Happy end of summer! Hope you all are having a good one…or had a good one.
NO PLANS TO CHANGE DELTA’S NEW 72-HOUR RULE. Our post last week about Delta’s new rule that disallows changes to SkyMiles award tickets within 72 hours of departure was the most read and forwarded post on The TICKET to date in 2011. Folks are ticked off! If you missed it, here’s the post–-be sure and read the comments. Despite the outcry, Delta seems intransigent on this one. The TICKET sent Delta the following message: “Can you tell us if Michelle and the gang have decided to soften the 72 hour rule at all? Are they even discussing it, or is it case closed? We think most TICKET readers, once they get over their frustration, sort of see Delta’s point, but feel that the rule is too harsh, and perhaps it could be softened a bit. Seems like the few bad apples have spoiled something for the rest of Delta’s best, and mostly fair-minded customers. Let us know if you know if anything’s in the works.” Delta’s reply to The TICKET: “Thanks for checking in. We have no plans to make further changes to the 72 hour rule.” There you have it.
SKYMILES TRANSFER BONUS NICE BUT NOT CHEAP. From TICKET reader Tom in Atlanta: “I decided to be nice and transfer a few miles to a friend of mine since Delta was offering to double the miles I transferred (good thru 30 September). Boy, was I surprised to find out Delta charges .01 per mile to transfer AND $30 per transfer. So, according to my math, I was going to give a friend 50,000 miles that would be doubled to 100,000 (what a nice guy I am). . .and it would cost me $530!!! Not much of a deal if you ask me! I’m nice, but not THAT nice.”
NEW AMEX SKYMILES BENNIE. If you’ve lost Medallion status, here’s a bit of good news: If you have the Gold or Platinum Delta Sky Miles American Express card, get ready to head back to the front of the line. Beginning Sept. 1, cardholders will receive priority boarding on all Delta and Delta Connection flights. This means boarding along with SkyPriority passengers including Medallion and SkyTeam Elite-level members. No need to show the card– if it is linked to your SkyMiles account, you and up to eight travel companions booked in the same reservation will automatically be placed in one of the first boarding zones. Once on board, you also get a 20% discount for inflight purchases including food, drinks, and movies. These extra benefits are in addition to the already substantial checked bag fee waiver.
TRIMMING THE FAT. Delta is discontinuing its seasonal routes from Atlanta to Barbados and from Atlanta to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Delta has also said that it’s discontinuing flights to several tiny cities that had been subsidized by the federal goverment’s “Essential Air Service” program. Delta is also right-sizing its hub at Salt Lake City– cutting daily departures from 260 to 224. No route cuts planned, but flight frequencies will be reduced. AirTran is discontinuing its flights from Atlanta to Atlantic City, N.J. (in January) and Newport News (in March).
We’ve got a BIG QUESTION for you this month, and we hope you can take a moment and share your comments at the bottom of this post: How has the recent stock market roller coaster affected your plans for fall business travel– if at all? Have you decided or have you been asked to cut back on travel spending at all over the last month as a result of the uncertainty? Please leave your answers/comments below.
TOO COZY WITH DELTA? The AJC reports that former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is joining the board of Delta, nearly two years after pushing for a lease deal between the city and Delta that some criticized as too favorable to the airline. Thoughts?
EASY 1000 SKYMILES. Don’t forget: Using Delta’s new mobile app to check-in earns you bonus miles. First register, then check in using the Delta app to earn 1,000 miles between June 30 and September 7, 2011.
FREE INFLIGHT INTERNET IN AUGUST. Were you able to log on for a little bit of free inflight wi-fi this month? Diet Coke sponsored two promos that seemed to be a hit with TICKET readers….except that so many folks signed on that service slowed to a crawl. Our post about this was very popular this month…check it out and see the comments if you missed it. By the way, you should still be able to get a free 30-minute trial between now and Sunday, August 31.
Video of the week: Bat on a Delta plane.
