another card to get there. I fly but miles with multipliers and just make 75K. Push me further down the ladder and that would suck, especially since your LUT fares compared to my K+ fares make Delta less money - and after all, it is all about the money isn't it. And finally, speaking of money, I hear that you haven't yet had to deal with redeposit fees, but it does happen especially for those that need to book way in advance.

While borrowing your soapbox, what I completely don't get is why among all that is going on, there is a compelling need for DL to piss anyone off. Perhaps NW perks where slightly better than what DL had this past year but it couldn't have been that much better. Wouldn't simple continuation of DL's program been enough - baring a little tweaking. If, in fact, PMs are holding way too many award seats only not to ever fly them there are other ways to cure this "10%" solution.

I strongly suggest just leaving the dam program alone for a year or two. I believe we (Americans as well as those who fly DL from outside the US) have enough to deal with than to chase the one bright spot we get from trecking about on board DL aircraft while trying to make a living. And one last thing. We PM's were among the first to carry the Keep Delta My Delta charge which in no small way, made the US takeover fall apart - we deserve to be treated better - especially during these times. Instead of making a bold positive statement to your most loyal customers, you instead make us feel like we are the problem. Way to go. And like indufan, I don't believe that any one person at Delta is the problem - including Jeff. But as you enact program changes, I strongly suggest putting yourselves in our shoes before you jump.
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Old Jan 22, 09, 2:45 pm
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All good points, indufan. Please let us know if Jeff rings you.
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Old Jan 22, 09, 2:46 pm
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Well Said....

I agree with the OP, and hate the thought of LUT fares not getting upgraded. I have a small biz and fly numerous times a year, but generally on the lower fares, to the advantage of my work. As a PM, I feel like I am just as valuable to DL as a K flyer who travels less than I do, and if it comes to having to find a cheaper fare versus the chance for an upgrade, I will go somewhere else as well. I'll stay loyal as best I can, but any airline can get me to my destination, and if I save a couple thousand a year to take my loyalty elsewhere, I'll unfortunately have to do so, especially in this economic climate.
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Old Jan 22, 09, 2:55 pm
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Clearly missing the point on redeposit fees. Whynot simply penalize the offenders who abuse the system? Charge redeposit fees if someone tries to redeposit miles after the flight has departed? How about charging fees when changes are made within 24 or 48 hours? Why allow overlapping itineraries in the same name?
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Old Jan 22, 09, 2:57 pm
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Originally Posted by malon015 View Post
Clearly missing the point on redeposit fees. Whynot simply penalize the offenders who abuse the system? Charge redeposit fees if someone tries to redeposit miles after the flight has departed? How about charging fees when changes are made within 24 or 48 hours? Why allow overlapping itineraries in the same name?
Good points for a new FlyerTalker!

It appears this thread (as I would expect) will get more traffic than the good thread so I better link it.

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Old Jan 22, 09, 3:37 pm
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if i were jeff, i'd have to say you lost me at "you better listen".
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Old Jan 22, 09, 3:40 pm
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Agreed with OP. Delta is listening. They just don't agree with us. DL thinks FTer is a minority group. And our concerns don't reflect the majorities'.

1. Redeposit fees :
DL can get more money from us, and so-called free up awards to others. If you're DL, why not?

2. No upgrade on LUT :
WIth the merger, Half the plane is Elite. PM on LUT fare most likely won't get upgrade anyways. DL: why not?

3. Award Calendar :
Most people don't know it's broken, they just thought there is 0 award. Most people outside of FT world didn't even know you actually can redeem award tickets. Plus, the less award redeemed, the more revenue. DL: Why not?

You can just imagine the meetings at DL when they come up with something like this...
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Old Jan 22, 09, 4:03 pm
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Outstandingly well stated Indufan!!

A few points:

1.) "Half the plane will be elte since the merger" will occur only if Delta cuts its fleet to the pre-merger level. Even more important, the number of elites that DL has is entirely within its control. If they have sold and given away too many EQM's that's there problem. Not ours.

2.) The reason that Jeff rejects the idea of "penalizing the offenders" is because there are way to few of them, substantially below "10% of booked free seats". There is not enough money in it. He's an outright liar on "money is not the issue".

3.) No person should ever be "glad to pay redeposit and change fees", etc. The reason for that is that Delta has unethicaly constructed a variable pricing model that is intended to mistreat their customers. If the alternative expense instead of paying such change/redeposit fees is at an expense level that Delta has constructed to abuse customers (making the change fee less than the alternative) it is further inarguable evidence of Delta pricing falsely relative to the only valid forces of supply and demand. Caving in on a new abusive fee because of a higher abusive fee feeds the monster. Too many have done it for too long. Him stopping this problem is the only alternative to us managing their business for them by not flying with them.

4.) Here is an example of the above abusive pricing: Two people in my office took a recent hub connection trip of almost 2,000 miles. They bought their tickets 4 weeks in advance at $258 apiece. The second leg of the outbound and the first leg of the return was on a CRJ. Each of the two CRJ flights had the same FOUR passengers on each leg. And no other passengers. The other two passengers on each leg were on Sky Miles tickets, meaning that total revenue for Delta was $516 for the roundtrip. 6 days and then 2 days in advance of the outbound, my friends asked 2 other people to go along and they all checked prices for a close-in ticket on the same flights. Each fare during both checks, at 6 and 2 days, was $718. Their empty seats are solved 100% by utilizing factual supply and demand, and pricing accordingly (downaward) as day of departure approaches and empty seats stillexist.

Delta knows that sharply reducing ticket prices close-in could have caused them to break even on those two flights.

But their calcified thinking and view of customers has gotten to them. They simply cannot give up the business methods of screwing customers at all levels. It's not just PLT's. It's everyone.

The New York Times sad today, "the troubled economy has decreased demand for air travel".

That is false. The airlines did it.

And Jeff insists on continuing it.


Last edited by NoPlaceLikeHome; Jan 22, 09 at 4:14 pm Reason: Spelling error.
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Old Jan 22, 09, 4:04 pm
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Originally Posted by indufan View Post
...after all you have the biggest baddest route network going.
Delta could be counting on this, as it a big plus to them, and their ability to appeal to a larger cross section of flyers.

It worked for me. The thought of being able to directly fly to cities that I used to drive three hours to is making me salivate. Think of all the extra time I will have to spend in the hotel lounge!

Good observations overall.
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Old Jan 22, 09, 4:05 pm
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I've already walked...why fight anymore?
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