Delta Q&A Meeting with Execs - NOTES

 

Old Jun 28, 09, 2:17 pm
  #16  
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Originally Posted by GrizShel View Post
That's good to hear. If communication with the customer had been fuller and more straightforward with (negative) changes announced further ahead of time DL/NW I'm sure this flyer and others would have been willing to put up with more of the devaluation.
Yes, and for all the folks here who were worried that the customers at the event would hurt DL's feelings...um, DL is acknowledging that there are issues just as one would expect. "Public Delta Bashing"? It is the public who pays DL and the Public who, I am sure DL execs will tell you, SHOULD point out loudly what is wrong. The alternative is for the public to quietly go away and that is exactly what DL does not want.
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Old Jun 28, 09, 3:16 pm
  #17  
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Wirelessly posted (Propel: SAMSUNG-SGH-I617/1.0 Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.6))

IIRC, the word "outrageous" was Richard Anderson's, so it really is a major technical issue to fix it.
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Old Jun 28, 09, 3:28 pm
  #18  
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Was there any indication that DL management now appreciates that substantive, mid-year devaluations of the FF program (i.e., removing benefits that someone spent a year qualifying for) is not a way to win friends and influence loyalty (other than in the wrong direction)?
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Old Jun 28, 09, 3:42 pm
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Count me as one of those that has quietly gone away.

After being a NW Plat since 2004 (and coming up on 2,000,000 BIS miles since I joined WP in 1983) I just came to the conclusion that DL simply did not want my business.

As any MBA will tell you, when you have bad news:

1) Tell it all

2) Tell it fast

3) Be honest with the customer from the get-go

Delta did none of this.

As so many people here have pointed out, all Delta had to do was send out a letter (no email) stating:

1) DL has had to look at new and different ways to generate revenue to stay in business, including various fees for revenue and non-revenue tickets

2) Skymiles generates substantial revenue, both from selling miles and generating fees

3) We do not wish to alienate our best customers, so we are looking for ways to reduce or eliminate the negative impact on our current Platinum DL/NW members. This will likely include the addition of a 4th higher level tier that will include most of the benefits that DL/NW Platinum members used to enjoy, along with some additional benefits that Platinum Elites should find desirable.

We appreciate your continuing loyalty to Delta ... blah, blah.

I think a letter like this would have eliminated most of the anger and silent hostility .. and there would not have been all of those NW threads about status matching to other carriers (which a lot of us have done, myself included) or how many miles we burned off at Perksaver levels before the big devaluation came (again, myself included).

All in all, very sad, as it appears that JeffBob et al is starting to get the message, but it seems a little late.

Last edited by Orwaid; Jun 28, 09 at 3:46 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Jun 28, 09, 3:57 pm
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Thanks for the update. Not sure there is anything earth-shattering, but I appreciate the focus given to the PMUs. I'm not among the crowd that considers them worthless, but would certainly welcome any extra flexibility/savings I can get.
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Old Jun 28, 09, 4:01 pm
  #21  
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SHOULD point out loudly what is wrong
Have to disagree here. First & foremost, this was a FlyerTalk DO. We're there to meet new people, make new friends, have fun & party. Anybody who's there to to rock the boat will find him/herself ostracized & out on the sidewalk while the party continues.

In terms of making my points & getting my answers, I feel that I succeeded 100%. I distributed 60 copies of The Merger as Viewed by NW Frequent Flyers on the tables prior to the meeting. I did it this way to avoid wasting any floor time getting bogged down in details. Anyone who was interested could read it. Most people were reading it. Jeff appeared to be reading it.

Jeff's presentation was largely directed at the subject (FF program integration) that I wanted to hear about. I don't have to like the results, but I definitely got my explanations. I took notes on items of interest to NW elites & posted them on NW forum immediately after the Q&A.

Bottom line is, (1) they already know we're unhappy, (2) we now better understand why they made us unhappy, and (3) they're unlikely to do much, if anything, to make us happier.

We also had a lot of fun for 3 days.

Is there anything I should add to this?
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Old Jun 28, 09, 4:52 pm
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by MikeMpls View Post
Have to disagree here. First & foremost, this was a FlyerTalk DO. We're there to meet new people, make new friends, have fun & party. Anybody who's there to to rock the boat will find him/herself ostracized & out on the sidewalk while the party continues.
Well said!

