Delta really is marching to the beat of a different drum. After another incredible Skymiles devaluation on Friday, today the carrier announced a new buy-on-board menu on its premium transcon flights between New York Kennedy and Seattle/San Francsico/Los Angeles featuring fresh wraps by Luvo. Further, the carrier announced passengers seated in Economy Comfort class will receive complimentary (cold) meals on these routes.
Here’s a snippet of the press release from Delta–
…The Luvo meals – all made with natural ingredients, no added trans-fats, and hormone and antibiotic-free proteins – are complimentary for customers seated in Economy Comfort and available for purchase for customers seated in Economy.
“Our customers love Luvo’s fresh snacks on our west coast Delta Shuttle flights, so it makes sense to make these healthy, delicious meals available on our coast-to-coast flights,” said Joanne Smith, Delta’s senior vice president – In-flight Service.
Each flight will feature two sandwich wraps from the following menu:
- Luvo Quinoa Crunch Wrap (360 calories) – Fresh crunchy vegetables, quinoa, avocado, edamame hummus, black rice and bean salad in an olive oil-whole wheat tortilla with a side of seedless grapes and a multi-seed coconut chocolate chip cookie.
- Luvo Grilled Chicken Wrap (400 calories) – Spiced grilled chicken, crisp romaine lettuce, avocado, cherry tomato, vegan herb aioli, in an olive oil-whole wheat tortilla with a side of seedless grapes and a multi-seed coconut chocolate chip cookie.
- Luvo Roast Turkey & Havarti Wrap (440 calories) – Sliced roast turkey breast, havarti cheese, black rice and bean salad, arugula, edamame hummus in an olive oil-whole wheat tortilla with a side of seedless grapes and a multi-seed coconut chocolate chip cookie.
While other carriers cutback on in-flight amenities, Delta continues to improve them, yet Delta is simultaneously making what was already the most uncompetitive frequent flyer program of the four legacies even more customer unfriendly.
Delta is fully embracing a transactional loyalty approach, in which it hope to entice customers with its inflight offerings and superior product rather than its loyalty program. This is good for occasional flyers, full-fare premium passengers, and those corporate travelers who do not have to pay for their own trips, but I maintain it is a curious decision to risk the business of discretionary flyers on the margin like me. There is no doubt that I would love the amenities that Delta offers onboard, but I have little incentive to fly Delta with a loyalty program that has been repeatedly devalued without notice and is far less valuable in most redemption regions than United, American, and US Airways. Delta is taking a calculated risk in believing that passengers will opt for product over miles or elite status benefits, but I believe Delta is vastly underestimating the value consumers place on these items.
I need not go into the value of miles here, only to say that a mileage program that can actually get me where I need to go at a reasonable price is much more valuable than a free wrap, free alcohol, or free biscoffs. Reasonable international upgrades and the ability to cancel award trips at the last minute cannot be underestimated. Thus, I will not fly Delta. And based on the many comments here, I know I am not alone.
So even with American’s new A321s and 777-300ERs and United’s 100% lie-flat widebody international fleet, Delta has staked itself as the leader in both hard and soft product. We will all watch to see if Delta continues to profit, but sooner or later I believe many will realize that its product is not actually all that superior and when discerning customers face a loyalty program worth so little, they will take business elsewhere.