Update: Experience Delta Sky Priority – Atlanta to Manila (A Marketing Bust…)

In a recent work trip to Manila, I was able to experience the new “Sky Priority’ as discussed in previous posts. Here is my experience with Delta’s new “enhanced benefits” for a trip on 4/19 to MNL (ATL-NRT-MNL) back on 4/24 (MNL-NOG-DTW-ATL). I wrote about the announcements in previous posts –  http://astriker.com/blog/threads/sky-priority/

Faster Check-in: Access dedicated check-in areas at the airport to help you move through the process faster.

I arrived at ATL at noon for a 13:55 departure to Narita, with excitement to experience the new Sky Priority since the rumors from Deltalina’s twitter back in April. Having checked in online, I was unsure where to go for web drop off. I hunted down a DL person in front of Sky Priority area (by the stand alone kiosks) and asked where I go. They verified I was in Business Elite and a Platinum, and directed me to the kiosk. Having already checked in, I arrived at the kiosk, went through the check-in process again, and was unsure where to drop off my bag. While checking in, another DL agent stopped me and asked why i was checking in at the Sky Priority area. i explained that the other DL employee checked, and I am flying BE and am Platinum. he asked for my boarding pass and ID. In confusion, the other agent came over and explained she already checked me. Not feeling quite like a priority to Delta at this point. After checking in and told to go to web drop off at Sky Priority, in a puzzled attempt, I look to determine where to deliver my bags. None of the LCD screens note bag check-in or drop off, and not wanting to cutoff others in the line, I returned back looking for an employee asking where to go. I was again advised to go to the web drop off, which none of the screens showed. I was told to wait in line behind another person.

This is my favorite part of my check in experience of my bags, the agent said nothing to me, until I asked “how are you today” while she scanned my information. Her response was ” I cannot wait to go home“. I thanked her for her job, and departed, with that being the only statement she made to me. Business Elite/Plat with Delta, going overseas, and excellent example of customer service…. Best in Class!

Accelerated Security: Walk through expedited security lines at select airports so you can get on your way as soon as possible.

In select airports, which includes Atlanta, and for our passengers departing out of the South Gates, this is the same line that was for 1st, Medallion, but has a new sign that says Sky Priority. No worries on anyone checking, the frequent traveler line had the normal family with kids, and the Sky Priority line had people with no status in economy. Luckily ATL is usually quick to get through, minus the TSA’s resentment for mobile boarding passes. Same product, new branded name…. Best in Class .

Delta Sky Priority in Austin

Highest Boarding Priority: Board in Zone 1, so you can enter first to secure the best overhead bins or take your seat at your leisure—the choice is yours.

Out of all of the new “enhancements” this one had me most concerned. In a 744, going overseas, the number of Elite Plus will be a great amount. The line was incredibly long, with the Diamond Medallion that flies monthly in Business Elite at $7k a ticket, boarding with the Gold Medallion that received it as a gift from another person, or through a mixture of credit card promos and some flying. Yes they have gold, but which customer truly is higher revenue and worth more to Delta? The gate agent had us line up single file, which one could see the incredible length of the line, boarding Business Elite along with the rest deteriorated the previous product, under the new branded name… Best in Class .

Expedited Baggage Service: Have your bags delivered first to the carousel so you can head home or to your next meeting with no delay.

The keyword with Expedited Baggage Service to the carousel, they don’t mention which carousel. i arrived at DTW, the flight 0630 was listed on the carousel where I waited and many bags came off with the priority tags. Only after 20 minutes of waiting, and asking a few DL employees, I noticed my bag was on the carousel to the left, that had no flight info denoted. It just arrived on top the belt. I would like to think this was a one off, but not quite, I arrived at Atlanta, and yet again, I waited at a carousel with my flight info, bag arrived somewhere else… Best in Class

Exclusive Reservations Line: Access an elite team of personal representatives, available 24/7 when you call the number on the back of your Medallion credentials.1

The exclusive reservation line seems to only apply to revenue tickets, if you are calling regarding mileage award tickets, you will get a person most likely with no understanding of the policy. While delayed in DTW, I called the phone number to cancel out an award ticket ot CDG due to a change of plans. I asked them to reissue the miles, and advised that I have not used 1 of my 2 redeposits this year. I was told the fee remains $50 and how did I want to pay for it. I explained that with my status, that I was given 2 free. She advised that I was incorrect and would need to check with her supervisor. She asked to place me on hold for “4 to 5 minutes”. When she returned, I was told that I was correct and that they would redeposit them. As a 1K with United Airlines, I must say, the 1K line was AMAZING, it was one number to call for everything you could ever need assistance. The best part is that they would connect you to other departments (example Mileage Plus) and wait on the line with you until they were sure things were okay. Often, I found it to be a lifesaver, and they did award tickets through their 1K/GS line. My phone experience with Delta and the Exclusive Reservation line is an example of … Best in Class .

Living in Atlanta, International options are few and far between compared to ORD where fares were much lower. I give Delta kudos to their pilots for great tours of the cockpits while on my flights and for the most part, friendly in flight crew.

Delta has a long way to go to meet their commitment of being … Best in Class .The addition of Diamond, in lieu of raising Platinum to similar levels of competitors, online Award Calendar that does not work for low awards, and now Sky Priority, the distance for them to improve is even further. Not often I give United enough credit, great job on the Red Carpet Lane for 1st/Business/GS/1K.

Hopefully with enough feedback from frequent fliers Delta will further enhance their program taking into account the goal for competitive benchmarking on the above items.

Another article highlighting similar – Delta New Sky Priority is Much Ado about Little

One Comment

  • Pretty unbelievable, but not at all surprising. Pretty entertaining read, but pretty sad actually.

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