Many comments have flooded in about the Save SkyMiles campaign. Some of them are listed below.
*Some comments have been edited for content and/or brevity.
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Jeffrey G. - January 4, 2001
Bravo for having such a good site and congrats for the mention on the Today Show!
To people like Charlotte H. ("an employee of the airline industry") who feel that loyal customers are wrong by asking Delta to provide high quality service:
When was the last time that a restaurant charged you extra just because you didn't finish your meal? Airlines charge me extra for not using the second half of a round-trip ticket.
When was the last time that you charged a different price for a loaf of bread depending on when you wanted to eat it. "Want to eat it today? That'll be $100. Next week? That'll be $50. A month from now, that'll be $4.95." Yet, airlines charge me a different price depending on when I want to use my ticket.
When was the last time that you were charged a penalty because you decided to eat the bread for dinner instead of lunch? Yet, airlines charge you a penalty when you need to change your ticket (even if there are seats open!).
When was the last time a bank told you that any interest you earned last year will be revoked? Yet, Delta revokes earned upgrades not used by the end of the year?
When was the last time that a bought a movie ticket a hour before the movie, only to be told that the movie was cancelled and that you'd have to shell out more money if you want to see the movie some other time (no refunds!)? Yet, airlines cancel flights (for reasons other than weather and safety issues) and require you to pay a penalty to use the ticket for some other time.
When was the last time you went to the Sears and bought something on sale, only to later receive a bill for the full amount because you didn't "qualify" for the sale? Yet, airlines will offer you discounted tickets, only to later bill your credit card for higher amounts.
Lastly, Charlotte, if you believe in getting joy out of "life itself," why are you wasting YOUR time baiting people? The only reason that you're on the saveskymiles.com web site is because you get some thrill out of telling people off (or because you work for Delta are afraid of losing YOUR job). Don't be so high and mighty, because you're just as whiny as the rest of us.
Michelle N. - January 4, 2001
I just registered for your site and sent in my petition. Thanks for doing this. I also checked out the comments you have received to date.
I am appalled at the comments from Delta employees that I have read on this site. That they would characterize Medallion customers in such a way, given that Delta has spent years and millions of dollars to promote these benefits to encourage customer loyalty, is abysmal. To the employee who essentially said that if we don't like it we can lump it and suggested that, if we find flying so frustrating, we should all get jobs that don't require it, I say this: you need to get a new job! If you don't appreciate that our anger isn't about greed or pettiness but about fair play and getting what Delta had promised, then you don't need to be interacting with your company's customers. And regarding the comment that we are all whiners because we're not even paying our own money, I say BAH! Whether it is our money, our company's money or a government agency's, we are all compelled to be fiscally responsible with that money. The perks offered by FF programs are our single incentive to stick with being loyal to an airline when so many other factors are compelling us to fly the cheapest. And I consider those perks to be my real compensation for having to travel to the extent that I do, often on my own time and at some of my own expense because to get where my agency wants me to be or to get back from it, I have to fly on Saturdays or Sundays. And government agencies often pay a flat rate for food rather than actual costs and they don't cover many travel essentials, particularly the tips you may have to pay to get your luggage out of hock or to be a reasonable customer of taxis or other commercial transportation. And why should I give up a job I like just because you and your company are becoming so surly? I may not, for any number of reasons, have the flexibility to change jobs, but I sure have the flexibility to change airlines!
I have the choice of flying two airlines auxiliary 'partners' who use smaller commuter planes (including a few small jets) to fly about 300+ miles to one of two hub cities, Atlanta or Charlotte. Or I can drive 2-3 hours each way to 3 other cities to get more airline options. I flew Delta for 11 years before FF was implemented when I lived in Atlanta on Delta, Eastern, Southern, Piedmont and many other carriers who have since fallen by the wayside since deregulation. While the fares might have been higher then, my options were infinite. I could fly segments on different airlines because they honored each others tickets and allowed booking an itinerary that let me get to several points around the Southeast on the most convenient flight for my packed travel schedule (often a different city each day).
