Delta Passengers Are Outraged. They Say Those With the Cheapest Tickets Are Getting Nicer Seats

May 13, 2018 6:00 am

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Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

“You’ll enjoy the best elite travel experience whenever you fly.”

That’s how Delta Air Lines describes the blessed privilege of being a Delta Medallion member.

Not just elite, but the best elite. The elite of the elite. 

I worry, therefore, that some of these Delta elitists are concerned that their eliteness is not complete.

And, indeed, that they’re being cast aside when it comes to upgrades, in favor of the riff-raff who bought the cheapest tickets.

Points, Miles and Martinis describes the pain: “On a recent trip, I noticed that the flight went from 6 Comfort Plus seats an hour before the flight, down to just 1 seat, 30 minutes prior as a result of the gate agents clearing Basic Economy passengers into Comfort Plus.”

Indeed, on this occasion, Points, Miles and Martinis insists that only one Medallion customer received an upgrade to Comfort Plus, while five Basic Economists were slipped straight into these more comfortable seats.

Others  commenting on this accusation said they’d seen similar events too. 

Goodness, this is like pulling people in off the street and giving them a table at the French Laundry. (Well, almost.)

It’s like giving lower-paid people a tax break that’s bigger than that poured upon the rich.

These Medallionists are peeved that Delta appears to be favoring the Basic Economists, who are only given a seat at the last minute.

The idea of Basic Economy — or Sub-Cattle Class, as I prefer to call it — is to shove these low-fare passengers into the middle seats that are left over. Not the Comfort Plus seats that are, well, a little more comfortable.

The suspicion is that, on some flights, gate agents are giving the nicer seats to these low-paying customers in order to get packed flights out on time.

I contacted the airline for its view. 

“While the situation described does not align with Delta’s upgrade procedure/policy, there is not a way to determine the Medallion level of other customers or the fare product another customer purchased via gate upgrades or standby displays,” a Delta spokesman told me.

So what are these aggrieved Medallionists supposed to do?

“Any customer who feels they were not given the correct seat assignment should share their concern with customer care, who will review their inquiry,” said the airline spokesman.

Some might fear, though, that this could be another painful assault on an airline’s most important customers.

Last week, I wrote about how United Airlines was angering its First Class passengers, removing some favorite menu items from its premium offerings.

Just, it seems, to save a little lucre.

Still, this alleged Delta move might encourage some passengers to buy the lowest fares, in the hope that they’ll actually get far lovelier seats.

Don’t airline passengers realize that the concept of Something For Nothing is precisely the one that airlines are fighting against?

Their principle these days is Everything For A Payment.

If this alleged Delta generosity toward the Sub-Cattle Class is true, it casts a pall on the image and modern purpose of airlines.

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