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Kudos of the Day: Delta Technology

by on December 10, 2010 · 4 comments

in Air France, Delta, Mileage Runs

I read the Cranky Flier post “Is Delta the Airline Passenger Technology Leader?” yesterday and it got me thinking that Delta does have some pretty good technology in comparison to the other US legacy airlines. Delta certainly has its share of IT blind spots (online award booking calendar and a buggy website), but from a passenger experience perspective, I’ve been impressed: mobile boarding passes have saved me more than once; I’ve been more productive with in-flight wifi and I’ve been hooked up with automatic rebooking when faced with delays and cancellations.

Today I experienced another “thank god Delta has good technology” moment.

I was booked to fly PIT-ATL-JFK-DUB (to maximize mileage and take advantage of the double EQM promo out of Pittsburgh). When my flight arrived in Pittsburgh, I saw a long line starting to form at the gate, which meant delays and/or cancellations. The gate agent had been announcing that the inbound aircraft was late and the departure would be late leaving for ATL, which meant my ATL-JFK connection was in jeopardy. At that point I loaded up delta.com, just as the entire gate house erupted in frustration and continued lining up to rebook flights. With one gate agent working and 20 people in line, I depended on Delta.com to do all the dirty work for me and it luckily came through.

I loaded up my reservations and sure enough there was a prompt showing that my flights were delayed and that I could book other options at no additional cost. When I clicked through to see routings, they gave me a ton of options on Delta through ATL/JFK/DTW and also Air France and KLM options. I was almost tempted to switch to the Air France A380, but then I remembered that Air France flights don’t qualify for the Double MQM promotion.

So I decided to cut out ATL and the extra 600 MQMs I would have gotten and instead fly PIT-JFK on a BusinessElite equipped 757 (the same one the does CDG-PIT, but since PIT-CDG doesn’t operate on Fridays, it goes to JFK to do a transcontinental run). The greatest thing about this system? It automatically booked me into first class, even though there was no upgrade space available. Granted, I probably would have cleared at the gate anyway, but it just makes me really appreciate that Delta understands flight disruptions and are lenient with their elite members when adjustments need to be made.

Even after I made my switch, it still allowed me to change again for free of charge- a nice option, in my opinion.

Bravo Delta! I can now enjoy some peace, relaxation and blogging from the US Airways lounge (couresty of my unlimited Priority Pass membership).

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  • Stephanie

    I enjoy reading your posts because you really seem to know what you’re talking about. I just read an old post from cranky flier titled “Why Delta SkyMiles is Lagging as a Loyalty Program for Non-Elites” (written back in March).

    I’m a newbie when it comes to all of this, and I’m having a hard time deciding which airline to commit to. I currently live in L.A, so it might make sense to choose United or AA, but I’ve been really intrigued by all the good things you have to say about Delta. For someone trying to gain elite (at the lowest level first) for the first time next year, do you have any advice? I ask because I know at one point in time you were a Silver Elite on Delta, so you can attest to its worthwhileness (is that word? :) )

    Thanks!

  • The Points Guy

    Hi Stephanie-
    No elite program is perfect, but Delta has been very good to me. I get upgraded as a Platinum on almost every single flight- even on the cheapest fares and usually 6 days in advance. They also offer upgrades to silver medallions and when I was silver, I got 4 or 5 really clutch upgrades (a PHX-JFK early morning flight when I was out until 3am the night before and an international upgrade from JFK-Buenos Aires which was uh-mazing). That was my experience a couple years ago based out of NYC.
    LAX is a different story. Upgrades will be hard (almost impossible) to snag on LAX-JFK/ATL, but possible if you route through SLC or LAS on offpeak times. As silver you get 25% bonus miles (same with AA), but Delta miles are generally harder to redeem for low level award tickets. Everything is a tradeoff. If you are looking for valuable miles, then I’d say go AA. If you are going to do 50,000 or more miles per year, I might recommend Delta, but it all depends on where you fly and what you want out of your elite program. Feel free to email me at [email protected] for more info. Thanks for reading!

  • Joe

    Can you tell me if Delta is currently offering the program where you get a 20% bonus if you transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Delta Skymiles?

    Thanks,
    Joe

  • The Points Guy

    Hi Joe- even better- they have a 50% transfer bonus when you transfer 50,000 or more points. Click on the Delta category for the “amazing American express delta transfer bonus” postM

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