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It Pays to be Loyal – Delta lost my upgrade?! Part II

It Pays to be Loyal – Delta lost my upgrade?! Part I

It Pays to be Loyal – Delta lost my upgrade?! Part II


After Delta lost my upgrade from a “system glitch” that causes me to be unchecked in for my flight, minutes before boarding, I found myself in economy in 11A from SAN to MSP. Once we surpassed 10,000 feet I logged onto and forged my letter of complaint, addressing the situation that had just played out in San Diego. I was VERY concise and to the point and tried to remain as diplomatic as possible, despite the burning in my fingertips as I hacked away at the keyboard.

My message to Delta below:

Today when flying from SAN to MSP onwards to BHM my upgrade was lost from the system and even though I was #1 on the upgrade list from 1pm yesterday to about 10am this am (for a 12:30pm flight –I checked my upgrade status and even tweeted about it multiple times, with my last tweet going out at 10 am saying "t-2hrs, still #1 on the list, this upgrd is in the bag"). When I arrived at the gate, the gate agent scanned my pass and informed me that I had been unchecked in for the flight just a few minutes prior, after he had upgraded me to 1st class. He then told me since he upgraded me and then I was unchecked in, he proceeded to give my upgrade to someone lower on the list! He then reprocessed my information, rechecked me in and gave a boarding pass. He smiled and said, well at least I can get you your original seat back, please board. I understand a miss upgrade. However I do not understand this. I was on time for my flight, I had checked in online, I used a mobile boarding pass, did everything correct. And then I was removed from the upgrade list, after the upgrades were processed at the gate and unchecked in. As a frequent flyer, and flying for work on a Saturday for business (YUCK-i want to enjoy a relaxing stress free weekend), this honestly is probably one of the most upsetting things that could happen right before boarding.

Please address,

Thank you

Rocky Horan

I was as brief and as nice as I could be. However I really wanted to write.


However I was very civil and to the point, I wanted Delta to address this themselves and see what they would do based on the situation at hand. About 36 hours later, I received this email from Delta:

 Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the service provided while traveling with us.  On behalf of everyone at Delta Air Lines, I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you were caused due to the upgrade discrepancy.  I also appreciate the opportunity to respond to
 your concern.
Let me begin by saying that we take your concerns very seriously. After reading your comments, I understand why you wanted to bring this matter to our attention.  I am truly sorry to learn of your experience when waitlisted for an upgrade on a recent flight.  I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been, when you were moved from your upgraded seat to the Coach Class seat.  As a Medallion member, your feedback is extremely important to us as we are constantly enhancing our loyalty program to keep it strong and of value to our customers.  Be assured I will be forwarding your well focused comments to our SkyMiles Marketing and Airport Customer Service leadership teams for their internal follow up.
In appreciation of your Gold Elite status and as a gesture of apology for your disappointment with our upgrade procedure, I have added 5,000 bonus miles to your SkyMiles account.  Please allow three business days for the miles to appear.

Mr. Horan, I thank you again for writing regarding concerning upgrade on your recent flight.  Your support as a Gold Medallion member is important to Delta, our Connection Carriers, our Joint Venture team,and our SkyTeam partners.  We look forward to your continued patronage.
 Ashley P. Smith
 Coordinator, Corporate Customer Care
 Delta Air Lines

WOW 5,000 miles!!! Honestly that is pennies on the grand scheme of things! 5,000 miles, not even EQM (I’ve never seen Delta give EQM miles for a mistake though) are maybe at the best worth ~$50. With 5,000 miles I couldn’t even use miles for an upgrade on a similar flight! Sure the gesture is nice, however at the end of the day, 5,000 skymiles are basically worthless. Esepecially since we all know skymiles are USELESS unless they are cashed in on partner flights!

So what do I do now?

I responded with a rebuttal, was more direct, and asked for specifics. It will be interesting to see how Delta responds. However for someone who has been loyal to Delta since the age of 18, this really disheartens me! Over the last 8 years I was NWA no status (19 years old), Silver (20), Silver (21), Gold (22), and then since the merger Delta Platinum (23), Platinum (24), and now Gold (25). Up until this year, my travel was 100% pleasure, not business. It was my hard earn dollars supporting NWA and now Delta.

The ball is in Delta’s Court. It will be fun to see what happens.

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Lindsay July 31, 2012 at 11:10 am

It seems like they didn't even address the biggest issue, which was not that your upgrade didn't clear, but that you were in fact UN-CHECKED IN for your flight. Crazy!

rocky July 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm

@Lindsay - I agree! That was my part that was most frustrating to me! Forget the upgrade, I can survive in coach, I want to know why I was unchecked in!

BR July 31, 2012 at 01:45 pm

They only gave you 5,000 SkyPesos! That's just cruel.

The sad thing is, even if they gave you a systemwide upgrade, you'd have to buy up to a high fare bucket to use it on a domestic flight! Amazing...

There are levels of points that they can give and believe it or not, 5000 is the highest in the specific category for which they offered. In their minds, it was a grand gesture. I am trying to think of what else they could give you. Have you tweeted your distaste?

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