Getting Away on Miles: Delta Check-in & Upgrade MNL-NRT

After a wonderful vacation circumventing Southeast Asia, it was time to return to North America. Originally, I was slated to return later in the month, yet due to unforeseen circumstance I was forced to return to North America earlier. Thankfully Delta came to my rescue and got me a last minute ticket home without additional miles or fees! Initially I was schedule to fly MNL-KUL-NRT-LAX in business class back to the United States on Delta’s five star partner Malaysia Airline, however due to the last minute change I was rerouted on Delta metal flying in economy from MNL-NRT, then Business class to Seattle, a 12 hour layover and then economy on Alaska from Seattle to San Diego. Although it wasn’t all business class and a long layover was scheduled, the routing allowed me to get on a plane only 3 hours after the request for a change was made which didn’t cost me any additional miles and allowed me to fly home in the middle of the busy after New Year’s rush! I was just happy to be able to get on a plane!

I arrived at the Manila airport approximately 2.5 hours before my flight, this is EXTREMELY early for me, for I am one to usually arrive with an hour or less. Arriving early was necessary though because the lovely phone agent who rebooked my ticket told me that although she could not get me business class the entire way, a Delta Gate agent or ticketing agent at the airport probably could, and she had assured me there were still seats for sale in Delta Business Class from MNL-NRT. I approached the Sky Priority/business class check in and the agent started processing my ticket. As he was busy tapping away on his key board I asked him if there were any business class tickets available and he informed me there was. I then explained to him the situation and he quickly tried to put me in a business class seat. As he attempted to move me, he ran into a number of issues, but he could see I was on a business class award ticket and he could read in the reservation the nature of the last minute change and a note from the lovely phone agent that asked them to please extend courtesy in whichever way was possible .

After several failed attempts in moving me from economy class to business class the agent started running back and forth from his computer station to the ticketing agent who sells new ticket. He also recruited the station manager to help with the request and change. The clock slowly ticked by and three different agents each introduced themselves, apologized, and assured me I would be seated in business class. Then, as they were working the ticket, they noticed my extended layover in Seattle and asked me if I desired a shorter connection. I, of course, jumped on this opportunity and they continued to work. 

The clock continued to count down towards departure and still I did not have my boarding passes. The time passed and I waited by patiently pending the verdict. The agents were having a number of issues which were beyond my knowledge, but they knew they would get the seat change. Instead of having me wait any longer at the check in desks, they collected my baggage, provided me with temporary boarding passes that read “Seat Request” in business and directed me towards customs, this way I could clear customs and security and rest in the lounge instead of in the congested terminal. The agents, including the station manager, assured me I would have a business class seat and not to fret.  With that in mind I headed towards customs, wondering what would really happen.

I headed towards custom, paid my terminal fee and then cued for customs. As I was cueing, I heard someone calling my name from behind me, “Mr. Horan, Mr. Horan, please wait” I turned around to find the same agent who was previously helping me waving boarding passes in my direction. Delta delivered! My routing was the same, but now I was booked in business class the entire way, and my layover in Seattle had been decreased from 12 hours to less than 2! I cleared custom and security and headed towards the lounge.

Once it was time to take off, boarding was orderly, there was extra security as usual and everything was in order. The only difference was when I boarded I was handed a card that was designed for business elite customers. It had my name on it and a message that thanked me for flying Delta today. It was a nice little surprise!

After boarding commenced, there was an issue and we sat at the gate longer than usual. Shortly after an announcement was made that we were going to be delayed and the maintenance team was called in to investigate. The issue only took about 30 minutes to fix, but it also meant my connection in Narita was going to be close. Despite this, being the crafty traveler I am, I knew that once there is a delay anyone can make a free change to their itinerary via I logged in quickly, found a new routing, and upgraded my flight from an old Northwest A330 with angle flat seats from NRT-SEA to the B777 with lay flat seats flying to LAX. Not only did this short delay get me a better flight, shaving 2 hours off my travel time, but it allowed me to have a lay flat seat from Manila all the way back to Los Angeles! As I was busy making the change, the station manager came though the business class cabin on his way to talk with the maintenance team and crew on the upper deck of the reconfigured 747. As he passed my seat, he recognized me, turned around, walked passed me, and thanked me again for my patience.  I thanked him for everything his team did, he smiled, and said anytime Mr. Horan and walked away. Not only did he recall my name, he went way out of the way to thank me for flying and being loyal to Delta.

Delta truly delivered on this flight! They went above and beyond to not only get me home, but make the changes needed! You can sell seats and teach customer service, but experiences like these are not a dime a dozen and really makes Delta shine above the rest. Delta crew in Manila, thank you for delivering. Each and every one of you deserves recognition for your hard work and customer service!

Trip report MNL-NRT-LAX up next!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter 


Read more from this series:


DaveN February 23, 2013 at 03:55 pm

I've had similar awesome service from Delta recently on domestic flights, and I'm not even Sky Priority - just a lowly standard Skymiles member. Most recently, I accidentally booked my return flight on the wrong date, and didn't notice it until the free change period had long passed. The agent cheerfully fixed my reservation at no charge (after having a pretty good laugh at my expense). Delta has me to the point where I first check whenever I'm traveling, and only if I can't find good flights there do I start looking elsewhere.

phill g February 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm

how can we contact you? i have a question for you. -Phill

Rocky February 26, 2013 at 03:28 pm

You can reach me on twitter @Doublewidesfly or email me at [email protected]

Rocky February 26, 2013 at 03:28 pm

You can reach me on twitter @Doublewidesfly or email me at [email protected]

Sherpa February 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

I COMPLETELY understand this feeling. Nice post!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.