Tag Archives: Seats

Delta Is Being Accused of Sneakily Tricking People Into Booking Much Worse Seats Than They Think
September 3, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

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

When I book flights, I try to be patient.

Perhaps like many people, I go to Kayak or Google Flights, and hope to find everything that’s available. 

Then, I might wait a few days to see if prices go up or down, depending on the urgency of my booking.

It’s like playing with your cat, really. Most of the time, Tibkins is quicker. Just occasionally, though, you get him. 

The accusation was that Delta Air Lines made ordinary Economy Class flights appear as if they were Premium Economy when booked via Google Flights.

Or, as the Points-Saving God puts it: “Delta displays economy prices for Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy, and at no point during booking does it actually specifically tell you you’ve got the wrong deal.”

In essence, if you go through the Google Flights search process, wanting to book, say, return flights from London to LAX, you get what seems like a wonderful deal.

If you book via Delta’s site rather than its partner Virgin Atlantic’s, that is.

The price difference is more than $ 1,000. Which is clearly the very definition of a steal.

Because you like saving money and feelings clever, you click on that deal and still believe you’re booking Premium Economy.

It’s just that, if you look closely, it has a novel and delightful name: Economy Delight.

This is actually Virgin’s fancy name for something that’s slightly better than so-called Economy Classic, but is still very much Economy Class and not the wider seats and more pleasant experience of Premium Economy.

Which Virgin calls, oddly, Premium Economy.

For all you know, however, Economy Delight is what Delta calls Premium Economy.

There are so many names these days.

And nowhere, said God Save The Points, is it clear that it isn’t. After all, why are you being shown this option when you searched for Premium Economy fares?

I asked Delta for its view.

An airline spokeswoman told me: 

Delta recognizes the limitations of some current shopping experience on third-party sites may not be ideal. That’s why we are leading industry collaboration to ensure customers have access to all of Delta’s products, no matter where they shop.

Ah, so it’s Google Flights’ fault?

Delta seems to think so. Its spokeswoman continued: 

It’s time for third-party displays, including Google Flights, to invest in the technology necessary to display the various products available so customers can view all their options clearly, just as Delta has done for customers on delta.com. 

An airline mocking Google’s technology? That resembles entertainment.

So I asked the Silicon Valley company for its reaction and will update, should I hear.

I remained perplexed. If Virgin Atlantic’s fares are accurately depicted, why aren’t Delta’s?

I was so moved by all this that I tried the search for myself.

I got very similar results to God Save The Points. 

Not exactly close.

I clicked through to Delta’s site and there it was, the Economy Delight designation.

Only if I scrolled down would I see that an upgrade to Premium Economy would cost an additional $ 257.75 each way.

This all feels a touch unhealthy. 

Delta says it’s the champion of the people, but airlines aren’t always so keen to play with third-party sites, where many people go to make comparisons.

Risibly, the airlines’ lobbying group claims this is all intended to increase, please wait for it, transparency.

It might even, say the comparison sites’ lobbyists, threaten the ability of fare comparison sites to operate.

Worse, the airlines seem to believe that third-party sites should deliver all the detailed information that airlines have, yet those same airlines refuse, in some cases, to give those sites that very information.

Which all should make emptors do a lot of caveating.

And we thought technology is going to make things easier. 

Easier for corporations, perhaps.

Tech

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Delta Passengers Are Outraged. They Say Those With the Cheapest Tickets Are Getting Nicer Seats
May 13, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

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.

Tech

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