WHAT WILL DELTA+VIRGIN BRING? With the deal so new, it’s tough to say much at this point, but let’s speculate: First, the Delta-Virgin tie-up is likely to have much more impact on New York than Atlanta. It would be nice, but unlikely, if Virgin would compete nonstop with Delta between ATL and London-Heathrow, but a man can dream, no? Like before, those who would like a taste of Virgin Atlantic using their SkyMiles will likely fly Delta from ATL to Washington, New York, Newark, Chicago or Boston, and then change to Virgin for the over water leg to London. From there, the Virgin partnership offers some interesting new options for flying to Africa, India, and Asia. Interesting aircraft, too—it has six Airbus A380s and 15 B787 Dreamliners coming online in 2014-15. Once Delta and Virgin are housed in the same terminal at Heathrow, we’ll all have access to Virgin’s swish Clubhouse there. The big IF in all this is Delta’s much-anticipated switch to a revenue-based frequent flyer program—many expect this new program to be announced in 2013, and then put into effect in 2014. If you are wondering what a revenue-based program looks like, just take a look at Virgin America’s Elevate plan…which of course opens up a whole new can of worms with everyone wondering if Delta’s going to enter into some sort of arrangement with the mod, very popular, but money-losing SF-based carrier. Would YOU like to speculate? Please leave your comments below…
DELTA.COM FRUSTRATION. Our post last month about Delta’s switch to a new website elicited a slew of angry, confused comments from readers expressing their dismay at a redesign that makes the site clunkier to load and harder to get around. Even purchasing a ticket seems difficult. The display sorting method is partially to blame since certain options are often left out and more desirable flights are often four pages deep. In addition, Delta has switched to a password-based login adding one more step to an already frustrating process. We’ve been unable to get Delta to tell us WHY it felt the need to change the website in the first place…but have received no reply. WHY do YOU think Delta has burdened us with this clunky new site? In the spirit of focusing on the positive… can you name a thing or two about the new site that is an improvement? Please leave your comments below!
DELTA FIRST CLASS FARE SALE. Delta’s offering a great deal on upgrades to first class on US and Canada flightsduring the busy holiday season– Dec 15 – Jan 5. Upgrades on the cheap! Details here. Not a bad idea to pony up a little extra cash as a gift to yourself (or others) for the Holidays!
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BUH-BYE CRJ-200s. Delta is (thankfully) accelerating its removal of the cramped, 50-seat, one-class CRJ-200 aircraft and has placed an order for 40 more CRJ-900 aircraft that will be fitted with first class, Economy Comfort, and wi-fi. These 72-seaters are more efficient to operate allowing Delta to deploy them on routes that are too big for a CRJ-200, but too small for a mainline aircraft.
SOUTHWEST OVER WATER. Starting in April, Southwest will fly nonstop from Orlando and Tampa to San Juan, its first over-water flights. For the time being, AirTran will continue to fly nonstop to San Juan from Atlanta, but the new SW flights offer a new one-stop choice for the Caribbean-bound.
ROLLOVER CONFUSION. TICKET reader B.R. reached out to us with an interesting issue that sheds light on confusion regarding rollover miles for those who have earned their status for life through the Million Miler program. It seems that customers who achieve Silver or Gold Medallion by earning Million Miler status instead of earning it by flying, do not carry over the extra MQMs into the New Year the way other travelers would. Let’s say you flew 35,000 MQMs in 2012 and are a two Million Miler (giving you lifetime Gold Status). Now it seems that the 10,000 extra MQMs over the 25,000 Silver Medallion threshold do not roll over since you technically did not fly up to the Gold Medallion level you have achieved to begin carrying over. You still maintain Gold status for life, but rollover seems to begin only above and beyond your current status level for the year. Delta helped The TICKET out with an answer to this, pulling this little nugget from its Terms & Conditions: Members who receive complimentary or gifted Medallion status [ie, Million Milers] are ineligible for Rollover MQMs unless they earn more MQMs than the gifted status requirement. For example, if a member is gifted Silver Medallion status in 2012 and also earns 30,000 MQMs in 2012, s/he will be able to roll over 5,000 MQMs since the Silver Medallion requirement is 25,000 MQMs.
