transcripts : October 19th, 2000


Moderator
Greetings...all.

Tolarian Wind
hello

the scribbler
Hey there

MileKing
hi moderator

Moderator
stargold....what trip made you jet lagged?

Moderator
MileKing.....greetings...

SMessier
hey moderator

stargold
Moderator!

the scribbler
Looks like we have some new faces for this DL chat

stargold
well... i don't fly DL... but just interested

US1
I'm actually trying to build up DL as my second airline. Don't let the name fool you!

Moderator
Good, we like new faces and additional dialog...Welcome all. Let me set the stage for this evening. I hope you know that SkyMiles has announced some changes to their upgrade policy. Tonight I'd like to focus on two items:

Moderator
We need to discuss the timeline for which Delta has made changes to their Medallion program. From the change from "Frequent Flyer" to now. with all your comments about each change. I'm only a middle Delta flyer so we'll use this transcript to guide us all on your comments. The next topic needs to be analyzing the change against other programs...

Moderator
So. If in an orderly fashion you can all start to reminisce the changes to the new program which have happened over the last 3-4 years...Who wants to start...?

MileKing
L class no upgrades

US
I think the L-fare is the most obvious.

US1
And the M-Fares on international travel.

the scribbler
Don't forget U fares now

Tolarian Wind
they did away with the medallion specific awards which were far superior to general awards

hfly
Well, the L fare thing set a lot of people off, as I flew mostly int'l I cared most about the M,B,Y thing.

track
And fare inflation, i.e., U fares are at old L levels, and L fares at old K ones.

MileKing
If I recall correctly, there was less than 6 months notice that L fares would be non-upgradeable

Xeno
The change in L means that I no longer fly Delta on domestic flights

Moderator
Good catch Tolarian Wind....it was the demise of the special Medallion award chart that started things......does anyone remember if Delta announced what they were doing to "nicely" replace that chart?

MileKing
Now, less than 6 months notice about the systemwide upgrade elimination

Tolarian Wind
that was about the time i became attached to my chair so i didn't pay much attention Moderator

the scribbler
I think they lowered a domestic coach rt?

Tolarian Wind
but 2 weeks ago I began travelling again so.....

Moderator
MileKing.....i thought they have posted a 6-month notice on the SWU change?

hfly
I don't recall anything specific except something like "A bigger more wonderful program which was to be announced!"

hnechets
About the same as their announcement about the "Enhancements" to their elite programs, Moderator...

track
Although I noticed that the round-the-world award is now only available to silver, gold and platinum Medallion members.

the scribbler
hfly's right

Xeno
They said something like we asked for these changes.

the scribbler
Yes track,it's missing from the back of the mileage statement chart

MileKing
Well, yes I guess that is true since it is effective the end of February right?

track
But you can call up and find out about it.

US1
Does anyone know the date up to the current systemwide upgrades can be earned thru (the 20,000 clock)

hfly
28 Feb 2001

the scribbler
Yes, till the end of Feb, but since elite works on a calender year...

US1
Thanks, HFly

MileKing
Exactly scribbler! DL made the change mid-year maximizing the impact to elites

Moderator
so there has been a 6-month notice......this becomes our timeline. We must all work on getting things together as this date gets closer.

Moderator
Let me ask a few questions first tonight just for note taking purposes...Here comes two questions:

Moderator
First: Of those other Delta flyers you know, what percentage of them are aware of the SWU change? (percentage only) Thanks...

Robert
30%

ksosa
50%

Xeno
None that I talked to knew about it.

track
The Escape Plans have fewer international destinations than two years ago, the plans cost more to join, and New York is no longer part of it

hfly
100% related to this and other boards, 30% off the board (100% after I tell them, BTW, I have made sure that at least 50 Coke employees know about it)

doc
guessing 50%

Moderator
Could everyone in attendance tonight try and answer as best you can the previous question about what percentage of Delta flyers you know actually know of the SWU change?

dimples
15%

Tolarian Wind
I know two other DL flyers 0% as neither of them knew

the scribbler
100% that I know personally, which is not too many

Tolarian Wind
both SM

MileKing
I don't know many DL flyers other than on these boards. The one I do know was aware of it so 100%

Moderator
Now for another question: What is your level of membership with Delta? Base, Silver Med., Gold Med., Plat. Med. I'm trying to get an idea of the cross interest on this issue....answers please...

hnechets
PM

MileKing
Base

track
GM

doc
yes n+2 is not revealing with 1 yes and 1 no

Xeno
MM

doc
base

hfly
PM, My wife is Gold previously and will be Silver next year.

dimples
base

the scribbler
GM

MileKing
I have been Medallion previously, a few years ago

Tolarian Wind
im SM

Robert
PM

US1
Gold, Platinum by the end of the year

Moderator
Do any of you remember other programs making as many changes to their elite levels as Delta? Either from your own experience or from other flyers you know?

hfly
No. Except probably the big United changes that had them end up in court and grandfathering everyone.

