Delta Diamond Downgrade: Top Elites No Longer Get To Board First [Roundup]

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It doesn’t surprise me that the passenger who was “drinking his own alcohol on board, shouting expletives at and attempting to hit a flight attendant” was also a maskless bore. Probably a spoiled child who thinks he is better than everyone else.

  2. This kind of stupid is just another cog in Delta’s dive to the bottom of the barrel. Do they just sit around and think up ways to give their pax reasons to choose other airlines? It’s stunning to see Delta willingly diss their pax over and over again. There’s no discernible reason for it, so it just falls in the stupid category.

  3. That’s just a stupid unnecessary change from Delta. What is the upside? No Diamond is going to buy first to board one group earlier and no pax is not going to buy first because it boards with Diamonds. So why make the change?

  4. @ TheJetsFan — Because in ATL (for example), everyone is Diamond, and the resulting First Class/Diamond boarding is chaotic. Plus, first class should always board first, IMO.

  5. That’s ok. First class/Diamond is already behind the ever-increasing numbers of overweight/lazy/selfish “preboarders needing additional assistance” so who’s going to notice this small change?

  6. @Gene – AGREE COMPLETELY. Huey Judy must be one entitled individual! God the horror of not boarding with first but likely boarding within 30 seconds or a minute after first class boarding is announced. You still get on the damn plane before almost everyone else and you will be the first in coach (except for any 360 members not upgraded) so it isn’t like you will have trouble finding a spot for a bag.

    Please @huey judy- explain to me how this triggers you and diminishes your experience. God talk about first world problems (BTW, been top elite of both DL and AA but have ZERO problem boarding in group immediately after first and can’t imagine any rational person having a major issue with it).

    Also Gary – I wouldn’t call this a “devaluation”. It is semantics. Either all first class and diamond members board or first class boards immediately followed by diamond members. Net is the same – your ass is in a seat before most of the riff raff just like before. No devaluation at all.

  7. The whole boarding process is a joke. It’s an honor system, and there isn’t much honor left these days. I’ve been on flights where half the plane boarded under the “people who need extra time.” (Legally you can’t challenge/question these folks because it’s a medical condition.) Other times (like to FRA or ICN) half the plane boards with military – and they usually announce it as “active or retired military.” How does this help FA’s get things ready in coach? Quite often the PA announcement and monitors for boarding zones are out of sync with what’s actually going on – resulting in people out of order. And if a gate agent decides to challenge someone who is boarding out of order, it slows down the boarding — THE LAST THING THE GATE AGENT WANTS. Nice try Delta. IT’S NOT GOING TO WORK. I GUARANTEE IT.

  8. Embassy suites Napa was deteriorating for a while, I remember smell of mold when I last stayed there in 2018, and now this. But it’s funny how they call it $400 per night “luxury” hotel. For Napa, it’s a price tag for BestWestern/Double Tree. Motel 6 is $250 there

  9. I remember that 20 years ago Delta was known as the premier consumer-oriented airline. I guess this changed when bad management decided to pursue the bottom line not realizing that the change in focus affected the bottom line negatively.

  10. Delta’s move makes sense to me. Hopefully AA and UA will follow.

    In hub cities there are a lot of top tier members. DL Diamond, UA 1K, AA ExPlat aren’t as “elite”, in terms of numbers, as you think . The boarding process becomes a zoo. When traveling on an F ticket I want to board and settle in before the rest of the plane. Understandably, DL One, Global Services and CK are allowed to go with F boarding.

  11. The American Airlines diverted flight from Tel Aviv to JFK was a traveler’s nightmare. The passengers had a hellish nightmare on the ground in Rome. I realize that the logistics for an unexpected stop have to be difficult, but I pity the poor passengers in this scenario. Hope to goodness, I never endure such an event.

  12. I love how this can get people on fire – whereas the biggest change, bumping hard Sky Priority’s, goes unnoticed. Does anyone on here actually realize who’s often in that group from partner airlines? You have some of the most frequent, loyal, and highest-revenue customers right there. The real warriors – who live onboard partner planes AND Delta’s.

    They now get to board behind – Comfort+.

  13. Gee, Steve, are you miffed that I, a mere UA 1K usually in economy unless I get upgraded, gets to board before you and your F ticket? And my home airport is ORD, a UA hub, and there isn’t a zoo when 1K is called at the end of pre-boarding. This is because 1Ks know how to board an airplane properly. So, generally speaking, do Group 1 and 2 pax on UA (if there are any problems in Group 1, it’s with people flying on F tickets for leisure as a “special treat”). It’s when you get to Groups 3 to 5 that the problems start.

  14. @O’Hare….I am also 1K so I see your point. While you and I know how to “board an airplane properly” I have seen many fellow 1K’s that don’t. I was AA ExPlat for over a decade and was same problem there. I do think there is a callous disregard for protocol from the general traveling public and the current travel crush. Let F go first, then the flurry of top tier elites, and so on. Makes for an orderly boarding process.

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