Delta One. You Lost…?

T hat was the first thing I thought when I found out the new name of the premium product offered by Delta Air Lines: Delta One. You Lost. Is that a subliminal message — especially when numerous other perceived devaluations have occurred recently?

For many Gold Medallion elite level members of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program, that is how it feels, as the following “changes” will be implemented effective as of Sunday, March 1, 2015:

  • Delta One — formerly BusinessElite — is offered on long-haul international routes; also between John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco
  • First Class is offered on domestic and short-haul international routes
  • Delta Comfort+ offers an upgraded experience on all two cabin aircraft around the world
  • Main Cabin offers a high standard of customer service everywhere Delta Air Lines flies
  • Basic Economy offers Main Cabin service with fewer flexibility options available in select markets — and although I wrote a trip report on my two experiences in this class of service earlier this year, keep in mind that aspects of it have been downgraded as announced this past October


Chart courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

Chart courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

Newly designed Delta One, First Class and Delta Comfort+ seat covers will be installed on aircraft through mid-2015.

Diamond and Platinum Medallion elite level members of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program will continue to enjoy complimentary upgrade eligibility to First Class and will also receive complimentary access to Delta Comfort+ seats at booking. On March 1, 2015, Gold and Silver Medallion members will continue to enjoy complimentary upgrade eligibility to First Class as well as complimentary access to Delta Comfort+ seats starting 72 hours and 24 hours prior to departure, respectively.

A quick look around the weblogs at BoardingArea shows that there is little positive sentiment to a lot of fanfare surrounding what is basically a renaming of existing products with a few changes here — such as the reupholstering of seats, as shown in the photograph at the top of this article — and some devaluations there; but to get a real pulse of how frequent fliers feel about what is now known as “the big announcement”, here is the discussion on FlyerTalk.

As you might discover, many people do not like the name Delta One for various reasons — mine has already been expressed at the beginning of this article. Although I have never been employed by an airline, I have experience in marketing; and Delta One is not a name I would have chosen — especially given my aforementioned first thought of the name. I did not plan it — it just happened.

One thing is for certain as evidenced by the aforementioned FlyerTalk discussion: the class system in frequent travel loyalty programs in general seems to be widening. If you are a Diamond or Platinum Medallion elite level member of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program, you are probably fine with “the big announcement” today…

…and if you are a Gold or Silver Medallion elite level members of the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program, you are probably unhappier than ever; and if you do not like it, the only thing you can do is vote with your feet and your wallet — and even that may have little impact for the reasons explained in detail here.

Many lifetime Medallion elite level members are either Gold or Silver — meaning that this is most likely perceived as yet another devaluation for them as well when considering the “loyalty” they demonstrated to Delta Air Lines over the years…

…and I use the term “loyalty” loosely because — to be fair — there are some frequent fliers who have gained lifetime status at a significantly less expensive cost than others; but then again, they played by the rules and policies in effect at that time…

…which contributed to the changes which have been announced and implemented recently. In my opinion, the marketing of these and other changes is so overhyped — starting with that famous word enhancement, which these days seems to connote a negative tone rather than a positive one — euphemistically that most people these days can see right through them.

Regardless, this is yet another welcome to the brave new world of commercial aviation in the United States. Enjoy your flight.

Photograph courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

2 thoughts on “Delta One. You Lost…?”

  1. RaflW says:

    One of the sore spots for me is that Delta announced these Gold/Silver devaluations on December 8th, 11 1/4 months into the flying year! I committed to enough flying and spending to make Silver for 2015, and the ‘thanks’ I get is to be stuck with reduced 2015 benefits far, far too late in the year to take my business elsewhere.

    I am not happy at all to have been bait-n-switched like this.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      It is not the first time that has happened, RaflW.

      I remember when Delta Air Lines announced in December of 2002 unpopular changes to the SkyMiles frequent flier loyalty program to be implemented in January of 2003.

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