Tolarian Wind
I am not aware of any that on a yearly basis continued to make things more difficult for their most loyal customers

Moderator
I remember only one program, Continental that tried some major changes 6 years ago and was called down on it, but none from UA or AA? That we strictly Elite only changes downward....

MileKing
Well, most of the programs eliminated threshold bonuses, but I think DL is in a league of its own when it comes to changes.....many curiously in the upgrade area

Robert
The bigger question is when was the last time Delta did anything to enhance the elite program.

MileKing
Good point, Robert!

hnechets
Enhance? What is enhance?

the scribbler
It comes down to this: DL has L/U restriction but had SWU; now no SWU and L/U restriction; plain and simple they are not competitive

Moderator
Robert - let's work on that point right now....can all of you comment from you point of view?

doc
No just other carriers changing mileage level requirements, tiers names etc - nothing so substantial so frequently

Robert
Oh, yeah, I forgot . . . the new upgrades can be transferred to a companion

Tolarian Wind
They issued nicer looking membership cards?

Robert
They gave us new PRIORITY luggage tags that don't work

Moderator
But that benefit is common among all programs....Delta simply is following what they have been beyond in that category....

Robert
They stopped responding personally to letters from Million Milers.

MileKing
I can't recall any DL enhancements. At least UA added systemwides for 1Ks.

track
They seem to be more generous in letting us use the Business Elite lounge, even if we're flying cheap class.

Moderator
This is all good, could we have more comments from the others in attendance tonight?

hfly
Delta has enhanced nothing. They have cheapened the program, and yes, they are equal now to many other programs. Assuming all US airlines are equal, why then stay at Delta?

Xeno
Delta lost me on domestics with the L policy, now they will lose me on international flights without the SWUs

Moderator
Some of you must have an "angel" at the service centers...any comment from that group that you'd care to share tonight?

hnechets
OK, I can think of one good thing...free CRC access for PM

Robert
Even the angels have had their "wings clipped" -- and that's an exact quote from my former angel!

US1
Since US Airways stopped offering club access, Delta is the only US airline to do so.

Moderator
Actually, that is a very good benefit, and they share that distinction with US Airways....

Xeno
They had an agent in the Marriott hotel that helped me a lot, but now I have to go to the airport and only get breaks when the agent doesn't understand international tickets

MileKing
UA offers 1Ks access to the Red Carpet Club for international flights

Spiff
Alas, it's only for PMs... GMs are now "Silver Plus" at best.

hfly
I have several angels. Officially most prefer not to comment. Some have e-mailed and said , "We have had an incredible amount of complaints about this", another said, "we are killing the Golden Goose" another, "We're really going to pay for this", a Sr. VP, 'I can't believe that we're doing this and I will do what I can to get it reversed"

Moderator
As you know, both AA and UA have special lounges for the high elite.....while small lounges, they are pretty handy...

doc
they fly too much out of jfk and lga for me so I take them infrequently. The inability to upgrade cheap fares has also kept me away.

the scribbler
"high elite" meaning VIP--celebrity services kinda thing?

doc
yes essentially

US1
No, the scribbler. UA has special basic lounges for 1Ks and American for Platinums and Executive Platinums

Moderator
High elite being 1K at UA and Platinum at AA...

the scribbler
Oh, the 1k room and plat service centers. Poor man's RCC and Admiral's Club

Robert
Well, Delta wins on airport lounges. That's one area where they've maintained superiority and actually continue to improve things.

richard
For UA there is a VIP room. I've been there at SFO. Paid F tix can get in if they tell you about it. And VIPs too.

track
Yes, Totalitarian, I don't trust them on the SWU date issue, so I go right down to the office and trade in my SWU for a ticket as soon as possible.

Moderator
One of the things we covered last time was a compromise. Because we've got a few new faces tonight. What are your feeling that we think might be middle ground - if indeed DL can't afford to keep the benefits currently in place?

Moderator
Fewer SWUs are better than none?

US1
Middle ground IMO would be to take them to level of most other carriers. Change the systemwides and allow domestic upgrading on ALL fares. Or, keep things the way they are and give us systemwides but keep the fare requirements. As I see it, we already are compromising for the systemwides by giving up cheap upgrades.

the scribbler
What they should do is bump up int'l upgrades to 50k and keep the SWUs as is. That would bring demand down for upgrades and reward loyal DL elites--as opposed to those who are buying a DL tix solely because they have 40k worth of miles from buying toilet paper at the super market

doc
you really think DL has the best lounges? I don't know. Even NWA is good with their lounges in general!

Robert
Moderator: How about instead of 40,000 miles in a calendar year before the first SWU, they make it 20,000; or perhaps they could keep the counter rolling from year to year like it does now rather than restart it each January.

Robert
Excuse me, instead of SWU I meant NAMU.

the scribbler
There are so many solutions to this problem; I could go on all night

MileKing
Yes, thats true, Moderator, but I thought the whole upgrade issue dealt with capacity, both the SWUs and the L fare thing. In both cases, allowing upgrades at the gate if Business or First is not full should always be permitted. DL threw the baby out with the bath water!

hfly
I know that I'll get flamed for this, but move the SWU's to Gold and Platinum, but do some kind of companion thing, maybe at half the rate. Half the SWU's would be pretty much equal to what they are doing already regarding Plats. I too have many other ideas.

Moderator
we will need to hone in on one that we are all comfortable with. A great challenge is one voice/one platform we could ask Delta to consider. That's the great intent of these forums and things we've got planned.....

the scribbler
Increase the BE compartments; 50 premium seats in a 777 is low.

Spiff
Moderator: It would be nice to see some kind of benefit exchange instead of benefit downgrade. I like the upgrade any domestic fare suggestion. Maybe they could be day of departure only, but it would be a step in the "same" direction instead of a step backwards

Tolarian Wind
I think it should be a

the scribbler
Loose the L fare with the SWU. I could even that out

Tolarian Wind
"registered choice" either we get upgrade on any fare or SWU

Xeno
I would be willing to exchange SWUs for some other benefits in the program.

the scribbler
It's ludicrous as is you can't upgrade day of departure int'l--let's get that back in the package

US1
TW: While I think that is a good idea (since some guys are domestic and some int'l) I think it would be a logistical nightmare

Moderator
Spiff....i was thinking that maybe we ask DL to be the first to create a "MySkyMiles" benefit which is a choice of what works for you. Certainly with every other business moving to "MySomething" this might be an interesting twist.....the idea being why make broad changes when you're supposed to "know" me.

Tolarian Wind
hey, i kinda just said that! :)

MileKing
I like the "choice" idea a lot. There are many flyers who would no be interested in international upgrades. DL would rock the market with a tailored benefits program that allowed each to select what is best for them.

the scribbler
I think they'll cry technical problems on that, Moderator

Moderator
"Registered Choice" very logical and could work.......comments on just that component?

track
There are so many conflicting interests here, international flyers vs. domestic ones, business vs. leisure trips, that we'll always have someone protecting a perk that would have a negative effect on someone else. So I think asking for a personal "MySkyMIles" is a good idea.

the scribbler
If they could make it work, it would be very attractive to other flyers as well

doc
sound good

Tolarian Wind
they make it work for their promo codes

Moderator
the scribbler...yea, i know the technical challenges, but don't all of you think that's where every program will be in the future?

doc
remember CO does not permit international UGs either!

Robert
I like the idea. Any way to scale the level of choice to elite level -- i.e., more choices for Platinums?

Spiff
Moderator: That's a great idea. Most of us won't ask for the moon (at least in our eyes). If they really need to cut down on the SWUs (and from what I've been hearing about less-than-full-BE cabins - they don't) than maybe we can give them suggestions for a substitute benefit(s)

hfly
The problem is that Silver is now totally useless, Gold is really devalued, I mean fly 90,000 miles and you get squat (SWUwise that is). In my case 75% of my flying is Intl. I have used something like 20 800 mile upgrades in five years. SWU's are all that counts. While many of the Europeans aren't here because of the time, they really share this concern.

the scribbler
Yes, Moderator, you're right; I'm merely suggesting the BS they'll throw back. I love the idea!

doc
thats true hfy

Moderator
My comments are from what I've seen here and on the posts is that you're all pretty reasonable. There's only a few that i think are off the deep end (not here tonight). So DL should be absolutely pleased that you're a very reasonable loyal member...

US1
BRB...HFly..not everyone is a global traveler. If they hop around the nation, silver and gold is anything but worthless, unless on L or U

MileKing
hfly could choose SWUs and get no domestic upgrades while another traveler might choose the domestic upgrades and no SWUs

track
So let's chose SWU or NAMU, L fare upgrades domestically or K internationally. The computers can keep track of this.

hfly
US1, true enough, and those are not getting as screwed as us either...

Moderator
track....yes, you're right. This really isn't asking that much from a computer system that was overhauled just 4 years ago......

Spiff
K internationally, anything domestic would be quite fine with me

the scribbler
Your idea Moderator would surely bolster the less than stellar SkyTeam; could be the angle they're looking for and certainly need.

Robert
Along the line of MySkyMiles, how about if you could BUY (that means revenue to Delta) an option on an annual basis to upgrade L and/or U fares. For example, for an annual fee of $1000 you could be able to upgrade from any fare.

Spiff
As long as K fares don't become M fares, $$$-wise!

Moderator
Do many of you know DL members from international locals? We're thinking of having the next chat at a lunch hour to get the East and West (intl.) opinion here....

doc
I cant help but wonder if much of this move by DL is in part from TOO much success with the recent DL Optima Skymiles promos. They've give away too much miles and easier status and are now trying to recover since its come home to roost!

hfly
BTW, a US member of the AF program gets the top perks for 40K a year vs. 100K from DL.

Xeno
But I saw many empty seats in BE this summer!

the scribbler
I think they want people burning mileage; that's not to say they're gonna stop throwing it all over the place

Spiff
Xeno: That's what I eluded to earlier and have mentioned on the boards. Most folks aren't seeing this BE shortage that DL claims. I think they're trying to create a demand that's not there for a $$$-BE product.

Xeno
I see the same with L. Empty seats in first and I can't upgrade

track
This spring ALL the international flights I was on , well, ok, the 4 of them, were all full in BE.

doc
NWA/KLM claimed the same thing last year with the changes to TA UGs

the scribbler
Something else DL needs to consider. BE has another year at most before other carriers UA + AA catch up with the C product; at that point, more empty seats--especially if we're all gone

hfly
The only person who has ever "confirmed" this was a DL mole (of which there is at least one here now). Even with that, he referred to one specific route!

Moderator
Actually...my experience has been the opposite. I have flown BE twice over the last year and both times it was FULL.....I saw one empty seat on one flight and it was quickly taken up by an employee......

Spiff
Ack! Not "Employee Class II"!!

Moderator
yes, and the seat was next to me...i almost said..."I think that seat is taken..."

Spiff
Moderator et. al: I wonder how many of the full BE flights were paid J vs. upgrades?

hfly
An employee shouldn't count. I will say however that Nice has been really full since Skyteam started Af sells a lot of seats as they dont fly to nice themselve

the scribbler
They should add more capacity if they're really selling these seats.

track
I'm looking at some Nice flights in January, and I can still get L fares ($395) on most days!

MileKing
Too bad you can't upgrade, track!

track
Yes, I'm all out of SWU's.

hfly
They limit the Z seats anyway, so the point is moot. Flights to Brazil around Carnival time have either 2 or None depending on the day, a year in advance. That's what the fancy computers are for.

Tolarian Wind
brb

Spiff
hfly: Seats fly empty since no day of departure upgrades permitted?

Moderator
Let me bring everyone up to date on saveskymiles.com: The Web site is ready and we were going to put it up today but i wanted an addition to one of the tech things we have. So, starting about noon tomorrow you'll all be able to visit and sign the petition and get the cards you can use to hand out. We sent our first cards out today to none other than Leo Brown...AKA Leroy11

the scribbler
Great!

Spiff
Cool beans!

hfly
Good

doc
nice

the scribbler
What's the plan from there?

Moderator
Transcripts from this and the other sessions, including the ones that JFC and hfly got started will be online to look back at. Also, we will have a component allowing you to review our proposed platform which looks like the compromise of "MySkyMiles" which has been spoken of tonight....

the scribbler
Will we have a contingency for MSM, or will we leave that on the table and that's it?

Xeno
Where does one find these transcripts?

hfly
The current Skymiles newsletter says that Plats will get Plat upgrades, but specifies no number. I can swear that the last newsletter gave the limit as 6. What's everyone think (Although I think unfortunately that this may have been an oversight)?

the scribbler
Is there someone now that we can send personal letters to at DL?

doc
its printed well in advance?

Moderator
I think we may be best to put out two types of platforms and allow you all to "vote" as the one we can all support. We have only a limited number of people tonight and we must make sure it will be something we can ALL support. I don't think we have enough opinions tonight and we'll only get one chance....

Moderator
XENO: as of noon tomorrow they will be at www.saveskymiles.com

the scribbler
Okay, one chance, lets do it!

