Threaten a Delta employee? Say goodbye to your SkyMiles account and elite status
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Delta Air Lines is cracking down on unruly customers.
The Atlanta-based carrier tightened its SkyMiles program terms and conditions on Tuesday to include provisions around when a frequent flyer account might be terminated. The new provision — “documented abusive behavior” — is now grounds for expulsion from the program.
Travelers who threaten, intimidate or otherwise cross a line with Delta employees could have their accounts closed. That includes the possible forfeiture of all accumulated mileage credit, any unused and upcoming award or upgrade certificates and all other associated membership benefits, including Medallion elite status. You could also be banned from flying with Delta in the future.
Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!
In a statement, a carrier spokesperson said:
“Respect and civility to others on our planes, at our airports, in our workplaces and in our society have always been a requirement for our people and our customers. Nothing is more important than their safety.”
In the update to its terms and conditions, Delta says examples of abusive behavior include personal threats, profanity, obscene language, insults or slurs directed to a Delta employee or ambassador. It also covers any intentional destruction to Delta property.
The new provision applies across the travel journey, from interactions with Delta’s reservations or customer care phone center to its gate agents, flight attendants, ground handlers and arrival teams.
That means that whether you’re upset about a refund or have an issue with a flight, it will be important to remain civil when speaking with Delta to avoid violating the new “abusive behavior” clause.
Delta’s “Big 3” competitors, American and United, don’t have the same specific call-out about terminating an account due to abusive behavior, though the rules are pretty open-ended. American says that “abuse or violation of applicable rules” could lead to AAdvantage account termination, while United’s rules specify that “any conduct detrimental to the interests of United” is grounds for expulsion.
Adding a call out for abusive behavior comes as the industry has seen an uptick in misbehaving flyers, per an NBC report. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received roughly 1,300 reports of unruly passengers from airlines since February, an agency spokesperson recently told The Hill.
The FAA has been cracking down against disruptive behavior aboard planes, fining passengers who refuse to wear masks or get belligerently drunk. The agency extended a zero-tolerance policy it implemented in January following numerous incidents on flights surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
Other actions that could lead to the closure of your SkyMiles account include violating a term or condition of the contract of carriage, your ticket’s fare rules or any other regulation that applies to travel with Delta.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees