My Humble Thanks to Delta

Last month in Atlanta I was honored to be able to host the Freddie Awards. That’s the awards program for airline and hotel loyalty programs where the best in a variety of categories are voted on by the members.

Goodness knows I don’t agree with all of the results myself — I’m just one vote out of millions cast — but that’s the point, what I think is most important or valuable isn’t the voice of the members, and the Freddies are meant to recognize that.

One downside to serving as emcee is I never got to sit down at a table for dinner. That means I never got a scratchoff card that awarded miles in the program of one’s choice.

I did get to have dinner, though, inside a retired L-1011. The event was held at the Delta Flight Museum, which was a special treat.

Delta’s hospitality was remarkable. It hasn’t stopped my criticism of the SkyMiles program of course, but the team in Atlanta was certainly a class act (and I’ve never denied that they run a very good airline).

One element of that hospitality — the flight attendants working the event, who were helpful guides and cheerful in welcoming everyone.

I think many in attendance will miss the ‘red dress’ when it changes in a few years with the new uniforms Delta brings on from a new designer. So even if there’s still a red dress, they will no longer have the red dress.

I had the chance to meet Deltalina at the Global Business Travel Association conference when I spoke on a panel there.

(The name Deltalina originated on Flyertalk, she adopted it herself and uses it on Twitter, and Delta appropriates it in their new internet-meme safety video.)

Of course the Red Dress has had its detractors, there was a protest campaign because the dress wasn’t produced in plus-sizes. And pilots rated flight attendant ‘hotness’ as whether or not they were ‘RDQ’ or ‘red dress-qualified’.

That evening, though, I think that Delta didn’t have any detractors. They didn’t take home an award, but they did take home everyone’s appreciation, most especially mine.

And since I just completed an award trip using Delta miles, for today I’ll even mute my criticisms of SkyMiles.

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. I guessing one of the downsides of reading this blog is how often you toot your own horn.

    I was quoted here….
    I hosted this event…
    I was interviewed here….


  2. Fun read and view of an insiders event. Having never seen the red dress before I might fly Delta if…

  3. Nothing wrong with tooting your own horn when you own the blog and do all the writing.

  4. @robertw-Totally agree and appreciate Gary’s dedication and “ownership” of his blog. Much more authentic (and useful) than TPG with his selfies and entourage of assistants.

  5. Mark – don’t like it? Don’t read it. Simple as that. Any regular reader knows Gary’s inherent feelings on the major US carriers & his writing style, so wtf does a comment like yours do other than make you look like a pompous arse?

    When I come across one of his columns on how great AA is & how he spins any negatives into an unrealistic positive, I’ll move on if I’m not interested. But I come back, because I find the content overall to be insightful, interesting, and helpful, even if it is biased.

  6. @mark, look at it this way. If Gary posted less often, you’d have fewer opportunities to post your worthless, whiny comments.

  7. Yes, but some of Mark’s various “toilet” comments are pretty funny. Loyal readers come in all shapes and sizes, I guess.

  8. A lot of bloggers mentioned the Freddies and I was in ATL during that time but one thing odd that no one mentioned was how to get tickets for the event. Was it invite only?

  9. Seems to me if you were able to use miles for an award trip, the program must be beneficial to some degree.

    At the end of the day, most criticisms I read about SkyMiles and redemption revolve around the inability to earn as cheaply as you used do and redeem for as much value as you used to. That’s fair, but times change, as do loyalty programs. Beyond safe and reliable transportation, Delta’s primary obligations are to their shareholders, then employees, then customers.

    Delta is doing a lot of things right and shouldn’t be judged based on the ability to free load on a loyalty program. It’s just evolved to be s more complicated equation these days.

  10. Your experience with Delta is a great example of why many of us love flying with them. Are they perfect, of course not, but they are a great airline. I know you have acknowledged that fact in the past, but good to read a positive post about them.

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