Moderator
MileKing - Leo Brown is another loyal Delta person and FlyerTalker who wants to support these efforts as we all do.

the scribbler
Thanks again Moderator!!! I have to go--goodnight all.

MileKing
Thanks Moderator....I knew he was a Flyertalker but didn't know his relation to DL

doc<
knowlegable pax!

Moderator
The ket to all this is I'm going to try and not make much of a splash until we get the support going. As you might imagine, we'll look a little foolish if only about 37 of us want to change DL. The success will come from all our efforts to get the word out and get the ePetition signed. The ePetition will be on SaveSkyMiles

MileKing
Moderator, are you going to craft the "vote" to include suggestions on the number of upgrades that should be given to each level and the possible "packages" that might be offered in "MySkyMiles"?

Spiff
'night

Moderator
SaveSkyMiles.com starting tomorrow around noon.

Moderator
MileKing.....i'll only review all the transcripts to see if there was an acceptable number of upgrades the group had mentioned.....

embo
any tips on san pablo brazil

Moderator
Where? What?

embo
San Pablo brazil - been there?

Moderator
I haven't though i suspect that if you posted that in the General TravelTalk area of FlyerTalk you'll find dozens of those that have.....

Moderator
We're almost out of time tonight gang. Could we go around the room and get your final comments? Remember, starting tomorrow we're action.....www.saveskymiles.com

Tolarian Wind
registered choice is my preference

Xeno
ditto

doc
fine

hfly
Moderator, I think that all should be aware that another "hard core" DL PM has contacted United at quite a senior level and that they have expressed a strong willingness to comp a "group" of DL defectors to 1K straight off the bat, if we defect together. While United 's route structure doesn't easily fit the patterns of some fliers, myself included, it does that of many others. Does DL, know what kind of ill will it is breeding (BTW, UAL will consider high Gm's for this as well)?

Moderator
I like registered choice...it hadn't come up before so i hope all of you understand that something very important happened tonight here online......we've got direction.

piff
registered choice sounds like the way to go

MileKing
I agree

doc
self determination!

track
It's in Delta's interest to offer something to each of us, according to our needs. We want upgrades and miles, but there's no need for Delta to think we'll overrun BE in the process.

MileKing
track, that is another choice: more miles instead of upgrade certs.

track
So chose!

Moderator
As for UA. I had the President of Mileage Plus call me yesterday on his way to Europe and scheduled a call with me on Monday to chat about phase two of their Mileage Plus recovery program from this summer. I have no idea yet other than grandfathering all elite members for 2001, but i'm sure it will be something that will rally knock out DL and AA if only for the wrong reasons....PM to 1K....it would be interesting to have comments form those of you that have seen both sides.....

Xeno
Let me have it MY way!

hfly
I should mention that I know at least 10 people that fly DL from NY to the UK, using strange routings (CVG, ATL, or MAN on the other end) just to keep up with Skymiles, these people are already bolting.

MileKing
UA must still be hurting for bookings!

doc
supposedly their bookings are VERY low indeed

Robert
Moderator: Broker a deal for us to switch en masse to United.

hfly
After Pan Am expired, I got top status on both UA and DL. I split flights with both for a few years and then stuck with DL and lost status with UA (Dl had the edge on routes). I could change again.

doc
www.movetounited.com?

Moderator
I don't think I can thank you all enough for your contributions tonight.....small steps, but steps nonetheless. I wish you all nothing but upgrades and look for more on this topic with schedules for another chat....

MileKing
doc, charging $823 roundtrip from IAD-SFO five months in advance doesn't help!

Dan at WebFlyer
thanks everyone for stopping by and joining in... rock the vote...

Moderator
Doc - i love it..

doc
thanks

MileKing
Thanks Moderator!

Spiff
gotta do something about those "fortress hub" prices! Probably another time...

Tolarian Wind
thank you Moderator....

Spiff
Thanks, Moderator

Xeno
keep the faith

hfly
Cheers Moderator!

track
Bye, all!

Moderator
Robert - brokering a deal is probably very easy......i just wouldn't want to do it for the wrong reasons. I'd like to see you all continue to be happy at DL.....

Moderator
Later....and thanks again.

Chat Transcripts:
Missed out on a SkyMiles chat event? We've kept transcripts from our scheduled events and will post them for your convenience. They'll be posted as soon as they're available...

(Transcripts have been edited for brevity and editorial content)

February 3, 2003

January 29, 2003

January 27, 2003

November 16th, 2000

November 1st, 2000

October 19th, 2000

October 5th, 2000

...more to come


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