Sunday, February 05, 2006

Delta Airlines rant

Okay, so I'm a pretty dedicated Delta frequent flyer. I have been flying them for years and years. You can't be a Southerner (or former Southerner) without flying Delta. We used to have an expression that "it did not matter if you were going to heaven or hell, you were going to change planes in Atlanta". And, Delta OWNS Atlanta. But, I digress...

Frequent flyer programs are simply brilliant. The inspire tremendous amounts of loyalty on the part of customers. Loyalty that is surely not deserved based on cost, service, comfort (my butt still hurts from the 6.5 hour SLC to HNL flight yesterday), or on-time arrivals alone. Yet, I religously fly Delta and even pick my international flights based on airlines that I can get "code-share" tickets or at the very least Delta points. I endure bad customer service, clueless gate agents, inconsistent answers (ask the same question from two different people), and even deragatory treatment just so I can continue to accumulate miles on Delta. I know that the other airlines are not any better, though

About 2 years ago, Delta changed their "base miles" accumlation rules. Base miles are what gets you to a premeir status. Cheaper tickets only allowed you to accumulate 50% of the total miles towards your Delta Medallion status. I stopped flying Delta that year I was so peeved. But, they changed that the following year. I'm assuming I was not the only one that felt that way.

On to THIS year. Airfares are pricey and Delta is usually more expensive than most. Since much of my flying is paid for by someone else, I often have to agree to pay the difference between the cheapest fare and the Delta fare. I will do this up to about $150 - $200 per ticket just so I can get miles and use my segment points for free upgrades.

Since I usually have "Gold Medallion" status (50,000 base miles or more each year), I usually qualify for free upgrades. However, their new upgrade policy is that fares to AND from Hawaii are NOT upgradeable. I can use my miles or points all I want within the continental US, but even though I LIVE in Hawaii, I am out of luck on upgrades (unless I want to fork over $200 more each trip).

That is adding insult to injury. I am usually already giving out $100 to $200 MORE per ticket than I am being reimbursed. Now, if I want the UPGRADE, I need to pay ANOTHER $200. Sigh......

Well on the bright side, United has more flights and destinations out of Hawaii anyway. And usually cheaper fares.


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