Originally Posted by MikeMpls View Post
In terms of making my points & getting my answers, I feel that I succeeded 100%. I distributed 60 copies of The Merger as Viewed by NW Frequent Flyers on the tables prior to the meeting. I did it this way to avoid wasting any floor time getting bogged down in details. Anyone who was interested could read it. Most people were reading it. Jeff appeared to be reading it.

Jeff's presentation was largely directed at the subject (FF program integration) that I wanted to hear about. I don't have to like the results, but I definitely got my explanations. I took notes on items of interest to NW elites & posted them on NW forum immediately after the Q&A.

Bottom line is, (1) they already know we're unhappy, (2) we now better understand why they made us unhappy, and (3) they're unlikely to do much, if anything, to make us happier.
Thanks especially for your feedback, Mike. I know you had an agenda as the torch bearer for unhappy NW elites at the Q&A session and I'm glad to hear that they were able to discuss at least some of your concerns.
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Old Jun 28, 09, 5:33 pm
  #23  
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Originally Posted by MikeMpls View Post
Have to disagree here. First & foremost, this was a FlyerTalk DO. We're there to meet new people, make new friends, have fun & party. Anybody who's there to to rock the boat will find him/herself ostracized & out on the sidewalk while the party continues.

In terms of making my points & getting my answers, I feel that I succeeded 100%. I distributed 60 copies of The Merger as Viewed by NW Frequent Flyers on the tables prior to the meeting. I did it this way to avoid wasting any floor time getting bogged down in details. Anyone who was interested could read it. Most people were reading it. Jeff appeared to be reading it.

Jeff's presentation was largely directed at the subject (FF program integration) that I wanted to hear about. I don't have to like the results, but I definitely got my explanations. I took notes on items of interest to NW elites & posted them on NW forum immediately after the Q&A.

Bottom line is, (1) they already know we're unhappy, (2) we now better understand why they made us unhappy, and (3) they're unlikely to do much, if anything, to make us happier.

We also had a lot of fun for 3 days.

Is there anything I should add to this?

Yes, and for all the folks here who were worried that the customers at the event would hurt DL's feelings...um, DL is acknowledging that there are issues just as one would expect. "Public Delta Bashing"?


Mike, I did not mean "loudly" at the event itself...and my point was that it is an unfounded fear that the event would be an angry mob there to "bash" DL. I was trying to point out that the "loud" complaints here on FT are what do eventually get to the AL management. I point to the decision earlier this year to reverse a program change, driven (IMHO) by the "loudness" here on FT. There is nothing wrong with voicing our opinions here as that is what the FT board is for and eventually it gets heard by DL. I think there are folks here who equate the complaints here with "Bashing" and I argue it is not at all...it is honesty.

Last edited by avidflyer; Jun 28, 09 at 5:44 pm
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Old Jun 28, 09, 5:52 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by me4yankees View Post
CEO and Senior Leader Review of Program benefits, line by line

Direction from CEOs to pursue “Best of Best” Program which would have resulted in $200M in dis-synergies

Recommended “Best in Class,” while trying to offset some of the $200M in dis-synergies

1. Fee – Huge revenue impact ($160M swing) in whether we take DL or NW fee structure:
- Not a top 10 customer benefit or primary purchase
Make the difficult decision to increase the NW fee structure rather than find “financial benefit” in other “more valuable” benefits (e.g. upgrades) DL will not abolish the unlimited complementary upgrade benefit – customer benefit outweighs the financial benefit.
We had a huge amount of info thrown at us this weekend, hard to retain and process all of it. Thanks for taking detailed notes!

To expand on your point above... this is based on my flawed memory, hope I got the gist of it correct. Right from the start Anderson asked Jeff and Bob to prepare a comparison chart of every feature in the SM and WP programs, and how they stacked up to the industry. The chart was about 5 pages long, complete and detailed. They started by trying to pick the best in each category, but hit snags. Some were due to delta's rez system not having the hooks on which to hang some NW features (and if they chose NW's rez system, it would have been the same problem with DL features)... the cost and time of allocating resources to change that just doesn't hunt.

As to the change fees, they wanted to get rid of those, till they saw the numbers. Those fees generate a huge amount of money for DL, the biggest chunk of the $160M that me4yankees refers to. If they eliminated that income, they'd have to balance with lots of other changes to make up the difference, and, as mentioned, that isn't in the top 10 of concerns in customer surveys. It's only a very small percentage of customers who make multiple changes to award itins.

