Posted by: joannabrandi | July 23, 2008

Is Delta Dreaming?

Oh puh-leeze!

Yesterday I’m at La Guardia airport getting ready to come back to FL. The flight at the next gate bound for Tampa is in and almost ready to board when I hear ground attendant begin to hawk $100 first class upgrades.

“We’re pleased to offer upgrades to first class for only $100 that is, if your class of service is any other than L Q U V or W, for only $100. Wha??

I shook my head thinking – not a very friendly invite and that $100 is a lot to pay for a short flight upgrade. I stuck my head back into my paper until the next announcement came from that gate.

“We are in an oversold situation. We need 5 volunteers. We guarantee a seat on the next flight and we are offering $400 in Delta vouchers.” Hmmm. A few minutes ago they had seats up front and now they have too many people on the plane. Curious.

Next announcement: “Once once again ladies and gentleman, we are offering upgrades to the first class cabin at only $100 ..”

My brain is engaged now and I can’t wait to hear what comes next. You guessed it.

“We are in an oversold situation and offering $400 in Delta vouchers and a guaranteed seat on the next flight.” Okay, I’m thinking, why don’t they just upgrade a few medallion members from the back – or even complete strangers – and put them up front. Then they’ll be room in the back (and a few people will be pleasantly delighted.)

I shook my head and started paying attention to my own flight announcements.

When I boarded the plane I heard that they were still looking for 2 volunteers to get off the flight and offering $400 in vouchers plus meal tickets for a dinner anywhere in the airport to sweeten the pot.

What’s wrong with this picture? At my count Delta paid out $1,200 in vouchers when they had some seats available up front. Do the math. This is dumb. Upgrade people from the back to the front and then do a head count. Maybe it would cost less. Greed makes you stupid. Or maybe, to be fair, I should said fear makes you stupid. Gas prices aside – the airlines are in trouble for a reason.

Travel sanely, oops I mean safely…

Who actually knows what class of service their ticket is in? The point? There were 5 exclusions to their offer (even if I got the letters wrong – there were 5 of them.)



  1. Great point! Imagine how great a traveler would have felt if upgraded while the airline saved money! Love your perspective! – Karen

  2. Absolutely – a great point!

    I love the title and have to ask whether the “simple” was intended to be a euphemism for “stupid”?

    Obviously the answer is simple, (as in easy, not stupid!) but unfortunately it only seems to be outsiders who can see the obvious. All too often the people offering the service are completely immersed in what they have been told and constrained by rules and red tape to apply any logical thought to the issues.

    A classic case for making workers owners of the business, when they would recognise that such behaviour costs them money in their pockets – rather than just the more remote prospect of long-term job loss through the failure of the business!


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