Since moving for a new job, the system changed radically and the FF benefits and the lack of options mentioned by several other correspondents were the primary reason to continue to use Delta. If, due to costs, I have to start driving to catch a plane and I, as a state employee, am not allowed to buy the higher-fare tickets incurred by the changes just made to the class levels (i.e., L now = U and K now = L) all the 800 upgrade segments in the world won't be of any use to me. Thus there will be no incentive for me to be loyal to Delta and I will have no choice but to fly the cheapest airline with which I feel safe. That, despite all other pressures, will remain my priority.
Scott K. - January 4, 2001
I read the commentaries from all of the people responding to your Web site, including the airline employees, with great interest, especially since I am currently trying to get a travel award for Europe with little success. I've seen a lot in the airline industry, including the beginning of my work life coinciding with deregulation and a job requiring 100% travel, to many years with little business travel, to being in consulting for the last 9 years and being back on the road almost constantly. I lived in Atlanta up until September 2000, so I was limited almost exclusively to Delta for over the last decade. I do remember the final years of Eastern Airlines, though, with a mixture of fondness (twice as many first class seats!) and loathing (let's go on strike for a year!).
For the last two years I was a Platinum Medallion, before that a Gold. I'll be a Gold again this year because I ONLY had 94 segments this year. I look at all of it as a dubious honor in that the amount of travel required to achieve the Platinum level is obscene and negatively affects one's life. Being able to use SkyMiles for awards is the only reward for being a "road warrior".
I now live in Boston where no one airline dominates. It's been a nice change. I've flown American several times and will say the extra leg room in coach is noticeable. Continental does seem to have cleaner, more modern planes. USAir is, well, it's USAir. A lot of their people try, but I think they are cursed. United, TWA, Foreign carriers all travel out of Logan. It's competitive and I believe the way the market should be. Now, if we can only do something about Logan itself....
Here are my two cents on this subject.
To the airline employees:
* I appreciate your defensiveness. The rewards are few when your days are spent surrounded by anxious, sometimes hostile, crowds trying to get a flight, particularly at a hub. When was the last time anyone was in Hartsfield and it wasn't a mob scene? I've always made a point of trying to treat airline personnel the way I would like to be treated, but I've also been treated poorly by Delta employees. How do you think that makes me, the customer, feel, especially when someone is paying a lot of money for a ticket? We could all use a bit more civility.
* Yes, frequent flyer programs are a perk, but you should appreciate two things:
* First, business travelers account for a disproportionate share of airline revenues and profits, so they should be treated differently and better. Between my personal and business travel, Delta has averaged about $100,000 per year in revenue from me. I work for one of the Big Five firms, with 28,000 US employees, about half of those people are frequent flyers. In the Atlanta office alone, I knew of at least 45 Platinum Medallions and twice as many Golds. That is a lot of money. My firm recognizes that a handful of clients provide 80% of our revenue, and we will do anything for those clients. Why should airlines be any different?
* Second, the pressure and stress of frequent travel really is difficult on most of us, but it is unavoidable. One person suggested finding another job, but it is not that easy. In fact, surveys have shown that the amount of travel required of many people in middle and upper management ranks has increased over the last 10 years. There is no replacement for being face to face with a client, and with globalization, clients are everywhere. Also, many of us get paid well for the sacrifice, and it is tough to take that pay cut to stay at home. Many of my former colleagues, however, have chosen to change their lives because of travel.
* Several of you suggested that we get something for nothing. That is not true. The accrual cost of providing award travel is built into most fares. In fact, it is recognized that the major US carriers have a huge liability on their hands in accrued frequent flyer miles, and many are trying to find ways to reduce that liability. Frequent Flyer magazine has written several articles on this topic and how it has become harder to get an award.
* Being a Platinum Medallion, I estimate that I upgraded about 85% of the time over the last two years. Frequently, I have seen airline personnel in first class and business class seats that they only paid the taxes for as a perk for your job or for being needed in another location. Talk about getting something for nothing!
* I can appreciate that Leo Mullins is trying to balance the demands of stockholders to make a profit in a tough business with the costs of being a customer focused company. However, a dollar figure can not be put on perception; there is no cost benefit analysis for emotion. A long history of taking away benefits from supposedly cherished customers has hurt our perception of the airline. At what point do the customers have a right to respond and say, "Enough!"
* Finally, the customer is ALWAYS right, even if they are wrong.
