Delta: Honesty, Integrity, Mutual Respect = Bait & Switch

I’m a Platinum level Delta flyer and I’m on a Delta jet every week. I’m not Diamond level because of the number of times I go into Atlanta and stay there. As a Platinum member Delta gives me a set number of “System wide Upgrades” allowing me to get a “free” first class upgrade without worrying about my place in the upgrade line.

Until I try to use them of course.

For example, this weekend I went to buy a ticket. I have a flexible travel schedule in this case and the travel is 2 months out. I found that I could buy a coach ticket for $477. Delta’s website helpfully offered that for $306 I could pay to upgrade to first class. Total $783.

I called and tried to use a system wide upgrade certificate. Since the coach fare has to be booked in certain fair codes, my coach ticket with the free upgrade would cost me $678 or roughly $100 less than just buying a first class ticket.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that I’m supplementing the cost of my “free” upgrade by paying 2/3 of the cost.

As someone who flies every week on Delta this feels like bait and switch. I tried to explain this to the Delta agent who struggled with the fact that they couldn’t see the internet offer of $306. She suggested I take the $306 offer. That of course, misses the point entirely.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. It seems to happen every time I try to use an upgrade certificate which is why all of mine went unused last year.

Delta’s new safety video is preceded by a message from Delta CEO Richard Anderson who extols their commitment to honesty, integrity and mutual respect. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do that demonstrates honesty, integrity and mutual respect and I don’t see that when trying to their “free” upgrades.

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