It’s time for one of our favorite traditions: some of Delta Air Lines‘ happenings that earned them #KeepClimbing and #KeepDescending headlines.
What are “#KeepClimbing” and “#KeepDescending”?
Delta introduced its “Keep Climbing” slogan several years ago. It’s upbeat, inspirational, and very appropriate for a company in the airline business. So, when Delta does something we find admirable, we tag it “#KeepClimbing.”
But when Delta makes a move unfriendly towards its customers or employees, the slogan gets a snarky twist. That’s when we smack a “#KeepDescending” on a topic.
- #KeepClimbing = Good
- #KeepDescending = Bad
(I’m tempted to call these the Annual Climbies and Descenties Awards. What do you think? 🙂 )
As usual, please fasten your seatbelts. We’re about to encounter some steep climbs and descents.
#KeepClimbing: Award Travel Permanently Counts Toward Elite Status
SkyMiles award travel counted toward elite Medallion status during most of 2021 and all of this year.
But at the end of March, Delta put a ring on it and announced that SkyMiles award travel applies toward Medallion status for good.
#KeepClimbing: Delta Extends Existing eCredits Through 2023
One of Delta’s first moves of 2022 was extending unused eCredit’s expiration dates to December 31, 2023. The airline noted, “Customers will be able to rebook their ticket by December 31, 2023, for travel throughout 2024.”
So, really, we have a long time to use the credits fully. Nicely done, Delta.
#KeepClimbing: Opening New Terminals and Sky Clubs
Delta opened several new infrastructure improvements at a few airports.
First, the long-awaited Terminal 3 rebuild at LAX finally opened. A gorgeous new Sky Club (with a deck!) welcomed guests in April. Then a few gates debuted in Spring 2022. Finally, the rest of T3 in September.
Delta unveiled its stunning new terminal at New York’s LaGuardia airport just after Memorial Day. That is home to another fantastic Sky Club.
A new club opened up at Tokyo Haneda, as well.
Finally, some of us Chicago Seminars attendees were able to enjoy Delta’s new digs and Sky Club at Chicago O’Hare. (The new ORD club even features two boarding gates!)
#KeepDescending: Delta’s Massive Sky Club Policy Changes
Yes, Delta’s new Sky Clubs are very nice. The food and beverage options are, for the most, improving.
But, man, did Delta anger some of us with their admission policy changes throughout the year.
In early May, Delta announced passengers could access Sky Clubs only within three hours of their flight’s departure time. (Not boarding time.) They also initially cut access for arriving passengers — but rescinded that several days later after much apparent backlash.
That surely would cut down on any overcrowding issues, right?
Well, the same policies didn’t exactly do wonders for American Express Centurion Lounges.
— Eye of the Flyer ✈️ (@EyeOfTheFlyer) November 18, 2022
So, Delta announced drastic measures in November — and punished its own Medallion members. You know, the people who are the best part of Delta (or whatever the marketing pitch is).
Its own SkyTeam Elite Plus members may no longer visit Sky Clubs during international trips — unless they’re flying Premium Economy or Delta One. Or, of course, if they have Sky Club membership or present one of the American Express cards including Sky Club access. (The change takes effect February 2, 2023.)
The airline also increased the prices for both Individual and Executive memberships. Big time.
Even if you purchased a Sky Club membership, don’t even think about going in there if you’re flying Basic Economy.
#KeepClimbing: Delta Introduces Free WiFi on Flights
Delta has, for years, talked about free WiFi on their flights.
Well, it’s finally happening. It started out first as an option for Medallion members on select flights.
Then it moved to all SkyMiles members on certain aircraft.
The process will take a while — but it’s very much a step in the right direction.
#KeepClimbing: Delta Introduces its A321neo
I had the pleasure of flying Delta’s first A321neo revenue flight. It’s a great aircraft. I like the First Class seats’ new design. But they could use a little more legroom.
#KeepDescending: MQD Hikes for Medallion Status
Three Delta Medallion status levels’ MQD requirements jump fairly drastically starting January 1, 2023.
- Diamond Medallion goes from $15,000 MQD to $20,000
- Platinum Medallion goes from $9,000 MQD to $12,000
- Gold Medallion goes from $6,000 MQD to $8,000
$8,000 for Gold Medallion is kind of nuts. $12,000 for Platinum? A little steep but I get it. $20,000 for Diamond is sort of bonkers.
#KeepDescending: The Timing of Delta’s MQD Announcement
Those MQD requirement increases were announced on October 6. That’s pretty late in the year for Delta to announce something pretty drastic taking effect January 1. You can’t tell me Delta said to themselves, “Oh, we didn’t realize that…”
#KeepClimbing: Delta’s Refreshed and New Choice Benefits
Diamond and Platinum Medallions remaining loyal to the mothership can choose from some generously refreshed and brand new Choice Benefits.
#KeepDescending: “The Biggest Devaluation Of All Time”?
Delta’s SkyMiles redemptions for partner airlines somehow gets even more ridiculous.
#KeepClimbing: FINALLY! We Can Apply Upgrade Certificates Ourselves!
Can you believe it? Delta finally allows Medallions to apply Upgrade Certificates ourselves.
Going by the numbers, the #KeepClimbings outweigh the #KeepDescendings.
So, that’s good.
But most of the #KeepDescendings were pretty ugly. The Sky Club changes, ludicrous SkyMiles redemptions, and big MQD hikes late in the year aren’t cool.
Those genuinely challenge people’s loyalty. My family’s international travel likely will be limited using SkyMiles.
Howevever, the #KeepClimbings do include some fairly exciting stuff. I especially like the free WiFi, ability to apply Upgrade Certificates, and Sky Club improvements.
What do you think about our #KeepClimbings and #KeepDescendings? Did we miss anything? Do you disagree with something? Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
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