To my fellow Medallion members:
* These changes are truly a reduction in benefits, and they have not been well communicated. They have been better about communications regarding the pilot's actions than with these changes. I think that this is indicative of the captive mentality that Delta management views Medallion members, many of whom live in hubs like Atlanta and Cincinnati. I wish it were easier to let our money do the talking by going to another airline, but I've seen both sides of living in a hub and now a competitive market. It's almost impossible to fly another airline.
* From a historical perspective, Delta has consistently tried to make the frequent flyer program less generous. I think this is also indicative of an overall decline in customer service at the airline over the last 15 years. We are now cattle to them.
* The only way to affect change is to complain, loudly. One of the real threats to corporations from the Internet is its ability to aggregate individuals into a group for collectively bitch sessions. Only as a group can we use this site to make Delta recognize its most valuable customers.
* If you are a stockholder, complain as such through investor relations or go to the next stockholders meeting and complain.
* Congress has been watching the airlines, especially service indicators. Complain to them as well.
* Finally, write to Leo Mullins. I met him on a flight once when he sat next to one of my staff. He honestly seems like a concerned CEO who wants to be responsive to customers, but a trickle of letters will not create change.
* Think about the shear numbers of people flying on Delta each day, week, month, year. The guy making the disparaging remarks about saveskymiles.com has a point. But if the numbers are 9,000 or 90,000 instead of 900, they might listen more closely. Tell your friends who are also Medallion members. I'm telling everyone in the firm that I know are Medallions.
One final thought: It is impossible to stop change, and I can live with that. However, when was the last time Delta actually improved the program?
Mike B. - January 3, 2001
I applaud these efforts. I can understand from a business perspective somewhat that Delta must monitor and change these programs from time to time. I have been a constant Delta flyer (Cincinnati ... what choices do we have?) since 1985. I don't know where they print the changes and I do not have the time nor the inclination to read all the verbiage in the brochures and folders they send. They certainly send materials that make it very plain when they have added a new service such as Australia, etc. Those info items come with big, bold, color-filled notices. I have had so many foibles with Delta but a few come to mind of note:
In the early 90's they denied me a set of tickets due to a blackout in Europe based upon my status (Silver vs Gold) that cost me a fortune. I had to pay for my family out of pocket. At the time I really didn't pay much attention to any of the details as I was just doing heads-down, grunt travel continuously. Turned out I had missed Gold by 2 flights on the BIG jets. I had taken dozens of Comair flights. Delta had been touting Comair for its equal miles "Just like Delta ... yadda" but turned out they weren't counted toward Medallion status. Sure enough, it was printed on microscopic fine print on the back of one of the brochures. I complained to Delta and was told it could be handled "at local discretion..." and the local rep told me "no". After writing nasty letters to Delta executives, they produced a massive apology and a bunch of freebie coupons. Action was taken with the local yokel but I don't know exactly what.
I have had them take chunks of miles from me at the counter then send me to a gate where my upgrade mystically disappeared and I had to sit in microspace to Europe. The flight attendants were nasty as hell when I tried to resolve the situation then accused me later of being abusive (not one of these air rage, in the media things I just demanded a supervisor. Wouldn't even go check with the person at the ticket counter and told me I was free to do so if I was willing to miss the flight. I was told to be quiet, to take my seat, or get off the plane. I never raised my voice once and didn't come close to the level spewed at me by the Delta employees. One 1st class guy even stood up, came back to tell them they were being rude, and HE was told to sit down and take his seat.
In late October this year I took 7 legs on Delta/Comair in a 6 day stretch. Closest any came to arriving on time was 2.5 hours. The latest was 9.5 hours minus luggage in Grand Rapids, MI. Got to make an executive presentation at 8 in the AM in jeans a t-shirt as there was NOTHING open at the airport, downtown, or close to a reasonable distance. Tried to leave a simple set of instructions as to how late to bring the luggage versus sending it on to the next town if it came too late. They wouldn't even discuss it. Told me if it meant that much to call them back in the am. I wound up driving back to the airport and sitting there until it arrived later that day. I cancelled my next flight and rented a car to drive to Detriot.
The stories go on and on and on ...
I have reached the point that if I were given any alternative airline where I could rack up miles for bonuses I would immediately switch. I do not take other carriers out of spite as it's just risking a crash with someone else and not getting any benefits in the process.
Good luck in your support for all of the weary and jerked around Freq Fliers like me.
