Earlier this week, Delta relaunched its homepage and you know what? They did a great job. It’s incredibly clean, very simple, and now we just have to wait for the design to make its way through the rest of the site. You know what’s most interesting? It’s very similar in idea to the one that Dustin Curtis designed for American Airlines awhile back that caused a big fight. At least Delta was listening.
First, take a look at the new Delta.com homepage:
Forget about the background image which is kind of unnecessary (it pretty much disappears whenever you click on anything) and look at the pieces that Delta makes most prominent. On the left, there are five main categories: Your account (at top), Book a Trip, My Trips, Check In, and Flight Status. What else do you need? There are drop downs in the upper left for other areas which you might be interested in, but those are definitely not the main areas of focus. The airline has done a great job here.
What’s most interesting to me is how it resembles the Dustin Curtis-designed homepage for American. Dustin is just a guy who thought he could improve American’s homepage by making it easier to use, and he put this idea out there. When a contractor who worked for American wrote back explaining why things were the way they were, he was fired. AA.com hasn’t change. But take a look at this.
Remarkably similar, right? The first thing you see is Book Travel. Then the most prominent features at the bottom are Flight Status, Check-in, Your Account, and News. Ok, so Delta left off News and put in My Trips, but the idea is the same. Ease of navigation and finding what’s most important comes first. Great stuff.
Now, if you go to FlyerTalk, you’ll see a lot of angry people. Pages and pages of angry people. Sheesh, chill out. The number one comment? They just put lipstick on a pig. The rest of the site hasn’t changed. That is true, but Delta said in the blog post announcing the change:
We know our homepage looks quite a bit different from the rest of our site, but don’t worry, we’re working on that. Stay tuned in the coming months as we continue to update our site!
Great. They have to start somewhere, and the homepage is going to be the most visited page. Besides, the FlyerTalk crowd is full of power users, super elite members, etc. Most people who go to the website just want one of the big five things on the homepage. They’ll be thrilled.
The home page of any website is important. But for me I do not like going to a home page and being hit in the face with a ton of info on every square inch of the screen. I like something simple to get me started, and move to other pages from there.
Designers try and put everything in your face so you don’t have to go to other pages, but don’t think that the more you see….the less you notice.
But on the flip side, I don’t like a website that makes it hard to find something. When you have to look and search through everything trying to find what you want, there is something wrong with the design.
the current aa.com page is so busy i actually get angry when i visit it. delta.com’s facelift is quite nice and cleanly places 90% of the functionality that you visit the site for in a clean, useful layout.
now, as poster Dan states below, if delta would just fix the guys of the site, it would make users less bitter about the way it looks. the awards booking engine issues are more than just ‘annoyances’.
In defense of the FT crowd, the back-end of Delta.com does kind of suck. The hugest beef by far from that crowd is that the award search/booking engine is busted. And from that crowd, I think that’s the largest beef you can get. OTOH, from the corporate viewpoint, I would have to wonder where exactly a fix for that would rank on improvements, ’cause it’s not like it directly brings in revenue. (OTOH again, let it slide long enough, and those users could go elsewhere… awards are a big deal for FF.)
A much more legitimate beef from that crowd is this one: “I had the same thoughts exactly…front page is new but nothing else. In any case, I dont really care what it looks like..just waiting for the added functionality..things like being able to search price and schedule at same time, or showing price per segment for multi-city tickets etc so its not a mystery what the end price will be..”
Personally, I won’t use a site that won’t let me search price and schedule at the same time.
Yes, there are problems but Delta knows that they’re there, and they’re working on them. So why not celebrate the little victories, like an improved homepage? Some people like to focus only on the bad, and that’s just not helpful. Delta is never going to do everything that the FlyerTalk crowd wants.
I read somewhere that the initial plan was to turn the old nwa.com into the new delta.com, but that plan was abandoned because the nwa.com platform was incompatible with other systems at Delta (reservations, operations etc.). That’s too bad, I liked nwa.com much better. I wonder if the nwa.com crew is still working at Delta.
I guess I’m a power user (and blew all of my NW miles before the merger, so I don’t have to deal with that anymore) and I want/need the search by time/price option. If you can’t give me the functionality I need, I simply don’t care what the interface looks like.
You can “celebrate a little victory” but if I’m driven to another site that can offer me the capability that I desire, Delta becomes my choice if and only if they provide the best price/schedule trade-off. If they’re not, I’ll never get to their webpage in the first place. I fail to see how that’s a little victory at all.
The flip side is, if I always go to Delta first, they stand a chance of grabbing my business if they can offer me a “reasonable” choice — instead of having my eyes drift over competing options, in which case, they have to offer the best option, which is a higher bar.
“Lipstick on a Pig” very apt for Delta’s FF program. Just for the record I am Gold on Delta and for international FF they require the most miles…the longest layovers
and many time the least choices. The 3 tiered system sucks compared to simple United 1 rate round trip
I think DL’s program could use improvement, but if you are flexible I found I could get what I wanted on international awards. I just had to use less thought of routes (YUL-CDG and return CDG-ORD). Perfect? No. Totally broken? No. In the end I paid 115,000 miles each for 2 biz-class flights to Paris from Denver in July. Not bad in my opinion.
Sorry Jason, I couldn’t disagree with you more. I have all the flexibility in the world and still had problems getting a FF booking – NO MATTER WHAT THE ROUTING. I do agree with Charlie, normally the required miles are higher then other FF Programs. That is not to say that a broken clock isn’t right twice a day…………….
And the perfect airline FF program is…?
There is a constant drone of complaint from FlyerTalk about everything, not saying that some complaint isn’t justified, but really, people complain about hot nuts and no hot nuts. If you don’t like an airline for whatever reason, then it is up to the consumer to move on. I don’t buy being “hub-captive” as an excuse as I used to fly DL out of DEN on a way too consistent basis. The FF program isn’t there for the sake of mileage runners and boasters, it was originally there to reward loyalty.
It has morphed over time to an attempt to gain loyalty, but I will admit that the return on a consumer’s investment is often not as easy to get as some would like. In the long run I am happy with that as it weeds out people that don’t want to take time and effort to find the itinerary that meets their needs, thereby leaving room on the plane for me. Would I like a simple option to get my biz-class TATL flight? Sometimes yes, but other times it is fun to have to work on it. Do I want to fly KLM’s 747-Combi from YUL? Maybe AF’s A380 from JFK? Or maybe DL’s A330 to AMS and take the TGV to CDG? Maybe I need professional help, but I find it fun.
As to the point requirements. They are listed on the DL website and again I find a game in it. Can I get the low price? What happens if I mix and match? Do I get a better deal with a DEN-DTW-YUL-CDG routing than DEN-DTW-CDG? Would I pay 125,000 miles per person for my month long trip to Paris? Yes! Flying AF biz-class was a great investment and that I got it for 115,000 was a score for me.
Sure their award search mysteriously adds and removes flights when you click the search button repeatedly. That is an issue they need to address without a doubt. Their calendar is misleading in many cases and they need to address that. That I can’t book FF awards in AF or Korean First class is a bummer, but if I want quality first class I’ll book via the Star Alliance or One World.
To return to the nature of Cranky’s post, that the FlyerTalk crowd uses a redesign of DL’s “shop window” to bash the FF product really takes away from the fact that DL is at least trying to revamp their website. It takes a lot of time and effort to make all the changes necessary. Who knows what other changes they might have coming that might address some of the very complaints people have.
Read on the news wires today that Delta is also going to allow booking from their Facebook page and are supposedly releasing ads that will allow direct booking instead of linking to their webpage.
Yeah, you can go to facebook.com/delta and book. It’s actually pretty slick.
Cranky: is it correct to say that you prefer not to use airline websites to search for and book flights but go through the KVS availability tool instead?
Nah, I don’t use KVS for my basic availability searches. KVS is great for award availability and passenger reacommodation. For basic searches, I start with matrix2.itasoftware.com and I always try to book direct if the fares are competitive.
The DELTA webpage change is like putting an expensive paint job on a YUGO. The FF Program/Customer Service/Flight delays remain UNCHANGED. This is more important, in my opinion, for ANY airline to focus on improving – ESPECIALLY DELTA.
P.S. I will pay more or change routing NOT to go through the Atlanta Hub. Summer= Storm related delays.
Winter=Storm related delays.
I will stick with AA and deal with the occasional problem. The FF Program remains a high standard for other airlines.