(Have you scored your 500 Delta SkyMiles bonus for using TICKET sponsor Peachy Airport Parking yet?)
ATL’S DATA-DRIVEN SCULPTURE. Here’s another reason to go check out ATL’s new International Terminal F: The new AirFIELD liquid crystal sculpture hanging from the ceiling that is synched to real-time flight data. Each flight that lands or takes off at ATL activates small ripples in the sculpture for small plane and big ripples for jumbos. Go check it out! Or just get hypnotized by the video above.
FULLY FLAT DETROIT-SAO PAULO. Delta now offers its new flat bed seat in all Business Elite markets to Brazil. Until now, the Detroit flight was a notable exception.Speaking of South America, Delta’s celeb-chef Michelle Bernstein has overhauled menus on overnight flights to South America with more regional dishes. Have you noticed?
BAD BAG POLICY CHANGE. Starting January 15, Delta will no longer through-check baggage to its final destination if you are traveling two separate tickets… and the second ticket is not a Delta ticket. Delta will only check the bag through to your first stop, requiring you to exit the airport secure zone, fetch your bag at baggage claim, re-check it at the non-Delta carrier counter, and then re-enter the terminal via airport security. What a pain in the butt! How often do you buy two separate tickets for a single trip?
NEWEST AIRPORTS W PRECHECK: Atlanta was one of the first four airports in the country to get PreCheck back in Oct 2011, and TSA has been busy rolling out the program at the nations busiest airports ever since then, now totaling 35 airports. Some of the latest additions are: Anchorage, Nashville, Santa Ana (Orange County), Ft Lauderdale, and San Francisco. Note: Airports with multiple entry points may not support Pre-Check at all of them. For example, there are only two PreCheck lanes at SFO—one for United flyers at Terminal 3, the other for American flyers at Terminal 2. However, there is no PreCheck line at SFO’s Terminal 1 used by Delta, Alaska and USAirways, all of which participate in PreCheck. The following are airports where DELTA operates with PreCheck: Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall, Charlotte Douglas International, Chicago O’Hare International, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, Dallas/Fort Worth International, Denver International, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Honolulu International, Indianapolis International, John Wayne, LaGuardia Airport, Las Vegas’ McCarran, Logan International, Los Angeles International, Luis Muñoz Marin International, Minneapolis-St. Paul International, Orlando International, Pittsburgh International, Portland International, Ronald Reagan Washington National, Salt Lake City International, Seattle-Tacoma International, Tampa International, Ted Stevens Anchorage International and Washington Dulles International airports.
SHAPING UP AT ATL. Next time you are out at ATL’s Terminal E and feeling a little pudgy or bloated from too much travel, pick up a pack of Spanx to help keep your girly or manly figure. Spanx was invented by an Atlanta fax salesperson who started the company out of a rental house in Virginia Highland. Spanx at ATL opened this month. See the video for the interesting story!
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GOING GREEN. Delta has achieved status in The Climate Registry for its greenhouse gas emission inventory. As the first US carrier to do so, the award recognizes the numerous procedures Delta has put into place to save fuel including taxing on one engine (something that is unique to Delta). Over the past six years, Delta has lowered its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent.
Please say THANK YOU to our sponsor, PEACHY AIRPORT PARKING for helping keep The TICKET free for readers this year! If you have not done so already, give ’em a try, get your SkyMiles, and let us know what you think!
EASY 500+ SKYMILES BONUS. The holidays are the BEST time of year to avoid oversold on-airport parking lots…. so why not help out The TICKET, and our newest sponsor, Peachy Airport Parking, on your next trip? You’ll help yourself, too, since Peachy is offering TICKET readers 500 SkyMiles plus three SkyMiles per dollar spent. If you are tired of worrying about on-airport lot sellouts, long, dark walks to your car or the congested mess that is Camp Creek Parkway, just exit I-85 south at Sylvan Road, one mile north of the airport, and follow the signs to Peachy. Once there, you’ll find extra wide spaces in a secure, climate controlled indoor lot, a free car wash and a short two-minute shuttle ride to the airport. Daily rates are just $6.99 outdoor or$8.99 indoor. COME ON! Help keep The TICKET free by clicking on this link or on the ad to the right to learn more about ATL’s newest parking option. Note: You have to click on the link and print the page to get the SkyMiles!