S. H. - January 3, 2001
I read in the comments section where several people from the Cincinnati area were upset with the savage tactics used by Delta when no competition is present in a particular area. Try living in Atlanta and flying out of Hartsfield most every week. Delta has all of two concourses and almost half of the other three!!! Additionally, my company has a nationwide deal with Delta for lower fares on, you guessed it, "U" and "L" class fares!!! I am a high end Silver and sometimes just make Gold and never get an upgrade!!! I lost 44 (800 mile segment) points just last year!!! For me Delta is useless, however, I have no choice.
My example of savage tactics is Atlanta to LA for $2100.00 with a 21 day advance and that is just a coach seat!! This same plane originates in Birmingham with a stop in Atlanta. From Birmingham the flight to LA is ......, are you ready, $275.00. I have to drive to Birmingham and come back through Atlanta just to keep from taking it in the shorts!!! This may be bad to say, however, I can't wait for a downturn of the economy, which will cause Delta to actually need the business traveler to stay in business!! That is when I hope to be able to hurt Delta's business out of Atlanta!!!
As far as upgrades are concerned, I feel Silver is just as important as Platinum when it comes to medallion status. Delta should reserve a minimum of one upgrade seat for each level of medallion flier when seats are available. It is only fair as the number of Silver and Gold far out number the Platinum. Just look at the stats on your Web site today, 915 Gold, 720 Silver and 301 Platinum. WE ALL ARE IMPORTANT, TREAT US THAT WAY!!!
Tom I. - January 3, 2001
I have been a member of the program since inception, currently with over 2,300,000 miles and a Platinum level since they started it. But we have the WORST scenario. We fly from Atlanta, where 97% of the flights are Delta. We REALLY pay through the nose, with the ATL-LAX flight going up over $400 this year alone. With the packing of planes that Delta has become so expert at accomplishing (using Priceline.com and others to pack them with low-fare passengers) it is really irritating to have to go on short-notice flights, paying a "Y" fare, and getting stuck in coach, sometimes even in a middle seat.
On top of that, to have the Pilot's Union throw these additional problems of cancellations at us, because they demand to be the highest paid pilots in the world, is adding insult to injury. These poor prima donnas that earn CEO-level salaries for working 80 hours per month have no regard for those that really pay their salary, the paying customer. Delta has offered them bonuses based on profitability, but they want nothing to do with that, they want the highest salary with no risk. A CEO works MORE than 160 hours /month and his bonuses are tied to performance, why won't the pilots except that type of proposal? At 160 hours/month, these pilots are making WAY too much money.
Tried Continental lately? Clean planes, huge overhead compartments, not overcrowded planes, on time. Tried AA lately? Their extra legroom is really noticeable (but personality sucks). Tried a Delta 757 for legroom? If there are magazines in the pocket in front of you, you can't sit without having your knees hit. Fly to Europe this way? No Way. If I am unable to upgrade, then I will go another way. And the AirFrance partnership has eliminated easy flights to Brussels, a major city in Europe, unless connecting through Paris, then not getting milers for the Paris-Brussels leg. And who can count on the reliability of the French unions anyway?
Craig A. - January 3, 2001
As an airline employee, we do appreciate the loyalty of our skymiles members. But I do have a question for all members. Would you like YOUR company to lose money? I did not think so. When we have many members who buy tickets on a trans-con flight at a roundtrip price of approximately $300-$400 on a coach fare and then upgrade, do you actually think the company makes any money on that? No it does not. I have personally seen medallions on tickets that have spent no more than $250 on an ATL-LAX and standby for an upgrade. For a 4 and 1/2 hour flight with dinner, wine, beverages and other amenities, how much do you think that costs an airline to serve? That does not include fuel, salaries, and other expenses for just that particular flight. Please think if your company was not making money on a certain program, would you not change that to make a profit? Please act like adults and not children.
Don B. - January 3, 2001
I add my voice to those who appreciate and support the people who developed this site. I can only wonder if Delta appreciates the passion driving this process. The opinions I have read do not appear to be the ravings of malcontents. On the whole I find that on most subjects, there is a general consensus as to what is fair and what is not fair. Medallion members clearly find the latest changes to be unfair. Delta may grow to understand the nerve they have hit with their most loyal customers can have an impact on profitability.
