Delta Diamond elite members will now have to wait longer to board
Diamonds to the back. At least a little bit.
Delta Air Lines is changing its boarding process for domestic and international flights. The airline updated its website on Thursday with the new boarding process.
While most things remain the same, Diamond Medallion members — the top published tier in Delta's SkyMiles frequent flyer program — will now board after Delta One or First Class.
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Diamonds will still board before premium economy passengers and all other elites, aside from members of Delta 360, the airline’s invite-only tier. Previously, Diamonds boarded with the premium cabin regardless of where they were seated.
A spokesperson for Delta confirmed the changes to TPG, citing two main reasons. By having the front cabin board first without anyone from the coach cabin, aside from pre-boarders like people with mobility issues or travelers with small children, the on-board flight crew gets an extra few minutes to clean and prep the main cabin.
Additionally, the change is meant to help manage congestion at the boarding gate early on during boarding that can slow the whole process down. This is particularly noticeable on heavy business travel routes where there can be a lot of top-tier elite members.
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In a statement, Delta characterized the change as a minor one.
"As customers continue to return to travel in high numbers, Delta is implementing a minor boarding update across the system on August 3 that will simplify and better meter the current boarding process. This adjustment will shift the boarding order for a small group of premium customers while still offering them a preferential boarding experience."
Travel demand has surged in recent months to near pre-pandemic levels, despite airlines operating less capacity than in 2019. With more demand and fewer flights has come more crowds, with many flights operating with full loads. Delays and cancellations, along with other operational issues across the industry, have worsened the crowds at airports.
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