The Future of SkyMiles May Be Redeeming for Haircuts, Better Regional Jets at American and Worse at Delta

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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. @Gary — Your headline declares “Better Regional Jets at American and Worse at Delta,” though the body of the post doesn’t detail how, exactly, Delta’s fleet might be getting worse. You also neglect to mention that the improvements (i.e., first-class cabins and Wi-Fi) coming to American Eagle by 2018 (!) have been available for years on all Delta Connection aircraft save for the 50-seaters.

  2. @Mark S.

    Click the link. Delta’s regionals are adding a row to get 4 more seats, with no mention on whether seat pitch will decrease from the current 31″ (no mention = it will decrease).

    Meanwhile, American is expanding wifi and First Class seating.

  3. All well and good if they had been upfront about it when they were handing out the skymiles. They changed after handing them out

    Like the jokers at the fed that devalue the dollar after you have accumulated wealth in dollars.

  4. The only one getting hosed here is AMEX, who just inked a deal with Delta for a large supply of nearly worthless skymiles. It still hasn’t hit many people just how bad Delta plans to make it, but over time the cancellations of the Delta credit cards will pick up and then they’ll notice the dropping revenue.

    My guess is Delta probably thinks AMEX is so desperate for CC partners they’ll continue groveling for business even as Delta sells them a bag of turds.

  5. @Jon — I did click the link. Again, no evidence that things are getting worse at Delta Connection. The E170 and E175/CR9 will retain their current 69- and 76-seat configurations, respectively, but gain new power ports, seat covers, carpets, sidewalls, overhead bins, and ambient lighting. Only the CR7 (comprising roughly 80 of Delta’s 300 two-cabin regional jets) will see an additional row of seating, with the total seat count increasing to 69 from 65. According to Delta:

    “[The] four additional seats come as the aircraft’s aft cargo hold was modified to allow for the space and are located in the aft section of the main cabin… While there will be less capacity for total cargo weight on the aircraft, there will still be ample room for checked bags. The four additional seats in the rear of the aircraft will have the same amount of pitch as most of the other seats. However, some seat pitch will decline in rows prior to the exit row of the aircraft behind Comfort+ seating.”

    Needless to say, the CR7s will also receive the same aforementioned interior improvements as the larger regional jets. In effect, Delta is matching the CR7’s seating capacity to the E170’s. Comfort+ will double in size at the expense of seat pitch in the four rows between it and the exit row. Pitch aft of the exit row remains unaffected. Tough to interpret those changes as anything but a net positive.

    I understand that American Eagle is also expanding first class and Wi-Fi, but again, Delta’s regional fleet has offered those features literally for years.

  6. I can’t imagine ANYONE pledging their loyalty to an airline that rewards them with haircuts, or grocery coupons, or anything else non-airline related. There’d be no connection between the reward and my prior ticket purchases, so I doubt it would increase my loyalty to the airline. And, I can’t imagine an airline would reward somebody in a non-airline related way…. it would be bad business. i.e. When I have a free seat on a plane, I feel QUITE appreciative of that airline. But if Delta gave me a coupon for free dinners at Outback, I’d eat there and love it and feel very good about Outback, never giving a second thought to Delta… People appreciate where they are, when they’re there. If Delta wants me to appreciate them, it needs to happen during a Delta experience.

  7. Already cut up one Amex card and its $495 fee and will cut up the other one when my $195 becomes due again. Surely Amex doesn’t want to lose my spend but, oh well. I’m using a cash back card so I can buy my own haircuts, etc.

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