I am a relatively recent Delta medallion member. I moved to Cincinnati three years ago and Delta's monopoly instantly changed my flight selection patterns. However, I previously lived in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh so hub life is not new to me. I was pleased to receive my first systemwide upgrade (SWU) as virtually all of my flying is international.
I quickly found that an SWU (at least at my Silver level) is nigh on impossible to use. I tried to use them on five different European flights this past summer. On one flight I checked two months prior to flight date on a range of twenty seven days including flights from Cincinnati, New York (JFK) and Atlanta including Air France code shares. No upgrade seats were available. I was finally able to use a SWU at the end of October.
Delta is clearly going to do what is in their best financial interest. I accept that this is right and proper and a duty to shareholders. Change in behavior will occur when Delta's financial interest changes. However to gain a voice, it would be an interesting strategy for medallion members to purchase a few shares of stock to gain access to shareholders meetings.
There are actions that interested members can take. Some of my thoughts are specific to Cincinnati but I am sure that similar issues exist around Delta world.
Possible areas for action:
It seems hard to describe Delta's position in Cincinnati as anything other than a monopoly. Delta may take notice if medallion members urge their congressmen to support congressional hearings on hub practices system wide.
The Greater Cincinnati airport states that terminals are available. Realistically there are not enough terminals for an established, competitive airline to attempt to carve out a piece of the market. Cincinnati residents could push the airport to take meaningful steps to provide access to enough terminals to get one legitimate competitor.
Delta wants an added runway in Cincinnati. The handling of environmental issues is key to airport expansion. Delta may take notice if medallion members support thoughtful and careful review of these issues.
I am concerned that Delta may be providing rewards that they know in advance cannot be used. I have "lost" SWU legs and all of my segment upgrades. It would be interesting to me to know weather the contingent liability shown on Delta's books is the full value (at Delta's cost) of the rewards or if they show a discounted liability knowing that some percentage will never be used. It would also be interesting to know what percentage of rewards are ultimately used. This is another area for possible congressional review.
Scott L. - January 3, 2001
As an employee of an airline I have never seen such a bunch of cry baby snot-nosed whiners. I have seen you complain about the food, service, weather delays and no aisle seat. You complain about having so many FREE upgrades but never get a chance to use them so "WHAT GOOD ARE THEY". I might understand if you actually paid for the ticket out of pocket. But when your company either pays fully or reimburses you, what right do you have to complain? If you don't like having to travel then get a job that doesn't require it. I have had children traveling by themselves behave more dignified than grown adults. So the next time you want to complain think about how stupid you look in public and also who actually paid for that ticket.
P.S. The next time you want to cuss out an agent for any airline don't do it in front of children!!!!!!!
Rick F. - January 3, 2001
How many of you are owners of a silver, gold, or platinum Delta Sky Miles American Express Card?? Why not join the Delta pilots in a protest - send your cut up Sky Miles credit card to Delta CEO Leo Mullins in Atlanta. From Delta hub dominated city in Cincinnati - I'd like to ask - what is the definition of a frequent flyer anyway? Someone who takes 40 trips a year from a hub city and earns only 80 segments, or someone who books 25 round trips from a satellite city and connects through a city like Atlanta, Cincinnati, or Salt Lake City and gets 100 segments? From the hub city, I guarantee the fares of my tickets are substantially higher, and consequently generate significantly more revenue and profit for Delta. I wrote a letter to the smiling female executive featured in Frequent Flyer magazine, and got a form letter back from one of her subordinates saying I should be glad Delta lowered the requirement for Platinum status from 120 to 100 segments. This is not about segments - it's about frequent flyers. Who is generating the most revenue? Who books the most trips? Who is paying the bills (especially from Cincinnati??)
Vanessa A. - January 3, 2001
Greedy, Selfish, and I want are the words that are associated with most frequent flyers today. You people think that you are the most important people on the aircraft and that everything should revolve around you. WAKE UP! If something does not go YOUR way or it is not what you want to hear, the whining starts. Maybe if you treated the people who get you from one destination to the other with more respect, good things would happen. What did you people do before the frequent flyer program began? From what I recall, business went on as usual. This does not pertain to all frequent flyers but it does to most of you. If you want the service and privileges in today's world, then pay for it.
Charlotte H. - January 3, 2001
As an employee of the airline industry, may I ask a few questions?
