As I wrote yesterday, there is a lot going on in the miles and points space right now. Change has come, and we are where we are. Delta kicked things off last year with a move to revenue-based earning, and things haven’t quite been the same since. There’s been a good bit of pontification and conjecturing with yours truly being accused of everything from being an idiot to a good candidate for an executive position at Delta. I think I’ve been pretty clear that I am not a fan of the way Delta has introduced some of its changes, even if I am at peace with the underlying reasons why things are changing.

To be clear, I think Delta is one heckuva lot better justified in thinking it can get away with a total conversion of the idea of loyalty and a switch to a revenue-based program than its competitors. Specifically, a certain airline based in a lakeside city with really cold temperatures during the winter months.But today, I saw one more clear reason why I think Delta is going to pull its changes off where no other airline could.

I boarded an MD-88 right on time headed north. My upgrade had cleared and I walked on greeted by a very pleasant flight attendant. I took my seat, 2A for those that are interested, and within a few minutes my heavy coat was picked up to be hung. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the aircraft was being catered while we boarded. In fact, it was being catered well into the boarding process. At about 15 minutes prior to departure, that was all done. On any other US airline, that would’ve been the end of it, but on Delta…not so much. At 15 minutes prior, the lead F/A came around offering pre-departure beverages to every first class customer. Not only were those PDBs delivered, refills were offered to those that wanted them.

Now, that’s a very small gesture overall, but it’s one that I routinely see aboard Delta Air Lines. Others….not so much. Late catering would’ve been an excuse not to deliver an expected service on most airlines, but not Delta. Yes, I know… a PDB wine is no makeup for mileage devaluations or missing award charts. However, this is a recognition that most of us appreciate the little things too, like a reliable airline, and great service provided by people that care.

Yes, I think Delta could have done a better job with communicating some of the things its been up to with its loyalty program. I continue to think Delta needs to really consider what it’s up to in the loyalty space. That said, a decent airline still matters, and more than anything else, that’s why I think Delta will continue to be successful.

-MJ, February 23, 2015

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