Those changes are costly. When you cancel or change an award ticket, the flights you release do NOT go back into award inventory. They go into general inventory, which the computer then divvies up and allocates to whichever fare bucket it chooses. So, you've removed both the original and your new seat from the total award availability. Change again, and another seat gets taken out of the award system. Book seats with the intention of changing, and you're taking away availability from others. That is a contributing factor (maybe a small one, but it is) to the perceived poor availability.

Why doesn't the released seat go back into award availability? Because at any given time, they want the computer to assess demand and allocate seating accordingly. We don't like it, but it makes sense from a business/revenue standpoint, especially for a company with such thin margins and high operational costs.

Hope this clarifies some things, and also gives you a sense of how open and detailed Jeff, Josh and Bob were in their presentation.
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Old Jun 28, 09, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by pbarnette View Post
Not sure there is anything earth-shattering, but I appreciate the focus given to the PMUs. I'm not among the crowd that considers them worthless, but would certainly welcome any extra flexibility/savings I can get.
Second this.
Here's to hoping we hear some good news in this department before too long.
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Old Jun 28, 09, 6:01 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Gargoyle View Post
As to the change fees, they wanted to get rid of those, till they saw the numbers. Those fees generate a huge amount of money for DL, the biggest chunk of the $160M that me4yankees refers to. If they eliminated that income, they'd have to balance with lots of other changes to make up the difference, and, as mentioned, that isn't in the top 10 of concerns in customer surveys. It's only a very small percentage of customers who make multiple changes to award itins.
Jeff also mentioned the cost savings to do away with unlimited complimentary elite upgrades, by comparison, would have been around $150 million. But because upgrades are in the top 10, they made the decision to keep upgrades complimentary and implement the change fees instead, saying that when it came to upgrades, the customer impact outweighed the financial impact. So in essence, Delta selected the option that would impact fewer customers. I am personally glad that the decided to retain elite complimentary upgrades.
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Old Jun 28, 09, 6:41 pm
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Gargoyle View Post

As to the change fees, they wanted to get rid of those, till they saw the numbers. Those fees generate a huge amount of money for DL, the biggest chunk of the $160M that me4yankees refers to. If they eliminated that income, they'd have to balance with lots of other changes to make up the difference, and, as mentioned, that isn't in the top 10 of concerns in customer surveys. It's only a very small percentage of customers who make multiple changes to award itins.
I don't understand the math. There are few people who make changes to award itins but at $50 a crack that equals $160million. This is either a blatant lie or they are including the redeposit fee.

OR... Maybe they are counting the salaries of the people they can RIF due to not having to answer the phones.

I have not seen anyone complain about a fee to redeposit, there are 40,000 that do not even cancel before the flight, who knows how many do cancel prior to the actual flight.

I can only speak for myself, they have lost many thousands of dollars from my flying and people I've already pulled that travel with me... All for a silly 5 or 6 $50 change fees.

They are jumping over a dollar to pick up a dime.
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Old Jun 28, 09, 6:47 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by thepla View Post
I don't understand the math. There are few people who make changes to award itins but at $50 a crack that equals $160million. This is either a blatant lie or they are including the redeposit fee.
It's not the whole 160 m, but it's the biggest individual piece. I don't recall the exact number, somewhere between 80 and 120. IIRC that's the total for change and redeposit fees extrapolated to the number of changes/redeposits in the combined DL/NW system, and therefore the annual cost/revenue after the merger is complete.

A lot of people even request redeposits after the flight has departed.

I view this differently than you, but I see a change and a redeposit as being very similar; they certainly have a similar effect on the overall system and award availability, and processing costs are similar. To me it's nit picking to separate them, but to people who do those changes a lot I'm sure they are entirely different animals.

I guess they did the math, and decided it's better to tick those few individuals who do lots of changes, and thereby lose a few thousand in business, rather than to lose a hundred million in revenue. They indicated that when they ran the numbers they were quite surprised at how large the amounts are.

Last edited by Gargoyle; Jun 28, 09 at 6:53 pm
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Old Jun 28, 09, 6:53 pm
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Regarding the 4th Tier, was there any talk about using the 2009 SM to qualify for the 2010 program? BTW, thanks sharing what you learned, from the pics it looks like you guys had a lot of fun.
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Old Jun 28, 09, 6:56 pm
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Originally Posted by DeltaFirst View Post
Regarding the 4th Tier, was there any talk about using the 2009 SM to qualify for the 2010 program? BTW, thanks sharing what you learned, from the pics it looks like you guys had a lot of fun.
4th tier will launch on March 1, 2010 based on how many MQMs are earned during the 2009 Calendar Year.
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