When was the last time you went to get a loaf of bread, and just because you wanted one someone gave it to you?
When was the last time your spouse wanted a fur coat - not an artificial one either, and you went to furrier and someone gave it to you?
When was the last time you wanted a new toy (Mercedes/Rolls/Bentley) and you went to the dealership and someone said 'here go home, it's yours?'
THE ONLY THING IN LIFE THAT IS CONSTANT IS CHANGE. ACCEPT IT; STOP WHINING, LEARN TO APPRECIATE THE SMALLER THINGS IN LIFE SUCH AS "LIFE ITSELF".... AND GET A GRIP.......
Ed M. - January 2, 2001
Good luck in your efforts. I stay loyal to Delta, even though in Memphis, TN where we are a Northwurst Hub. Don't ask me why, but I guess I remember the good old days when Delta treated their "loyal elite" as true first class customers. I have about 1,650,000 miles, was granted "million-miler" status several years ago, used to be a "Flying Colonel" with complimentary Crown Room. They took that away about 9 years ago. I used to upgrade virtually every flight, I can't remember now the last time I flew 1st class. Partially my fault cause I buy those cheap restricted tickets on Delta's Web site. Oh well, good luck again.
Luis R. - January 2, 2001
I have called &e-mailed Delta Customer Service about this. If you travel to Central America you can't use 800 segment upgrades even though business class is 1/3 occupied.
Joni - January 2, 2001
Include me in this necessary effort to make Delta accountable for the promises and offerings extended to gain my business. It takes little to realize that Delta has a monopoly in the Cincinnati market and customer pressure followed by government intervention are the proper strategies to dissuade Delta from such anal adjustments. Delta's actions are strictly to improve the bottom line, there is no logic in their 'competitive dialogue'. They realistically have very little competition in their two largest markets of Cincinnati and Atlanta which comprise 30% of their business. If the competitive nature is real, why are fares, especially in the Cincinnati market so high?
I fly 40,000 miles annually on Delta and at least twice a year I attempt to take privilege of the rewards afforded, specifically free air travel. More often than not, inconvenient times and limited availabilities warrant driving or flying other airlines. In addition to my 40,000 w/ Delta, I average 10,000 w/ Northwest and let me tell you that this is an airline that treats you w/ respect, an airline that is visible in wanting your business.
Delta is making money, especially w/ the Comair association. Continuous route/market transfers to Comair has resulted in lesser, full booked Delta flights and this is a primary reason for Delta's recent actions. Forthcoming union allowances will definitely raise fares.
A few years ago the television show ' L.A.. LAW ' portrayed a scene which correlates this issue accurately. To summarize, fliers were stranded on a runway for several hours due (unknown reason) in which the main characters were prevented from using their cell phones to make aware their circumstances to colleagues, customers, etc. Upon arrival back to the gate the main character was jailed for detrimental behavior onboard. The court scene resulted in the main character stating that 'airlines petition for our business, they invite us by telling us how they are superior to all other airlines, they extend promises and benefits, they ask us to fly their friendly skies... We put our trust in their efforts, their professionalism and their spirit.'
This same image holds true w/ Delta, unfortunately they do not see it this way. They need our help to see the light.
Elinor K. - January 2, 2001
I wanted to comment on the new rules for the medallion upgrades. I recently changed jobs this year with a company, like every company is, who is looking to save money on plane tickets. I have to use our travel agent and she has to book the lowest fare possible, which means most of the time my ticket is a L or this U fare. I was very upset when I found out we could not use our upgrades on these fares. This means is the future, I will have no chance at using the upgrades. Also I have put myself in a touchy situation already with my company by choosing not to fly AirTran or these other low fare airlines, simply because I enjoy flying Delta and trust them.
Also you increasing the base miles to 40,000 mile is ridiculous. I believe the base miles of 20,000 is plenty of miles to earn upgrades, especially since most of us don't fly for pleasure anyway 20,000 is sometimes enough to drive you crazy. As a result of your changes, I have been traveling TWA and one other airline and their rewards are very realistic.
I hope you are taking everyone's viewpoints into consideration.
Evan S. - January 2, 2001
Prior to seeing the article in today's Enquirer I had similar reaction to the changes and had sent the attached letter to Geraldine Miles, VP Consumer Marketing and copied Leo Mullin.
