Times are good for U.S. airlines and times are especially good for Delta Air Lines, which continues to report surging profit. In this era of low oil prices and profitability, Delta is rolling back some of the odious fees levied when times were less optimistic…and also appears to have cut award prices in its bid to make its Skymiles program fully dynamic.
Delta Eliminates Telephone Booking Fee
Image courtesy of Delta
News came yesterday that Delta would no longer collect a $25/ticket booking fee for reservations made over the phone (or $35/ticket fee for airport bookings). In a press release, Delta stated:
“This – and every decision we make – is based on engaging with our customers and employees every day,” said Charisse Evans, Delta’s Vice President – Reservation Sales and Customer Care. “By listening, caring and connecting with our customers, we have their backs every time they fly with us. I am extremely proud of our dedicated colleagues who, along with the support of nearly 80,000 Delta employees worldwide, continue to raise the bar by exceeding our customers’ expectations.”
But this is a great move. Delta’s website is much improved, but still lacks in some key areas, such as multi-city or mixed cabin award searches. Being able to book over the phone without having to argue about the $25 fee (which I always did usually won) is a benefit to customers.
Working with 90+ year old clients who are highly tech savvy also reveals that most people in 2016 are not going to pick up a phone and call Delta unless they have to and those who do are probably very serious about booking with Delta (rather than just fare shopping). This moves made a great deal of sense.
Reduced Business Class R/T Awards to Europe
Last year we saw reduced business class award to Europe for holders of select Delta-branded American Express cards. Today, though, I am seeing reduced business class tickets to Europe for summer 2016 travel available to everyone, not just credit card holders:
52.5K each way for select saver-level Delta flights when booking a round-trip.
You can also mix partner space (62.5K) with Delta space (52.5K) for 115K r/t.
Just booking one-way? The “usual” 62.5K saver rate applies.
I book a lot of Delta awards at Award Expert and just noticed this change in pricing today. Such reductions make sense as Delta moves to a more fully dynamic award pricing model. Let’s not forget that one-way travel is as high as 375K now, so Delta does balance it out. 105K r/t to Europe is an attractive price considering Delta not does not levy fuel surcharges on its own flights.
Let’s see if this is an anomaly or a more permanent change signalling some bargains to offset the trend toward higher award prices.