Olympic Gold Medal Curler Got Upgraded on Delta After All – Watch the Champagne Toast

Delta’s fairly stock social media reply to the gold medallist US olympic curlers has gotten a lot of play. The athletes tweeted hoping for an upgrade coming home from Seoul, and were roundly told no. Except it turns out – despite all the media surrounding Delta’s initial response – that there was a celebration at the gate, a champagne toast onboard, and one of the medalists did wind up sitting up front.

Delta’s reply was fair of course. We all know the request for an upgrade was worded all wrong. They should have just tweeted Rumplestiltskin “revenue management.”

Delta’s Seoul flights have been pretty full. Upgrades are tough to come by. But Delta seemed to miss a golden opportunity here. United is the official sponsor of the Olympics. Delta’s play here is to gift free tickets to the Olympians if they can’t do upgrades, take photos with their medals, and garner as much publicity as United bought with their sponsorship.

The initial handling was ham handed but the flight home turned out to be special. Delta had recognition and a gift for the Olympians.

And they offered on onboard champagne toast.

What’s more one of the Olympians did get to sit up front when a passenger offered to trade their business class seat and sit in back.

Unfortunately for Delta all of this came after their hand handed initial response, which so far is what’s gotten the attention.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. They did get “upgraded” in the literal sense, but by the passenger and not Delta. So Delta deserves the backlash for their heavy-handed response, since they didn’t upgrade the passenger. Nice to see the celebration though – Delta should’ve tweeted something like “all the seats are full, but we’ll have celebratory champagne :)” and they would’ve been much better off.

  2. @Brad, they could have said “we would love to give you an upgrade but unfortunately our Business Cabin is full”.

  3. I can’t imagine how pissed off a 1st class passenger would be if Delta just bumped him (or her) for a medal winner.
    But yes, they could have said “sorry we’re full, but free champagne for you.”

  4. …and if the team was upgraded, imagine if you were in the following group who *would* have been upgraded and didn’t…. Kind of a no-win situation for Delta. Hat’s off to the guy who did give up his seat – that’s a long flight….

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