Like an email sent to Delta about 4 months ago when I first read about the changes I would be really surprised if they bothered to reply. However the world turns and as we enter a downturn in the economy they will start spending millions of dollars to try to attract 'new' premium paying passengers to replace the ones they already had!
Just this month with 2 business trips to Europe (about $7,500 each!), 2 to the East coast and one to the West coast I would have spent nearly $20,000 on Delta. Hopefully this amount multiplied by thousands of the 'loyal elite' as they are want to call us will force them to reconsider their current business practices.
DAO - January 2, 2001
I have just signed your Petition and subscribed to the SaveSkymiles newsletter. The Cincinnati Enquirer article I read this morning should go a long way toward informing people like me about your efforts to make Delta Airlines responsible to its significant customers. I hope that article is picked up in Atlanta, Dallas, etc. Unfortunately, as long as Delta/Comair is flying full planes in and out of Cincinnati (and my limited exposure this past year says they still are), I'm afraid your concerns will fall on deaf ears. The only thing that will make Mr. Mullin and his people sit up and take notice will be a significant drop in revenues, and I'm not convinced that enough Medallion members are prepared to bite that bullet.....
I'm a Cincinnati resident. Long before this latest round of perk reductions, I viewed Delta's pricing policies at CVG as predatory, so I made a commitment to fly Southwest (from Columbus, Indianapolis or Louisville, as necessary) whenever practical. As the owner of a small business, I have absolutely no choice but to be fiscally responsible about the rates I pay to get around the eastern part of the USA. Several months ago, I was contacted (by phone, at my office) by a Delta representative who asked if my flying activity had been curtailed during the past year (someone is monitoring such things). I advised him that I'm actually flying more than usual, but that I simply cannot afford to fly Delta. I got the usual superfluous responses (much the same as the people who comment that they get nothing but form letters when corresponding with Delta Airlines).
I don't have the time right now to quantify the numbers, but - on average - flights out of CVG cost 2x to 3x more than comparable flights from the cities I have noted above. I have had no problem justifying two hours of driving each way to any of those cities when it takes me an hour to get to (and through the concourses) at CVG. The $$ payback for two (perhaps three, at most) extra hours of my time (total per trip) has been phenomenal. However, until more frequent business flyers take this approach - leaving Delta to try to operate on the advance/weekend rates of vacationers, I simply don't believe you can have much impact.
When you consider that Delta (almost) matches Southwest on competing routes, and then gouges the hell out of business passengers on non-competing routes, WHY isn't Delta making an incredible profit?
As a result of my change in attitude, I will lose my Silver Medallion status this year. When that happens, I will no longer have a viable reason to maintain my long-standing membership in the Crown Room (which has also been demeaned severely over the past years...but that's another story). Remind me sometime to tell you about the "kickers" (events where I was treated rudely or - in my opinion - unfairly by Delta Airlines) that brought me to the point where I no longer cared about the "benefits" of being part of the Delta experience.
LAOCA - January 2, 2001
With great interest I am following your Web site and the changes in the Skymiles program. While the greatest grumbling may be heard from Silver and Gold members who have lost their ability to use their upgrades on international flights, I think the greatest backlash to Delta Air Lines themselves may come in the form of lost revenue from Platinum members. For reasons Iım not sure they yet understand.
Follow this: Both Delta Platinum and United 1K members will each get six one way international upgrades next year. No more, no less. No bonusıs after re-qualifying. So now, for those of us who fly over 200,000 miles a year it makes far more sense for us to switch allegiance at 100,000 miles to be able to get another six upgrades from UA. As you know, previously, continuing on Delta past the first 100,000 still earned us an additional set of upgrades for each 20,000.
What are they thinking? Am I missing something?
J. B. - January 2, 2001
I question Delta's wisdom in eliminating the Segment Wide Upgrades for Silver and Gold Medallion members. For years our company allowed business class over the water. About six years ago our companies travel policy changed to specify a 10 hour flight in order to fly business. My overseas trips are now one or two per year, to Europe, and how I enjoyed and planned around those system wide upgrades.
I go back and forth between silver and gold and do enjoy flying Delta, but without the system wide upgrade I will definitely "shop" for the best price to Europe. It will be Delta's loss.
I truly hope that your petition wakes them up, but I wouldn't count on it.
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