Mitt Romney’s Chief of Staff is Frustrated With Delta ‘Upgrades’

Since Delta has been on a long-term path to end domestic first class upgrades they want you to think of extra legroom coach seats as an ‘upgrade’. They don’t let you just select these extra legroom ‘Comfort+’ seats if you have elite status, like American and United allow for their 50,000 mile flyers instead:

  • Diamond and Platinum members can upgrade into extra legroom coach after ticketing
  • Gold (50,000 mile flyers) have to wait until 72 hours prior to departure and take what’s left
  • Silvers can ‘upgrade into’ Comfort+ within 24 hours of departure

However since Comfort+ seats are just like regular coach, three seats next to each other on each side of the aisle on narrowbody aircraft, you might have an aisle seat or even an exit row aisle further back and wind up ‘upgraded’ into a middle seat. That’s some upgrade.

Delta learned that this was a problem, that their customers were getting upgrades that were really downgrades, so they built a workaround, sort of.

[W}hen traveling alone, Medallion Members who are not opted in to receive automatic Delta Comfort+ upgrades will now have the ability to request a Delta Comfort+ upgrade to any available seat or only a window/aisle seat when checking in for a flight at or at an airport kiosk.

Mitt Romney’s Chief of Staff fell victim to Delta’s supposed upgrades.

Unfortunately the option to request an upgrade to a non-middle seat only in extra legroom coach only becomes available at check-in. And there’s no option to choose to upgrade to an aisle only.

As the only airline flying between Salt Lake City and Washington DC (both National and Dulles, Southwest flies to BWI), and the airline contracted by GSA for the city pair, Senator Romney’s Chief of Staff is going to keep putting up with Delta’s approach to loyalty.

Delta’s operation is a bit more reliable, their flight crews a bit friendlier, but SkyMiles remains inferior not just for award redemption but for elite benefits as well.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I’ve seen this happen outside of Delta when booking through corporate portals like concur. If you pick a seat in the corporate no platform I’ve experienced where you’ll clear an upgrade or move to a better seat later on the app, etc. But then the corporate booking engine will protect you back to the original seat picked. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen this happen but I have a rule to never pick seats through corporate portals 🙂

  2. I grew up in Arlington and my family has a lot of contact with many members of Congress etc. I remembered that they all had special contact numbers to call when traveling, unless that has changed which I doubt wonder why he or his assistant did not call Delta? After all Delta does a great job of sucking up to Congress

    I will bet someone from Delta has called him already!! AND made notations in his profile.

  3. @ Gary – Seriously, why don’t you actually earn Diamond status on Delta and give it a try? The value of Diamond status FAR exceeds that of AA EXP and UA 1K, and is the easiest to earn of the three. Yeah, Delta can do this because they will screw you on your miles in a heartbeat, but please stop stating as facts something with which you are not familiar.

  4. As a Diamond it can happen to you too. If there is not enough comfort+ seats DM go on the wait list.

  5. @ g50 — Then book F (or E +) or a different flight or a different airline… or, as a Diamond, pick up the phone and check for upgrade certificate space.

    I don’t understand why everyone thinks this stuff should be free. As LAXJeff said, if you want first (or E+), then book it.

  6. @Kevin O – Stereotype much? So all republicans are racists huh? Guess all Dems are whiny liberal social justice warriors looking for a handout without working. Goes both ways dude so go up and take responsibility for your own life.

  7. @ AC — Even as a hater of all things Trump, I am with you on the handouts. It is beyond my comprehension why people think healthcare and college should be “free”. I just don’t get it….so, count me as a Dem who isn’t a whiny liberal social justice warrior. I night habe even considered being a Republican 30 years ago before the party fell into the hands of hypocrites like Mitch McConnell.

  8. @Gene, @LAXJeff, It is not as simplistic as getting a handout or something for free. First class upgrades are what Delta promises we are entitled to in exchange for the business that earned status in the first place. We give Delta our business, then Delta does its darnedest to make upgrades impossible.

  9. I learned many years ago (on United) never to “upgrade” to a section that had middle seats. My aisle seat in economy was always better than a middle seat in the extended legroom section.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *