This week’s featured link(s):
Delta’s Comfort+ upgrades could turn into frequent flyer problem – Runway Girl Network
Delta to end sponsorship of Fox Theatre over Qatar Airways event with JLo – AJC@ATL Blog
Airline wars wound Seattle Pride Parade marchers – Seattle Times
I’m not sure why Delta keeps shooting itself in the foot, but this was a bad week for the airline from a PR perspective… three times over.
First came the reality that Comfort+ seating is worse for elites than it was before. Delta now sells Comfort+ as a separate cabin (for flights starting last Monday), so elites have to “upgrade” for free into Comfort+. For lower level elites (and now, even high level elites that have a companion that is at a lower level) that doesn’t happen at the time of booking. If you say you want the upgrade and it clears, you might get stuck in a middle seat. The kicker? The only way to go back to the aisle or window you might have had is to call Delta and hope it’s still there. It can’t be done online.
Then Delta got into a fight with the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, a place it has sponsored for years. See, the theater hosted an event for Qatar Airways to celebrate its new entry into the Atlanta market. Delta got mad and immediately pulled its long time sponsorship. Someone at Delta got too emotional and failed to stop this bad PR move. Does pouting and pulling support of a beloved local institution help Delta’s cause to stop subsidized Middle Eastern carriers from flying to the US? No. If anything, it just lines locals residents up against Delta. If the airline wants to focus on stopping Middle East carriers, then all of its efforts should be focused on that goal. This does nothing but hurt its cause.
Lastly, there’s the gay pride parade kerfuffle in Seattle. It seems Delta has signed on as the exclusive airline sponsor, and that was reported to mean that the folks at Alaska who have supported it for years are no longer allowed to show any corporate identity at all if they want to be in the parade. Later reports say this wasn’t true, but the damage was done. Delta looks like the bad guy.
Bad week for Delta.
Singapore Airlines’ Low-Cost Carriers, Others Start Alliance – Bloomberg
The sign a low cost carrier that’s struggling? It tries to build an alliance with other low cost carriers to share traffic. But what is interesting here is the underlying technology that allows people to book (including ancillary services) across different carriers without a GDS. That’s the real news here.
New Dubuque airport terminal done 6 months early, under budget – USA Today
Anytime an airport project comes in early and under budget ($37 million vs $40 million), I want to praise it. But when it’s an airport that has 3 flights a day from American Eagle? I just don’t see how this helps get new service for Dubuque. Hopefully it doesn’t push its remaining service away.