Two things happened in the Delta universe today – one
kind of good, one pretty annoying and not so good.
So there’s point one: the good. Delta (DL) has announced an upgrade to their inflight dining experience. The airline is in the midst of changing their inflight serviceware from the current wood/laquer tray and rather generic plates and side dishes to something a bit more fancy, marking a distinct aesthetic change to their product.
The new sleek and ‘playful’ designs will feature on Delta flights starting April 1, and will include products by several different designs under the well known Italian based Alessi brand:
The collection for Delta is based on popular items from six of the 300 designers who have created products for Alessi in recent years. It includes a coffee maker designed by Kristiina Lassus, Ovale plates by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, and the bestselling Big Love spoon by Miriam Mirri.
The products have been custom designed for Delta, mostly for logistical constraints in terms of size and weight (the stoneware had to be redone in bone China to keep carts and storage units within limits) – but it has also been given a ‘Delta edge’ with a team of flight attendants and customer service folks weighing in with their own thoughts – a process that took over three years.
Here’s a sneak peak on what’s in store for you on a Delta One or Delta First Class flight starting April:
All featured and article images credit: Delta Airlines
We rather like the new sleek look – how do you feel about it?
On to point two, and we know how you probably feel about this one. Delta has announced an increase on same day changes on itineraries booked after March 15, 2017. Any ticket booked before this date retains the original $50 charge, whereas any ticket purchased after is now susceptible to a $75 charge.
While a $25 increase may not seem like much, it’s a 50% increase on what was currently being offered which is something to raise an eyebrow at. This change applies to all ‘general’ Delta SkyMiles and Silver Medallion members – and while this trumped up charge doesn’t apply to Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion members, potential associated change fees (depending on fare class) do apply on top of a potential fare difference (very likely on a same day change).
It should also be clarified that same day changes are not allowed at all on Economy ‘E’ class fares, which is the lower fare bracket in coach. This rule is steadfast, and applies across the board regardless of Diamond, Platinum or Gold Medallion status.
Same day standby is now also subject to the $75 charge.
Other things to know:
- Upgrades based on your frequent flier status with Delta do not transfer to your new booking
- Any ‘extra’ services originally purchased do not transfer onwards to your new booking, nor do you qualify for a refund.
- For standby passengers Delta will hold $75 on your credit card but not charge it until a seat assignment is made once you clear.
- Standby conditions are not allowed on flights to and from Canada.
- Standby upgrades are available for all domestic flights except on DeltaOne flights bertween New York and San Francisco and LAX.The
The upgrade to the meal services is a welcome one – Delta, in my mind at least, was already one of the leading airlines in the United States when it came to the aesthetic of their ‘soft’ or meal services, and this is an upgrade.
Singapore Airlines has Wedgewood China in their First Class, while Emirates doles out what is widely regarded as the best bone China in the world with Spode supplying their First and Business Class plateware and KLM does homegrown chic with Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.
Up until now, American based airlines have seemed to dismiss the added value of these sort of co-brandings or service credit premiums. This change puts Delta amongst the best in the world, which is only a good thing even if only for the premium cabins and for those with a bit more discerning taste.
This also puts rivals American Airlines and United on notice – it’ll be interesting to see what the competition comes up with.
On the other hand, despite the upgrades on this soft aspect of the Delta in flight product, it’s definitely not welcome news to hear that the fees for same day changes have gone up on such an incrementally large scale. Listen, it’s not a big deal – $75 for a same day change isn’t going to push potential new passengers away – but it still wreaks of opportunism on the airline’s part, especially for their premium frequent fliers – this during a time of record profits for US based airlines.
The fare difference clause is standard but the other small items such as holding a charge to your credit card and not recognizing your already pre-purchased ‘premium services’ on the new itinerary or not recognizing upgrades seem very petty in the grand scheme of things, especially with an airline of Delta’s scale. This is already considering that the nature behind same day changes to an itinerary are usually of an emergency or back to the walls nature. Petty…very petty.
Alas, Delta is Delta – they are industry leading in some ways, and very, very ‘small’ in others.
What do you make of Delta’s new inflight cutlery and serviceware? Is it an improvement on what they currently put out in their premium cabins? Does it make DL competitive on the international stage?
Then there’s the new more expensive fees – is that a deal breaker for you? How do you reconcile the record profits from the airline with more fees? Do you think AA and UA will follow?