I know for a fact that DL has tried to combat it’s summer flight delays, but when you have hubs like ATL and JFK (ATL=uncontrollable summer thunderstorms, JFK=terrible delays that are out of DL’s hands) it’s hard to get every last flight to leave on time. As for customer service, I also know that DL is trying very hard to send employees through new customer service training. On every trip that I can remember that I’ve had with DL in the last 10 years, I haven’t found ONE employee to be rude, mean, unprofessional, etc. Most are very professional, hardworking people who are trying their hardest. I fly a lot throughout the year on DL, but I guess I don’t fly as much as all the people on here (and elsewhere on the internet) who constantly bash Delta employees. Or maybe, DL purposely lets the “good” employees work my flights! I know, in a basket of 70,000+ apples, I’m sure that there are bad ones, the ones who don’t care, the ones that are just mean people. But I just haven’t seen them. Another thing about DL’s customer service is that it seems to me that they’re the most ambitious with IFE and BOB products–no other Legacy carrier has put/is putting/has plans to put PTV’s w/ AVOD on almost all of their aircraft (what I’m hearing right now, it’s everything but the MD-88’s). To me, it shows that DL cares about entertaining their customers and providing an excellent product throughout the system. Now, this brings me to my third point–SkyMiles. I’ve heard all about the issues with SkyMiles. I’ve also heard from some of my friends that work for DL that DL is aware of these issues that their FF’s are having and they’re looking to resolve some of them. I agree with you here, though. DL’s SkyMiles could be better. Much better. But I think DL’s working to improve it. I’m almost positive that the new website will resolve the issues with the search engine, etc.
All in all, I can’t wait to see what other changes DL has for us with the website–and in other areas as well. I’m sorry if I come off as rude or mean, but I’m just sick and tired of hearing people bash DL in this way, and your post just set it off–it’s nothing personal! :) I also don’t work for DL, so I’m not biased in that regard.
There is always another side to a story, so I am happy to hear other thoughts on the subject. It appears that you have much experience with Delta or know someone who does.
I focused on the Delta hub at Atlanta as I happen to go to that part of the US alot. When I did fly Delta there always seemed to be a connection through Atlanta. I certainly cannot blame Delta for the VERY frequent weather problems, I just said I will do ANYTHING to avoid that hub. It’s always a gamble. The Delta Customer Service personnel (in general) must be shell schocked from the same constant problems. Personally I have found them to be non-accommodating, insensitive and merciless. I am sure there must be other competent Delta Customer Service folks out there, I just haven’t had the pleasure (and luck) to find one when I needed to!
Regarding the Delta FF Program, I agree with you that DELTA is aware of the deficientcies and general low esteem and value the public has for the Program. It has existed for years. You may be the ONLY person who thinks DELTA is moving in a positive manner to fix a dead duck. If they moved any slower they would throw dirt over it!
Thank you for being so cordial and not “flaming” me like some users on other sites would!
I agree, you definitely usually have to connect through Atlanta. I would probably try to do the same as you (avoiding ATL), but I live in ATL, so I’m pretty much stuck! I don’t really have a choice or an option to connect through another hub! :) I’m also sure that there are rude employees there who are “shell-shocked”, and I know you’ve encountered them! I must just be pretty lucky! Living in the ATL suburbs, I can attest to the fact that it usually rains afternoons here–and I mean rains and thunders. I know this completely wrecks with ATL, causing delays, etc. If I were a CSR in ATL, I would probably get pretty tired of dealing with the same weather and tired passenger situation almost every day.
And I agree with the fact that DL is moving pretty darn slowly. Hopefully soon they’ll have fixed at least some of the problems!
I hope I don’t come across as rude or mean in what I’ve said above, as when I read the first part it seemed like it could be taken in the wrong way.
No, you do not come accross as rude or mean. I enjoy the exchanges on issues which impact all travlers, hoping that our concerns can make a difference.
With you living in Atlanta I can now fully understand your perspective. Unfortunately you are a “captive audience” for Delta. Glad you have maintained a stiff upper lip, considering the circumstances. I can only hope that DELTA eventually comes through for loyal customers like you. Good LucK!
I tried to book with miles and it repeatedly tossed me back to a start screen.
I would add that regardless of a spiffy new page they still have cut earing miles in half and almost doubled the number of miles needed to get anywhere. So what? They have a new web layout. That’s nice. I also read today they are the least energy efficient of some ten airlines compared. If that WSJ story is true we should all fly other more efficient carries, that is, if we care.
They are the least energy efficient because they are currently the world’s largest airline flying a giant fleet of aircraft. Once UA/CO merge, they should take that position.
I’d think the level of energy efficiency is taking fleet size into consideration, or else it would be a silly measure. Maybe the old DC9 are to blame?
Whoops! I don’t know what I was thinking, haha. I agree with you though, I think the DC9 are probably the problem. Thankfully the -30’s and the -40’s are being retired, so that should help the numbers in the future.
Man, do. I wish AA had done that website update. I hate AA’s old, crappy web site. Good job Delta!