Hat Tip – FlyerTalk

Some threads on a message board are more likely to catch my eye than others. Here’s one of the more interesting I’ve seen in a while courtesy of the Delta Air Lines forum – “Rumor: DL removing complimentary upgrades”. You can imagine the discussion that has ensued. The gist of which seems to revolve around this.

  • The original poster is a troll
  • The rumor is not true
  • Someone is confused because Delta is removing comp upgrades for Medallions who buy E class fares
  • A trial balloon is being floated by Delta
  • There is less competition so Delta is coming to get us

MJ’s Take

Any of the reasons I listed could be true. This could be someone having fun on the internet….or more. In truth, I don’t know….but…. I think it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Delta could eliminate “complimentary” upgrades for elite Medallion members. Back in “the day” the airlines credited you with upgrade “certificates” for every 10,000 or so miles flown with each one being good for 500 miles worth of premium cabin travel. This is a system that American Airlines still offers its elite AAdvantage members with top tier Executive Platinum members receiving complimentary upgrades that have to be requested. It’s also the best way to manage elite upgrades in my ever so humble opinion.

I didn’t major in economics but I did pretty well in the courses I took. It’s been a minute since college so I’ll ask forgiveness if I don’t get the terminology just right. Here’s the deal. When you offer a limited amount of product for “free” you create a lot of demand with a limited supply. I know I’ve blogged about it before, but I much prefer the AA way of doing things when it comes to upgrades for elites. With a system that requires “payment” for a service, you’ll find that lower level elites have a better opportunity to upgrade because all elites focus on requesting upgrades they really want. The 50 person and longer upgrade lists at Delta have gotten a little ridiculous. It’s almost a joke among elites at the gate.

My conclusion – this might absolutely be a false rumor, but it’s also entirely possible that Delta is finally wising up to the folly (yes, I said folly) of “complimentary” upgrades for all elites, and looking at a return to the way things used to be. I really doubt that they are considering removing upgrade opportunities all together. If they are, I’d have to write a very interesting blog post.

-MJ, October 20, 2014

I was selected for my second TSA PreCheck experience yesterday at Washington National Airport (DCA). I was flying Delta (which I believe to be the only airline currently offering PreCheck at DCA), and as a Gold Medallion, accessed the Sky Priority line. There was no wait to meet the ID checker, who scanned my paper boarding pass with the same machine used for mobile boarding passes. The agent asked if I was familiar with PreCheck, I stated yes, and off I went.

The PreCheck area has a wall separating that line from the rest of the security apparatus. No need to remove anything, though I did remove my belt because it contained just enough metal to make the detector alarm. Laptops, 3-1-1 bags, etc. all remain in their bag, and you keep your shoes on. I walked through without alarming, collected my things and proceeded to the benches outside the checkpoint to wait for MrsMJonTravel who was not selected for PreCheck. Data point – I waited for 5 additional minutes for MrsMJonTravel. My entire security experience (from ID check to walking away) using PreCheck – 1 minute.

The verdict – After just 2 PreCheck experiences, I am a fan! Here’s a link to the TSA website that lists the airports and participating airlines that offer PreCheck.

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