NEW AMIGO: AEROLINEAS ARGENTINAS. The TICKET recently reported that Aerolineas Argentinas had been invited to join the SkyTeam alliance. While it is not a full member yet, Delta has begun codesharing with the Argentinean flag carrier between both Miami and Atlanta and Buenos Aires. Beginning next year, passengers traveling on Aerolineas Argentinas can earn and redeem SkyMiles for their flights. Currently, a reciprocal club access program is already in place for SkyTeam Elite Plus members at the airline’s lounge in B.A. Speaking of amigos, Delta recently bought a 4% interest in Aeromexico…which is already a SkyTeam and codesharing partner.
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SHIP LUGGAGE. EARN SKYMILES. FedEx has a partnership with Delta allowing those who ship packages to earn SkyMiles. Between now and Oct. 15, earn triple miles for each dollar spent. For every fifth shipment, SkyMiles members get a 1,000 mile bonus. Not only does this benefit those who ship packages for work, but travelers tired of paying overweight or oversize bag fees. The price (depending on the weight of your bags) may not be that much more expensive, and you get the added bonus of scoring Sky Miles too. Who wants to schlep bags to the airport when the FedEx delivery truck can escort them from your front door to your destination?
LIVINGSOCIAL WITH DELTA. Delta has partnered with LivingSocial, a web site focused on aggregating destination deals and bargains in tandem with trips booked at Delta.com. The initiative will make it easier to save money once you land by highlighting specific restaurant, hotel, attraction, and business promotions that can save you money and time. The offers appear in the My Trips section of delta.com and align with the dates and times of your trip to zero in on the promotions that would only be of benefit during your travel. Some of the deals hack as much as 50% off a variety of services. Worth a look!
NEW DIGS AT JFK. You may be surprised to learn that Delta is the largest airline in the state of New York serving 11 cities with 439 daily departures. The bulk of its operation now takes place at its creaky JFK hub. However, work is well underway to demolish, reconstruct, and renovate Delta’s facilities at Terminal 4, next door to the old Worldport. Want a sneak peek at what you have to look forward to in 2013 following the completion of this $1.2 billion construction project? Take a look!
BETTER FIRST/BIZ CLASS. Those enjoying the occasional complimentary Medallion upgrades (and those who pay for first class) will soon see a refreshed product in domestic and Latin American first class. Those pesky placemats are being crumpled up and replaced with classier tray linens along with new china, silverware, and service items. Business Elite service between JFK and Los Angeles and San Francisco is also getting classier and tastier with the introduction of menus from Napa Valley chef Michael Chiarello. Amenity kits on international flights will have a new look and feel plus larger toothpaste, a softer eye mask, and high-quality Greek Korres brand toiletry products.
SKY CLUB PAYMENT PLAN. Considering a Sky Club membership, but don’t want to fork over for an entire year at once? Delta has taken a hint from financial services companies and now allows you to spread out the annual cost into monthly installments of $25.99-$39.99 each (depending on Medallion level). Like many lounge programs, there is a small annual fee (ranges from $25.99-$39.99 also depending on one’s status) in addition to the cost of the monthly payment. It is important to note this is not a true monthly membership since you must commit to one year, but it certainly does lessen the financial burden for cash-strapped travelers.
SPEAKING OF SKY CLUB. We need some comments about the new A-17 Sky Club on Concourse A at ATL! Did you know that this is the busiest Sky Club out there with 55,000 monthly visits? Delta removed the rarely used conference rooms to free up much needed space. Has anyone been yet? Please start a discussion below. What do you like or not like? The new club on Concourse D, down at “wheel level” is supposed to open this month…let us know as soon as you get in there! A new rooftop Sky Club is due to open in the South Satellite at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport—let us know when you check it out!
Repeat from above….We’ve got a BIG QUESTION for you this month, and we hope you can take a moment and share your comments at the bottom of this post: How has the recent stock market roller coaster affected your plans for fall business travel– if at all? Have you decided or have you been asked to cut back on travel spending at all over the last month as a result of the uncertainty? Please leave your answers/comments below.
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